What a Difference a Dad Makes: How Engaged Fathers Empower Their Daughters

Happy father applying chocolate spread on croissant for daughter in domestic room

There’s a lot of attention paid to the negative impact of fatherlessness on daughters, and I am the first to tell you that it is a real issue with many of the girls I teach.

However, in honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to flip that around and focus on the positive impact of fathers who are actively engaged in their daughters’ lives.

Especially when it comes to their decisions regarding love, sex, and relationships.

The following are three ways daughters are empowered in their dating decisions by actively engaged dads.

  1. They lean in to positive parent pressure. In the same way that positive “peer” pressure influences girls like your daughter to make healthy choices (like abstaining), having an engaged father influences them to make healthy choices too.  In this case, her goal isn’t to fit in with peers she likes and wants to impress, but to keep from disappointing her dad, whom she loves and wants to make proud.

If I had sex, not only would I regret doing something I can’t take back, but my dad knowing I didn’t respect myself would hurt him emotionally too.

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When Teen Romance Turns Tragic: How Teen Girls Form Unhealthy Emotional Attachments & What You Can Do to Intervene

Depressed Teenage Girl Sitting In Bedroom With Pills

I’ve heard teen girls say that they love hard or when they fall in love, they fall hard. They say it as if that’s a badge of honor.

What does that mean anyway? Loving hard!

Does it mean that they’ll blindly give their hearts, souls and bodies to their boyfriends, no questions asked?

I have a big heart and I love fast and hard and guys take advantage of that.

That they fully intend to marry their boyfriends one day, and as a result, believe it their sole responsibility or “wifely duty,” to make sure their “husbands” are happy?

Before you came to speak to us, I always had my mind focused on the fact that making a guy happy is all there is to life.

Or maybe “loving hard” means these girls get so emotionally wrapped up in their relationships, that they are unable to cope when something goes wrong or it eventually ends.

In a few of my past relationships I have had sex, and when they ended I felt devastated and empty.

Loving Hard + Sex = A Powder Keg! 

I’m concerned when I meet girls whose entire world revolves around their relationships.

Is that healthy at their age, considering there’s only a slim chance that teen relationships will last past their teen years? 

Earlier this week I read about the tragic story of an 18-year-old girl in Cincinnati, OH, who committed suicide in her dorm room. 

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It Takes Two to Tango: Why Educating Your Daughter is Only Half the Battle

When schools request that I come do an assembly, I’m often invited to only speak to the girls.

I then counter by strongly suggesting that I speak to both the girls and guys.

Why?

Because educating girls about love, sex, and relatinships is only half the battle!

And guys are often just as receptive to my message as girls are, and sometimes more so.

My Equal Opportunity Message

As much as I enjoy seeing the light-bulb go off for a girl or guy in my class, I really love it when I get to talk to couples.

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The Issue of Faith: Why it Matters and How NOT to Apply It When Having “The Talk”


A latin mature father sitting and reading the Bible to his family outdoors in a medium shot.

In honor of this Easter weekend, I thought it fitting to tackle the role faith plays in teen girls’ decision-making when it comes to sex.

From the time we were born, we were taught to chase the momentary satisfaction. We were taught to find the largest high to fulfill our greatest lows and for me, that was sex. I gained my ultimate satisfaction from the opinion of man. It wasn’t until I discovered that a righteous, pure, just man died for me, that I found my true value and worth, Jesus Christ. Now I no longer have to chase the momentary satisfaction because I’ve found a permanent one. ~High School Junior

The truth is, religious beliefs are a very strong reason why some teen girls (and guys) abstain.

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, more than half of teen girls—57 percent—said that they had never had sex, and nearly one-half of these young women said that the main reason they had abstained from sex was that it was against their religion or morals. 1

And I have received numerous letters from girls that confirm this survey’s results.

If I wasn’t already sold on being sexually abstinent because of religious and emotional reasons, I surely am now. ~High School Sophomore

I am a Christian girl and my biggest fear isn’t STD’s or the emotional distress, etc. It’s the fact that my God would be disappointed in me. I am not trying to say that I would have sex if I didn’t know my God but I’m saying why don’t you explain to people that you can find love through something else that’s not a person or material things. ~High School Freshman

As a Christian myself, I understand why Christian parents would approach their “Talk” from a biblical perspective. And I think that’s great!

But time and again I see teens reject their parents’ teachings.

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Back to the Basics: Why Sexual Assault Prevention Begins with Consent

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"It took me listening to you for me to realize that I’ve been raped twice."

