Research shows that a father’s relationship with his daughter is at least as important in so many areas of her life.
The role of the father is often overlooked. We tend to assume that a father doesn’t need to be as communicative, or as involved, as a mother.
Often we believe that fathers aren’t as insightful or as emotionally skilled as mothers.
Yet all the research shows that a father’s relationship with his daughter is at least as important in so many areas of her life.
Here are some aspects of how important a father-daughter bond really is.
A girl’s father is the most influential man in her life
The way a little girl sees her father will be the way she sees men later in life. Even when they’re long gone, that father figure will linger on and appear in many different aspects of a girl’s life. She will raise her children as her father raised her, and transfer that wisdom she learned from her father onto future generations.
If a father can provide their daughter with security, while still enabling her to grow into a strong woman, she will be able to trust men and develop healthy relationships in the future. A father’s presence has as much of an influence as the lack of such a presence – it’s a role that has the same impact on a person whether they decide to play it or not.
Those lessons are all being delivered not by what a father tells his daughter, but by how he interacts with her and her mother. While a mother can serve as a role model, a father will show her what to expect of other men.
A father’s love can make or break a girl
A daunting statement made less so when you examine the research.
- Girls who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety.
- Girls with loving fathers are more assertive.
- Girls with good fathers are less likely to flaunt themselves to seek male attention.
Knowing all the impacts of a strong father-daughter bond how do we achieve it?
All father- daughter bonds will be different. I see it with my three daughters and their father. Each one is different and precious in its own way. Each one learning something different from their daddy at different times. But there are some key elements that should be explored when forming a strong and loving father-daughter bond.
1. Be Present From The Start
All new parents feel overwhelmed at first. With no training or certification, you’ve been handed control of another human life. When you learn that you’re having a daughter, you can nurture that bond immediately by simply being present. Your partner will bear the brunt of some of the care, but be present to soothe your new-born daughter, change her nappy, giver her a bath, rock her while mum showers. By making the effort to be present for your daughter, even in those early days, you will have a lasting impact on her life.
2. Quality Time
Fathers need to be there, and not just when times are tough. Being present is step one in forming a strong bond. There will always be excuses that may have you around less than you could be. Work/Life balance. There will always feel like another time to make it up to them but when your daughter really needs you is right now. Put in the work. Your daughter will thank you for it in years to come.
3. Play Together
Play a game around the house. Whatever it is, be there to provide your daughter with a primary playmate. When you play with your daughter, she sees you as her primary playmate and has the opportunity to feel like the centre of attention. If you take the time to teach her the rules of a sport, for example, you can build on that relationship by taking her to a game to see it live and encouraging her to get involved in that particular activity herself. If sports isn’t her thing try art or colouring? An activity like this is an excellent way to bond—even if you both aren’t budding artists, you can still have a lot of laughs. Drawing is something you can actually learn to do and get better at, so both of you can make progress together and grow while you deepen your relationship.
4. Emotional Support
There’s a period when most fathers put a strong barrier in their relationships with their daughters and that is the critical teen period when they start growing into women. You need to understand that this is a confusing period for them as well-the fact is that your boyhood had different stages and you can never fully comprehend what she’s going through, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to try.
5. Listen to her
As above, when she is going through this stage, it may be tough for you to understand or know what to do for her. Listen is your best tool here. Listen to her when she is telling you something. Don’t judge her or get angry. She needs to learn she can trust you and that together you can work anything out.
Above all else, you don’t want to miss your daughter becoming a grown up because that exact period is when she will develop strong characteristics that will later be a part of her personality. Naturally, this is when she needs your help most, whether she realises it or not, so be there for her. It may not always go smoothly – chances are they won’t – but your effort won’t be unnoticed.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.