Kathleen Odenthal is a freelance writer from the NYC area. She has a passion for politics and political movements.
Most people agree that parenting plays a major role in children's mental health, ability to succeed, social skills, academic performance, and more. While not everyone is lucky enough to have two parents or even one parent present for their development, those who are often owe much of who they become as adults to their parents' influence.
Fathers play a major role in their daughters' development, and depending on the nature of their relationship, they can have a significant impact on the person their daughter becomes. This article examines 10 reasons why fathers' relationships with their daughters, both in childhood and adulthood, are so important.
1. Fathers Shape Their Daughters' Self-Esteem
Fathers play a key role in their daughters' psychological development from the moment they are born. The difference between a loving, attentive father and an absent father can have a huge impact on how a child grows up.
When fathers are absent, either physically or emotionally, their daughters are affected in many negative ways. When fathers are present and loving, their daughters develop a strong sense of self and often become more confident in their abilities. In order to develop positive self-esteem, a healthy father-daughter bond is key.
2. Fathers Influence Their Daughters' Body Images
While related to general self-esteem, body image deserves a mention of its own. A person's body image is the way they view themself physically and often has no bearing on the way they are seen by others. By showing their spouse and daughter unconditional love, a father can help foster a positive body image in his daughter that will stick with her for much of her life.
Fathers who berate their daughters or spouses about their appearances can impact their daughters' psyches in a way that fosters a negative body image and can even lead to the development of eating disorders.
A negative body image can also develop if a father gives off verbal or non-verbal signs that the way women look is what defines them. This can manifest via body-shaming comments and even by watching television shows or films that place undue importance on the way women look.
3. Father-Daughter Bonds Are Correlated With Academic Abilities
Recent studies have shown that a strong father-daughter bond not only shapes a daughter's self-esteem, body image, relationships, and behavioral traits, but it even impacts their ability to perform well academically.
Although research is still being conducted to figure out why this happens, women who had healthy relationships with their fathers for most of—if not all of—their lives performed better in school and on tests than those who had no relationship with their father or if their relationship with their father was unhealthy.
4. Fathers Influence Their Daughters' Behavior
Psychology used to put a heavy emphasis on the bond between a mother and her children, but recent studies have shown that fathers also have a large influence on their children when it comes to the development of behavioral traits.
Fathers who show love to their daughters and accept them as they are help foster a positive sense of self. Negligent fathers, on the other hand, can send their daughters down a dark path of depression, substance abuse, and psychological problems.
5. Fathers Impact Their Daughters' Social Traits
The father-son bond comes much more naturally to some fathers than the father-daughter bond, especially as daughters age. Unfortunately, a lack of communication between a father and his daughter can have lasting effects on the way a daughter interacts socially.
Studies have shown that daughters who communicate regularly with their fathers in a positive way communicate better with both male and female individuals in other parts of their lives. From birth to adulthood, the level and quality of communication between a father and his daughter play a heavy role in a daughter's ability to express her feelings, emotions, and thoughts.
6. Fathers Show Their Daughters How Women Deserve to Be Treated
Although mothers play a critical role in the lives of their daughters, much of what women learn about life comes from their fathers. From an early age, daughters pick up on the way their fathers treat other women—especially their mothers.
Fathers who are verbally or non-verbally abusive, neglectful, or hurtful towards their spouses are unknowingly teaching their daughters how women deserve to be treated. Most women who wind up in abusive relationships later in life report some form of abuse as a child, even if it is a minor occurrence. Fathers who show love to their wives and daughters teach them that women should be loved, cared for, and treated with respect by the men in their lives.
7. Fathers Can Help Determine Their Daughters' Persistence
The "magic" fathering style that has been linked to the development of persistence in daughters is called authoritative parenting. This parenting style is characterized by warmth and love accompanied by accountability, rules, and responsibility.
According to researcher Laura Padilla-Walker, "fathers who are most effective are those who listen to their children, have a close relationship, set appropriate rules, but also grant appropriate freedoms."
8. Fathers Help Define Future Romantic Relationships for Their Daughters
Scientific studies have suggested that the early stages of a woman's life can shape her future through both her conscious and unconscious perceptions of others around her, including her parents. From an early age, a girl learns what to look for in a romantic partner by watching her own father's actions, behaviors, and traits. Research suggests that healthy father-daughter relationships are associated with more positive and less risky sexual behavior.
