Every woman I ever met who slept around and had trouble with relationships was either a woman who grew up without good training from her father or a woman who had been sexually abused or molested as a child.
To this date there have been no exceptions to that.
Mother’s can teach their daughters there is a difference between love and sex but the lesson sticks best if it comes from her father.
I will start this entry with the issue of child molestation and end it with a look at how fathers can teach their daughters the difference between love and sex.
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking child molestation is an uncommon thing and it will not happen to your child. The last I heard the official figures were one in three girls and one in five boys will be molested between birth and age 18.
When I say these are official figures, I mean they are based on the number of CONVICTIONS that result from molestation charges. One in three girls in our community and one in five boys can PROVE, without any doubt, they were molested. When you take into account the number of times charges are made but not proven and the number of victims who never tell – well – one in three and one in five are just the tip of the iceberg.
I think it would be more accurate to say one in three girls and one in five boys will be so severely abused when they are molested that their abuse cannot be kept secret or denied.
I have spoken to thousands of victims of childhood sexual abuse, both sexes, and none of those people were counted in the above statistics because none of them had ever made a complaint that led to a conviction.
If you have three daughters at least one of them will be seriously sexually interfered with before she makes it to the age of 18 according to these statistics.
The only way to guarantee your child will not become a victim is to be, as I was, utterly paranoid. I trusted nobody with my children until they were old enough to tell me if anyone touched them. I taught them their rights over their body, that they could say no, and that they should tell me if they were touched against their will no matter who did it.
Even then a molester almost slipped under my radar. Only my promise to myself to never trust an adolescent male alone with my kids kept me from leaving them with a young man who, I later heard, had repeatedly molested his younger brother and sister.
The child who is molested is hijacked from normal development into a forced and twisted view of themselves, sex, and love. This entry is about fathers and their daughters so I will not address the many ways sexual molestation damages a boy here but, take my word for it, it does massive damage! Boys who are molested tend to end up with seriously twisted ideas about love and sex too. One notable difference between the sexes is boys who have been molested are much more likely to kill themselves than girls!
Chances are the man who molests a child will be someone the parents respect and trust. If a parent has not made it very clear to their children that they will always choose them over anyone else the child will be afraid to risk being called a liar.
People who molest children are selfish. They will say whatever they have to say to protect themselves. They will assure your daughter that you will not believe her if she tells and they may even promise her you will blame her for seducing them. If she does not know you well enough to be certain they are lying they will come between you and hijack her development right under your nose. Literally!
One of my molesters did the deed whilst my mother and his sister were in the next room washing dishes and half a dozen other children were in the same room! His only protection from being caught in the act was a blanket he put over us both to hide what he was doing from everyone.
Molesters have a range of tactics for getting their own way with children and these include convincing a child they actually do want to be molested.
When a molester is able to involve the child this deeply in the abuse they do even more damage to the child. It is easier to convince a boy he likes what is happening when he is being molested which leads to maximum levels of self-blame and self-hatred. This is the major reason why male victims tend to commit suicide more often than females.
Even if your child does believe you would not blame her she may stay silent about what your brother or brother-in-law, your best mate or best mates brother, the baby sitter or the man next door is doing to her. She may stay silent to protect you from the consequences of your own anger.
Contrary to popular opinion, young children don’t make up stories about being molested. They are far more likely to lie to themselves and pretend it isn’t happening. They don’t want any trouble. They don’t want dad to kill someone and go to jail. They may even like the person who is molesting them and not want to get them into trouble or lose that person’s “love”.
The first man who molested me was a much loved uncle. He made me promise to tell nobody so he would not get into trouble. Subsequent molesters assured me it was me who would get the blame for what they did to me. Since my mother had a tendency to take the word of an adult, any adult, over mine I was pretty sure they were telling the truth.
False accusations do get made, of course, usually by adolescents. The majority of those girls have usually had their development hijacked one way or another by then anyway. They may have been molested by someone other than the person they are accusing and be trying to protect the real culprit or they may be trying to make someone, anyone, pay for damage that has already been done to them.
There are other exceptions of course. Some girls grow up with an inflated sense of their own importance and will use false accusations and lies to get out of trouble or get their own way at any cost but more often than not a false accusation is truth blamed on an innocent party.
