Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue of fathers and daughters. Photo above left is by Jerry Cooke.
This photo is at our wedding day, our daughter ran up to be with us at the alter.
Put girls in the driver's seat 1:17
See also WomenInRacing.org
& Bikes -
Can Dads and Daughters Watch the Super Bowl Together Without Cringing?
What I Want My Daughter to Know
Things Your Teen Daughter Should Know
My Daughter's A Pro-Linebacker
World Cup Inspiration
Bend It Like Beckham
When Daughters Come Second - A New Rites-Of-Passage
If You'd Only Let Me
Raise Your Daughter Right
Daddy's Little Girl and Preventing Teen Pregnancy
MS Foundation - Only Daughters to Work?
Take Our Daughters And Sons to Work Week
10 Tips for Dads with Daughters
What is Beauty in the Media
Teen Magazines-Will They Harm Her?
Ten Things Every Father Should Know
Father-Daughter Valentine Dance
Gender Gap Crap
NCAA's Special Rules
Father & Daughter Companies
Lots More Dads and Daughters
Related issues: Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, Adolescence, kidstuff, children, fathers, fathers & sons, single fathers, step fathers, military fathers & fathers stories and Dads&Daughters newsletter.
Dictionary for Dads
Other related issues: gangs, hazing, sexuality-general, sexual harassment, tv violence.
Books on: children, communication, divorce-general, families, fathers-general, fathers & stepfathers, fathers & daughers, fathers-single, fathers & sons, gay fathers or gay children, stepfathers, marriage, parenting-general, parenting-single, relationship, ritual-initiation, sexism, sex roles, sexuality-general, sexual harassment, gangs, abuse-boys, abuse-child, sexual-incest, abuse-ritual, abuse-sexual, violence-rape, violence-sexual
Journals - on Child, Emotional, Religious, and Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Periodicals - Children, Parents, Teens
Resources on families, gangs, parents, father's rights, urgent
Slide Guide: Gangs, stds, aids, safe dating.
Moon Network is always looking for fathers with daughters to
write for the"fathering" section. email@example.com
When Daughters Come
A recurring theme in all of my men, women, and women and men retreats had been the impact the father had (whether present, abusive, distant, perfect or absent) in the development of the Father Wound. From this I have come to believe that no matter what we do, we will still mess-up as fathers. By becoming more aware and doing more work on our relationships with our children during the tumultuous years of adolescence, we will have a more positive impact on our children that will effect at least seven generations to come.
While improved communication is important, we need to actually start developing completely new models for positive ways fathers can be with their teen-age daughters.
This realization brought me and our then 20 year-old daughter Natalie, together to create and co-facilitate a new rites-of-passage for fathers and their teen-age daughters. Having single parented her since the age of 8, I found that there were things that had gone unsaid, and things that hadn't been listened to (nick names, no mattered how innocent, really embarrass and hurt). I saw how important it is to deal, in a positive way, with all energies in the relationship.
But, how could we bring fathers and daughters together in a new, healthy way? In ancient cultures, men traditionally initiated the boys into adulthood and the women initiated the girls. Add to this the current cultural messages to fathers. Teach your children how to deal in the real world. Prepare them for the hard knocks, trials and difficulties they will most likely experience. Don't expect to be loved. Add to this the factor that for the first time in any culture, women are doing "nontraditional" roles previously the exclusive territory of the man, and you have a scenario that the rites-of-passage, as practiced for centuries, no longer serves. A need for new ritual to acknowledge and support these major societal changes was needed.
A New Rite-of-Passage
It was about 3AM Sunday morning, three miles up California's Rubican River from civilization. We had previously spotted fresh tracks of a big cat, and signs of deer and many smaller animals were everywhere. It was brisk out, with a sky that we could see a million stars further than we could ever see in the city.
The sound of a deer rattle could be heard. Someone in a Mexican grandfather's mask was waking the inhabitants of the small encampment. "Dress warmly and join us at the fire circle."
Sleepy-eyed, the girls and their fathers prepared for the cold, wondering what was ahead. Slowly, the group began to form around the fire circle. It was time for these teen-age daughters to break from their fathers and go into the wilderness, to their "special spot" each had picked the day before. They would remain there alone for the next six hours meeting their fears and anxieties as they separated from the safety and protection of their fathers. They were about to go through a rite-of-passage never before performed in any culture - the passage from the world of the young daughter, not as a son would become a man but as a daughter would become a woman in the world of her father.
