Book Review: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

If you have young daughters, you will be interested in this book. It’s author Dr Meg Meeker, is a pediatrician who has counseled thousands of families and young girls over the last 20 years. She believes that Western society, which increasingly promotes a passive and let-kids-learn-on-their-own philosophy, doesn’t help kids grow up to be successful happy adults (girls in this case). The opposite, in fact, it is leading girls into serious trouble by their teens and early adulthood. To prove her point, she cites alarming statistics about adolescent depression, drinking and substance abuse, eating disorders, physical abuse, underage sex, suicides, rape, teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Frankly, pretty awful stuff to hear if you have daughters.

The overall premise of the book is that strong parents, and fathers in particular more than anyone else, can set the course for a young girl to grow up safe and successfully. From her own practice and research, she argues that adolescent girls want strong parenting from their fathers and become disillusioned when fathers are weak or appear disinterested (in spite of good intentions).

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Without oversimplifying the book’s advice (it is worth reading in detail), fathers are urged to be very clear about morals, promote discipline, define boundaries and enforce them, spend a ton of quality time together, and set a good example through their own actions. She even urges couples to find ways to stay together as stats show many positive benefits for the children of parents who can provide a stable and loving home.

Beyond fathers sometimes being lax, she attributes much of the problem to Hollywood, corporate marketing and the mainstream media for promoting sexuality and the importance of material things. She also blames the education system for creating sexual awareness too early which in turn actually promotes underage sex – an undesired side effect of the sex ed programs which are meant to protect our kids.

I was initially attracted to the book by the title, the premise and the themes of honesty, integrity, humility and courage. I read the reviews of the book prior to reading and noticed that many other reviewers called Meeker a conservative with unconventional notions. As far as I am concerned, if that’s the name for an involved and caring parent, then I guess that’s what she is.

I don’t like to be an alarmist, and I try to keep things in perspective, but this book definitely made me stop and think about the way we raise our own two girls and how we are ensuring they have the best shot at a terrific life.

  • Pingback: My Father’s Story – part 1 | World online health review()

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