9. Fathers Help Define Their Daughters' Non-Romantic Relationships
Scientific studies show that from an early age, fathers set the standard by which their daughters judge other men both romantically and platonically. Being a father means being a role model and setting the standard for how their daughters will view other men. A father who shows love to the women in his life and is nurturing and compassionate can help his daughter avoid unhealthy relationships and friendships with men as she ages.
10. Fathers Are Role Models for Their Daughters Whether They Like It or Not
Daughters don't choose to be born, but parents choose to have children—this is an important distinction and a key factor as to why healthy father-daughter relationships are so important. A father is supposed to be a role model in the life of his daughter.
As I have already discussed, studies show that daughters who don't have healthy bonds with their fathers may be more likely to engage in aggressive behavior, practice unsafe sex, perform poorly in school, develop unhealthy relationships with others, and even develop psychological problems compared to daughters who have strong bonds with their fathers.
© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal
Davidetta saydee on July 02, 2020:
My father is like both mother and father feel blessed by God.
Emily on June 12, 2020:
My dad was emotionally abusive , disrespectful, inattentive and practically a bad father. And yes, it did affect me a great deal. I always felt inadequate, unaccepted , and under confident in my teen years. I've grown up a lot since then, but I can't go back and erase the past even though I want to.
Dad on March 09, 2020:
It's sad to see to so many "moms" come here not accepting Dads AND Moms are important to children.
Marl on February 28, 2020:
I think all of you are taking it too far lol. Its an article, it doesnt state that father are better than mothers, or vise versa. As one isnt “better” then the other. They are saying the best option is to have both parents, then it highlights the importance of a dad .
Angie on January 25, 2020:
Did you know all your fun mental disorders come from the X chromosome that is the one donate by Dad. My daughter is 18 going on 19 months and all she wants is her Du Du lmao. I diont get to spend a ton of time with my dad.
Jean on December 29, 2019:
Sad people here who are determined to try to place dads above mothers. It won't work. That's some kind of evil.
Daughter on November 23, 2019:
The people choosing to comment and say that dads are not as important as mothers? That is BS. My dad was the only parent my sister and I ever had. My mother chose to abandon us for drugs and whatever else she could put into her body, and if it wasn’t for my dad I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today. No part of me ever wondered what it would be like to have a mom, or felt like I missed out on an important relationship that other daughters had. My dad is a true parent, and filled both roles in our home. We didn’t need a mom, and my dad is still my best friend to this day.
I’m not saying mothers aren’t important. Obviously they are. But you can’t comment and say that fathers are in no way as important to a daughter than her mother. It’s ridiculous to think that a father can’t fill the same needs a daughter receives from her mother.
Ann-Marie Williams on October 23, 2019:
This is absolutely wonderful and very relevant
kgomotso on July 11, 2019:
Not having money to support my daughter is my excuse not to visit her and its killing me inside
Jean on July 04, 2019:
You didn't have to copy my comment verbatim, just so you could attack me and other females for speaking up against worshipping dads. The world knows that dad will never be more important than mom.
See, dads are not more important more than mothers. They can never fill the shoes of mother. Dad will never be more important than moms. We should never worship or exalt our dads and our husbands. This is evil.
Anony. on June 26, 2019:
Makes a lot of sense. My father was emotionally absent, rejected me and was not the ideal father. I also watched him cheat on my mother. This article is so true because I became agressive, angry, and did terrible in school. They got a divorce and it just caused so much depression and I’ve always felt like something was missing. Thanks for this article!
Hiba on June 03, 2019:
10 reasons for having dad
Andrew on April 24, 2018:
I and some others, are very impressed by your writing of this article. Strong father figures over the years have been marginalized by society, and it's refreshing to read an article about how important my role is to my daughters. As I read the comments section I felt the painful reminder most fathers feel when someone tries to diminish the importance of fathers. This country is always trying to diminish my self worth as a father.
Listen Kathleen, I am so thankful to read that in various aspects of my daughters life I play a MORE IMPORTANT role than her mother. It's great to recognize what both of the sexes can bring to the table when talking about the psychological development of daughters. We can always find mommy blogs and articles and videos from women that exalt mom over dad. I am impressed with your ability to put sex aside and give an honest accurate and well written article about something that is very much lacking in a lot of young womens lives. You help close the open wound left by society. You came across as a level headed female who didn't take sides based on sex, but based your opinion on research. Others too, want you to know that they are thrilled, that they see you as someone who values a strong male presence within the nuclear family. They wonder why there aren't more articles written like this. The payoff of inspiring boys to be men is tremendous.