WOW! It boggles my mind that any young lady wouldn’t recognize when she’s being raped. Why is that?

Is it because girls are so desperate for attention from a guy that they are willing to do whatever he wants just to get it, including having sex unwillingly?

Or is it that they have been conditioned to believe that what they want doesn't matter?

Do they think so little of themselves and their bodies that they don’t believe they have the right to decide what happens to their bodies?

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month, I thought it important to shed light on an issue that is more pervasive than most parents realize.

The Problem Defining the Culture

Sadly, I have enough letters from teen girls sharing their sexual assault stories, that I could post one every day for months.

And I’ve read way too many letters from girls who tell me that they wouldn’t say they were raped; they just didn’t want to have sex.

Or they say, they succumbed to pressure and just “let it happen,” like the young lady below: 

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Keeping Secrets: 3 Reasons Why Your Daughter Doesn’t Confide in You and What You Can Do About It

Secrets

Teen girls, who could easily be your daughter, confide in me secrets that they don’t share with their moms.

I know this to be true because of what they’ve told me.

I wake up and ask myself every day, ‘Why did you have sex with him?’ and I can’t even answer it. I just felt like I had to…I refuse to tell my mom. I never want her to find out. I hate myself for not being able to control this stuff.

Fears Fueling Girls’ Secrecy
 
So why do teen girls pour out their heartfelt secrets to me? And how can moms like you apply what works for me with your own daughters? 
 
Here are three reasons why your daughter may be keeping secrets, along with tips to help you help her so she’ll know it’s safe to share both her highs and her lows with you.
 
1. She’s afraid you’ll judge her. 

An Open Letter to the Mom Who Bought Tickets for Her 13-Year-Old Daughter and Her Friends to Watch Fifty Shades of Grey


Hand is writing calligraphic letter starting with dear using old pen on yellow paper

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the premiere of the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. And if the first movie wasn’t graphic enough for you, the sequel that premiered this month, Fifty Shades Darker, should do the trick. That is, if you’re old enough to watch an R-rated movie and not a 13-year-old girl like the young lady below who mentioned in class one day that she had seen it. 

If you know me at all, you know I wasn’t about to let this little revelation go without me engaging her further. 

Me: You saw Fifty Shades of Grey?!?!!?!?!?

Her: Yes!

Me: Isn’t that movie rated R? How did you get to see it?

Her: If you buy your tickets online, they don’t check it when you give them your ticket.

Me: How did you buy the ticket online if you aren’t old enough to have a credit card?

Her: My mom bought the ticket.

Me: Your MOM took you to see Fifty Shades of Grey?!?!?!

Her: NO, she didn’t go with me. She just bought the tickets for me and my friends to go see it.

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Your Daughter is Listening, Whether You Believe it or Not!

Words have power.

I’ve always been confused on what I want with my body. I’ve grown up around family who tells me, “You’re going to have sex. You’re going to drink and go to parties,” as if I couldn’t avoid doing it. The problem is I listened. I started drinking, and it became a problem. It’s something I always regretted.

I’m still a virgin, and thanks to your lesson, I realized that’s one thing I can truly still take control of. I finally feel like I can control something. 

You really helped me wake up to [realize] what I’ve been doing to myself. I really appreciate what you’ve done for me. Please come back to help other girls like me.

There are a couple of things the young lady wrote in the above letter that I think you may be able to learn from in order to help your daughter make good choices.

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Why are Teens Really Having Sex? It’s Not What You May Think!

Young couple kissing

I believe students find my presentation to be so effective because I don’t use the fear of contracting STD’s or getting pregnant to persuade them not to have sex. While the “scared straight” approach may work at convincing most teens to avoid jail, it doesn’t convince most to avoid sex. 

Why? Because raging hormones that need to be scared straight into submission aren’t the real reason teens are having sex based on what my students tell me in the letters they write – especially girls. In fact, in many cases, they don’t even want to have sex as you’ll see in the clip below.

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The Ripple Effect: 2016 Edition

stones in a water

 

"I alone cannot change the world; but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
~Mother Theresa

 

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already here.  Am I the only one that feels like the days are passing faster and faster each year? 

I’m always blown away each year as I assemble the data to share the review of my previous year.

2016_Review

The Power of Life is in the Tongue!

But it’s never about the numbers for me.  I don’t gauge my success by the number of students who hear me speak, the number of letters I receive or the number of commitments made. If I can make a positive impact on the life of just one student, it’s worth it! Letters like this young lady’s below is the only encouragement I need to continue “casting stones across the waters.”

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