Did You Know?
Girls whose fathers are closely involved with their lives enter puberty later. Dr. Bruce Ellis of the University of Canterbury found that "father involvement was most predictive for late puberty in girls if it took place before age five."
Researchers discovered that girls without fathers or with dysfunctional fathers entered puberty at relatively young ages. Doctors theorize that if a young girl's need for a strong male influence isn't met, her body matures in order to attract a male to fill the void. "Father-absent homes" aren't just ones with no daddy. An absentee father can be one who travels frequently for work, or who spends too much time at the office, or on the golf course.
Dr. Ellis also explains why girls who grow up with single mothers have a high teenage pregnancy rate. In fact, father absence is the most significant risk factor for teen pregnancy, say researchers from the Christchurch School of Medicine and experts from three American universities. If Dad is around to tell his daughters that they're beautiful, smart and brave, they'll delay their first sexual experience longer than girls who grow up without that positive reinforcement from a man they respect.