In her book, Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher, Ph.D. writes, “Girls today are much more oppressed. They are coming of age in a more dangerous, sexualized, and media-saturated culture. They face incredible pressures to be beautiful and sophisticated.” Pipher goes on to say that, “America today limits girls’ development, truncates their wholeness, and leaves many of them traumatized.”

Much of the media, including popular music, has launched a full-scale war on our girls, although I’m sure they don’t view it as such. To the industry, it’s just good business. As a father with a daughter, my heart breaks for the culture in which she has grown up. I have spent much of my daughter’s life building her up, honoring her as God’s precious masterpiece, and treating her like a princess. The problem is, I’m outgunned! The multi-billion dollar entertainment industry has spent far more resources, time, and energy in tearing her down, objectifying her, and referring to her as garbage. Today, our girls are seen as sexual, disposable objects. From magazines and billboards to commercials, movies, and songs, women’s bodies are being exploited and sexualized. They are marketed to sell toothpaste, hamburgers, and everything in between.

The trends are alarming. In 2011, Abercrombie and Fitch introduced “push up bras” for 12 year olds. One study sites that 80% of 4th grade girls have been on a diet and one of the most popular YouTube videos of the year featured 8-9 year olds dancing suggestively to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”

sexy 5

Pictured above is a typical magazine cover that is displayed at every grocery store checkout stand. Featured here is Disney teen star Selena Gomez on the cover. Notice the headlines and messages all around her. What messages are our little girls getting every day?

Pipher continues, “Something new is happening. Adolescence has always been hard, but it’s harder now because of cultural changes in the last decade.”

A Dad’s Role

You have a huge role in this battle. Yours is a critical voice to balance out all the noise. Here are two things you can do on a regular basis. 

Interpret Media Messages: Don’t let these inappropriate messages go unchallenged. Sit with your daughter and process what is really going on and the false message that is being sold.

Talk about real worth: Let your daughter know who assigns her value and where it comes from. Ie. NOT the 5,000 media images a day she will take in, but rather the God who made her and the Dad who cherishes her.

We are in a battle Men. Don’t relax. Your daughter needs you to be fully engaged to help her navigate this tumultuous time in her life.

Press On

Alan Smyth

Chapter 3 of our book book Prized Possession goes into much more detail on this challenging topic.

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New York City

Alan Smyth —  October 3, 2016 — 3 Comments

If you have been following this blog, you have heard me talk about something I like to call the “Father/Daughter Get Away.” My niche in this three headed blog is to speak from the perspective of a Dad who has raised a grown daughter and the things I have learned. Additionally I will bring you great ideas from other Dad’s I know.

Today, I would like to share with you a great trip done by one of my buddy’s. Stu made a tradition where he took each of his three daughters on two different special trips. The first trip they took was when his daughters turned 13.  The second trip they took was during their senior year of High School. I will write about that trip another time. Listen to Stu tell part of his story.

From Stu: The first trip I took each of my girls on was when they were 13 years old. We would go to where ever they wanted to go in the USA. Of my three daughters, we had one who wanted to go to Los Angeles, one to New York City and one to Victoria Island. On these trips, we set out to do whatever the girls wanted to do, see shows, stay in a castle, etc. I wanted to show them how they should be treated by a man on a date, so nice dinners, “high tea”, etc. Then I also bought them a memorable piece of jewelry. Now I NEVER do that so it was really special. For example we were walking the streets of NY city and we came to Tiffanies jewelry store, Hannah’s eyes lit up knowing what this place is. It has four stories and you are greeted by the doorman in a tux. I whisper to the first sales person, “My daughter has turned 13 and I need the cheapest thing in your store!” She says out loud what a special day! We have lovely Tiffany’s heart necklaces on the 4th floor, back left counter! ($99) Hannah loved it, what a memory. The packaging, the blue bag, the walking the streets of NY, the eating on street corners, the shopping at knock off underground NY stores, the staying in a friend’s 300 square foot flat in Soho, was all part of this special time.

