Your Father

Father-Daughter Friendly Schools

Dads, next time you're in your daughter's school, or next time you get a letter or other written information from her school, ask yourself these questions:

(1) How "father friendly" is this school?

(2) How welcomed and how important do my daughter's teachers and counselors make me feel?

(3) Do I ever get the sense that her teachers or counselors think her mother is more important or more necessary than I am?

(4) Does the school send the message that father-daughter relationships are just as important as father-son or mother-daughter relationships?

As a father, you can take an active role in helping your daughter's teachers and counselors strengthen father-daughter relationships by making fathers feel more welcomed and more important. Use my checklist to asses how well your daughter's school is doing in regard to father-daughter relationships - especially for divorced or never married fathers:

0=never 1=rarely 2= usually 3=almost always

__The school has pictures of fathers interacting with their daughters on the bulletin boards or in library displays

__The school mails all information about his daughter to the divorced father's home as well as to the divorced mother's home

__Library books focus in positive ways on fathers & daughters

__The school sometimes has special events only for fathers & daughters

__The school offers special materials or workshops just for fathers

__Counselors gather as much information from fathers as from mothers

__Counselors include dads in counseling as much as they include mothers

__Fathers are invited to come to class as guests or as tutors

__Teachers include both parents in conferences

__Teachers arrange conferences in ways that allow divorced fathers the choice to attend without their ex-wife

____Total Score of 30 -

The higher the school scores, the more "father friendly" it is - and the better job it's doing to support and value father-daughter relationships.

©2009, Dr. Linda Nielsen

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It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father. Pope John XXIII

Dr. Nielsen has been teaching, counseling, conducting research and writing about adolescents and father-daughter relationships since 1970. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of the outstanding graduate's award in teacher education from the University of Tennessee in 1969, she taught and counseled high school students for several years. After earning a Master's Degree in Counseling and a Doctorate in Educational and Adolescent Psychology, she joined the faculty of Wake Forest University in 1974. Her grants and awards include the Outstanding Article Award in 1980 from the U.S. Center for Women Scholars and a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Association of University Women. For the past fifteen years she has focused primarily on father-daughter relationships with a special emphasis on divorced fathers and their daughters. Her work has been cited in the "Wall Street Journal" as well as in popular magzines such as "Cosmopolitan", and shared through television and radio interviews..

In 1991 she created her "Fathers & Daughters" course - the only college course in the country that focuses exclusively on father-daughter relationships. In addition to having written several dozen articles for journals such as the "Harvard Educational Review" and the "Journal of Divorce & Remarriage", Dr. Nielsen has written three books: How to Motivate Adolescents (Prentice Hall) and Adolescence: A Contemporary View (Harcourt Brace) which sold more than 60,000 copies and was adopted by hundreds of universities throughout the country and abroad between 1986-1996. Her third book, Embracing Your Father: Creating the Relationship You Want with Your Dad was published in April, 2004. www.wfu.edu/~nielsen or E-Mail

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