Father’s Day: WFU expert available on ‘Dadvertising,’ divorce & more

Linda Nielsen

Wake Forest education professor Linda Nielsen is an ideal expert source for Father’s Day stories.

For more than 25 years, Nielsen has taught “Fathers and Daughters,” the only known college class in the country devoted exclusively to dad-daughter relationships. An accomplished teacher-scholar, Nielsen is the author of five books and numerous scholarly articles. Her research and advice regularly appear in national news outlets.

Nielsen is available for phone and email interviews leading up to Father’s Day (June 18) on these or other timely story ideas:

  • Father friendly media – For many years, media have portrayed dads as clueless, slackers or jokesters, but Hollywood increasingly is showing a softer side of dad. From Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) on NBC’s “This is Us” to Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) on ABC’s “Black-ish,” a number of this year’s biggest hits feature dads who enjoy close relationships with their daughters that go beyond the stereotypes of “daddy’s girls.”

Why are these important? Nielsen said: “We still too often treat dads like the mom’s ‘sidekick’ or her ‘apprentice’ in parenting. The research is so overwhelming and so consistent in regard to the lifelong impact that a dad has on his daughter, and also the tremendous impact that daughters have on their fathers.”

“Any time we see fathers feeling comfortable doing something we have traditionally assigned to mothers, that’s a good thing. It takes stereotypes and smashes them,” she said.

  • Dads and divorce – Nielsen is a leading advocate for shared parenting after divorce. She has become a frequent source on the topic in TIME, Huffington Post and Business Insider.

“If dad is subject to the typical ‘Wednesday dinner and every other weekend’ arrangement, he’s not doing the kind of parenting that benefits kids, making sure the homework is done, getting them up for school.” Nielsen told The Wall Street Journal that in such situations, a father “is basically reduced to an uncle.”

  • M&Ms of Dads & Daughters – Nielsen’s prescription for raising strong, healthy daughters includes teaching them about men, money, mother, meaning, myths and misconceptions.

“Strong daughters don’t just happen. Strong daughters come about as a result of having excellent fathering from the time they are infants on forward into the rest of their lives,” Nielsen said. “There are areas of a daughter’s life that are far more profoundly affected by her relationships with her father than her relationship with her mother.”

Categories: Faculty