This country has always been a shining light for the rest of the world and sadly over the past few decades we have lost our way and lost our family values and morals. Women and girls should be cherished and men need to step up in their role as provider and nurturer. Lately men have been ridiculed and diminished, but we remain resilient and strong, determined to keep a smile on our faces and the wind to our back. It is time to stop man hating and trying to divide people by groups. I am encouraged you see this fact. Kathleen it's time to continue to encourage more men to be strong fathers. Please do write more articles that show how in various aspects of child development men are more important than mom. I think it will encourage more men to be fathers.
I am sure your surveys are impartial and me and everyone else who I randomly speak for await another great article written about dads!
Jean on March 14, 2018:
I and some others, are disappointed by your writing of an article to explain that you believe dads are more important to a daughter than her mom. As I read this article, I felt the hurt that most moms feel when yet again, someone tries to diminish moms. This country is always trying to do just that.
Listen Kathleen, no dad is ever more important to their daughter, than her mother. We can always find articles and videos from men, to exalt dad over mom, but for a woman to write this notion, is unbelievable and disparaging. You added salt to an already open wound about parental roles and importance. You came across as a traitor, who has taken sides against your own gender. Why would you? Others too, want you to know that they are hurt, that they see you as a man/dad supporter . They winder why you take men's angle. Whats the pay off??
Surveys can be subjective and sine should be rendered unreliable. A questionnaire must be carefully worded to not produce a slant, the. must maintain reliability, fairness, without contamination, dishonesty. So often we see or hear someone say that they have conducted a survey. So survey creators, conductor should follow real guidelines. follow all guidelines.
This country has always been a breeding ground for sexism and othe biases, but sadly, women and girls, have struggled, but taken the injustices in stride, smiling while being diminished. Women and girls still exalted and worshipped men. I am discouraged by you not seeing this fact. Kathleen it's time to stop exalting men. Men have always had all the power and they have always sought to diminish women and girls in every way possible. But please do not write any more articles saying a dad is more important than a mom.
I will volunteer to help you with your next survey concerning this and other topics. This time I can show you how to get participants who are willing to give their names and allow their testimonies to be revealed to show authenticity.
The Daughter - M.A.W on January 14, 2018:
As the daughter in this, I can say that majority of this information is true. My father walked out on my mother and I when I was 14. Prior to that, he had been cheating and then demanded a divorce when I was 12, which he got, but still lived with us. He never paid child support or cared for me. I didn't talk to him much when he was still living with us, but when he left, I saw him packing and I knew he was leaving. And it hurt. I didn't know my parents where divorced until I was 14, I didn't know any of it. I still sometimes find myself doubting my self-worth. Other times I wonder why he did what he did and whether or not he still thinks about me...
Alienated Father on March 30, 2017:
Well I wonder if my ex wife has read this as she wilfully mislead and minipulated the family court through a complete abuse of process. I had every appalling accusation possible raised against me and the time came to look after myself before the court distroyed me. I have not seen my daughter for over six years as a once innocent and loving relationship between a five year old girl and her father was totally distroyed by her mother and incompetent family courts.
Anon on March 15, 2017:
Well as a recently separated father to a 7 year old girl there has been a reasonable amount of soul searching taking place. It has been proposed that my role in her life is now complete pretty well and extended family are now of upmost importance....necessitating her to move to another country. This I refuse to accept as I think that my input with this beutiful little girl is of the utmost priority. Thanks for the hub...condolidates now not just what i feel is right in my heart but what is best.
goalsarehigh on October 22, 2016:
Fantastic hub, used some of the words when trying to write a letter to my dad who I hardly see and trying to make him understand how having him in my life would be so important to me and my family as he doesn't see his only biological grandchildren and only sends them money for Christmas but money means nothing in the eyes of a child!!