The Vision Quest and its purpose was outlined and we went around the circle so each could express their concerns and fears. At the end of the ceremony, each father sent his daughter off to her special place. Each father passed on a deer rattle they had fashioned out of deer hooves tied to the end of strips of animal hide and wrapped with sinew to a short tree branch. These rattles had all been prepared the day before in the sacred way while the fathers met together. Their daughters were to use the rattles during the night to let the animals and spirits know there was a human among them.
After the girls had disappeared into the darkness, several fathers sat up around the fire. It was a circle of fear, starring into the fire in silence, listening. Now and then a rattle could be heard in the quiet. A chant, a whistle, a song. Soon, all was quiet.
The sun rose around 5:30. Those fathers who had dozed off were awakened at 7:30 and were sent off alone and write in their journals, things that they had never shared with their daughters, maybe never shared with anyone. It could be about a weakness, a fear, a sorrow, something that demonstrated their vulnerability, that demonstrated that they were made of flesh and bone.
By 9:00, they were to join their daughters and spend as much time as necessary sharing both of their experiences that morning and sharing things they felt comfortable with from their journals - their secret writings, secret thoughts. Each father took with him a traditionally made prayer arrow which his daughter taught him to make the day before. She had spent the night with the prayer arrow she had made and they were to create their own ritual to leave the arrows at that sight, along with the things they didn't want to carry around inside themselves anymore.
As the fathers and daughters began returning to camp, there was a different air about their relationships. The experience seemed to make their bond much stronger. The fathers saw their daughters differently now. The daughters, too, saw themselves differently. They felt an exhilaration of having faced the night alone and a new independence of knowing they had accomplished something totally on their own. They had persisted, had overcome their fears, had become more confident and self-reliant in just a few short hours.
Men Still Make the Best Fathers
Our culture has great fear and reluctance to accept this father-daughter connection. Some people, like author Jeff Hearn, believe that "...children are not ours in any sense...". Others, from psychologists to church leaders, still challenge our intention of wanting to spend time alone with our daughters, and they really question our desire to take them into the wilderness alone.
But others like Judith Wallerstein feel "...adolescents are particularly vulnerable when deprived of relationships with their father...". Linda Leonard wrote a whole book dealing with the wounds created in the father-daughter relationship and the need to improve those relationships. And, Miriam and Otto Ehrenberg believe that the father should "give up the traditional role of removed provider and take an active role as an involved caregiver."
Being a father, today, contradicts the fundamental ways most men have been raised. The fact is that fathers are full of strength, power and tenderness. They are very good at loving and cuddling their children as well as disciplining and setting boundaries and limits. They can be gentle and roughhouse, go on roller-coasters and play tea party. They enjoy playing with dolls and much as playing ball.
Fathers build in their daughters the confidence to be self-sufficient in the world without continually running back home for support. Their relationship often mirrors the kind of relationships their daughters will choose. The father helps her become independent from him and is the only one who can really confirm for her that she is unique and separate from her mother.
Fathers are open, loving and vulnerable. It's vulnerability that encourages fathers to show not only their strengths but their weaknesses so that the daughter can learn to accept these in herself and from others.
Fathers have a major impact on their daughters view of their own femininity and sexuality and are very good at accepting their display of sexuality in stride. As she goes through puberty, the underlying attraction between them is understood and acknowledges these feelings, confirming that he, too, is a sexual being.
Unfortunately, as our daughters move through this time and start to develop physically, sexually and emotionally, some fathers withdrawal from their daughters. This usually happens because he isn't clear on how to react, how to work with the feelings that are inside of him, and how to deal with the sexual energy his daughter is displaying.
Since most men don't talk about problems with other men, this leaves many fathers who feel a sexual energy between themselves and their daughters, thinking they are the only ones, and that they must be real perverts. Drawing away from a developing daughter at this time, however, can be very damaging to her own sexuality and how she acts around boys and men in the future. This doesn't tolerate inappropriate behavior. It only says that the energy is there, it is normal, and that we must not withdraw our love, affection, hugs and kisses lest we negatively effect not only our relationship with our daughter, but her future relationships with men.
Additionally, this culture has developed such fear around sex that inappropriate taboos have been created that further confuse the situation. When the taboo doesn't fit with human experience, a situation can develop that clouds right from wrong and may open up more inappropriate sexual activity than would otherwise be present.
