Father/Daughter Relationships

In the September 2002 issue of North & South magazine, Deborah Coddington reports on research undertaken by Dr Bruce Ellis, senior lecturer in psychology at Canterbury University. Dr Ellis has found that girls whose fathers are closely involved with their lives and have a positive relationship with the girl's mother, enter puberty later. He has also found that "father involvement was most predictive for late puberty in girls if it took place before age five". In other words, without Dad, little girls grow up too quickly. Ellis' research could explain why some girls in Western countries are going through puberty much earlier - instead of blaming hormones in chickens and beef, perhaps it's plain old parenting.

Ellis' research also offers an additional explanation as to why girls who grow up in sole mother households have a high teenage pregnancy rate. If Dad is around to tell them how beautiful the are, how smart and clever, they'll delay their first sexual experience longer than girls who grow up without that positive reinforcement.

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