Stu continues with:  It’s easy for dads to say “oh I couldn’t to that” “I don’t get that much vacation,” or “that’s too much money”, or “my daughter can’t miss school,” to all those things I say “Bull!” You are men, you do whatever you want most of the time. Take out a loan; take a leave from your job. I’d take a 2nd mortgage on the house for what the experience has given to us as dad and daughter. (Mom is actually a bit jealous because of the special memories you get with your daughter).

Today’s take away: Plan an age appropriate trip with your daughter. Start the tradition, take the time, make the memory. It’s about the best thing you can do!

I’d love to hear about it!

Alan Smyth

Stu’s story, as well as many other Dads perspectives are contained in the book “Prized Possession” which is avaiable now.

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Slow Leak or Blow Out?

Alan Smyth —  September 19, 2016 — Leave a comment

Over the years I have seen many “blow outs” in the families we have served. When this is true with the father/daughter relationship, there are deep ramifications for the daughter who is wounded by the lack of a dad in her life.

Maybe the most graphic example of a relational “blow out” between a dad and a daughter is described in the text below. A friend of mine who works with high school girls sent me this short heart breaking e-mail as an example of how important the father/daughter relationship is.

From Beth:

“I’m in the process of getting to know some newer sophomore girls now. Literally one posted a picture on Instagram yesterday with mascara running down her face and flipping off the camera. Her caption said “F**k you dad! I know you hate me!” #getaway #hateyou”

Wow! What happened that could possibly elicit such a response? Does this dad really hate his daughter? Does she really hate her dad? It’s hard to imagine a father/daughter relationship blowing up so badly! How did things get so terrible?

While her recent Instagram post looks like a “blow out,” I would suggest that it is the culmination of years with a “slow leak” in their relationship. Somewhere along the way, they grew distant as the father got busy and the daughter matured. Somewhere along the line, the tire of their relationship picked up a small nail and it began to leak unnoticeably.

Things would be very different for this father/daughter right now had he seen the nail in their tire years ago. If he had only identified the leak and had it repaired, they would be rolling along in great shape today. Where are the possible nails in your tires?

Your busy schedule?

Being consumed with YOUR world and not hers?

Your travel schedule?

Being a typical guy and not vocalizing affection very well?

Stepping back when she began to mature thinking that her mother should take over?

Your inability to say “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, “Please forgive me”?

Your marriage breaking apart?

My encouragement to you today is to identify the slow leak before it becomes a blowout.

Today’s take away – Look hard at your father/daughter relationship and see what things could possibly be standing in the way. Look for potential slow leaks and repair them. If you have already experienced a “blow out,” do the same thing you would do with a real blow out on your car – change the tire! A lifestyle change might be needed.

Dr. Don Worcestor Ph.D. and a contributor to this blog/website can help you “change the tire.” Look for his contact information under “site contributors” on

Repair the leak before it becomes a blow out!


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Feminist Father

Alan Smyth —  August 29, 2016 — 3 Comments

A while ago this picture went viral on the internet. Several of my friends reached out to me and asked for “my take.”
Feminist Father
The reason why I was asked is because they knew I created the now famous “Rules for Dating my Daughter” shirt pictured below.
You can read about my shirt HERE and see how it came into being. The shirt which is signed “Feminist Father” and pictured above seems to be in some kind of response to my shirt.

My shirt started out as more of a joke and a humorous approach to Dad’s who have daughters. In fact, I have described it as “an inside joke for Dad’s who have daughters.” Even though it started out as “tongue in cheek”, it apparently struck a nerve across the globe. Over the last year, we have shipped my shirt to 58 countries. It is a true worldwide phenomenon as Dad’s think about how they can protect their daughters.
It is possible, that the “Feminist Father” shirt is really more of a joke as well. However, in response to our followers who have requested “my take,” I will share some thoughts below on the content of this shirt point by point.
1. I DON’T MAKE THE RULES. WRONG! Our kids desperately need parents to set rules and boundaries for their behavior. If a parent doesn’t set any rules, then their kids will be left to follow the crowds in society which generally is bad news. PLEASE DAD’s set some rules! Your kids need rules. They need strong leadership. They feel loved when you set rules. When they are young, they are not prepared to make all the decisions that will come their way. You need to be the guardrails that keep them from sliding off into the ditch. Far too many Dad’s have abdicated their roles in the lives of their kids.

