Family Works

Fathers and daughters

Rob Coombs ID. Min. Ph.D.
Posted 6/11/17

There are few relationships as important as that of a father and a daughter.

Because a father is the first man in his daughter’s life, there are a multitude of opportunities to influence her …

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Family Works

Fathers and daughters


There are few relationships as important as that of a father and a daughter.

Because a father is the first man in his daughter’s life, there are a multitude of opportunities to influence her life. For this reason, the quality of a father’s relationship with his daughter is a key factor in determining who she becomes.

In fact, research reveals that an actively involved father is able to impact his daughter’s life by decreasing her likelihood of becoming involved in negative behaviors such as drug use and sexual promiscuity, as well as increasing her school performance, self-confidence and chances for a happy marriage.

Equally true, when fathers are not present, daughters are more likely to engage in negative behaviors such as marijuana and cigarette use, delinquency, drop out of school, become pregnant out of wedlock and have abortions.

Self-confidence is one of the most important contributions where a father is able to make a profound impact upon his daughter’s life. Much of a girl’s self-esteem is derived from the self-worth she gains from her father. This places an enormously important role on the father who significantly shapes his daughter’s value system which not only impacts how she views herself and the decisions she makes, but also how she views the role of women in general.

By focusing on her thoughts, beliefs, and dreams, a father can be instrumental in encouraging the development of a confident daughter who is much more likely to succeed in whatever endeavors she may pursue.

Another lasting effect fathers have on daughters is how they relate to and view men. Since a girl’s father is the first man she ever knows or admires, he permanently influences her interactions with other men.

A father teaches his daughter through his example how men should treat women. This is reflected later when the daughter begins forming relationships with men outside of her immediate family.

Females without a positive father figure tend to become more desperate for male attention as they reach their teenage years, whereas girls with involved fathers learn how to interact with other males by using their own father-daughter relationship as a model.

Research certainly reflects this, as fatherless daughters are 53 percent more likely to marry as teenagers, 11 percent more likely to have children as teenagers, and 92 percent more likely to divorce than daughters who come from families where the father is present.

In fact, when fathers are present, there appears to be less of an overpowering need for male companionship and more room to pursue not only a quality relationship with a man, but other areas of personal fulfillment such as education and career.

What a father brings to the positive and healthy development of his daughter is crucial, not only for her childhood, but also her entire adult life. Understanding this, fathers need to recognize that there are few opportunities life gives a man to have a greater impact.

Rob Coombs is a professor with a doctor of ministry degree and a doctor of philosophy with an emphasis in Family Systems.


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