The Importance of Strong Father-Daughter Relationships (That Most Dads Don’t Know)
Dads play a crucial role in their daughters’ lives. This wasn’t so widely known (or accepted) before, but it is now clear how poor relationships between dads and daughters can have a devastating impact on a girl. The resulting effects tend to show up during teenage years, or early adulthood, and often last for the rest of her life.
This is tragic.
The father-daughter connection is such a beautiful bond that is filled with the gifts of being human – joy, passion, compassion, empathy, laughter, love and so much more. It is truly a terrible waste to be squandered. No man with his eyes wide open would ever do it.
If only more fathers are aware of and acknowledge this, there will be happier little girls all over the world who will grow up to be strong, balanced women and mothers.
Let’s get the word out – shout it loud and spread it far.
Why does a Daughter need her Father?
Although every girl is unique and has different needs, there are 7 key reasons why daddies must man up to the fatherly role that plays a huge part in every girl’s life:
- First Man in Her Life – You’re the first and only man (in most cases) in her life for the critical early and middle childhood years until she’s twelve. You’re the first love, the one she gives her heart to before it’s ever been broken. You’re the first man she says “I Love you” to. You’re the man that allows her to establish stable emotional foundations, to love, to feel loved and to embrace love.
- Only Parent to Provide what a Mother Can’t – You have to provide the essential balance to complement her mother’s efforts. By having two engaged parents and an active dad to play the critical male role, a girl will be surrounded by a more complete environment to flourish physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Trust, Safe, Confidante – On top of trusting adults and the world around them, if a girl feels that she can feel safe with the first man in her life and trust the first man she has ever loved, then it will help her to trust men more in her life. So, be there for her when she needs it and be a dad she can talk with when she doesn’t have anywhere else to turn to.
- Unconditional Love & Acceptance – In a world that’s increasingly all about who you are and what you are, it is ever more important to let a child know that there is a place where she is loved and accepted unconditionally. Loved by someone (other than her mother) who does not judge her and where the affection is not dependent on anything.
- Care & Involved in Her Life – Daughters normally want more than words of love. They want love in action, which means you need to actively care and be involved in her life. Just saying it isn’t enough. You need to take part in what she’s doing, what she likes, what she feels, her ups and especially her downs.
- Positive Male Role Model – As the main man in her youth, dads are looked up to by daughters as an example of what to expect from men. Fathers who act in a responsible, kind, supportive and decent way have a strong influence on their daughters’ future relationships with males in their life. A good father shows his daughter than men can be trusted and depended on to be a coach, companion, confidante, and shoulder to cry on.
- Have Fun Together – Daughters love to spend quality time together with their dads. It shows them how to enjoy being with a man, to do interesting things together, to appreciate each other’s company, to laugh together and have a jolly good time. Any dad who connects with his daughter in this way will set her up to find happiness with the men in their life.
Benefits of a Healthy Father-Daughter Relationship
Among other things, a positive father-daughter relationship will lead to:
- Greater Self Confidence – She will believe in herself and have more confidence when dealing with men and in all aspects of life. A warm, reassuring dad-daughter relationship built on trust will help girls to be emotionally secure, as she has been made to feel that she’s good enough in every way.
- Stronger Relationships – If a girl learns that men can be trusted (from her dad), she’s likely to have faith in women too. This positive belief in people can only lead to building more fulfilling relationships with friends, coworkers, intimate partners and everyone around her. It will also help her develop a strong relationship with herself to flourish as a person.
- Better School Results – Kids who have confidence and self-belief naturally excel at school. They take part in things, they engage with people, they dare to ask questions, they dare to try and are okay with failure. This normally translates to solid academic and extra-curricular activities.
- Fewer Behavioral Problems – Children who are grounded by love, confidence and happiness don’t tend to have any major behavioral issues. They receive sufficient attention, have their complaints heard, have their opinions respected, have their expectations managed and are accepted for who they are.
- Body Image Acceptance – Unconditional love and acceptance from the first man in her life has a massively positive impact on a girl’s image of herself. It reassures her to be comfortable with who she is and what she looks like. A father who wholeheartedly cherishes his daughter will make her feel complete in every way, and that includes her physical appearance, an area which women typically feel insecure about.
- Better Mental Health – A dad who is present, involved and cares deeply about his daughter will help her to develop emotional strength and resilience. It will also give her the confidence and cognitive clarity to be in control of her mind, her thoughts and her troubles.
Effects of a Bad Father-Daughter Relationship
A strong bond between dads and daughters doesn’t necessarily guarantee that she will grow up to be free from problems. However, many studies have linked a poor father-daughter relationship to have serious consequences that emerge during adolescent years and beyond.
These are some of the lifelong issues a girl may have to live with if her dad isn’t able to play the vital fathering role that she needs:
- Lower Self Confidence – If her dad doesn’t make time for her, puts her down constantly or worse still just acts like she doesn’t mean much or doesn’t exist, then it’s not surprising if a girl grows up to question herself and her self worth. This low self confidence will definitely be applicable to men, but also to other parts of her life.
- Issues Trusting Males – If a girl’s own father let’s her down, there will be unavoidable repercussions. He’s the first man she’s ever loved, ever trusted, ever expected to be there for her. And if he abuses this trust, it’ll be very hard for her to be so trusting in the future. This will have inevitable knock-on effects on her relationships with brothers, boyfriends, friends, male colleagues and eventually her husband.
- Behavioral Problems – The signs of a weak or non-existent father-daughter relationship often show up as behavioral problems during teen or maybe tween years. Girls may play up to get attention, develop a bad attitude and be difficult to get along with because that’s how their role model has treated them.
- Under-Performance at School – Poor academic results may be another sign of a daughter getting inadequate attention from her father. It may not be a direct correlation, but more from the overall effect of missing a crucial part of what she needs, that leads to a bad performance in school.
- Poor Communication Skills – Troubled father daughter relationships commonly lead to a lower self confidence and an inability for girls to express themselves properly. Combined with a negative attitude that’s caused by pent up frustrations, this often results in dismal social and people skills.
- Problematic Intimate Relationships – It is unfortunate and far too common that daughters who have had their heart broken by their dads, end up carrying the unresolved disappointment into subsequent relationships with male partners. This typically puts a strain on romantic encounters and dooms them to failure unless the core problem is addressed.
- Mental Health Problems – Men who have been inadequate or bad fathers have certainly contributed to the current global mental health epidemic. A lot of the women and girls who suffer from depression, anxiety issues, eating disorders and other mental health difficulties are likely to have had an absent, uninvolved, toxic or problematic father daughter relationship.
As you can see, the importance of being a good father to your daughter is absolutely essential. The long term effects of a broken or non-existent relationship can lead to lifelong suffering that continues for generations.
More Happy Little Girls
Please help to share this article with all the dads you know. Most of them will love their daughters in immeasurable ways already, while many will hopefully gain a lot by getting a deeper understanding of:
- why they MUST make time for their children
- the direct and long term benefits of their efforts
- the serious consequences of failing to be a good father
Do share any thoughts or questions in the comments section below.