Your Father

Gift Giving: Fathers and Daughters

This is the month of gift giving for most fathers and daughters in our country. As father or as daughter, you’ll be bombarded by advertisements trying to convince you to buy their “perfect” gift or “terrific” greeting card. So here’s what I’m advertising: A father-daughter outing where just the two of you spend several hours together. Regardless of your age, give one another the gift of private time together.

How to spend that time? What to do? Rather than guessing or getting anxious about whether you’re going to get it “right” or not, simply things. Take time now to fill out this form and give it to each other.

The Perfect Day Together

What is the most perfect day you can imagine the two of you having together? Don’t think about the obstacles. Just let your imagination run free.

  • Where would the two of you be?
  • What would you do for the entire day?
  • What would each of you do to make the other feel loved?
  • What would each of you be feeling as the day started out?
  • What would each of you be feeling when the day ended?
  • How would your family feel and react to your having such a wonderful day together?
  • What would each of you say that you’ve never said before?
  • What would be the highlight of the day?
  • What would each of you do or bring as a nice surprise for one another?
  • What are the last words each of you would say at the end of the day? Some other activities for your hours together might include:
  • Show one another how to do something that you enjoy or do well - something as simple as trimming plants, grilling steaks, or playing a card game.
  • Go to a religious service together – just you two.
  • Go to a movie together—share a box of popcorn.
  • Go back to the neighborhood where he grew up and walk around together.
  • Visit the cemetery where a relative or close friend of his is buried.
  • Get a camera or camcorder and take pictures of places that mean a lot to you or him.

If you sometimes feel disappointed when you open your holiday gifts – or sometimes feel that the person must not have put much time or thought into it – try my suggestion instead. My bet is – as a father or as a daughter - you’ll feel a lot more satisfied with this gift to each other and a lot more bonded as well.

©2008 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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