We need to develop healthy messages that separate touch from sex and sex from intimacy. We need to talk with other men about our experiences so that we will know that we aren't the only ones with sexual energy. We need to be able to recognize the appropriate limits of parental love and distinguish what is healthy from what we should be concerned about. While somewhat simplistic, if it's comfortable showing affection with others around, it's usually healthy, whether others are around or not. But, if you feel the need to make it a secret, it's at least borderline, if not totally inappropriate. (The Ehrenberg's book provides some very valuable information about appropriate and inappropriate sexual intimacy between fathers and daughters and would be a valuable addition to any personal library.)
Making the Commitment
It has become my belief that the importance of a close, healthy father-daughter relationship is possibly the most important relationship a father can develop at this time in our culture. It will provide daughters and women with a positive image of a father, which is currently missing, for all intent and purpose.
This change won't come about merely be taking a teen-age daughter into the wilderness for a rite-of-passage, though it's never too late to start. It should begin by making a commitment to be involved from the start and make the care of your children as important as your work. It means working for a company that supports parental leave, not just in theory but in practice. It means taking a job that has the flexibility so that you can take off when your children need you and that allows, and encourages, ample time to be with them. It means letting the boss and people you work with know that you take fathering seriously and encourage other fathers to do the same. It means placing as much importance on your active involvement with daughters as you do with sons.
It's not about parental rights, it's about parental obligations.
It's the only way men will ever know the absolute joy and excitement
of fathering. When it comes down to the short strokes, I've never
known of a father to say on his death bed, "I wish I'd worked more."
- Gordon Clay
What I Want My Daughter to Know
Recently, my daughter Alex turned 8 years old.
For some reason, this fact has really caught me off guard. I find myself muttering all the usual clichés"They grow up so fast," and "I remember when she was just a tiny baby in my arms" and, of course, the time-honored "Before you know it, shell be out of the house"and then I realized that the last one is true: Before I know it, she will be out of the house.
And then I decided it was time to get serious.
So I sat down, intending to come up with the top 10 things that I want my daughter to know before she becomes a real-life, bona fide adult. However, while I was creating this list, I realized that even though I address these words to Alex, this is advice I'd give to any young person in my life if they were to ask for it, regardless of gender. And so I share them here with youbecause, rightly or wrongly, it turns out these are things that I deeply believe.
1. Your ability or inability to accomplish something should never be defined by your gender. Ever. Some people will try to argue that simply by virtue of your gender, you are biologically incapable of doing something, but unless that something directly involves certain very specific contributions to the creation of a new human life, then frankly, they are misinformed.
2. You may discover, at some point in your life, that you were denied an opportunity to do something or have something because of your gender. This is admittedly absolutely unfair and completely unacceptable. But this is not the time to hold bitterness. You need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and renew your intention to keep on keeping on. Simply because someone is too narrow-minded to see past your gender to your talents and skills is no reason to allow that person to crush your spirit.
Do not give them that power. (And for heaven's sake, demand equal pay and equal treatment for equal work. You are owed at least this.)
3. No onenot your parents, not your partners, not friends, not authority figures, not strangershas any right to touch you in a way that you do not want to be touched. Ever.?
You should be proud of your gender (and for that matter, your race, your religion or belief system or your sexuality)it is all part of what makes you, you.
4. Debate and disagreement are parts of lifeand sometimes even an educational part of life. Always speak your mind in as respectful a way as you can. But remember: The moment someone tries to bolster their argument by denigrating your gender, your race, your religion or your sexuality, they have officially informed you that they are no longer interested in having a civil discussion with you.
You are, therefore, free to officially inform them that you are no longer interested in what they have to say, or give any weight to their argument.?
5. You should be proud of your gender (and for that matter, your race, your religion or belief system or your sexuality)it is all part of what makes you, you. But remember the expression of your pride should never be at the expense or denigration of another's gender (or race, religion or belief system or sexuality). Because that expression invariably risks being sexist or otherwise bigoted. And bigoted expressions should be avoided at all costs.
If you have the capacity, always do what you can to fight for people who are unable to fight for themselves, regardless of what gender you are, or what gender they are.
6. As you get older, people younger than you will be looking to you as an example of acceptable behaviorregardless of whether you signed up to be a role model. This is something to keep in mind: You, simply by your actions, have the power to affect the decisions and perceptions of those who come after you. Use this power wisely, for good, not evil.
