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Article Author:
Adam Hansen
Dr. Kevin Leman is a well known psychologist and author of more than 20 books on family issues inlcluding "What a Difference a Daddy Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter's Life" This book is a guide on how to raise a daughter in a balanced environment so she avoids the trials and tribulations of nasty relationships in her own life.

One of the main points of "What a Difference a Daddy Makes" is that children look for love and acceptance from both parents; but the opposite sex relationship (dad-daughter, mom-son) is the one that will affect them the most in their lives. A daughter's image of how a man should treat her is based on how Dad treated Mom. If you're never around, negligent, uncaring, abusive, drink too much etc, your daughter will subconsciously look for that when she grows up. Dr. Leman's rule of thumb is: Treat your wife the way you would want your future son-in-law to treat your daughter.

"What a Difference a Daddy Makes" also goes into depth about how much involvement a dad should have in their daughter's life. Dr. Leman describes Daddy Attention Deficit Disorder, or dad's under-parenting, which can lead to lower self esteem and may drive your daughter to do self-destructive things to get your attention. By not being involved in your daughter's life (not knowing her friends, likes, dislikes, or listening to her talk about her day) or being too involved in yours (working too much, devoting too much time to hobbies) can lead to this.

On the other hand, "What a Difference a Daddy Makes" also talks about over-parenting. By being too involved in your daughter's life you can make it so she is always dependent on you. By not allowing her the freedom to make her own decisions and sometimes fail you are hindering her greatly. This sometimes means letting her get hurt; and while we have no problem "toughening up" a little boy, most of us are unable to let our little girls do the same.

"What a Difference a Daddy Makes" also covers topics like how to talk to your daughter about developing into a woman and sex. Yes, it made me uncomfortable to read (and honestly type right now) but it is a fact of life that must be dealt with. While I have many years until I have to do deal with this (I think 25 years is ok) there are some great tips I will remember. For example; the best way to discuss this topic with your daughter is in a car so both of you can look out of the windshield and not have to make eye contact. Write that one down!

One issue I have with the book is that Dr. Leman is very religious and his faith is intertwined with his teachings. I don't fault him for this since the book is about his family and obviously faith is a big part of that. It's just that I am not religious so I felt like some things didn't apply to me.

I also found that he could be very hard core in some of his views. For example; he would tell his children every time they drove past an accident that drugs and alcohol were involved. Thus, they grew up believing that if you drink or try drugs you will die in an accident. That is too extreme for me.

I personally think "What a Difference a Daddy Makes" is a great book. It is filled with common sense solutions that will help you raise a balanced daughter and have a better relationship with your wife as well. It's a good read for Moms too, as it explains a lot about her relationship with a son, husband and daughter. If you are at all confused about the complexities of raising a little girl I highly recommend it.
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