Fathers have a big impact on their children’s later sexual values and decision making and yet more and more families are relying on mothers to have the sex talks. What was once considered "unseemly" for mothers to talk about has now faded from dad’s realm. Fathers may be encouraged to have a "man to man" talk with their sons, but rarely approach this topic with their daughters. But both sons and daughters can benefit from a father’s insights into sex. Are you ready to "man up" and start talking?
It seems the people most missing out on dad’s insight into sexuality are daughters. In a study of college age women, only 20 percent said they talked to their fathers about sexuality. But 80 percent said they wished their fathers had said more (Hutchinson & Cederbaum, 2010). Another study found that positive father-daughter communication regarding men, sex and marriage was connected with more sexually responsible behavior in teen girls (Bowling & Werner-Wilson, 2000). Fathers may have unique information that their daughter’s especially yearn to hear. Based on interviews with college age women, these women felt that their fathers could have supported them in several significant ways.
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How they should expect to be treated : Daughters learn from their fathers, both through conversation directly and through indirect modeling, how they should expect to be treated by men in the world. Be aware that the way you talk to her is already teaching her. Can she trust men to be honest and direct with her about things? Should she hide her questions or concerns from men? Will she be ignored, shamed or teased? Just by sitting down with her and talking about sexual information and choices can show her that men should understand, support, and value her. Isn’t that what you want her to believe?
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What do men want? The biggest category these women hoped for was in their fathers helping them to better understand men and a male perspective. Be an ally to them in providing "insider information" and to help them in negotiating their new relationships (Hutchinson & Cederbaum, 2010). But be careful, don’t fall in to the trap of demonizing men to scare her. If you tell her all men are pigs, you are also telling her she can’t trust you, which is damaging. You are also setting her up to not expect any better from the men she meets. Offer her another possible perspective, "well, he might not be seeing it the same way you are," but also help her to see that men do not have to feel like aliens from another planet. Keep Reading...
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