Disabled and Thriving

Overcoming obstacles in an able-bodied world.

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Don't Forget About Dear Old Dad.

What is at the heart of the father-daughter dynamic?

Editor's note: Hello, readers! Here's a short and sweet (just like me!) nugget of wisdom for your Wednesday. I'll be exploring the father-daughter relationship (especially as it relates to my disability) further in the coming week, but I hope you enjoy this preview in the meantime.

With his wife in medical school, Bretton Holmes, a media relations professional from California, knew he'd have a hefty responsibility taking care of his young daughters, ages 5 and 3.

"I'd have to say that they have done more for me than I have for them. I think the best thing fathers can impart to their daughters is a solid notion of independence," he says.

The result? While Holmes says he's raising two of the "girliest girls," his little ones still aren't afraid of digging up worms or climbing trees with childhood abandon.

The lesson: Mother doesn't always know best. A girl needs a dad in her life, and in some instances, father truly does know best.

"The father-daughter connection becomes a template for later relationships that girls (women) have with men," says Dr. Aaron Cooper, author of "I Just Want My Kids To Be Happy: Why You Shouldn't Say It, Why You Shouldn't Think It, What You Should Embrace Instead."

Just as boys need their mothers, girls need the love and support of their fathers - from the joy that comes from those early baby steps to the more ‘adult' steps of walking down the aisle and everything in between (yes, that includes the art of tree climbing and worm inspection!).

Adds Mary Jo Rapini, a psychotherapist who specializes in the father-daughter dynamic: "One of the key things is that dads' influence on their daughters is so important in helping them with self-esteem and focusing on their talents instead of whether they can secure a boyfriend," she says. "Girls with a good bond between themselves and their fathers grow up with a higher sense of self than girls who are estranged from their dad."

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Melissa Blake is a normal 20-something living with an abnormal disorder.

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