The Effects of a Father on a Daughter's Life

Opening Statement:

We live in a world now where you see a father on television and they are usually incompetent, dumb, bubbling idiots. We have replaced the strong father figure with a moron. I watch some TV with my daughters and am disgusted by what I see on some channels (I won’t mention names). Every show that we watch there is either; not a father at all or the father comes in and screws everything up.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic when I say EVERY show but I’m not wrong with saying a big majority of them. Maybe Hollywood has done this to bring in some comedy to a normally dry category for most parents. What I see though is a sign of a declining world for our children. Fathers everywhere need to understand the role they need to take in their family and start stepping up.

Today I am going to focus on the role between a Father and Daughter but the role is seemingly just as important for a Father and Son (although in many different ways). A father has a huge impact on a son when it comes to showing him how a true man is supposed to act. A father has a huge impact on a daughter when it comes to how a man should treat her and her overall confidence as a woman.

These facts can be summarized by Dr. Suzanne Le Menestrel in the Child Trends Research Brief “What Do Fathers Contribute to Children’s Well-Being?” “Higher levels of father involvement in activities with their children, such as eating meals together, going on outings, and helping with homework, are associated with fewer behavior problems, higher levels of sociability, and a higher level of school performance among children and adolescents.”

She continues on with the specific involvement with fathers in daughters lives. “Fathers have an incalculable impact on their daughters. Most psychologists believe, and I am one of them, that all future romantic relationships to occur in a girl’s life will be influenced positively or negatively by the way she perceives and interacts with her dad. If he rejects and ignores her, she will spend her life trying to replace him in her heart. If he is warm and nurturing, she will look for a lover to equal him. If he thinks she is beautiful, worthy, and feminine, she will be inclined to see herself that way.”

These quotes serve as a strong basis to move forward with. We see here the impact that a father, or the lack-there-of, plays on a young girl. The way a father treats his daughter will have psychological repercussions throughout the rest of her life. If he reaffirms her actions and choices she will grow to be a confident woman. If he is constantly second guessing her actions she will grow into an insecure woman. Additionally, his active presence in her life will teach her to seek a man with equal qualities and she will not put herself into a position of “actively seeking” love.

It has been shown in studies that woman who have an active father in their life tend to graduate from college and have higher paying jobs (even jobs that are usually held by men). This is very prominent now with the Summer Olympics going on. A lot of the interviews you see with strong, young female athletes always sight their father and his active role in their training.

If this isn’t enough for those fathers out there it should be noted that a father’s presence in their daughter’s life has a huge role in: who they date, when she starts having sex, and her overall quality of relationships with men. It has been shown that most women who have that strong father role will wait longer to enter a serious relationship, wait longer to become sexually active, and even wait longer to get married or have children. Usually they are concentrating more on establishing themselves in a career than worrying about “replacing” the role their father should have been filling.

A girl with an active father is also less likely to turn to a man for emotional comfort and support. This leads to a less likely chance of that girl being talked into having sex by that man. All of this plays a huge role in the fact that these same women usually have more fulfilling relationships with men and tend to have longer marriages.

Some Father/Daughter Facts:

- Daughters with a strong father role are less likely to become clinically depressed to develop eating disorders.

- They are also more satisfied with their overall appearance and body weight.

- They are less likely to become “teen moms”.

- They are more likely to finish college and have higher paying jobs.

How important is a Father in a child's life?

  • Same Importance as a Mother
  • Very Important
  • Not Important
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Ways that you can be a great father to your daughter:

- Participate in father/daughter activities with her. This can be going on vacations with just her, going on father/daughter dates, or even taking her to work with you.

- Open doors for your daughter and pull out the chair as well! Do things for her to show her the way a real man should treat her. This will show her what she should see in a future spouse and when a man does not do this she will have an easier time “moving on”. Added bonus: bring her flowers!

- Talk with your daughter every day. Ask her how her day was and be genuinely interested in what she has to say. Listen to her when she is upset and validate her feelings.

- Don’t be afraid to give her the “sex talk”. Studies show that a lot of woman find it very difficult to open up with their father. If you talk to your daughter about the sensitive subjects when she is younger she will be more likely to open up to you about the tough topics when she is older. Mothers are not the only resource they have for difficult topics!!

- Be sure to tell her how beautiful she looks, consistently! And don’t judge or talk down about other woman around her. If she hears you talking about how fat another woman looks she will instinctively think that you think the same thing about her (or at least that you judge her based on her weight or looks).

- Empower your daughter by encouraging her to chase her dreams. Teach them that they are able to accomplish anything they set their mind to.

- Always be there for her. This applies to those basketball/volleyball/softball/soccer games but also emotionally. Don’t turn her away because she is crying. “Go see your mother.” Don’t be disgusted by her crying, embrace her and show her how a real man should treat her when she is upset.

- Be that protective dad. She needs to know that you are there for her and that she can call you any hour of the day. And when she calls you she knows you will be there for her.

- In addition to treating her well you must also treat your spouse (hopefully her mother) well. She will see the way you treat your spouse and will form standards based off of that.

- Let her attach to you. Girls with a good sense of “self” are often their dad’s “buddy”. She will naturally want to follow you around. Don’t shy away from this and force her to follow Mom so she doesn’t become a “tomboy”. Girls are just as likely to do things with their dads as boys.

- Lastly, don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong. Michael Austin, associate professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University puts it this way: “What matters in the father-daughter relationship is that Dad seeks to live a life of integrity and honesty, avoiding hypocrisy and admitting his own shortcomings, so that she has a realistic and positive example of how to deal with the world. He should try to model a reflective approach to life’s big questions so that she can seek to do the same.”


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