2. YOU DON’T MAKE THE RULES. This is presumably aimed at the young man your daughter is dating. This is partially true. It all depends on the quality of the young man in the picture. My hope for my own daughter is that she would date someone who is a strong leader and is leading in a great direction. In that case, it would be good for the young man to have some “rules.”

3. SHE MAKES THE RULES. This is totally age specific. A very young girl should not be making any rules. As she grows older, she can have more and more autonomy.

4. HER BODY, HER RULES – See number 3 above. The premise here seems to be that your daughter (or anyone) answers to no one. That somehow she is above the law and not subject to any “rules.” This is a dangerous, self-centered path and will certainly end in destruction. While I want my daughter (and my son) to be strong, confident and independent, I also want them to fall under the authority of their parents and ultimately of the Lord. Both of which have their best interest at stake and in most cases know better for them. Any of us, particularly our kids, living life completely under their own self instituted rules and guidelines is a recipe for disaster.

The Bible offers a different perspective.

Romans 12:1 urges us to “present your bodies as a living sacrafice, acceptable to God. which is your spirtuial service of worship.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own. For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

There is a higher authority in the God who loves them and the sooner our kids can recognize that, the better off they will be. (us too by the way)

There you have it! We all need guidelines, boundaries and “rules.” Maybe the “Feminist Father” shirt is really more of a joke, or maybe not. Either way, I strongly disagree with the premise it is communicating for the above stated reasons.

Carry on friends

Alan Smyth


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Guest Post by Rachel Karman. Rachel is a good friend & avid blogger about things that matter with a huge heart for the less fortunate. Check out Rachel’s BLOG HERE! You will love the content with always a hint of humor.


Read below as she shares about her Dad and paints us a picture for what a great Dad looks like.

Not too long ago I went out on a date with a guy that I felt pretty optimistic about, he seemed nice, fairly normal and from what I’d seen, appeared to have a pretty decent sense of humor. After the date when recapping for a friend I explained, “The night was fine, he was nice and everything….but he didn’t open the door for me, so I don’t think I’ll see him again.” She responded with a laugh, called me the Christian female Seinfeld and told me that perhaps that shouldn’t be a deal breaker. And it hit me. I am going to be single forever. And it’s all my dad’s fault.

Dads out there take note, here are five great ways to ensure your daughter will never say “I do” (at least not to the wrong guy).

#1 My dad is hilarious (but please donʼt tell him, heʼll get a big head). Heʼs great with a pun and also instilled in me at a very young age the importance for me to laugh at life a little and laugh at myself a lot. Not only is my dad quick to laugh at his own mistakes, he has always encouraged me to do the same. For example, when I was roughly 10, my brother and I decided it would be fun to make my parents Valentineʼs cookies, I (being the gourmet chef that I am) accidently used tablespoons instead of teaspoons of both salt and baking soda to make some of the worst tasting cookies youʼve ever had in your life (not to mention a quick way to retain water). My dad, being sweet, ate one and then being honest, laughed and revealed to me my mistake. This is still brought up every holiday (in which I am usually charged with “cooking” the salad or bringing beverages).

#2 My dad is my #1 fan. He truly (although sometimes falsely) believes that I can do anything I set my mind to. Whether softball, choir or running track, my dad was not only always at every event (that I allowed him to be), he actually still believes I can sing (he and my dog are honestly the only ones) and is certain I could have gone further than I did in my softball career (I was and still am afraid of the ball). That encouragement, even if sometimes I think heʼs nuts, has carried into my adult life; in my job, my ministry and even relationships, my dad is one of the first people I go to when I am frustrated and/or want to give up and he is always there to reason with me and remind why I started in the first place. I can honestly say I would have missed out on many opportunities in my life had I listened to my inner voice over his.

