Fathers and daughters: Wake Forest University professor suggests ways to strengthen the bond
September 2, 2008
Fathers and daughters often do not have the close ties mothers and daughters have, says Linda Nielsen, professor of education at Wake Forest University.
In her new book, “Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching and Rebuilding your Adult Relationship” (Cumberland House Publishing, September 2008), Nielsen offers practical advice for strengthening the father-daughter bond.
“Sadly, too many of us continue to downplay the importance of the father-daughter relationship in comparison to the mother-daughter relationship,” Nielsen said. “We still too often treat dads, especially divorced dads, like the mom’s ‘sidekick’ or her ‘apprentice’ in parenting. The research is so overwhelming and so consistent in regard to the lifelong impact that a dad has on his daughter, and also the tremendous impact that daughters have on their fathers.”
In the book, Nielsen explores the family dynamics that prevent fathers and daughters of all ages from having a more relaxed, more meaningful relationship. She looks at some of the barriers to good relationships including issues related to money and work, negative beliefs about fathers, communication, divorce and remarriage.
Using recent research and national statistics, Nielsen pays a lot of attention to divorced fathers and ways they and their daughters can make better connections. Her book includes dozens of quizzes and worksheets she developed during 19 years of teaching her “Fathers and Daughters” course for Wake Forest students.
The book is intended for both fathers and daughters. Some of the specific topics addressed are how a dad can give advice without angering his daughter and how a daughter can get her dad to treat her like a grown-up.
Nielsen is the author of “Embracing Your Father,” “Adolescence: A Contemporary View,” and “How to Motivate Adolescents.”