I posted this four years ago as my daughter, Reagan, was beginning high school. I am so proud of how she has done academically, socially, and spiritually. Not that it was always easy. She had her share of trials. I am not taking credit for her success. I give God praise but also realize that the fact that she had two loving parents gave her better odds at success.
Meg Meeker’s Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know (click that link and get the book for about $10) has some statistics that have haunted me and I thought I’d share:
- 40.9% of girls 14-17yo experience unwanted sex, primarily because they fear that their boyfriends will get angry.
- 11.5% of females in high school attempted suicide last year.
- 27.8% of high school students drank alcohol before age 13.
- Toddlers securely attached to fathers are better at solving problems.
- Girls whose fathers provide warmth and control achieve higher academic success.
- Girls who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety and withdrawn behaviors.
- Girls with doting fathers are more assertive.
- A daughter’s self-esteem is best predicted by her father’s physical affection.
- Girls with good fathers are less likely to flaunt themselves to seek male attention.
- Girls defer sexual activity if their parents disapprove it, and they are less likely to be sexually active if they disapprove of birth control.
Meeker goes on to say,
Even if you think the 2 of you operate on different planes, even if you worry that time spent with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt you are having a meaningful impact on her, the clinical fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts.
We cannot control our children perfectly anymore than we can control our own circumstances perfectly. Which is to say, not much at all. But we can have a huge influence in the lives of our children. We should look at parenting as have three “dials” like on a radio. We have the “peer dial,” the “parent dial,” and the “God dial.” And we need to constantly check how we are “dialed” into those areas of our children’s lives. Depending on their ages and responsibility we can decide how much influence to exert into our children’s relationship with peers, ourselves, and God.
Parents must take the lead in introducing God into the lives of their children. Church should be an expectation. PERIOD! I don’t know why parents let children of any age before 18 sleep in and miss church. We don’t let them do that for school. But we make sports a higher priority than church too. But not for school. We teach our kids values by how we prioritize our time and in particular, how we prioritize church compared to other good activities. Church just becomes another good place, but not the body of Christ to which they need to be connected regularly.
Parents must exert reasonable levels of influence on their children as they relate to their peers. If you know your child has a friend that is a corrupting influence, why let them continue that? However, if your child is strong in their identity and chooses to relate to “problem children” and can influence them, then more power to them. But every child is different. The question we have to ask is whether each of our children is more like a thermometer or thermostat. A thermometer changes to its surroundings. A thermostat changes its environment.
Parents must be involved in their children’s lives if they want to have any credibility in influencing their relationships to peers and God. We cannot be absent and then expect to be listened to.
What things have you learned about parenting? Would you agree with what I’ve stated?