All children need a male role model in their lives. Dads are the best role models a child can have. There are many important reasons for men being present in their children’s lives. According to Getting Men Involved: The Newsletter of the Bay Area Male Involvement Network, (Spring 1997), children in fatherless homes are more likely to commit suicide, run away from home, exhibit behavioral disorders, commit crime, drop out of high school, become involved with chemical abuse, and are less likely to attend college.
Girls need their dads more than ever, and men need to try to do their best to remain part of their daughter’s lives. Many look at the relationship between women and their daughters and consider it to be the most important aspect of a young girl’s life. While this relationship is very imperative and girls do indeed need their mothers, the relationship between a man and his daughter can have lasting effects on a young girl. Some would even consider a good relationship between a father and his daughter to be even more crucial that the relationship between a mother and a daughter. In fact, fathers have just as much if not more of an impact on their daughters in many areas of their lives.
Fathers are the first male influence that young girls will have. Many young girls affectionately look at their fathers as their first love object. If you have a young daughter, it’s likely you have heard her say at some point in her life that her daddy is her boyfriend, or that she will marry her daddy someday. This is common for young girls, and exhibits the loving attitude young girls have towards their dads. Many fathers affectionately remember these times and remind themselves of the love their daughter once showed, especially when she becomes a teenager and may commonly use phrases such as “I hate you and want you out of my life!” Fortunately, if the father and daughter have had a loving relationship, those teenage phases and harsh words will soon pass and the daughter will begin to speak more kindly again.
Purdue University has conducted studies on the relationships between dads and their daughters. The studies have shown that adolescent girls that do not have a relationship with their fathers are typically more depressed that those that do. The study also found that the relationship between a mother and her daughter does not seem to affect the emotional well being of a girl as much as the relationship between her and her father does. Likewise, it found that when men were feeling depressed, it was common for their daughters to be feeling the same way, indicating a closeness in their relationship.
Other studies have indicated that girls who are not living with their fathers and that do not have positive relationships with their fathers are sexually active earlier in life, and more likely to become pregnant. Issues such as eating disorders and suicide are also more likely in girls without a father present. There are also higher rates of high school and college drop-outs in fatherless girls. Low self-esteem is characteristic in girls without fathers in their lives too. However, those with active fathers typically achieve higher grades in school, specifically in math and science. They also seem to learn to deal with those in authority better than other girls, especially if the authority figure is a male. Maintaining good mental health is a typical in girls with fathers present during their lives as well.
As girls are trying to understand men in general, the first person that they will look to is their father. How you treat your daughter and show her affection can have a lasting impact on her future relationships with other men. By seeing a father who is trustworthy, loving, and affectionate, she will learn from a positive role model, and will seek men later in life who possess the same qualities. A good father will shape the life of his daughter through both his actions and love for her. If you are a father, try your hardest to create a healthy relationship with your daughter. It will have a lasting impact on her.