7. And speaking of this, note that we live in times when we're all, potentially, the media: not just television, radio, newspapers and other news outlets, but also Facebook, Twitter and all the other online presences that we are each capable of having and controlling. Remember there is power in having access to the media. What you write or say about people can have sweeping implications (and this goes for things you say about someone even without mentioning his or her name, particularly if he or she is able to identify herself or himself in your words). Be sure to consider those implications before you publish, and whether or not you decide to publish, remember to use this power wisely, once again for good and not evil.
8. There will be times when someone of the opposite gender will completely baffle you. Regardless of how this might feel, this is not the time or opportunity to generalize, or make the assumption that all people of the opposite gender are therefore irredeemably flawed. It's that whole one-bad-apple-doesn't-spoil-the-whole-bushel thing.? And sweeping generalizations are always dangerous paths to follow (see denigration and bigotry, No. 5, above).
9. If you have the capacity, always do what you can to fight for people who are unable to fight for themselves, regardless of what gender you are, or what gender they are. It is, ultimately, the decent thing to do.
10. Don't call people names. Just don't.
(Editor's note: Prepare your daughters, straight or gay, to be self reliant so that they don't NEED a man. Then, if they WANT a man, they will probably wait for one who doesn't NEED a woman. And to TheMagusNYC. You can assist in reducing the fixation on women's bodies by dressing in a way that doesn't emphasize sex and encourage women's shelter magazines to put women on the cover without emphasizing cleavage and headlines that encourage women to sexualize their bodies, especially in business and relationship. I have nothing against sex. I love sex. However, it would really be nice to get to know a woman's mind, first. It's often difficult when the first presentation is an overdose of cleavage. I admit to getting distracted. And, while I support freedom of expression in dress, just know that many prepubescent and teen boys are going to undress your daughter in their minds if your daughter emphasizes her body in her choice of school attire. It's noone's fault. And, it's usually the packaging that sells a product, not the ingredient panel. Let's place emphasis on the ingredients, not just the exterior package.)
Father-Daughter Valentine Dance
Gender Gap Crap
Father & Daughter
R. W. Morgan & Daughter Photography, 4570 Westside Rd, Redding, CA 530.244.4046
Things Your Teen Daughter Should Know
Q: What if I get a piercing and it doesn't heal?
Go see a doctor immediately, especially if it is a genital piercing. Dr. Seibel advises, "When you are dealing with such sensitive areas, it is important to always be mindful of the potential for severe illness as a result of infection, and to be extremely rigorous about cleaning and disinfecting the area at all times."
Q: What is normal vaginal discharge?
According to Mary Jane Minkin, M.D. and clinical professor, obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Yale University School of Medicine, normal vaginal discharge should be whitish to clear to pale yellow, depending on where you are in your cycle. "Dark yellow or green fluid is often a sign of infection. On average, a woman emits about one to two teaspoons a day. If you have a sudden increase, talk to you doctor," she explains.
Q: Can I get pregnant if I have unprotected sex during my period?
"Having sex during your period does not prevent pregnancy," says Dr. Minkin. Only 30 percent of women ovulate between the 10th and 17th days of their cycles; the other 70 percent ovulate before or after those days. She adds, "If the release of the egg, which can live for one to three days, meets with the lingering live sperm, then you can get pregnant."
Q: Am I more likely to become pregnant if I don't remember to take the pill every day?
In simple terms, the answer is yes. Dr. Minkin advises it is extremely important to take the pill at the same time every day in order for it to be effective. For women who frequently forget to take the pill, she suggests lower maintenance options such as the patch, once-monthly vaginal ring, IUD or three-year implant.
Q: Is the HPV eventually going to replace the PAP test?
According to Tom Herzog, M.D. and director of the division of gynecologic oncology at Columbia University Medical Center, the answer is no. The current screening standard is for a Pap Test alone or in combo with HPV testing in women over 30. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine comparing Pap testing to HPV testing favored HPV. He explains, "However, this article did not compare HPV testing to the liquid-based Pap test, which is more sensitive than the conventional smear and the standard of care. Further studies are needed before we can answer this question. Until then, the Pap remains pivotal in cervical cancer screening."
Q: TSS fact or fiction?
TSS or "toxic shock syndrome" is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can actually be life-threatening. Symptoms include faintness, fever, and muscle aches. Machelle Seibel, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the complicated menopause program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School explains, "The infection has been linked to tampon use as some tampons can be ideal breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria." As for his advice? Wash your hands and use tampons with the lowest absorbency that can handle your menstrual flow.
