Father influences daughter’s feeling towards boys, men
Question: Is there a way I as a father can influence my daughter’s attitude toward boys? If she chooses to marry, she will need to understand men and know how to relate to them. Is that something I should be thinking about?
Dobson: You bet it is. Long before a girl finds her first real boyfriend or falls in love, her attitude toward men has been shaped quietly by her father. Why? Because the father-daughter relationship sets the stage for all future romantic involvements.
If a young woman’s father rejects her, she’ll spend her life trying to find a man who can meet the needs he never fulfilled in her heart. If he’s warm and nurturing, she’ll look for a lover to equal him. If he thinks she’s beautiful and feminine, she’ll be inclined to see herself that way. But, if he rejects her as unattractive and uninteresting, she’s likely to carry selfimage problems into her adult years.
It’s also true that a woman’s relationship with her husband is significantly influenced by the way she perceived her father’s authority. If he was overbearing or capricious during her earlier years, she may precipitate power struggles with her husband throughout married life. But, if Dad blended love and discipline in a way that conveyed strength, she may be more comfortable with a give-and-take marriage characterized by mutual respect.
So much of what goes into marriage starts with the bride’s father. That’s why it behooves those of us with daughters to give our best effort to raising them properly. You are right to be thinking about that vital relationship.
Question: The children in our neighborhood are bratty with one another and disrespectful with adults. This upsets me, but I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t have a right to discipline the children of my neighbors, so they get away with murder. How can I deal with this?
Dobson: Parents in a neighborhood need to learn to talk to each other about their kids — although that is difficult to do! There is no quicker way to anger one mother than for another woman to criticize her precious cub. It is a delicate subject, indeed. That’s why the typical neighborhood is like yours, providing little “feedback” to parents in regard to the behavior of their children. The kids know there are no lines of communication between adults, and they take advan- tage of the barrier. What each block needs is a mother who has the courage to say to her neighbors, “I want to be told what my child does when she is beyond her own yard. If she is a brat with other children, I would like to know it. If she is disrespectful with adults, please mention it to me. I will not consider it tattling and I won’t resent your coming to me. I hope I can share my insights regarding your children, too. None of our kids is perfect, and we’ll know better how to teach them if we can talk openly to each other as adults.”
Until this openness exists between parents living nearby, the children will create and live by their own rules in the neighborhood.
Question: After reading several excellent books on parenting, I see now that I’ve been doing many things wrong with my children. Can I undo the harm?
Dobson: I doubt if it is too late to do things right, although your ability to influence your children lessens with the passage of time. Fortunately we are permitted to make many mistakes with our kids. They are resilient and they usually survive most of our errors in judgment. It’s a good thing they do, because none of us can be a perfect parent. Besides, it’s not the occasional mistakes that hurt a child — it is the consistent influence of destructive conditions throughout childhood that does the damage.