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Fathers and daughters have a unique bond. Women who have a good relationship with their fathers are lucky enough to look back at their fond memories when they grow up. Having a good relationship with her father not only shapes a girl’s childhood experience but also influences her behaviour towards other men later in life. If a girl’s father is erratic or completely absent by nature, then it creates a feeling of low self-esteem in her, and she might have trouble trusting men in general. Therefore, every parent should appreciate and understand the importance of a father’s role in the life of a girl.
Why is the Father-Daughter Relationship Important?
Building a father-daughter relationship at a young age is an essential aspect of a girl’s psychological adjustments. Being emotionally attached to her father benefits a girl throughout her life. Here are some reasons why a strong bond between the father and daughter is crucial:
- Fathers are role models. They lay a foundation of security, trust, and love.
- Daughters tend to judge all the other men who come into their lives later based on the example their fathers set for them.
- A girl develops confidence and self-esteem if she has a good bond with her father.
- When a father gets involved in his daughter’s education, she tends to do better as compared to girls whose fathers never get involved.
- Girls have a better career because of the early influence of their fathers. They become more successful and achievement-oriented.
- A loving father makes his daughter feel good about herself as he helps her during every stage of her life.
How Does a Father Influence His Daughter’s Life?
Every father-daughter relationship goes through three different phases. Some are difficult while others are easy and fun, but they are all important.
1. When She is a Child
Also known as the ‘hero dad-princess daughter phase’, this first phase is easy and fun. During this phase, the daughter is the darling little princess, and the dad is her superhero. At this age, the father influences the daughter in the following ways:
Mental and Emotional Development
During the early stages of the girl’s life, the involvement of her father helps in her emotional and mental development. Children who are attached to their fathers are better at finding solutions to general problems. They also show less anxiety and withdrawal behaviours when they are close to their fathers.
A Sense of Security
Feeling secure is important for a girl as she grows up. It enables her to thrive in a relatively safe environment if she knows that her father is watching out for her. She also develops self-confidence and is free of inhibitions.
2. When She is a Teenager
This is a tricky phase. The daughter might start rolling her eyes at everything her father says, and it is not a very enjoyable phase for the father. In this situation, relationship problems may occur between a father-daughter. This phase starts when she is 11 years old and ends after she turns 21. This stage might get a little confusing for the father, but he must not forget that she is trying to figure out herself and the world. Many fathers prefer to step back a little and help her raise her self-esteem.
The father’s connection and communication will help the daughter make the right decisions. A father should provide stability and moral guidance to his daughter because this is the time when she is surrounded and tempted by bad influences.
Having a good relationship with the father will help the girl make healthier choices in life. She also will have increased confidence.
Fathers who are affectionate towards girls provide them with a sense of self-worth. Inability to deal with conflicts with their fathers or the absence of a father eventually leads to low self-esteem in girls.
Girls are more likely to get straight A’s when the father is involved in academics. They also have better intellectual functioning and verbal skills.
3. When She is an Adult
Also known as the world’s greatest dad-adult daughter phase, this is the best phase. In this phase, both can understand and communicate with each other. This is the time when a father can guide his daughter in her career, marriage, and love.
Fathers help their girls solve problems, think logically, become goal-oriented, and competitive. A father helps her follow her dreams and pushes her to believe in herself.
Daughters learn more about relationships by observing their father’s actions and behaviour. They judge men based on the standard their father sets. Happy marriages are connected to a warm parent-child relationship. If the parents have marital problems, the girl tends to be insecure, anxious, and aggressive.
Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Daughter
A girl is generally closer to her mother, which is why it is essential to build a father-daughter relationship at a very young age. Some ways are listed below:
When She is a Young Girl
Here’s what you should do to strengthen your bond with your daughter when she is a child:
- When she is a baby, respond quickly to her cries. Hold her, sing and talk to her as much as you can.
- No matter how small it is, when she achieves some task, compliment her. If she is not able to complete a task give positive feedback.
- Perform many activities together, especially sports.
- Get involved in her projects, school work, and exam preparation.
- Meet her friends and help them organise a get-together party.
When She is a Teenager/Adult
Here’s how you can bond with your teenage daughter:
- Invest time in your daughter. Spending ordinary time with her would help you two bond.
- Take her for a drive, just the two of you.
- When she is a teenager, privacy and space are essential. Therefore, give her some space but always make sure that she knows you will be available if she needs you or when she gets into trouble.
- Trust your daughter.
- Sharing your emotions with her will help her share hers with you.
- Always give positive feedback and talk encouragingly. Criticising her will decrease her confidence and self-esteem.
- Pay attention to her when she is with you. Show interest in her problems and life. Be sensitive.
- Set some ground rules but grant her with the right amount of freedom.
Ways to Fix a Broken Father-Daughter Relationship
It’s never too late to bond with your daughter. Don’t forget that she was once your baby girl.
- Healing starts when you share your emotions with others. So share your pain or feelings with her by talking/writing to her.
- Every individual has the power to control everything in his or her life. So, you should not let the past decide your present and future.
- Get candid with her. She was not responsible for your absence, and she needs to know that whatever happened was not her fault.
- Talk to your daughter and let her know how much you missed her. Ask her about how she coped up with your absence.
- Give her confidence. Assure her that you will not leave her again and will be there for her.
- Give her some time to accept the reality and have patience. She might not accept you at the moment, but you can win her confidence with your perseverance.
Effects of a Father’s Absence on the Daughter
Reasons like legal separation, divorce, death, or incarceration can separate children from their parents. But sometimes, the busy schedule of the father can make the daughter feel the same way. His absence can have numerous effects on the overall well being of the girl. Girls without a father could be deprived of confidence, attention, and self-worth.
- The absence of a father creates a void in the daughter’s life, and others try to influence her attitude and actions. Such girls often allow people to define them and could exhibit attention-seeking behaviour without even realising it.
- The absence of a father might jumpstart puberty because it triggers hormonal changes in girls. This reason along with so many behavioural problems could be one of the reasons why girls without fathers have early menstruation or teenage pregnancies.
- Girls tend to seek the help of their fathers in their academics, especially when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects. Girls without a father figure might have less interest in these subjects, and this might discourage them from pursuing a career in mathematics.
Fathers tend to bond better with their sons than daughters. However, with a little more understanding, fathers can feel very comfortable with their daughters and bond better with them too.