Sharing Your Life with Your Daughter
Sadly, fathers and daughters generally do not know
one another as well or spend nearly as much time
with one another throughout their lifetimes as
mothers and daughters. Especially when it comes to
the meaningful, personal aspects of our lives,
fathers and daughters share less with one
So fathers, heres the bottom line: You
need to spend more time alone with your daughter,
even when shes a teenager and even after she
is off living on her own. And when you are with her
in private, use that time to share your life with
her and to ask her meaningful, personal questions
about her life. These lists of questions can get
you started. Hundreds more are available in my
book, as well as two chapters on communicating with
Childhood and Family
1. Who is (or was) your favorite relative?
2. How are you like and unlike each of your
3. What are three of your favorite childhood
4. What did you get too little of from your father?
What did you get too much of?
5. What kind of relationship did you have with your
father? With your mother?
1. What book, film, and piece of music has
affected you the most? Why?
2. If you had a motto, what would it be?
3. If you could afford it, what would you buy or
4. What do you wish you had more of? Why?
5. What would bring you the greatest joy during the
next few years?
1. What are four traits you look for in a
2. Who have you known longest, and why has your
friendship lasted so
3. Which friend do you miss most? Why?
4. What is the best advice a friend ever gave
5. How have your friendships changed over time?
1. How have your religious beliefs changed over
2. What was your most spiritual experience?
3. What spiritual questions do you ask yourself
4. What are your greatest worries about aging or
5. How has another persons death affected
your own religious views or feelings about
Feelings About Yourself
1. How successful do you consider yourself?
2. What are your best and worst traits?
3. What are some of the best compliments
youve ever gotten?
4. What are three of the best and three of the
worst decisions youve ever made?
5. What three lessons did you learn the hard
Love & Romance
1. What romantic relationships had the greatest
impact on you, and how?
2. What do you wish had been different about your
3. How liberal or conservative do you consider
yourself to be on sexual issues?
4. How have your ideas about love, sex, and
marriage changed over time?
5. What do you wish you had known about sexual and
romantic relationships as a young man?
Getting to know your daughter and allowing her
to know you means asking the kinds of questions
that so many of us wish we had asked before it was
too late. Give your daughter the gift
of getting to know you. Give yourself the gift of
getting to know her.
©2008 Dr. Linda
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It is easier for a father to have children than
for children to have a real father. Pope John
has been teaching, counseling, conducting research
and writing about adolescents and father-daughter
relationships since 1970. A member of Phi Beta
Kappa and the recipient of the outstanding
graduate's award in teacher education from the
University of Tennessee in 1969, she taught and
counseled high school students for several years.
After earning a Master's Degree in Counseling and a
Doctorate in Educational and Adolescent Psychology,
she joined the faculty of Wake Forest University in
1974. Her grants and awards include the Outstanding
Article Award in 1980 from the U.S. Center for
Women Scholars and a postdoctoral fellowship from
the American Association of University Women. For
the past fifteen years she has focused primarily on
father-daughter relationships with a special
emphasis on divorced fathers and their daughters.
Her work has been cited in the "Wall Street
Journal" as well as in popular magzines such as
"Cosmopolitan", and shared through television and
In 1991 she created her "Fathers
& Daughters" course - the only college course
in the country that focuses exclusively on
father-daughter relationships. In addition to
having written several dozen articles for journals
such as the "Harvard Educational Review" and the
"Journal of Divorce & Remarriage", Dr. Nielsen
has written three books: How to Motivate
Adolescents (Prentice Hall) and Adolescence: A
Contemporary View (Harcourt Brace) which sold more
than 60,000 copies and was adopted by hundreds of
universities throughout the country and abroad
between 1986-1996. Her third book, Embracing
Your Father: Creating the Relationship You Want
with Your Dad was
published in April, 2004. www.wfu.edu/~nielsen
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