Dads Influence Teen Daughters’ Decisions on Sex

Even a broken clock is right twice a day! The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (which sometimes and ironically promotes uncommitted sex and risky birth control to teens) has spoken some truths about teen sex: namely, that fathers have tremendous influence over whether their daughters have it or not.

From their newsletter:

“Dads Matter.

New national polling conducted by The National Campaign shows that the majority of young women seek the advice of their fathers (over their mothers) about romantic relationships and sex….“Young women look to their fathers about sensitive issues and welcome their counsel. Dads play an important role in the lives of their children—including their daughters—and can provide positive guidance about sex, love, and relationships,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, The National Campaign.”

It has long been known that parents have the most influence over their teens’ relationship decisions, including whether or not they have sex. Plus a recent Harvard study confirmed that young adults are hungry for guidance in romance, particularly from their parents.

So what’s new is that this polling data shows the special relationship between fathers and daughters, and how Dads can shape girls’ views on romance.

Unfortunately, the National Campaign noted that, of the fathers surveyed, the overwhelming majority doubted their influence on their daughters’ views about relationships (66%) and sex (72%).

Dads need to have confidence that they can help their daughters shape a positive romantic future, because more than anyone else, they do. Dads should seek opportunities to talk to their daughters about their relationships with the opposite sex, about the differences and similarities between men and women, and about the equal worth of the sexes. They should lead by really listening to their daughters of course, but they shouldn’t shy from speaking important truths, too.

This bond between dads and daughters does not need to be without mom’s influence. Moms can be supportive of this father/daughter bond, advising dads particularly on how to have these conversations, shedding light on where teen girls’ are developmentally and emotionally and what language to use in these delicate conversations.

Both parents needs to share with young women that current social science shows saving sex for marriage and avoiding cohabitation can help ensure a happy, long-lasting marriage, and help them avoid divorce in the future. It should also be communicated that even more so than men, most women prefer romantic, committed sex (especially sex within marriage) to one-night stands, and support their daughters in choices that honor their own deep-held desires, even when they run counter to their male peers or the culture.

To the National Campaign: bravo for bringing to light the crucial role that fathers have on their daughters.

Their next step should be to show the importance of connecting fathers to their daughters before they are even born-by way of marriage to their daughters’ mothers. Considering the tremendous influence Dads have on their daughters, we should encourage men and women to commit to one another for life, before they have children. Together, they can provide the advantage of married parenting, including greater love, support, and guidance to girls as they grow.

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