Rani on August 14, 2016:
I cannot deny the fact that daughter has strong bond with her father than her mother. I don't know about any research work, but it really true for me.i really shared strong special bond with my father. Unfortunately, he is no more.He died long in 2008.But still I can feel him. I missed him. He is always in my heart. Still I feel his presence. He still inspires me. He motivates me.All my childhood memories brings happiness in me. I am 40 years old . I have my own family. But he is always part of mine sometimes I feel guilty why I don't have such special bond with my mother. I love her but I can feel not that special one. She is living with us .I love her .I feel for her. But special bonding is missing somewhere and I always tries to have that extraordinary love but cannot do justice with her and not with myself. I am sorry mommy. I love you daddy. You are my hero. I am proud to be your daughter. I am trying and will always try to be the best daughter of yours. I miss you.
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on August 10, 2014:
Um, I disagree with you and have read numerous clinical studies on this subject, not to mention my own personal experiences. I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but there is no need to be rude and tell others that you are correct and that they are wrong
Jean(in the Valley) on August 10, 2014:
August 9, 2014
It is true that the most important parent is the like gender parent, so a mother is the role model parent or the daughter and the dad for the son.
We can also admit that the mother is important in a girl's growing up, not just her dad. This trend or belief, is just old patriarchal myth that was created by men, a man made doctrine to exalt dads higher than moms. This myth wont work , sorry.
JR Krishna from India on June 28, 2014:
My daughters adore and respect their father. They discuss sports and politics with their father only though they are very close to me.
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on June 28, 2014:
Thank you all for the kind words and support for my hub. I am glad it has been helpful to some of you!
TycoonSam from Washington, MI on June 28, 2014:
I have two daughters. Thank you for this hub!
Kristen Burns-Darling from Orange County, California on June 28, 2014:
I was very blessed to have grown up with both an amazing father and grandfather. Because of them, I grew up with many advantages, (strong self-image, high self-esteem, and a deep understanding of how a man SHOULD treat a woman that he loves, etc.), that many of my peers unfortunately lacked. This is a strong hub with much needed advice for fathers and for daughters. Voted up, useful, and interesting.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on June 28, 2014:
I was just discussing this subject with my daughter about her husband and my granddaughter. They do not have a good relationship and there has been much emotional absence from my son in law. He doesn't 'get it' despite all that my daughter attempts to point out to him.
Your hub has so much valuable information it is a real help. Thanks for your insightful wisdom here. UP/U/I and shared.
David Hamilton from Lexington, KY on June 21, 2014:
Someone wants me to hear this. I have heard much of the same information on the radio heading to work. Thanks for sharing.
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on June 14, 2014:
Thank you very much for your comment, you completely got what I was trying to say and that means the world to me :)
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 14, 2014:
This is a wonderful hub. This hub is why I am always so impressed when a young man talks of the importance of fatherhood and children. Fathers can be absent, whether they divorce or stay married in name only. But real men take fatherhood seriously and they know the meaning of commitment and the time it takes to make that commitment an enriching family experience. Sorry, I tend to ramble. Great hub.
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on June 11, 2014:
Thanks Madison! I just saw yours, it was so beautiful!
Maddi on June 11, 2014:
Great hub for Father's Day :)
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on June 08, 2014:
I am in a similar boat MsDora, and I am glad your daughter has a good father figure to look up to :)
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 08, 2014:
Great points and the video is really touching. Never had a dad or dad figure in my life, and I was always jealous of those who did. My ex-husband blamed some of my relationship flaws on that fact. So grateful that my daughter has dad and that they have a good relationship.
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on June 08, 2014:
Thank you so much :) Im glad you had a strong bond with your father, I unfortunately do not, which is what inspired me to write this, because I know how much it hurts me, and I would like other females in my situation to realize it isn't them and they arent alone, and to show those who have strong bonds with their father to appreciate that bond.
Suzie from Carson City on June 08, 2014:
K.O.....You & I feel much the same about a Father-Daughter relationship/Bond. There was only my older sister and I. To this day I think my Dad resolved himself to the fact that a little girl would be his side-kick while he tried not to make a Tom-Boy out of her.
Where ever my Dad was, there I was. Whatever he was doing.....I was trying to do also. He was truly a "multi-talented guy"
I am ever grateful I learned so many interesting things as his "apprentice." LOL
A sweet & wonderful Hub and well-timed for Father's Day...UP+++
Pennington on June 07, 2014:
Excellent hub. Thanks for showing the important ways of how fathers can impact every aspect of their daughter's life. Very needed hub for fathers today. Voted up!!!