We often see celebrity father/daughters relationships that are both good and bad! From the outside looking in, it appears that Billy Ray Cyrus and daughter Miley Cyrus have an awesome personal and professional relationship. On the other hand, Angelina Jolie and father Jon Voight struggled to keep their father/daughter relationship on good terms. With every relationship, there is “the good, the bad, and the ugly!” Father’s day is just around the corner and it is important for dads to understand the importance of building healthy relationships with their daughters. Remember, the opposite sex parent has the greatest influence on the self-esteem development of the child. In this case, it is the father that has the most influence of secure and healthy self-concept development in their daughters.
So, what do daughters need from their fathers?
There are four basic needs that a daughter needs from her father. Those needs don’t necessarily stop when daughters are adults.
From the very beginning of life, a daughter wants to be touched, protected, seen, and provided for by the father figure in her life. Little girls and big girls always want their father’s acceptance and tell them they are beautiful. A study done at Oklahoma State University determined that the relationship between the father and daughter is a unique relationship that determines the development of daughters.
Identity – The identity of a teenage daughter is determined by what she believes others think about her. The father in her life can be an anchor of who she is even if others around her don’t notice her. She is part of her father and she knows it. Whether he lives in the home or not, she knows that she is part of her father.
Beautiful – Daughters want to know that they are beautiful. The father that can express her beauty in a way that no other can express is what she needs. Beauty is not skin deep, it is the very core of how we think of ourselves. The self-esteem that is established in young women is a direct correlation of the beauty the father expresses to his daughter.
Accepted – This help to tell her that she is accepted no matter what she looks likes or how she acts. It is unconditional. Even if she gets into trouble, she knows that her dad will love her no matter what. Doesn’t mean that the father has to be ok with the actions, but the actions do not define the daughter. The father’s love defines the daughter.
Pursued – This tells them they are valued. They are worth pursuing. A daughter wants to be pursued by her father. She wants him to catch her and tell her she is safe. Sometimes a daughter will demonstrate that she doesn’t want her father around, but that is to see if he really loves her by pursuing even if it is difficult.
The father-daughter relationship can be the most important relationship women will have in their lives. It will set the very foundation of future relationships with men including their husbands and sons. Her respect for others and her husband will be instilled by her father. Self-esteem will be forged during those play times and doing school work together. It will never be one or two big events that determine the relationship between a daughter and her father; it will be the tried and true method of spending time together and experiencing life.
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Author: Jim Hinder, MS & Editor Jada Collins, MS, LMHC is an Orlando Based Family Counselors