Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: Guest Post by Dr. Meg Meeker

July 13, 2012 — 19 Comments

Today is a guest post by Dr. Meg Meeker.  Pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books, Dr. Meg Meeker is the country’s leading authority on parenting, teens and children’s health.  To learn more about Dr. Meeker, visit her website at www.megmeekermd.com or follow her on Twitter @megmeeker.

father daughter

Over the past 25 years that I’ve practiced adolescent medicine, I have had the privilege of meeting and observing countless fathers interacting with their children. Men instinctually seem to know how to relate to their sons, how important their role is in shaping their boys into the men they will someday become.  These fathers tell me about the baseball games they share in the backyard and the camping trips they share each summer.

Then there are the Dads of girls. I can see the enormous love they have for their precious girls. These men seem perplexed by the princesses their daughters try to emulate and even a little uncomfortable when they are asked to play Barbies for the umpteenth time. This is the father that I want to reach. I want these men to understand to the core of their being how important the Dad-connection is to their daughters. I want them to know that they, more than anyone else, hold the keys to protecting their daughter from a society that is intent on destroying their innocence and teaching them they are unworthy. With the right tools, motivation and simple steps, Dads can become a engaged and intentional fathers and shape their daughters lives.

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The 30-Day Challenge. My goal in writing was to provide a sort of field guide for men with daughters. It is a follow-up to the best-selling Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. The book includes simple, easy-to-follow challenges with brief checklists all designed to empower men to become the examples that I know they can be for their daughters.

Excerpt from The 30-Day Challenge

Day One: The Daddy Template

Here’s a thought that will make your hair stand on end: You, Dad, are a template for all male figures–teachers, boyfriends, her husband, uncles, and even God himself–in your daughter’s life. Because you are there from her earliest years, you set a template over your daughter’s mind and heart regarding how she will interact with all males. If you are kind, she will expect all males to be kind. If you are harsh and critical, then she will expect the same treatment from other men.

Being a template is an extraordinary responsibility and is sobering. But you can handle it. You are a man. You are wired with everything you need in order to be a great dad.

You may be living at this moment with evidence of the truth about fathers being a template in their daughters’ lives. How is your wife or girlfriend relating to you? Does she have difficulty trusting you without good reason? Does she ever get angry at you over things that you didn’t do? If the answer is yes, you may have a bone to pick with her dear-old dad. The truth is, because daughters watch their dads so intently, they learn about maleness and masculinity from you. They don’t just watch how you treat them; they watch how you treat their mothers. One of the best gifts that a father can give his daughter is to treat her mother with respect and love. Your daughter gets clues about how her husband should treat her.

So, be very, very careful. If you have a strong marriage, show her mother affection. If you have a rocky one, continue to take the high road. Don’t criticize her mother in front of her and most certainly, get your anger under control. Angry men are terrifying to daughters. You can show love to her, but if she sees your anger erupt at her mother, she will be frightened of you nonetheless.

What is God Like?

Little girls tell me wonderful things. One young first grader, Carrie, chatted with me about God one day. Curious to know her perceptions of God, I asked Carrie, “So what do you think God is like?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” she said. “He’s got brown hair and a mustache on his lip. And he’s really quiet and nice.” I watched her mother smile.

“Do you ever talk to God?” I continued.

“Yup. Kinda a lot. He likes me. If I could see him, I would like to sit on his lap and tell him secrets. He is so big and squishy, and he listens a lot.”

Carries mother pulled out a photo of her Dad who was serving time in the military. He had dark brown hair, a mustache and a quiet looking demeanor. I couldn’t tell whether or not he was squishy, but I imagine he was.

Day One Challenge: Give Her More of You

Tell your daughter stories about your childhood. She will enjoy learning more about you and will readily identify with your stories about life when you were her age.

Checklist:

Think about specific events in your childhood and growing up years. To help jog your memory, write some brief answers to these questions:

What’s your earliest memory?

What’s the funniest, embarrassing or most scary moment you can recall?

Who was your best friend and what were some adventures the two of you had together?

What extracurricular activities did you enjoy doing?

Determine a time when you’ll share your childhood stories with your daughter?

Put it on the calendar!

             We are giving away a copy of
           The 30-Day Challenge today on the blog!

          For a chance to win, just leave a comment below.

          For additional chances to win, share this post on
          Facebook or Twitter,   just please leave us a
          note in the comments section letting us know!

          Good luck!

 

 

 

 

  • http://twitter.com/crowdedbassist Morgan Herselman

    Since my daughter was born 8 months ago, I have begun to recognize how important my relationship is with my daughter and as you point out in the article, it shows in many of the woman in our community.

  • http://twitter.com/BobbysThoughts Bobby Inot

    I have 2 daughters (11 & 7) and a son (6). I had never heard of this book or its corresponding 30-day challenge book, so I’m thankful to this site for bringing it to my attention. I appreciate a good book that helps instruct on developing meaningful, purposeful relationships, but a 30-day challenge book that guides you through the process is a wonderful idea. I’m looking forward to learning more about both of these books. Thank you for writing on such an important topic Dr. Meeker. I just browsed your twitter account and love your posts. Definitely following you! :) (also, retweeted and posted on Facebook)

  • Susan R

    Dads play a major role ans they don’t always realize just how critical they are to all the women in their life! I plan to share this blog with my husband.

  • Linda

    I believe we all too often forget that everything we say and do is taken in by our children. I’ve seen the exact examples of the above illustration time and again–unfortuntately, i’ve seen the negative effects of the dad who is not so wonderful and what it does to his daughter/s. I just love and thank you for the exert and look forwarding to getting the book to go through. if it’s like this throughout, i may need to get a couple of copies to share around……

  • Linda

    ps, I did share this on FB! :)

  • RPH1510

    I have two young daughters (7 and 4) and could always use new advice!!

  • http://twitter.com/lettner Michael Lettner

    I have two daughters (2 & 9mo) and have read Strong Father Strong Daughter, but would love to read the 30 day challenge.

  • http://twitter.com/PsyEd Edward Tamez

    Hi from México. I’ve practiced pediatric psychology, I will like to have a copy of the book. Thanks to Meg Meeker. Retweet

  • http://www.facebook.com/acpeak Adam Peak

    My daughter is 4 mos now. I Pray constantly that I can be het rock. I know that I am going to have to be intentional with my relationship with her mother, my wife, to be sure she sees exactly how girls and women should be treated. I look forward to reading these books!

  • http://twitter.com/franktan franktan

    My two daughters are teenagers. This summer they have teamed up to teach kids, just like their mom and dad did years ago. This is great!

  • http://twitter.com/franktan franktan

    Tweeted.

  • http://twitter.com/franktan franktan

    Shared on FB

  • Brenton Lehman

    Shared on Facebook and Twitter! About to be a new daddy in 1 month to a little lady! Deeply desire to learn in order to lead and love her well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Richard.F.Kopp Richard Kopp

    Thanks for the guest posting, Dr. Meeker! About to be a first-time Dad any day now (due date was July 12th)! The gender is a surprise, but if it’s a girl, I’d love to read your book and implement the practices! Thanks for sharing the great advice! :-)

  • Antone

    Love my girls! They stretch and grow me and make me laugh!

  • Antone

    Tweeted. Thx for the article!

  • Jamie

    I would love to win!

  • Brian Wolters

    I’ve often been told I am “SuperDad” with my daughter but I strive to learn to be even better every day…

  • sheldon

    this is so hard!… but i must try… i must change… i must demonstrate my love to my wife…