Archives For Father Daughter

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 www.myfatherdaughter.com

Repair the leak before it becomes a blow out!

Alan

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Feminist Father

Alan Smyth —  August 29, 2016 — 5 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.
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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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Think it Over

Alan Smyth —  June 27, 2016 — Leave a comment

In our book Prized Possession, we pose some very important questions to consider. Below are a couple of them.

 

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“Girls are created, different than boys, to admire their fathers. Girls are made to be adored by their fathers and to adore their fathers. Their hearts are shaped for this and there is no replacing it.”

“This is the primary lens they can see God the Father through. Without a dad, God is distant and absent. Girls see God the way they see their dad. If a girl has a disinterested dad, she will sense that God is disinterested in her. If a girl senses their dad is disappointed in them, they will sense that God is also disappointed in them.”

Some questions: Dads, did you realize that your daughter will view God as she views you? Did you realize that your actions & attitudes are the personification of God in her life?

Would it change your interactions with your daughter if you thought your daughters potential faith might possibly be connected to what kind of Dad you are?

If you thought that were true, would that change your effort level as a Dad? Might that change how present you are in your daughter’s life?

Einstein

Think it over Einstein!

Alan Smyth

PS: The above quotes are found in Chapter 1 of the book “Prized Possession.”

Click the banner below if you want to pick up our new book. It is available in soft cover, hard cover and e-book.

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Muhammed

In honor of “the Greatest” whom the world lost last week.

Everyone around the world knows who Mohammed Ali is. And just about everyone knows he has at least one daughter.

However, until recently, I had never heard of his relationship with his daughters. His globally known nick name is “The Greatest.” That name refers to his incredible fighting talent. However, I would like to suggest that the term “the Greatest” might also include his advice to his daughters. See below.

The following incident took place when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were not modest. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”

Muhammed and daughter

He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.” Source: Taken from the book: More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Through His Daughter’s Eyes.

Question: Have you had these kinds of conversations with your daughter? Every other message on this topic she will get throughout her day will say the opposite. She needs your voice to speak truth, wisdom, guidance and discretion into her life.

Don’t wuss out on this important job!

Alan

 

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