1. Shape their identity. Boys look to fathers in their search for self. Without a father, boys have a harder time defining who they are and who they want to be. A boy's search for self starts with his father.
2. Help them belong. The need to belong to a family or tribe is a powerful force in boys. Having a father in the picture gives them this sense of alliance. Studies show that boys without fathers are more likely to join gangs—because they have to look outside the family for social acceptance.
3. Influence their values. Boys with fathers are more likely than their fatherless peers to have economic stability in the household. This gives them a sense of self-worth. There are other values fathers shape: work ethic, having a healthy relationship, and persevering.
4. Demonstrate character. Boys look up to their fathers and imitate what they see. Fathers can model good character traits like integrity, honesty, courage, restraint, fairness, foresight, and citizenship. When fathers are absent, boys look to celebrities, popular musicians, or sports figures for character cues.
5. Teach respect. A father who does not show up for his boy epitomizes disrespect. Present fathers, on the other hand, can actively teach respectful behaviors such as listening, trust, tolerance, politeness, and understanding limits.
6. Fill the void. Boys without fathers often feel as though there's something missing, which is why some fatherless boys turn to sex, pornography, violence, drugs, alcohol, or other self-destructive behaviors. Having a father helps boys feel complete.
7. Balance ideas about sex. Boys without fathers have a lot of unanswered questions about sex. A side effect is that they don't talk about sex and get the practical advice that would carry them into healthy, fulfilling relationships as men. Fathers can give practical advice about girls, sex, wet dreams, contraceptives, pregnancy, and other topics they are not likely to discuss with their moms.
8. Give them love. Boys who don't have involved fathers often view love as vulnerability, and trust as a bad thing. Fathers show boys that love means satisfaction and completeness.
1. To tell her she’s pretty, but tell her other good things about herself more.
It’s not that telling a girl she’s pretty is bad. It’s not. The point is that it shouldn’t be the only kind of compliment she gets, so she doesn’t feel that only her appearance matters. Compliment her intelligence, her resourcefulness, her imagination, her hard work, and her strength. Don’t pretend that her looks will never matter, but teach her not to judge herself or let herself be judged only on looks.
2. Remember that the way you talk about and treat women will have a lasting impact.
Your daughter will pick up on generalizations you make about women, whether positive or negative. Intentionally or not, you shape her identity about what it is to be a woman, and how to expect to be treated for being one. Say positive things about women without pedastalizing. If you can’t be nice, at least be respectful and steer clear of the B-word, C-word, and other words for putting down her entire gender. All this goes double for talking about her mother.
3. Teach her honesty and integrity in relationships by demonstrating them in yours.
“Honesty and integrity in relationships” doesn’t mean blind devotion. It means living a life consistent with the values you hold dear, and helping the people you love to live consistent with theirs. Live the integrity you hope she’ll choose for herself.
4. Teach her that she has power over her own body and sexuality.
From when she’s small, tell her that her body belongs to her, and she is the boss of it. As she gets older, teach her that her body isn’t to be used in the effort to win love or approval, or to manipulate others. Teach her that sex is beautiful, and that choices to have and not have sex both carry power and integrity, as long as she is true to herself.Allow her to talk to you about sex without getting squicked, but also leave room for her to have private conversations about sex and sexuality with other people.
5. Teach her about male sexuality without fear-mongering.
It’s tempting to tell her that boys are bad, that sex is evil and that guys only want one thing ...
But we know from the last 50 years of Sex Education that this tactic simply doesn’t work, and it damages both boys and girls in the process. Girls learn to fear boys and see them as one-dimensional, or they learn that their parents have been lying all along.
6. Teach her that respect is key, and both boys and girls deserve it and are able to give it.
7. As she gets older, tell her the truth about drugs. Don’t use scare tactics, be honest.
Drugs are scary enough without exaggerating. But saying, “If you try drugs, you’ll die (or end up homeless, or become a prostitute, etc)” and having that as your “Drug Talk” will fail. Why? Because she will quickly learn that smoking pot doesn’t kill you—either from watching her friends or doing it herself.Instead, try something along the lines of, “Using most drugs is like Russian Roulette… Five out of six times a person may be fine. But you never know if you’re going to end up as that one person who won’t be okay.”
8. Teach her that “No” means “No”, for both herself and others.
Teach her physical boundaries. Teach her how to say no directly, and that her no is to be respected, and that she shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to protect her body