Written by Caroline Meyer
Dads and moms generally play significantly different roles in a daughter’s life. Most Dads will find themselves saying ”Go ask your mom” many times during their daughter’s child and teenager years. Mom’s do have a major impact on their daughters, but so do Dads. Many years ago Dads were not even allowed in to the room when mom was giving birth, nowadays, they are there right from the start.
Believe it or not, I have had to learn about menstrual cycles, tampon sizes and how to comfort my daughter after a break-up. I do not intend to be a TV dad that is ignorant of girls and everything that comes with it. I decided from the first moment that she wrapped her tiny hand around my little finger that I would always be there for her. I was involved in bathing her, feeding her and playing with her right throughout her life so far. I wanted her to have a good role model so that she can choose a partner that is good for her one day when she is older. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing “I love you daddy” after I tuck her in to bed and finish reading her a bed time story. Besides the warm feeling I get, the research actually backs up the importance of a girl’s relationship with her dad.
Girls that have a good relationship with their dads are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. They are usually able to express their feelings better and have a better sense of their own self-worth. Girls with involved dads are likely to be more healthy and less likely to live in poverty or be neglected. They say the teen years can be really tough on this relationship between dads and daughters but being able to get a male perspective on dating and relationships can be extremely important during these years. It’s hard for dad in some instances to see his little girl start taking these grown-up steps, but this is a time when the bond starts changing from Daddy and his little girl to a more mature and stronger bond.
There have been many studies done on this relationship and teenage girls with caring, loving Dads that are involved in their lives tend to have a much higher self-esteem as well as be happier than most of their peers that don’t have the same sort of bonds. This sense of emotional well-being actually carries forward right in to early adulthood. Girls with strong paternal bonds are also less likely to have eating disorders during their teens.
After high school, girls may start to become more independent and Dad will become more of an advisor. Dad’s might struggle a bit during this time, especially if the Daddy-daughter bond is very strong, but this is a necessary change to allow little girls to become women and establish their own path in life. If the bond was strong growing up, girls will feel comfortable approaching Dad for advice on careers, love and life. As a Dad, you are a role-model, a care-giver and later on a sounding board and advisor. Many men avoid talking to their daughters about the important things in life and have a superficial relationship with their daughters. It is important that men today realize that there is not such thing as “women’s stuff” and “men’s stuff”. They need to be able to discuss any topics with their kids of any gender.
I have struggled in some ways to get past the stereotypes of the manly man that doesn’t get involved in “girly business”, but I decided I wanted to be there for my daughter every step of the way. For now, she is a cute little girl with pig-tails and dresses, but I know that this stage is not forever. I am not just her provider and protector. I want to be there for her every step of the way. She should know that I am there for her no matter what she needs to discuss and that I will help her as much as I can through times of trouble and heartache. I love this dinky little person that stole my heart on day one and I intend to give her everything I can, including my time as she grows in to a well-rounded woman. What works for me, might not work the same for you and your daughter, but work within your own personal relationship. No matter how old she gets, she will always be your little girl.