African-American Men and Their Daughters : Living Out the Father-Daughter Drama.

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Houston-Little, Janice Marie.
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This book traces the lives of the author and other African-American women she interviewed about their African-American fathers. The author states that the most powerful relationship an African-American woman will ever have with a male is the one she has or doesn't have with her father. Whether present or absent Houston-Little asserts: fathers impact their daughter's lives in ways that sometimes defy description. If young African-American girls grow up with a loving, involved father in her life, the young girl seems to do well and lead a balanced life. She doesn't appear to be haunted by serious emotional and physical illnesses. While on the other hand, when a young girl does not have any relationship with her father or one that she perceives is less than adequate, serious issues may arise. Often a relationship that is perceived as less than adequate is as devastating as not having a relationship with her father at all. If a young girl's relationship with her father is non-existent or less than adequate, it is at this point that the "drama" appears to begin. "Drama" refers to a series of actions, reactions that the young girl, adolescent, soon to be adult female initiates and responds to a result of her perception. Perceptions that lead to "drama" are that the young girl in question believes her father does not care/love her. She may also believe that she can't trust anyone, especially men. No matter how hard she tries, she may also believe she'll never be good enough in any tasks she undertakes. These different "scenes", frames of reference affect the young girl and all those with whom she interacts. It's almost as though the young girl has a script from which she takes her cues. Often no one with whom she interacts even has a clue that a script even exists. This kind of miscuing or absence of cues for the unsuspecting participants, friend, husband, lover, son, professional associate, more often than not, leads to conflictual emotional relationships. Other relationships end abruptly, the young girl or adolescent or adult has no clue why. Some insights into how we construct our inner thinking, what these thoughts are based on help us all to negotiate successful relationships. This book explores the author's and other women's perceptions of their "drama" with their fathers. The effects of the "drama", misunderstandings and the inability to emotionally connect are explored. Hope springs eternal as these women and I look at ways to gradually change the direction of absent or "less than adequate relationships" between fathers and daughters. Finally, the writer suggests ways that anyone interested in the health and strength of African-American families can help to accomplish that goal. Stronger, healthier individuals make stronger, healthier families. Stronger, healthier families make stronger, healthier communities. Everyone stands to benefit. (Author abstract)

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