Three Things Dads Can Learn from Janet Jackson by Rebecca Ingram Powell

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }Iconic recording artist Janet Jackson is now an author. Her book, True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself, details Jackson’s personal struggle with self-esteem. In it, the superstar portrays herself as a sort of everywoman who was never satisfied with her looks, weight, or relationships.

In an interview with Meredith Vieira on February 13’s "Dateline," Jackson was candid about her relationship with her father. “My father was never there the way that I wanted a father to be,” she shared. “I would see my friends interact with their dads and I would say to myself, ‘Now that’s what I want to do. I want to be able to sit on his lap. I want to be able to call him Dad.’ ”

She was not allowed to call him “Dad”; the elder Jackson insisted on being called by his first name. This kept his daughter at arm’s length, and it dismissed any chance of a meaningful, healthy relationship between them. When it comes to self-esteem and personal identity, a girl’s relationship with her father affects how she sees herself — big time. There are three things dads can do right now to help stem the tide of insecurity that threatens to wipe out the heart of their growing girls.


Be an Available Dad. Always listen when she wants to talk. As girls grow, that means staying up late sometimes. It means providing your undivided attention when you’re with her, shutting down the laptop and turning off the cell phone. It also means setting aside time that is just for her.

Be an Around Dad. With today’s limitless technology, dads can be “around” when they send simple text messages (Try: How’s your day? You are special! or Want to watch a movie later?) or even “like” a status on Facebook. Do you attend her games, recitals, and school events? Don’t leave all the scrapbooking to Mom. You took lots of pictures when she was little — don’t stop once she hits those awkward years!

Be an Always Dad. Often when a growing middle school-aged daughter begins to develop, dads have a tendency to back away. While it is a bit unnerving to see Daddy’s little girl looking more like a woman, you need to realize that everything in her life is changing, and well, you don’t have that option. You need to be the same dad you’ve always been. You still need to hug her and tell her how pretty she is. She may not look like your little girl anymore, but she can always feel like she is. She needs to know that even when she is not so accepting of herself, you fully accept her — bad skin, mood swings, and figure development notwithstanding.

What happens when a father is available, around, and always? He gives his daughter an accurate depiction of a loving Heavenly Father. He makes it easy for her to understand the Father’s unconditional love because he showed it to her in everyday life. A daddy’s love gives his daughter worth and value, paving the way for her to understand her true identity in God’s eyes.

Rebecca Ingram Powell is the author of Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose. She blogs daily at

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.


  1. This is SUCH a great post. Thank you for taking a secular current event and providing a Biblical take-away.

  2. I love this! I would probably add be a QUALITY & QUANTITY DAD. Kids desperately need both. love what you guys are doing!

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