Q: What should you do if something gets stuck?
First of all, do not panic and do not try to remove an object by yourself any under circumstances since you could tear sensitive tissue along the vaginal wall and introduce dangerous bacteria. Dr. Seibel recommends going to a hospital immediately. "Don't worry -- the hospital has seen it all. You won't end up on the national news no matter how embarrassed you might be."
Q: What do recurring yeast infections mean?
According to Juan Remos, M.D. and MBA of the MIAMI Institute, yeast infections result in an abnormality of fungus and bacteria which no longer exist in harmony. Whether it's the symptoms of foul smell or intense itching, he recommends seeing a doctor who will typically prescribe medication to cure the yeast infection, such as a pill taken on a daily basis.
Q: What if I forget to remove my tampon?
According to Dr. Remos, patients may think this is shocking and abnormal but in reality, it is not. Apparently, forgetting to remove a tampon is a common occurrence. The issue arises when the length of time is factored into the equation. He mentions if it's less than two to three days it's typically not serious and there's no risk of death; the patient should not panic. He explains, "It's simply a matter of removing the tampon at that point."
Q: What if I get a Brazilian wax and the burning sensation doesn't stop?
"Ouch!" says Dr. Remos. As for his first recommendation, remove
the wax immediately if it hasn't already been removed. As for his
advice? Keep the area clean and dry and go to your doctor who will
likely prescribe sylvadene, a cream, especially if the burning
sensation continues after the actual waxing. It should take seven to
ten days to heal.
Daddy's Little Girl
and Preventing Teen Pregnancy
According to research from the United States and New Zealand, countries with the highest teen pregnancy rates in industrialized societies, fathers play a vital role in when their daughters engage in sexual activity. A study by Dr. Bruce Ellis of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand found that young women who have a close and positive relationship with their fathers are less likely to become pregnant or engage in teenage sexual activity. Let me rephrase that for you; girls who feel they have a close relationship with their fathers wait longer to have sex and are less likely to get pregnant at a young age. It is not an issue of poverty or race or divorce, though those things may play a role, but it is the relationship with their father that can truly make a difference for young women when it comes to deciding when to engage in sexual activity.
The second piece of research I want to discuss is also from Dr. Ellis. This one is even more incredible to think about. Dr. Ellis found that girls who have a close, positive relationship with their fathers actually menstruate for the first time later than those without a positive relationship with their father. Considering that the average age for menstruation was 17 in the 1830s, but is now 13, anything we can do to help delay that is beneficial. As Dr. Bruce Ellis said about girls and early menstruation in an interview with Australia television, "They have a souped up car but they don't have the skills to drive it."
As you can probably see, these two findings are not separate. If girls start menstruating later and engage in sex later, then they are less likely to get pregnant. On the one hand, many fathers may find this information a bit overwhelming. I know I did at first. But on the other hand, this is exactly the information we, as fathers, need to know. We do have enormous influence on our children, not just by how and what we teach them, which was what our role has historically been. More importantly we have influence by the kind of relationship we develop with them. The stronger, the more positive, the more open and honest relationship we develop with our daughters, the better chance we are giving them to be free to be who they want to be, rather than succumb to societal pressures and the needs of the boys in their lives. Our relationship with our daughters gives them confidence, a sense of reassurance, of security, of stability that allows them to say "no" when they want to and to not need to get those attributes from somewhere or someone else.
The most important way to continue strengthening your relationship with your daughter is time. Spend time with her. It doesn't matter how old she is. If she is a baby, hold her to your chest, hug her, kiss her. If she is a toddler, hug her, kiss her, read to her, talk to her, sing to her, play with her on the floor. If she is in preschool, hug her, kiss her, learn with her, read to her, ask her about her day and listen to what she says, play outside with her, start teaching her sports. As she gets older, all of these things still apply - especially the affection. Ask her what music she likes and listen to it with her. Try the same with movies and books and games. Get to know her and let her get to know you. You mean the world to her (whether you feel like it or not) and everything you do with her, everything you say to her makes a difference.
Now, stop reading this and go find your little girl and give her a hug, ask her how her day was and enjoy listening to her excitement in telling you.
©2006, Jeremy Schneider
Some people say I have attitude - maybe I do. But I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does - that makes you a winner right there. Venus Williams US tennis champion
Bonehead facts: You have 22 bones in your skull. Don't be a bonehead. Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle - you too, dad!