Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book Review, 3 of 4: Meeker's Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

Meg Meeker is a medical doctor and psychiatrist who practices pediatric and adolescent medicine, and counseling in Traverse City, Michigan. Dr. Meeker is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a fellow of the National Advisory Board of The Medical Institute. She is a popular speaker on teen issues and is frequently heard on nationally syndicated radio and television programs in the USA.

After more than twenty years of counseling girls, Dr. Meeker believes that fathers, more than anyone else does, set the course for their daughters’ lives. Based on that belief, in her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters10 Secrets Every Father Should Know (Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2006), Dr. Meeker has written a manual for fathers who want to find ways of connecting positively with their daughters. Directly challenging the feminist attack on traditional masculinity, this is not a book that tells men to act more like women, but a well-researched book with real-life examples that underline her points.

She is convinced that the relationship between girls and their fathers is of central importance for their development, that the most important person in a girl’s life is her father. To become a strong, confident woman, a daughter needs her father’s attention, protection, courage, and wisdom. Dr. Meeker demonstrates using personal experience and scientific data how a strong bond between father and daughter is the best protection against eating disorders, failure in school, early sexual activity, STDs, unwed pregnancy and drug or alcohol abuse. It is also the best predictor of academic achievement, successful marriage and a satisfying emotional life.

The subtitle of the book is 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, because Dr. Meeker shares ten secrets that every father needs to know in order to establish a strong and healthy relationship with his daughter and shape her life for the better. These secrets are structured into the chapters with titles as interesting as “Protect Her, Defend Her (and use a shotgun if necessary), “Be the Man You Want Her to Marry” and “Teach Her to Fight. Among the issues discussed in the book are:

• The essential virtues of strong fathers, and how to develop them.

• How daughters take cues from their fathers on everything from drug use, drinking, smoking, and having sex, to self-esteem, moodiness, and seeking attention from boys.

• Why girls want you to place restrictions on them (even though they will complain when you do).

The importance of becoming a hero to your daughter.

•Te fact that girls actually depend on their dads’ guidance through, and even beyond, their college years.

• Why girls need God and how your faith, or lack thereof, will influence her.

• Essential communication strategies for different stages of a girl’s life

Dr. Meeker's book is a call to fathers to realize their potential to positively influence their daughters' lives, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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