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Dad's Greatest Fear: A Teenage Girl

Posted by Fatherhood Admin

The teen years are scary...for everyone (have you been to a movie theater or a mall on a Friday night?!?). But I think they can be scariest for fathers of daughters. To quote Britney, she's "not a girl, not yet a woman." Teenage girls are changing in ways that dads can't understand and frankly, find quite uncomfortable. And all dads, having once been teen boys, are scared witless for their growing daughters.

I remember thinking my teen years were going to be an all-out war between me and my dad. Somehow, they weren't; we survived with relatively few screaming matches and tantrums. My father didn't say much to me about boys, but he did have this glare and this tone of voice that could instill the fear of God in anyone - including me and my homecoming date. He also had strictly imposed curfews and rules about where I could drive and with whom. Sigh...life was difficult.

A recent study shows that dads have a significant influence over their teen children. More than mom, actually. Teens with involved dads engage in fewer risky sexual behaviors - dads significantly affect the behavior of their adolescent boys and girls.

Not exactly rocket science, but a good reminder for dads who may shy away from relating to their teens, especially their teen girls. It took me quite a few years to realize that my dad was right about some things...okay, most things...he said about guys. Yes, there was some domestic strife and neither of us did everything right during those years, but I'm glad my dad braved the attitude and sulkiness and insisted on being involved.

Topics: research, teens

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