It is my conclusion, based on these and other more rigorous studies, that the sensitivity of which I have written has a downside: adolescent girls and women are more easily wounded than males, and many of them experience a lifelong sense of inadequacy. The pain that results from being ridiculed, bullied, or left out as a child or teen—as well as from wounds originating within dysfunctional families—is remembered painfully thereafter.
To both mothers and fathers, let me share a suggestion that you may not want to hear: good parenting almost always requires sacrifice. Childhood lasts for only a brief moment, but it should be given priority while it is passing before your eyes. Watch your kids carefully. Think about what they are feeling, and consider the influences they are under. Then do what is best for them.
Little and not-so-little girls need to talk too, especially about what they are feeling. Let me speak directly to the busy mom and dad who are too exhausted at the end of the day to get your kids talking, either at the dinner table or in those intimate few minutes before bedtime: you may be making a serious mistake. You need to know what your children are thinking, and they need the pleasure of telling you about it. Even though some loquacious kids will “talk the horns off a billy goat” and you come home too tired to listen, it is imperative that you tune in—especially to your girls. There will come a time when they will be talking primarily to their peers, and the missed opportunities for understanding and intimacy today will be costly down the road.
Females of all ages tend to interpret masculine silence as evidence of rejection. Based on this understanding, the best thing dads can do to connect with their daughters is to talk to them about whatever is of interest. Ask questions and then listen carefully to what is said in return. This interaction helps to produce the affirmation I have been describing. Meaningful and affectionate dialogue with a daughter is evidence that she is worthy, secure, and loved. Those beneficial effects can be achieved so easily through simple, genuine conversation.
if I want to be a princess, I need to act like one and expect to be treated like one.–Kim Davis
Virginity actually represents an expression of respect for the awesome power of sexual passion—and a manifestation of fidelity to something higher than momentary desires. It is, as essayist Sarah E. Hinlicky has written, “a sexuality dedicated to hope, to the future, to marital love, to children, and to God.” It’s also an expression of self-respect. Girls who refuse to play the hookup game are asserting that they deserve something better than sexual fumbling either with boys who want them for nothing but their bodies, or with those who may claim to care about them—but not necessarily enough to commit to a formal relationship such as marriage (or to promise marriage should an unexpected pregnancy result). Being a virgin means being truly in control of oneself: body, heart, and soul. It’s a way of determining which boys care about a girl for herself, rather than simply for her body. And although it’s no guarantee against heartbreak, virginity does ensure that a girl will never know the bitter regret of having given part of herself to someone who was unworthy of the gift.
The quality of the relationship between teens and their mothers was the primary factor in support of virginity.[ 245] Attachment, anyone? When the girls felt close to their moms and were aware that they disapproved of premarital sex, they were less likely to engage in such activities. Parental closeness was pivotal, but it resulted less from family activities and “lectures” than it did from parents’ regular involvement in their children’s lives.
Other studies reveal that older teenage girls who have better relationships with their fathers tend to postpone sexual activity longer. The researchers concluded that those who are close to their fathers tend to have fewer boyfriends, feel more guilty about having premarital sex, and tend to eat more meals together as a family.
Even when she is most unlovable, she needs love and connectedness from her mother, but also from her father. She needs them to be as calm, mature, and parental as possible. There is no room in their relationship for an out-of-control, screaming, confused, and scared adult. A voice of reason is desperately needed, even with a child who has become entirely unreasonable.
The most interesting finding to date, however, has revealed a significant link between family cohesion and the onset of sexual development. Specifically, girls who have close, positive relationships with their fathers tend to mature later than those whose dads are cold, distant, and uninvolved.
The classical Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky considered the consequences of moral relativism in his book The Brothers Karamazov. He wrote, “If there is no God, everything is permissible.”