As the father of two girls, with another on the way, I’ll take all the help I can get concerning their well-being and development. And although it could have been written using fewer words, the 197-page Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters was an enlightening wake-up call to some of the challenges my daughters will likely face. After reading it, I felt empowered and reassured of the fathering techniques I already held to be true.
Written by Meg Meeker, a child psychiatrist and mother of four, the book is peppered with personal stories and alarming statistics. The stated “10 secrets” aren’t really secrets as much as their are good advice. To summarize, they are as follows:
- Believe it or not, an active father has more influence over a young girl than any other man in her life. Take advantage by getting involved.
- Popular culture does not have the best interests in mind for your daughter. As a father, it’s your job to help her navigate life’s treacherous waters by being her hero.
- Every man who enters your daughter’s life will be compared to her father. Make sure she has a model example.
- So she doesn’t end up being a spoiled brat, teach your daughter humility. This will make her both happy and balanced in life.
- Protect and defend her, especially from herself as a teenager, and use a shotgun if necessary. The world is a lot less scary for daughters if they know their father will fight for them.
- When times get tough, don’t worry so much about how or why your daughter is the way she is. Be more concerned with how you can help her succeed.
- Be the kind of man you want your daughter to marry. (Redundant. See also chapter 3).
- Highly religious teens do better in life than less religious ones, according to a 1993 U.S. Department of Health study, cited in the book. This isn’t to say non-believers are disadvantaged as adults. But without afterlife hope, children are less motivated than adults, Meeker argues. Do with that what you will.
- Teach your daughter how to fight and say no. Otherwise she’s at risk of pleasing everyone, at the expense of herself at times.
- Connect with your daughter as often as you can, like throwing her up in the air, taking her to the movies, or even letting her hang around as you develop your own interests.
For its concise sentences and scientific approach to raising daughters, I give Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters three stars out of five. Recommended to any father seeking additional help in raising daughters.