#3 My dad is not afraid to tell me when I am wrong (lovingly). One of my favorite examples of this comes from a few years ago, I was in a relationship that was at a bit of a crossroads, I was angry and ready to give up (see #2) and my dad sat me down and explained to me where and how I was being selfish and one-sided. As you can imagine, I was a bit livid and responded with “Youʼre supposed to be on MY SIDE!!” To which he replied, “I am, placating you is not what being on ʻyour sideʼ looks like, Rachel.” Iʼm not sure if you have ever had to knowingly make your 20-something year old daughter angry at you for her betterment, but believe me, itʼs not pretty and itʼs not fun, but it is love.

#4 My dad still opens the door for my mom. He loves her. He supports her. He defends her (even against me, which was much to my chagrin in my bratty, rebellious years). My dad still brings my mom flowers and surprises her with gifts. He calls in the middle of the day to say hello and he genuinely likes spending time with her, even after 30+ years. There aren’t too many words to express the value that this example of a husband is, for a girl at any age, but itʼs huge.

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#5 My dad loves my friends….and they love him. Many of my friends have nicknames for him…which sometimes I think is really weird. He is funny and approachable and unafraid to have tough conversations with people, while also knowing and respecting when not to. Iʼll be honest, I didnʼt always love this quality (see bratty, rebellious years mentioned in #4), but it is now one I strive to possess and one I greatly value in other people. I think he’d also appreciate me saying that he doesn’t try to be the “cool dad,” yet somehow became that when he began wearing Airwalks when I was in Jr. High and has held the reputation since….which again, I find sort of weird.

Above all these things, the greatest way that my dad has loved me and created gigantic shoes for any guy to fill is that he loves Jesus more than he loves me, my mom or my brother and has modeled that for me my whole life. He has always encouraged me to find Christ in all things, even when it was difficult. In each of the aforementioned facets he brings them to the table with the light and love of our Savior in a way that is confident, steadfast and gentle, much like Jesus himself. He is an excellent example of why the father-figure role is so important and how new dads can treat their daughters, as he’s remained present, not perfect.

All that being said, perhaps the next time I’m at a wedding/family reunion/grocery store/ etc and someone inquires as to ʻwhy Iʼm still singleʼ I will pull out a picture of my dad (and thus insure I will probably never date again because that would be creepy and strange….but you get the point).

Rachel Karman


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I was stopped in my tracks with an alarming statement made to me. I recently participated in seminar for High School age girls alongside my colleague Kristy Fox. We spoke to the girls about the pressures they face as a girl and How God sees them and values them.

Kristy Fox, co-author of this blog and the book Prized Possession developed much of this seminar for girls and then I added my two cents into it from a Dad’s perspective. In fact, our book Prized Possession, which can be purchased by hitting the link at the bottom, goes into great detail on this seminar in chapters 4 & 5.



After we conducted this hour long seminar, we were flooded with positive comments and were told how important this time was. Without fail, a meeting like this is overwhelmingly impactful. Sadly there is still a HUGE need for truth to be spoken into the lives of these girls regarding their true beauty, value and worth.

I expected to hear great things from the girls and their leaders. What I didn’t expect to hear was the following statement. An adult guests who was sitting in the back of the room observing came up to me after. With tears in her eyes, she grabbed my arm and said “I have to talk to you.” She then said this: “I am 54 years old and I still struggle with this.” She was referring to the need for a Dad in a girl’s life and the gap she felt due to her lack of a positive father figure. She went on to tell me a few more details.

Ok Guys, this is one more reminder of the incredibly important job we have. WE have a sacred responsibility to love, encourage and cherish our daughters. What we do when they are young WILL absolutely affect them for the rest of their lives.  How we relate to our daughters will either cause them to live in blessing or recover from a wound the rest of their lives.

Can we all promise that none of our daughters will be in tears at the age of 54 when thinking about the relationship they have with us?

Press on

Alan Smyth


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