'How To Save Your Daughter’s Life': lock her up - Macleans.ca

‘How To Save Your Daughter’s Life’: lock her up

A criminal profiler advises keeping a tight rein on girls

Lock up your daughters

David Young-Wolff/Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

Pat Brown knows every grisly crime imaginable. She’s television’s go-to criminal profiler and the CEO of the Sexual Homicide Exchange, a group that helps police zero in on suspects in unsolved sex crimes. Talk to her on the phone for 10 minutes and she’s referencing the Florida man, shot dead by police, who chewed the face off a homeless man.

Raising her daughter, Brown did everything in her power to keep the girl safe from the perverts and psychopaths, and the drugs and depression that can ruin a girl’s life. She home-schooled all three of her kids and didn’t let her daughter date unchaperoned until she was 18.

As she proudly points out in her new book, How To Save Your Daughter’s Life: Straight Talk for Parents from America’s Top Criminal Profiler, her children turned out fine—her daughter is now a child-abuse detective—and “none of them ever cursed at me or told me they hated me.”

“Better to be tough when they’re little and then slowly let out the reins than be too easy when they’re small and create a monster for a teen,” she writes. Be strict and use discipline. If your daughter throws a tantrum or uses spiteful words, remove her from the environment, sternly reprimand her and implement a punishment. “It may be really hard work, but believe me, you will have so much less work when she is older: you won’t be babysitting your grandchild while your daughter goes to high school, or hiding your jewellery from your crack-addicted young adult child.”

Brown encourages parents to involve young girls in after-school hobbies like knitting and stamp collecting. But if that’s too tame for a teen girl who easily bores, get her involved in an adventurous sport. “If I had a daughter who was getting crazy on me and sneaking out and doing all kinds of garbage, I’d see if I could find her an activity that she could really get into that has some rules and regulations, even if it’s driving race cars.” Like boxing to vent anger, “there are ways to channel your daughter in an environment that’s handled by an adult. She gets her adrenalin rush but she’s controlled by the rules of the game,” Brown said in a telephone interview from her home in Washington.

Another way to keep a girl safe is to delay the milestones. “The younger one starts messing with anything the sooner one goes to the next level,” says Brown. If your girl starts dating at age 12, she’ll probably have sex sooner. If she drives at 16, she’s more likely to crash into a tree while texting at the wheel. Make her wait to get her driver’s licence and then drive shotgun with her everywhere she goes for the next year, advises Brown. “Every year and month you can delay improves your chances of having her maturity increase. Also, the slower she gains these opportunities, the less she expects to be given free rein and the more she accepts her parents having a say over her activities.”

If you don’t want her to do something, use logic to explain it. If she says, “Why can’t I go to Meghan’s house?” don’t say, “Because I said so!” That tells her nothing and makes her think you’re being stupid, mean and selfish. “Because Meghan’s mom has a drinking problem and she has a creepy boyfriend hanging around,” is better, Brown says. “You can further explain why these things are concerning to you. This helps her to respect you as a parent and also teaches her something about why good behaviour or certain choices are better.”

If your teen gets trapped in a relationship with a boy who is too domineering, she may be able to get rid of him by talking about herself—her hair, her nails, her shoes—non-stop. “A psychopath is only interested in himself so the last thing he wants is to have a girl yakking about herself,” she says. “Suddenly laughing non-stop for no good reason in the middle of lunch at McDonald’s is going to make him squirm,” because it’s all about his ego. “If his trophy stops shining, if people are like, ‘What are you doing with that girl?’— he’s not gonna like that.”

Whatever happens, never allow your daughter to be alone with a controlling boy she’s broken up with. “That’s when we find girls not getting home,” says Brown.


‘How To Save Your Daughter’s Life’: lock her up

  1. Considering most children who are murdered or abused are victims of their parents or other family members this advice is nonsense.

  2. I came to post the same thing as J.M. — over 90% of abuse and abductions of kids is by their own parents, and most of the “perverts and psychos” are family. Some good and interesting advice here in dealing with daughters dating domineering/misogynist boys, but honestly, homeschooling?

