The relationship between a daughter and her father is a major factor in the growth and development of a female. Beyond modeling behavior that his daughter will expect from other men in her life, the interaction between a father and his daughter will help in the formation of her identity and what she views as normal roles for a man and a woman. If a girl's father was absent, negligent or abusive during her childhood, the negative effects of that relationship can later extend to her children and to society as a whole.
Early Sexual Development
The quality of the father-daughter relationship can have an effect on the timing of sexual development in girls. The experience of an absentee or emotionally distant father can become evident in the onset of menstruation and the growth of body hair at an earlier age, reveals psychologist Lynda G. Boothroyd, Ph.D., in “Father Absence, Parent-Daughter Relationships and Partner Preferences.” These daughters are also more likely to have sexual intercourse at an earlier age than their counterparts with a better quality of father-daughter relationships.
Poor Intimate Relationships
According to the research of Lynda Boothroyd, women who have poor relationships with their fathers are more likely to choose mates whose personality and characteristics differ widely from that of their fathers. They were actually found to prefer romantic partners who had features that were less masculine. These women were also more likely to experience marital difficulty later in life or be sexually promiscuous.
Linda Nielsen, Ph.D., author of the book "Between Fathers and Daughters: Enriching or Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship," states that a poor father-daughter relationship played a major factor in how a female communicates and relates to others, especially the men in her life. If there is poor communication between father and daughter, she is likely to have communication problems with other men.
When a father is absent, whether physically or emotionally, from his daughter’s life, especially during childhood, it may seriously affect the daughter’s ability to form a strong bond with not only him, but it may have a “trickle down” effect to all the other men who will come into her life. She may find it difficult to open up to other men and even to her own father for fear that she will be abandoned or disappointed again.
- Father–Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues; Linda Nielsen
- Journal of Evolutionary Psychology: Father Abscence, Parent–Daughter Relationships and Partner Preferences
- Psychologicalscience.org: Father-Daughter Bonds and the Quality of Daughter's Romantic Relationships: Are the Two Significantly Linked?
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