Monday, May 18, 2009

Dads' and daughters' discoveries

A recent study of teen sex has shown that in two-parent households, when Dads get wind of their daughters’ sex lives—especially when the girls’ self-described behavior is “risky” (“premature”, multiple recurrent partners, or poor use of birth control)--fathers ratchet up their attention.

This increased attention from Pop apparently has a measurable effect on girls’ subsequent sexual behavior. This effect is small (7% change—whatever that means in real life) but apparently deviates from previously held notions that parents look the other way or become less involved when risky teen sex is involved. The study (published in the journal Child Development, May/June 2009*) whose lead author is Rebekah Levine Coley, did not discuss how exactly Dads showed their increased interest or involvement in daughters’ lives.

Did they ground them?
Did they punish them?
Were they just "disappointed"?
Did they play more Scrabble with them?
Did they take them to a doctor and get them birth control pills?
Did they just talk to them? What did they say?

How many ways can we imagine that a Dad might react to his daughter’s “risky sex” in ways that would lead her to curtail her activity? Send your ideas to me, please!

*This article in its entirety is not available free online so I have pasted together bits and pieces from multiple on-line reviews.

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