Saturday, January 24, 2009

Memories of Dad

written: 12/14/08, 1/24/09

There are many studies about family well being. However, this 9year old Father Daughter Relationship study causes me to take note of my daughterly inventory. For instance, how my affection towards my father affected how I dated, who I dated, if I dated effectively, did I get enough fatherly attention, what communication skills did my dad share with me, and if trust was primal. Though many in number, these questions paused a few of my routine activities and gave way to my current reality. I am who I am today, partly, because of the primary foundation in my life and the gift of growth.

Undoubtedly, after pausing I was moved to examine 5 to 10 accomplishments and failures in my life. This list aided the need to gain clarity about who's influenced my path. This 5 to 10 lead me confront my personal well being. How well am I being as a friend, mother or to my self? My answers lead me back to a pivotal and necessary source in my development, my dad.

Although my last memory of my dad was his last breath. It is a sad place for me to venture. I'm still recuperating from that blow to my heart. However, I now have 2 wonderful daughters of my own who have bond well with their father, my dear love.

They experience the joy of preparing for their daughter's date night out with there dad or fun lunch outings. Our eldest's eyes are always filled with happiness as she prepares for her time with dad. And most commonly with compassion she asks, "Hi, daddy what's your day been like?" as he unwinds from work. It's wonderful to see them fully engaged in their own relationship. There's a precious appeal about a father's role in a girls life.

I've earned a few childhood battle scars, as a daughter. In spite of them, I stand proud. Motherhood offers an awesome opportunity to advocate awareness about good and challenging issues fathers impose.
Vanderbilt Univ. researchers study below.

Pray, hope & ENDURE
Ms. M

ScienceDaily (Sep. 27, 1999) — A young girl's relationship with her family, especially with her father, may influence at what age she enters puberty, according to Vanderbilt University researchers.
Girls with close, supportive relationships with their parents tend to develop later, while girls with cold or distant relationships with their parents develop at an earlier age.
The research is published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The research was conducted by Bruce Ellis, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt (now at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand); Stephen McFadyen-Ketchum, adjunct assistant professor of psychology at Vanderbilt; Kenneth Dodge, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt (now at Duke University); Gregory Pettit of Auburn University; and John E. Bates of Indiana University.
The study looked at 173 girls and their families from Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn. and Bloomington, Ind. from the time the girls were in pre-kindergarten until they were in the seventh grade.
Girls who had close, positive relationships with their parents during the first five years of life tended to experience relatively late puberty, compared to girls who had more distant relationships with their parents. More specifically, the researchers found that the quality of fathers' involvement with daughters was the most important feature of the early family environment in relation to the timing of the daughters' puberty.
Girls who enter puberty later generally had fathers who were active participants in care-giving; had fathers who were supportive to the girls' mothers; and had positive relationships with their mothers. But it's the fathers' involvement, rather than the mothers', which seems to be paramount to the age of the girls' development. The researchers believe that girls have evolved to experience early socialization, with their "antennae" tuned to the fathers' role in the family (both in terms of father-daughter and father-mother relationships) and that girls may unconsciously adjust their timing of puberty based on their fathers' behavior.
The researchers found that girls raised in father-absent homes or dysfunctional father-present homes experienced relatively early pubertal timing.
They present several theories as to why this occurs. One biological explanation is that girls whose fathers are not present in the home may be exposed to other adult males - stepfathers or their mothers' boyfriends - and that exposure to pheromones produced by unrelated adult males accelerates female pubertal development. The flip side of that theory is that girls who live with their biological fathers in a positive environment are exposed to his pheromones and are inhibited from puberty, perhaps as a natural incest avoidance mechanism.
Girls who live with their fathers but have a cold or distant relationship with them would not be exposed to their fathers' pheromones as much as girls who have more interaction with their fathers, therefore causing the girls in the distant relationship to reach puberty earlier, the researchers hypothesize.
Perhaps most notable, the researchers say, is the important role fathers seem to play in their daughters' development, given that the quality of mothering is generally more closely associated with how children turn out than is the quality of fathering.
The research was funded by National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Development.

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