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Psychological Aspects of Father-Daughter Relationship through Infancy and Adulthood


The significance of fathers can never be underestimated in the life of their children. Maternal and paternal figures are equally essential in tailoring the personalities of children in the development of cognition, social, and behavioral skills of children. Fathers have held the pedestal of authority and respected figures in the household throughout the inception of the world. Fathers were respected in their decisions without questioning their authority. It was believed that the responsibility of caring the children rests with mothers. This belief has seen a radical shift in the 20th century along with social and technical shifts in comprehension of the structures and functions associated with the family. In the earlier part of the 20th century, fathers were rendered to the back seat of driving the family and were considered insignificant. However, in the 1970s the balance shifted for fathers. Some researches and studies were conducted on the role of fathers. It is now believed that children born in households where fathers are more involved are likely to be emotionally secure, confident in exploring opportunities and developing better social skills than those in less involved house set ups. (Oliker, 2011)

Educational up shots of children belonging to loving paternal families are also tremendous. Nurturing and actively participating fathers rather than authoritative fathers yield better results in the development of verbal abilities, academic achievements, and intellectual functioning among adolescents. Specifically, daughters tend to develop positive opinions of men and can form relations with men when their fathers are more involved in their lives.

Father-Daughter Relationship

It is believed through societal portrayals that father-son relationships are paramount in shaping the identities of sons. Fathers provide a positive male role model to young sons by consistently disciplining them along with roughhousing the young sons into pursuing successful family life and careers. There is little importance given to the impact of daughter-father relationship and its dynamics. The reality is that fathers shape daughters in surprising and astonishing ways.

From childhood, girls are drawn to their fathers, and they derive from their fathers what men are like. Fathers act as a guiding light regarding a woman’s expectation from men and their attitudes. A girl observes the relation of their parents and assumes that her grown-up life will be in accordance. Impressions formed at the tender age of 4 or 5 years are far-reaching and powerful. Positive encounters aid in making the girl a successful woman, who is at ease in her preferences and her sexuality. Demeaning expectations and conflicted encounters with male figures in the childhood yield troubled relations for a woman in her adulthood. (Hartwell-Walker, 2016)

The foremost thought in addressing the relationship dynamics between fathers and daughters is based on the career and educational success of daughters influenced by father’s involvement in their lives. It has been discovered that fathers who support and engage in promotion of athletic and academic achievements of their daughters throughout their childhood engender self-reliant and assertive women. Such daughters are likely to graduate with degrees and enter high-paying fields, those that conventionally belong to men. This fact is also supported by the fact that female political leaders throughout the world mostly are the single child of their parents, as they receive encouragement from male figures of the household upon achieving goals. Female athletes often attribute their tenacity, discipline, ambitiousness, and success to their fathers (Kromberg, 2013).

Career Success Dependence

Research experiments and surveys have pinpointed the fact that females who had intimate, supportive, and communicative relationships with their fathers could go to the extent of changing their careers if their fathers disapproved of them. An overwhelming majority of females indicated that they resist their fathers if they indicated such desires. Those females who did not have a strong relationship with their fathers indicated this option.

Since the 1970s it has been demonstrated that females are three times more likely to choose the professions of their fathers than those females born at the beginning of the 20th century. This highlights the impact of fathers and their professions on the career choices of daughters having a close relationship with their fathers. This also demonstrates the reverse of roles and acceptance of females in previously male-dominated professions along with the higher proportion of daughters and females being mentored by their fathers.

Intimate Relation Dependence

Fathers also affect the romantic and intimate relationships of their daughters regarding the persons she dates, sexual intimacy, losing virginity, and the quality of relationship with men in her life. It is no surprise that the chances of girls getting pregnant and becoming sexually active during college years or early education years are relatively low when they have a secure and supportive relationship with their fathers. This trend is also observed in the later years of life regarding decisions to get married and starting a family as the girl is bent on achieving educational goals first. Such females also tend to seek men who are emotionally fulfilling and intimate with them. They are more likely to develop long-term emotional relations with men during college years based on comfort and support rather than being used and discarded, which is most likely for females who have poor relations with their fathers. Their marriages are also based on long-term contentment. It can be safely suggested that fathers’ play a much more vital role in the long-term happiness and character building of their daughters as compared to their mothers. (Katorski, 2003)

Disorders and Skills

Depression, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, and other ailments of the sort are also less likely to take place in such females. They are less concerned with materialistic desires and comforts. They do not rely on appearances rather pursue inner beauty and inner meaning in life. The better emotional and mental health of such females results in making them apt at attitudes and skills, which are required to produce fulfilling relationships with partners.

A pool of researchers and scientists now advocate a special link shared between stress dealing mechanisms of daughters in adulthood and the kind of relationships between fathers and daughters during childhood. Lower cortisol levels were found in undergraduate women who did not have a friendly relation with their fathers. It is known that lower cortisol levels generate stress due to hypersensitivity and hyper-reactivity in individuals. Such females reported their relationship with other men to be overshadowed by rejection, coercion, and unpredictability.

Challenges of Development of a Healthy Relation

It is also a well-known fact that developing a healthy relationship with fathers is very strenuous and hectic job as compared to that of with a mother, for sons and daughters alike. The main reason for this notion is the widely held and propagated belief that fathers are difficult. It has also been reported that daughters keep personal sentiments to themselves instead of sharing them with fathers as compared to sons. They also argue hesitantly with their fathers but if they do it is a tiring and long-lasting episode of argument. Daughters have also generally expressed desire of being communicated about sexual issues with their fathers instead of their mothers. All these findings greatly hinder the benefits and merits of daughter-father relationships.

Developing a close relationship with fathers is of paramount importance, and the relation is often strengthened by major life events that draw them to proximity. Participation in athletic endeavors, vacationing, and other similar activities also yield a strong bond between the two. Major life shifts encompassing leaving home for education, marriage, and having children are some incidents that result in deepening of the bond and a plummeting of the stress level between daughters and fathers. The process of getting a perspective of the father’s viewpoint from the daughter’s end facilitates this shift. (Nielsen, 2014)


The dualistic nature of the issue makes it necessary to address the subject with care and diligence. The adverse impacts of lack of a father figure in the life of daughter can cripple her socially and intellectually. Fathers should take extra care in their dealings with daughters to yield positive impacts in the lives of their daughters. Loving the mothers of daughters forms a strong and robust relation between daughters and fathers. High divorce rates and fights lead to an unhealthy relation between the two. Developing a relation of attachment forms a sense of friendship during infancy. Playing games is one of the best strategies to do so. Developing relations by respecting boundaries and privacy of the daughter is also vital to a healthy relationship. Encouraging her at her achievements and answering the ambiguities in her mind is an excellent tool for developing a long-lasting relationship. Attending events that are of importance to her and her interest is also a way of forging a friendship between a father and his daughter. Complimenting her beauty and aesthetics promotes the enhancement of the relation.


Oliker, D.M., The Importance of Fathers, Psychology Today, June 23, 2011

Katorski, J., Father/Daughter Relationships: Effects of Communicative Adaptability and Satisfaction on Daughter’s Romantic Relationships, Journal of Undergraduate Research, 2003

Nielsen, L., How Dads Affect Their Daughter into Adulthood, Institute for Family Studies, June 3, 2014

Hartwell-Walker, M., Daughters Need Fathers, Too, Psych Central, 2016

Kromberg, J., How Dads Shape Daughters’ Relationship, Psychology Today, July 1 2013



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