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Can Dads and Daughters Watch the Super Bowl Together Without Cringing?

Fathers and daughters watching sports together-one of life's greatest pleasures. But what about those awkward moments-say during a commercial-when you want to throw your hands across her eyes?

Few families will see the February 3 Super Bowl from the stands at Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium. Most of us will see it from our living rooms on Fox-a broadcast historically stuffed with commercials. The national advocacy nonprofit Dads & Daughters knows that some of these commercials (and other aspects of the broadcast) will be awkward-if not completely embarrassing-for fathers to watch alongside their daughters or stepdaughters.

That's why Dads & Daughters offers these simple and constructive tips for fathers and stepfathers watching Sunday's Super Bowl with their daughters:

1. Spend part of the pre-game afternoon tossing a football around with her! A Dad who plays sports with his Daughter increases the odds that she'll grow up healthy and strong!

2. If she doesn't like to play catch, think of taking a walk together or a bike ride. Let her know that you enjoy being with her. The time together may give her an opportunity to talk with you and let you know what is going on in her life. Sometimes daughters see the interest and time their dads devote to sports and feel their dads don't care as much about them. Your attempts to connect with her on Super Bowl Sunday may counter that perception.

3. When watching the game, be aware that what your daughter sees and what you see may be entirely different. She may be struck by the cheerleaders, whose partially clothed bodies look so "perfect." Instead of enjoying the game, your daughter may be comparing her body to theirs and feeling inadequate.

4. Try to watch the broadcast through her eyes. Would any images or events look or feel different if you were watching as a girl vs. as a man? You might share these perceptions with her and ask her what she thinks.

5. If you see an ad or image that treats females negatively or objectifies them, change the station so you, your daughter, and your family don't have those images in your home. Remote control makes it very easy! Let her know why you decided to change the channel and ask for her feedback.

6. Compare the number and roles of female sports announcers and reporters to the number and role of male announcers and reporters. Talk with each other about what you think those numbers mean. Do they mean that your daughter "can't" be a big football fan? Could she be taken seriously as a sports announcer someday or should she eliminate this from her career aspirations?

7. Ask her which players and coaches she admires or sees as heroes. Tell her which ones you admire, and then share your reasons with each other.

8. When the game is over, talk about what you each thought were the crucial plays and the most exciting moments. Then ask her if she wants to do something special together next Sunday to keep these conversations rolling and to convince her that the most important man in her life takes her seriously and enjoys being with her.

9. Use the Super Bowl to become more media-literate and sensitive to your daughter's experience. Decide to pay more attention to how the media portrays women and girls. When you see an ad, imagine your daughter's face in it, and then reassess your reaction to it.

©2008, Joe Kelly

Source: Learn more about healthy fathering of girls, visit or Joe Kelly or 651-332-0275

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