    • Read my post below, Strepsi. In the book, I talk about dangers in the home due to parents, significant others, and relatives. There is a lot more to the book than this article expresses. BTW, I DID homeschool my kids but that is because my county’s schools really suck.

  3. Pat Brown needs a new job. This one has tipped her over the edge.

  4. Strepsi and JM: there is a whole chapter in the book on danger for teen girls IN the home. I point out that the the first people we must examine to keep our girls safe are ourselves and friends and family we bring into the house.

    The review rather misses my point; that I am encouraging parents to understand the world around their teens – what their teenage girls are dealing with – and help them maneuver it in a way that works for THEIR OWN family! I never state one must homeschool or keep one’s daughter locked up! I don’t know where that came from! What I DO in the book is educate parents about date rape, bullying, stalking, risky relationships, social media, drugs, prostitution, and serial predators, etc. I have seen too many girls end up traumatized, pregnant, raped, or dead or completely screw their lives up; they may have been lured into some activity that ended up badly or hooked up with someone who was not healthy for them to be around. I want girls to live life to the fullest in a positive way and I hope this book helps parents guide their daughters to the great life they all deserve.

    • Thanks for clarifying, Pat. This Review allmost had me throwing Dishes

      • But, Hey, you know, I was a Picture of Teen’Age Delinquency, and look how Sparkly I turned out

        • Hah! Well, Andrea, it is always great when wayward teens turn their lives around or survive wilder years, but I, personally, don’t want parents to roll the dice if they can avoid it; a lot of teens who get into trouble don’t come out of it very well.

  5. So what’s her advice for raising boys? Oh yeah, forgot the dominant cultural stereotype at work here. Apparently only men are abusers and psychopaths, only women are victims, and only young girls need protection from those evil boys.
    Guess David Bagshaw’s parents had nothing to worry about, nothing to warn their son about. Ok, everybody just continue on as normal. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along…

    • That will be my next book: I raised two boys. They have a whole set of different problems and sometimes girls are the cause of them. If you know my work at all, you will know that I talk quite often about psychopathic females that falsely accuse young men of date rape or murder their own children or are black widows.

      • Pat, thanks for your reply. My apologies for the sarcastic comment.
        Macleans, I ask that you redirect the bile and sarcasm your editors’ way. Shame on you for fostering this falsely gendered delusion that all victims are female and all abusers are male.
        And once more, thank you Pat.

        • Hey, I would get the same thing from the review, so no apology necessary! The book clearly points out that dangers to young teen girls can be from females as well and, there are many nice guys out there, but that doesn’t mean one of the creeps won’t hone in on your girl. Likewise with boys; there are nice girls out there but a nasty one can screw your son’s life up!

  6. This is great advice, I love it and I am a strict parent and always with my kids. I don’t even allow my kids to go around the corner on their bikes alone. I also believe in GOOD boundaries and lots of discipline,very important. Years ago a teen delinquent didn’t have such SERIOUS issues to deal with as the kids do today. The biggest issue for teens today is the Internet, its very DANGEROUS when not used properly. We are seeing kids in Elementary school already hanging off of cell phones and texting as young as Grade:5. Also I believe because many girls are going through puberty younger these days, we as mothers must start the sex talk much younger than ever before. Some kids are experimenting with sex and drugs now as young as 12 years, its crazy.

  7. I think this is a great article but can’t help but feel there’s still some antagonism towards girls perpetuated here — that girls are the real problem. Blame the girls for the boys’ problems, etc. etc. I have raised to great young women who are mature beyond their years. They are still holding out for like-minded young men as boyfriends. The boys treat them like crap, in general.

    • *two, not to!

    • The article is quite misrepresents the book. There is no antagonism towards girls, just truth about the dangers around them and how they become victims. For example, a good portion of girls who are date raped are drunk at the time. Liquor helps make them victims and certain young men help girls become victims by plying them with strong shots and then raping them. Certain behaviors on the part of girls put them in situations to be targeted by predators. We can turn the situation around (my next book) and talk about boys whose behavior get them in trouble with certain girls. Their desire to have a good time sexually (usually coupled with alcohol) with a girl they do not know and trust can get them accused of date rape by a girl who later has regrets or wants attention by falsely reporting that he raped her. I raised two boys and a girl and I warned all three of them of the dangers of drinking and ended up willingly or unwillingly in some sexual activity.

