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After Miley: Thoughts on raising daughters

686030aWhen I first heard about Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMA Awards last week, I heard a cynical, Oh, here we go again, go through my head.  Another young celebrity gone wild.

So, I started thinking, how can I make sure that I raise my own daughter so she will never turn out like that girl?

As shocking as they were, the writhing, pole-dancing moves made by Miley Cyrus may not be an anomaly.  Miley may just be the public face of what many of your young girls are doing at their own private parties every weekend.   Young girls need a lot of attention from their fathers when they are growing up, or they will look for it in the young boys and young men around them.  Not just Miley Cyrus, but every young lady out there.  So, dads, what can you and I do?

First, we need to give our daughters real, sincere affection.  Physical hugs and attention.  Raising daughters means building up their self-esteem and inner strength.  It’s up to us.  There is nothing that can replace the love of a daddy in a daughter’s heart.  Also, dads, we have to relentlessly pursue our daughters’ hearts for the Lord.  Keep tabs on where our daughters’ time goes, where they are, whom they are with, and what they are doing.  Be the dad.  Learn to say no when you need to.

Dad, it may be that if you have a teenage daughter, and she has not received the attention from you she needed, she may already be showing too much of herself to young men.  Try to find out.  Don’t sit her down and confront her.  Instead, take the advice of Dr. Meg Meeker, who writes in her book, Your Kids at Risk, that if we want to know what our tweens and teens are doing, we should not rely on asking them. Hate to break it to you, but sometimes kids lie.  Rather, we should ask them what their friends are doing, because that is what our kids are really doing.

Lovingly and casually attempt to draw out from your daughter what her friends are involved in.  Find out where and with whom she spends her time.  Change your behavior with your daughter.   Fill her needs for love, attention and self-value.  Let her know that she is God’s daughter and yours.  See if with a bit of time you see a change in her attitude and heart.

It’s always a great idea to have your kids and their friends spend their time at your house, rather than out and about.  Make your house the house to hang out at!  Have sodas and snacks on hand as much as possible.  Be hospitable. Yeah, even to teenagers.  If you can, have a fire pit, make s’mores, whatever.  But, we must step up and be there for our daughters.

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