NY Times Best-selling author, author of nearly 50 books; his latest: Be the Dad She Needs You To Be (2014)
Has appeared on Fox & Friends, The View, etc.
Founder/President, Couples of Promise
Served as contributing family psychologist to Good Morning America
Married: Sande, 44 years; 5 children, 2 grandchildren
Dr. Kevin Leman Explains the Difference a Daddy Makes for Daughters
The 700 Club
DADS MATTER MOST
When Kevin’s daughter, Krissy, graduated from high school, Kevin was the invited speaker. He claims he’s not usually emotional, but as he looked over the sea of graduates, Kevin spotted his daughter and broke down. He says there is something special about a father-daughter connection. “When it’s not special,” says Kevin, “the daughter pays for it in her relationships with other people, particularly men.” While the busiest day for every phone carrier service in America is Mother’s Day, Kevin says the clout a dad has is undeniable. He says cross-gender relationships are more critical than father-son or mother-daughter. “A dad knows how men view women,” says Kevin.
If a dad has a loving, steady balance in his approach with his daughter, she will have a sense of security, love and trust in her relationships with men. She will stand up for herself knowing that her dad would never treat her that way. If a daughter does not have security, trust and love, she will be driven toward men who aren’t good for her thinking If Daddy treated me this way, then all men must be like this. Father figures are so important in the home that Kevin calls the lack of it “father hunger.” The effects of a father’s absence are devastating. Many women who suffer from DADD (Daddy Attention Deficit Disorder) spend their whole lives looking for a daddy’s affirmation, acceptance and presence.
Kevin says establishing a healthy authority in the home is critical. “You’ll never win when you choose to do battle with your child of any age,” says Kevin. He says healthy authority starts with 3 principles:
- Say it once, turn your back, walk away. If you want your daughter to take you seriously, say it once and only once. There’s no argument. Everything is stated in a calm manner.
- Share your disapproval and opinion gently. The person a daughter wants to please most is her father. That’s why even a hint of disapproval stated in a balanced manner can go a long way toward turning unwanted behavior around.
- “B” doesn’t happen before “A” is completed. Sometimes tough love is needed. It’s possible to be firm and to be a man without being harsh, but make sure she gets task “A” done before she goes on to the next thing.
Kevin says being a critical-eyed parent is not healthy. A critical-eyed dad can find fault in anything and more than likely grew up with criticism himself. “Keep your tongue at bay,” says Kevin. “She wants to please you, dad. She needs the affirmation and doesn’t like it when you are unhappy.” Dads, ask yourself: Am I quick to react? Do I jump to conclusions? Is my automatic answer no? Do I have the need to be right? If the answer is yes to any of the above, you may have a critical eye.
Recently Kevin received an email from his second cousin Carol. She said her dad was in a home for that last years of his life. The day after Easter, Carol went to visit him. All of a sudden, after eating his candy, Carol’s dad said, You can go. I’m fine. It took her by surprise but she told him she loved him and kissed him goodbye. She said she would see him in a few days and left. Ten minutes after, he had a heart attack and died. Carol said she was positive he knew he was going to die and didn’t want her to be there. “My daddy protected me to the end. Love that man,” she said.
Kevin says that’s what good dads do. They protect until the end. “We all fail sometimes,” says Kevin. “I’m not a perfect dad, but I’m an involved, caring dad…..and being a good dad is enough.”
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