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What Kind of Impact Do Dads Have on Their Daughters?

by Martha Holden, studioD

Research at various universities, including the University of Canterbury, seek to address the impact fathers have on their daughter’s biological and emotional development. One study published by "Science Daily" and the National Institutes of Health concluded that girls who have close relationships with their families, especially their fathers, experience late puberty. When girls enter puberty at an early age, they become sexually active in their teens and are likely to get pregnant. Additionally, girls raised without fathers are at a higher risk of suffering from eating disorders, depression and other behavioral problems, according to InsightNews.com.


Due to the natural bond between a father and his daughter, direct involvement in her life is crucial to her development. It allows him to help diminish her insecurities, build self-confidence and curb possible low esteem. Positive parenting methods such as verbal encouragement, having an active interest in her hobbies, taking time to listen to her and being sensitive to her feelings helps a girl assert her self-image.

Social Relationships

A father is the first male figure a girl interacts with from birth and they learn to use their father-daughter relationship as an example for their future interactions with men. Daughters who grow up with involved fathers have a feeling of acceptance and can easily conduct themselves among their peers and in male dominated fields. However, girls without father figures experience difficulties forming healthy relationships with men.


An overly involved father at times is overprotective, permissive and shelters his daughter from real and perceived danger creating the stereotypical "daddy's girl." Such a girl grows up with little patience or tolerance because the father provides her with whatever she wants. Later in adulthood she may develop risky behaviors, such as seduction and manipulation, to get what she wants.


The kind of men a woman dates is directly related to the kind of relationship she has with her father. Having an abusive, absent or unreliable father often leads girls to subconsciously seek unreliable partners or completely stay away from men out of fear. This psychological effect is partly due to humans' attraction to the familiar, even though it might be more negative than something new. Daughters that grow up with a present and loving father attract men who are respectful, compassionate and providers as displayed by their fathers.

About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.

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