The major exception to this, as everyone knows, is the child who has her memory hijacked and false memories inserted by a bitter, selfish, twisted parent who is using the child to help them win a fight they are having with the other parent.
Be warned – using a child to make false accusations against someone else is every bit as bad for that child as it would be if the accusations were true.
I won’t go into the many things that make for good parenting because they apply to both parents. Things like love, respect, patience, discipline and so on are the role of both parents regardless of the sex of the child.
This is about fathers and daughters. What you, as a father, can do to ensure your daughter does not become “the town bike”.
The key to raising a daughter with good judgment is look but don’t touch and don’t let anyone else touch either!
The father who is absent, disrespectful, hard to please, distant and critical is setting his daughter up to become anxious, love-starved, easy prey for child molesters and puddle-jumping, game playing men. These men will use her and move on taking with them a piece of her self-esteem and leaving her with anger and a leaning towards puddle-jumping herself.
Even the most well-adjusted, loving, decent fathers can hit a bit of a wall when their little girl begins to turn into a woman. Mother nature has designed men to be hugely affected by the things they see. The sight of budding womanhood can be very attractive to a man even if he is the father of the bud.
(EDIT: It has come to my attention that the assumptions contained in the above paragraph are actually not entirely accurate. See Making Mistakes for more information on this.)
At the very same time a girl has become the most at risk of being hunted by lusty males her dear old dad suddenly starts putting unexplained distance between them. She is abandoned and left to fend for herself in a world that has suddenly become very interested in her body and very uninterested in her as a person.
Somewhere deep in her subconscious she becomes aware of the shift in balance and the power she seems to have suddenly acquired over males but she has no idea where it came from, what to do with it or how to handle it. Any attempt to get her father to help her work this whole thing out results in him dodging her and pushing her away.
Some fathers have no doubt that teenage girls are still children and they feel no attraction when their daughters begin to develop but some fathers are fearful of how they do, or might, feel about their developing daughter’s attractiveness.
They can feel uncomfortable because their eyes keep being drawn to things they don’t want to look at and they are horrified about looking.
Discomfort with their appreciation of their daughter’s attractiveness can cause many men to back away from her altogether.
If this happens to you your daughter will be much better off if you explain to her that she is turning into a woman and, as her father, you are not comfortable with this. You can even tell her you are unsure how to treat her now she is not a little girl any more.
The point you need to make is this – a man who loves her, really loves her, CAN and WILL love her without needing to touch or use her.
Don’t be afraid to tell her you think she is gorgeous or to joke with her about how irresistible she is. “Have mercy on your poor old dad gorgeous – put some clothes on!”
Explain the mysterious ways of men to her – how powerfully they are affected by what they see. How superficial and meaningless their attraction to what they see is.
Don’t complain about women who use sex to manipulate men if you are not prepared to teach your own daughter her body gives her a certain amount of power and she is obliged to use that power in a fair and responsible way.
Ensure she knows the power has limits – once the fruit has been eaten the core will most likely be discarded.
You will be teaching her how to reduce her vulnerability to the predators in this world and she will be better able to protect herself from them.
You will be teaching her what love, real love, looks like. When he comes along and says “if you loved me you would” she will know if HE loved HER he wouldn’t want her to do anything she is not ready for.
She will weigh his disrespectful grabs at her body against your respectful hands-off behaviour and dump him.
She will measure his lying “I love you now hand it over” against your non-sexual “I love you” and tell him to bugger off.
She will understand and respect herself and men too much to use sex to manipulate men or be fooled into thinking sex is all there is to love and a relationship. When she meets men who don’t understand those things she will recognise they are not offering the same quality of love she gets from you and she will refuse to settle for them.
As a man you know a man’s love is not really about daring deeds, pots of gold, flashy words and extravagant promises. You know it’s about being there for them no matter what it costs you and loving them no matter what. It’s about doing things for them at your own expense.
When you teach your daughter that real love is when a man loves a woman because of who she is and not because of what she gives him or how she looks you teach her to see through the lies she is going to be offered as payment for her body.
You will be teaching her to recognise and appreciate real love when it comes her way. You will be teaching her to look for the real thing and she will not settle for anything less.
When a father loves and respects his daughter he teaches her she is worthy of being loved and respected. He gives her the gift of self-esteem and girls with good self-esteem, girls who can get real love for no charge, don’t trade their bodies for the lies and empty promises men give to “town bikes”.