      • Oh hey Pat, before you write that book about raising boys, you should probably know that according to the US Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey and FBI reports (among others – http://theenlivenproject.com/the-story-behind-the-infographic/), only about 10% of all rapes are actually reported. 3% of these rapists actually face trial, 1% are jailed, and out of those reports, 2% of them are false accusations. So, it doesn’t really seem like false rape accusations are the big problem here.

  8. As a teenage girl, I’m somewhat shocked by the opinion presented in this article. While it’s true that many young women make mistakes, “locking up” your daughter won’t help matters. The rebellious kids are going to rebel, and those who don’t, weren’t going to get into trouble anyway for the most part. I recognize that bad things happen to “good” girls, too, but really, is forbidding your daughter to participate in social situations a sensible course of action. The advice in this column, such as introducing girls to knitting or philately and encouraging them to talk only about their own lives and interests on dates, is not going to help them; it will hurt them. Girls who start “laughing non-stop for no good reason” are not going to make friends (even platonic ones), because that sort of behaviour is perceived as being very strange. Employing such measures to ward of psychopaths is overkill. Instead of frightening girls do behave abnormally or hide from social interactions, educate them. Teach us about safe sex and you won’t babysit our kids while we attend school; teach us about drug abuse, and we won’t pawn your jewelry to fund our crack habit; teach us that we deserve a romantic partner who lets us be ourselves, and takes an interest in our interests, and we won’t date psychopaths. Fear mongering and “locking up” girls doesn’t solve the problem, it just creates more problems.

  9. Pat, I understand that you’ve said your book has been misrepresented in this article. I am sorry that has happened. However, I find it difficult to believe that some of the points I take issue with are subject to this misrepresentation. I see my peers texting and driving constantly – this problem is not age specific. I do not see the point in putting off the problem just so it can be faced at a later date. Locking up your daughters does nothing to teach them about how to protect themselves. Life is full of inherent danger – you cannot shield your children from those dangers forever. You are doing them a disservice by keeping them sheltered and then suddenly “releasing them into the wild” of reality with little to no life experience. If your daughter gets stuck in a relationship with someone who is too domineering, tell her to communicate her issue with him, and if they can’t solve it, then to break up with him. Of course, if she feels uncomfortable or he gets aggressive, you may need to explore other options, but I don’t see an issue with trying “communication” first. Who knows – he might just be a normal teenage boy who doesn’t know how to date yet! He might need that advice in order to avoid that behaviour in the future. We need to teach our young women how to be strong and make smart decisions. Part of that is teaching them that there is danger out there. Part is knowing when to be strict and tell them they are not allowed to do something. But you cannot forget that part is letting them make some small mistakes so they can avoid the big ones later.

    • I should add – if these points ARE in fact misrepresented, then this comment is directed to the author of the article.

  10. Delaying Milestones is a surefire way to get your young adults to rebel and do it behind your back. If any of your children or teens are like my son, they will do it regardless. Delaying things in lieu of educating them on how to be safe is the worst idea. An example, for those that require one, is the ever present teen pregnancy hot button issue. In states that advocate and present ‘Abstinence Only’ options, the teen pregnancy rate is close to 70%. To put that into an actual number perspective: 70 out of every 100 teens having sex end up pregnant in these states.The STD rate among sexually active teens is a scary 56% in these states. This means that 56 out of every 100 teens having sex is catching an STD in those places that do not properly educate about the use of condoms. (Be it chlamydia, Herpes, Public Lice, etc)

    Conversely, in states that practice Sexual Education and educate their young people on how to stay safe (Disease free) and baby free, the pregnancy rate is less than 15% and the STD rate is virtually nonexistent. As a parent I am well aware that the wider world is a frightening and intimidating prospect. But rather than lock your young person away and leave them ill prepared for the wider world when they are adults, One ought to teach their much loved young person how to be safe in this world. The task of Kid Proofing the world is Impossible. World Proof your young people. Educate them on the right ways to avoid being harmed or taken advantage of or sick with disease. These are skills that are IMPERATIVE to being successful in the world today.