“In the 2nd study, young women who reported father-daughter relationships characterized by warmth, autonomy, support, and structure had lower pretask cortisol levels, and they had attenuated cortisol responses to problem discussion with a friend. In contrast, those who reported father-daughter relationships characterized by rejection, chaos, and coercion had higher pretask cortisol levels, had elevated cortisol in response to problem discussion with a friend, and were more likely to self-disclose about psychosocial stressors.“
Not much is often said about the relationship between fathers and their daughters. There is significant research that has gone into exploring the impacts of such a bond.What seems evident is that a woman’s future is inextricably linked to whether she was fathered well or poorly. Many of the life changing decisions made by females are directly influenced by what happened with their fathers. Quite frequently we stress how important it is for a father to be involved in his son’s life. Of equal import is the father-daughter relationship.
Came across a strange claim form one author: “girls who have no brothers are overly represented among the world’s political leaders.” Girls who are high achievers academically, financially or in athletics, tend to have fathers who have been highly engaged with their childhood. They credit their fathers for encouraging them to be “tenacious, self-disciplined, ambitious, and successful” says professor Linda Nielson in her article, How Dads Affect Their Daughters into Adulthood. I would posit that the converse is true. The absence of healthy father-daughter connections may lead to failures, underdevelopment and underachievement.
On the romantic side, we see an even more apparent impact. The ideal man for a woman is some version of her father. Women marry men who are either like their fathers or the opposite of their fathers. Growing up, her father was the pivotal example of what a man is. The definition or description scripted by is actions, thoughts and speeches will serve to inform her perspectives on men. All her relationships with male figures will be coloured by what she experienced with her father.
We husbands must quickly recognise that much of what we are seeing in how our wives relate to us stem from the influence of their fathers. Being ignorant of this very fact has caused strained marriages. The present reality in the home is a consequence of years of conditioning. Her insecurities, communication style, pet peeves, strong dislikes have much to do with her father’s role in her life.
“What is surprising is not that fathers have such an impact on their daughters’ relationships with men, but that they generally have more impact than mothers do.” Linda Neilson
A woman’s beliefs about self are deeply connected to this father-daughter relationship. Daughters who are well-fathered may have less self worth issues. A healthy view of self is just one of the positives that can accrue from having a “good” father. The emotional impression that has manifestations in adulthood is the subject or scientific research. Here’s a finding from a research published in 2012:
The mental health of a daughter correlates to the type of bond she shares with her dad. What this research is saying is, that her ability to handle difficult situations in the future is compromised by a poor father-daughter relationship. Females exposed to such circumstances may be more inclined to see challenges/problems as stressful!
Some men seem to think that girls should be spending more time with their mothers but this imbalance may do more harm than good. Girls need the support, care and nurture of a good father. The male figure must be present. Now don’t confuse presence with availability. Many fathers are present but they’re not emotionally available to their daughters especially. Thus, misconceptions are created and sustained over a lifetime with untold consequences.
Given the significance of the father-daughter bond, fathers, get more involved with your daughters. Plan activities, take trips, be deliberate about spending time with her. Have those difficult conversations, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Help her to create and maintain a healthy, positive self-image. Her social, academic, intellectual, athletic, and psychological development are all hinged on what you do. The long term effects are tremendous.