Publishers Weekly - April 26, 2004 "Placing the burden
of the father-daughter relationship squarely on the daughter's shoulders,
Nielsen argues that women who believe dads should always take the first
step towards friendship "haven't moved beyond seeing themselves as
a little girl." The psychologist, who teaches a class on father-daughter
relationships at Wake Forest University, offers many helpful suggestions
to her readers, including tips on how to start seeing dad as "more
than a wallet" and how to stop playing the innocent virgin daughter.
Chapters on handling the turmoil of divorce and remarriage and on getting
to know dad as a person (and not just as a father figure), round out this
useful, if somewhat guilt-tripping, self-help guide. "
"This is a groundbreaking
book summarizing cutting-edge psychological research in clear, plain terms
and giving hordes of practical suggestions. It's a must read for any woman
who ever longed for a more fulfilling relationship with her father and
for any man who has felt for way too long he'd lost the capacity to communicate
with a central woman in his life - his own daughter. As the father of
a daughter, I'm so much more "emotionally intelligent" about
our relationship since reading Dr. Nielsen's book. Don't miss this opportunity
to make positive change in your life and the life of someone you love
dearly. I can't recommend it highly enough!
"The only word that consistently went through my mind as I was reading was "remarkable!" The book is amazing - thoughtfully weaving research findings, common sense advice, principles of psychotherapy and personal stories into a compelling work that has immense promise to alleviate the weight and pain of daughters being estranged from their fathers. Presuming to speak on behalf of the fathers to whom you will restore the great gift of their daughters, thank you!"Sanford Braver, Ph.D., Psychology Professor, Arizona State University , Author of Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths Advisor to President Clinton's Fatherhood Initiative
delivers an important message to daughters who yearn for a connection
with their divorced fathers. The suggestions provided to show daughters
how to take the initiative to repair old wounds with their fathers is
an important step toward improving family relationships after divorce."
"Linda Nielsen knows the father-daughter
relationship like no one else. And her writing is enjoyable, practical,
funny and poignant. If you are a daughter or a father, you'll find piering
insights throughout this inspired book." Neil
Chethik Author of FatherLoss: How sons of all ages come to terms with
the deaths of their dads
"Your chapter on divorce and remarriage is terrific. I will certainly be recommending this book to fathers and daughters whose relationship is not all it could be. " Dr. Richard Warshak, Professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex
"Linda Nielsen takes a serious and multilayered
look at the last unexplored family relationship. Her work on fathers and
daughters is important." Clea Simon, The Boston
Globe, Author of Fatherless Women: How We Change After We Lose Our
"Nielsen's chapter on Divorce and Remarriage is excellent! The reference list is one of the best and most useful I have seen on the subject. Nielsen has covered all the important issues in a manner that enables the reader to re-examine her (and his!) assumptions about the parental breakup and arrive at a place of compassionate understanding. This provides the basis for forgiveness and reconciliation. The format is superb as a self-help tool for the average reader as well as the college student. Nielsen is to be congratulated for dealing so deftly with a very complex problem in such a creative way." Mel Krantzler, Ph.D., Author of Creative Divorce and Moving Beyond Your Parents Divorce
"Wow! That is what I have to say about Nielsen's chapter on divorced fathers and their daughters. It is refreshing to read an academic account of something very near and dear to my heart. I am a sociologist and am very interested in looking at the situations of children and their relationships with their non-custodial father. Nielsen has a wonderful handle on the real world." John Sims, Director, Single & Custodial Fathers Network
Getting Your Lion to Talk - There's a fable about a little girl who asks: "How can Tarzan have been so smart, so strong, and so magnificent that without help from anyone at all, he defeated every one of the jungle animals, including the mighty lions?" The listener replied, "Child, you'll get a different story if the lion learns to talk. In the same way, much of what you know about your father may come from what other people have told you - not directly from your conversations with him. And what's wrong with that? Just this: like the lion, your father has his own versions of stories and his own feelings and perspectives about things that have affected his life and yours. So why not go straight to the lion, so to speak? Remember: You don't have unlimited time to get to know your "lion".
Blinded by Beliefs When you believe that something is generally true about fathers (or used car salespeople, or snakes or grandmothers) even though the facts, the statistics or the research show just the opposite to be true, your belief still effects your relationship. Too often this means that your relationship with your father is not as good as it might have been because of the kinds of beliefs you and he started out with.
Deception vs. Privacy If you lie when he specifically asks you about something, or you go to great lengths to hide information, or you pretend to believe things you don't believe in, then you're being deceptive and dishonest - not private. Privacy doesn't detract from your emotional intimacy with your father. Deception and dishonesty do. Pretending can be one of the most damaging kinds of deception because you end up living the lies, rather than just telling them.
Approval or Advice? Let your father know what you want from him: sympathy or approval or advice. Remember: most males have been taught that the best way to comfort someone is to help them fix whatever is bothering them. So if all you want from him is sympathy - a listener who basically says "you poor thing" - then tell him so. Think about his advice this way: If you're thrashing around in the water with a blindfold over your eyes and you're drowning -- too far from shore for your father to swim out to rescue you -- what response do you want from him: Approval: "You're doing a great job!" Sympathy: "Oh, you poor thing." Advice: "Stop thrashing around like that, take off your blindfold and grab the life jacket floating beside you." I doubt you'll make it to shore if your dad only gives you sympathy or approval. But if that's all you want from him, then tell him.
Money - Let's start with this Golden Rule: "Those who have the gold, make the rules." So when you accept the "gold" from your father, there are often strings attached - strings that might be invisible at first, but can eventually become heavy ropes around both your necks.
Your Father's Other Kids Since your father remarried, have you ever felt he was a better parent to his other kids than he was to you? If you're right, hurrah for him! I hope he is a better father than he used to be. The real issue is: If he wasn't any better parent than he was with you, why would that make you feel better? My guess is what you're really feeling is this: "Damn it, dad! Finally you're the father I always wanted. But it's too late for me to benefit from the "new improved" you. It's not fair!" If this is how you feel, there's good news: You can get the benefits of your new improved dad.
Discussing "It" I have rarely met a daughter who doesn't have an "IT" - that one topic she or her father are afraid to discuss, although they both usually want to. Whatever your "it" is, your relationship would probably benefit if you and your father could talk about it. The problem is you're uncomfortable bringing "it" up. You don't know how to start. You're also afraid. Afraid of what?