Monday, March 7, 2016
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters
After our in-class discussion this week with Dr. Holbrook, I began thinking about children learning about sex and how they bring that knowledge into their actions as they mature. More specifically, the influence of how parents teach their kids about sex, if both parents are involved in the teaching, and teen pregnancy trends as a result. As a resource to learn more about this, I referred to a book that chose to read as part of a parenting book presentation in my social work practice with children class a few weeks ago. I read the book "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters" by Meg Meeker, M.D. in which she explains the father-daughter relationship, how it affects daughters, and tips for positive parenting and developing a mutual relationship. In this book, she allocated a large section on fatherly parenting in relation to the topic of sex and its impact on teen pregnancy rates. Meeker's main point was that simply a positive, physical presence of a father in and of itself lowers teen pregnancy rates. More specifically, fathers teach their daughters about men and greatly influence who their daughters seek as partners, as they attempt to "size them up" to their fathers. If a father presents himself as a loyal, respectable, and understanding man, daughters will grow up to seek that type of man to get attention from and they will develop higher self-esteem and self-respect, thus encouraging them to wait longer to have sex. On a related note, this chapter in this book reminded me of a study I learned about in a class last semester that was conducted with a number of college-age women on the topic of their father's presence in their lives when they felt as if they most needed him. Long story short, the women who had experienced solid and positive presence of their father when they needed him scored higher on self-esteem and reported significantly fewer teen pregnancies. Just as Meeker's book suggests, the opposite was found amongst the other group of women. What I gathered from these two readings were that it is important to include, if possible, both parents in the sex conversation with children because they gather very important information from both.