TEN THINGS A Dad of Daughters Can Do Today
Listen to girls:
Focus on what is important, what my daughter thinks, believes, feels, dreams and does - rather than how she looks. I have a profound influence on how my daughter views herself. When I value my daughter for her true self, I give her confidence to use her talents in the world.
Help make the world better for girls:
This world does hold dangers for our daughters. But over-protection doesn't work, and it tells my daughter that I don't trust her and her abilities! I need to work with other parents to demand an end to violence against females, media sexualization of girls, advertisers using anorexic-looking models, pornography, and all "boys are more important than girls" attitudes. Initiatives like Dads and Daughters' campaigns will help me do it.
Encourage her strength and celebrate her savvy:
Help my daughter learn to recognize, resist and overcome barriers. Help her develop her strengths to achieve her goals. Help her be what Girls Incorporated calls Strong, Smart and Bold!
Discourage my daughter from dieting:
Growing girls need to eat often and healthy. Dieting increases the risk of eating disorders. Advertisers spend billions to convince my daughter she doesn't look "right." I won't buy into it.
Respect her uniqueness:
See my daughter as a whole person, capable of anything - and make sure she knows that's how I see her. My daughter is likely to choose a life partner who acts like me and has my values. Treat her and those she loves with respect. That will help my daughter choose someone who respects and nourishes her long after she's left my home.
Play with her:
Play catch, tag, jump rope, basketball, Frisbee, hockey, soccer, or just take walks...you name it. Help her learn all the great things her body can do. Physically active girls are less likely to get pregnant, drop out of school, or put up with an abusive partner. Studies show that the most physically active girls have fathers who are active with them. Being physically active with her is a great investment.
Get involved in my daughter's school:
Volunteer, chaperone, read to her class. Ask tough questions, like: does the school have and use an eating disorder prevention or body image awareness program? Does it tolerate sexual harassment of boys or girls? Do more boys take advanced math and science classes and if so, why? (California teacher Doug Kirkpatrick's girl students weren't interested in science, so he changed his methods and their scores soared!) Are at least half of the student leaders girls?
Get involved in my daughter's activities:
Volunteer to drive, coach, direct a play, teach a class - anything! Demand equality. Texas mortgage officer and volunteer basketball coach Dave Chapman was so appalled by the gym his 9-year-old daughter's team had to use, he fought to open the modern "boy's" gym to the girls' team. Dads make a difference!
Take my daughter to work with me:
Participate in every April's official Take Our Daughters to WorkĘ Day (HTTP://www.ms.foundation.org) and make sure my business participates. Show her how I pay the bills and manage my money. My daughter will have a job someday, so I need to introduce her to the world of work and finances.
Join other fathers:
Who share my commitment to daughters by becoming a member of (or renewing my membership in) Dads and Daughters. Encourage other fathers to join, too.
Click here or call 1-888-824-DADS to join Dads & Daughters today!
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