What is it about a father daughter bond that seems so special? And what does it mean for self-esteem?
Girls tend to favor their dad, while boys tend to latch on to their mother. These patterns are something observed throughout history. A daughter needs to have a healthy relationship with her father. Psychologists have now proven that it’s essential for the child to develop these relationships to form positive self-esteem.
Why is this relationship between a father and daughter so important? First, little girls all see Daddy as their hero, and rightfully so. He is the first male figure in her life that she depends on. A daughter develops a relationship with her parents early on as they are her entire world.
Traditionally, throughout history, here is what happened. Mothers played a pivotal role as the nurturing and caring ones. However, a father’s role was just as important. He made sure his daughter was safe and was eager to protect her. These vital roles were based on historical perceptions. Of course, modern parents can cross over into the other position or serve as both.
It’s essential for a child to feel a bond with both parents. However, psychologists have found that when the father-daughter relationship struggles early on, it can cause many emotional challenges. Additionally, a skewed view of dad can cause problems with dating and marrying a man.
The Formative Years
The father-daughter relationship develops around two years of age. Since the formative years are defined as ages 2-4, this male role needs to be in her life. The bond that develops in these years will last a lifetime.
When a child is going through their formative years, they need both the female and male role. The toddler is asking internal questions such as:
- Am I okay to be me?
- What can I explore today?
- Will Mommy or Daddy play with me?
- Who will feed me?
They learn quickly which parent will do specific roles in their care. For instance, if mom feeds the child, then when they are hungry, they will go to mom. However, if mom isn’t around, then they learn dad is a backup. Additionally, they learn the roles that dad plays in their life.
Forming a Sense of Independence
As your child is growing and learning to be more self-sufficient, they use repetition. It’s how they form a sense of independence. They find comfort in knowing that daddy will fix their doll’s arm or care for their bumps or scrapes.
Safety and security are significant self-esteem factors for young children, especially as they learn to walk and talk. Many changes are going on in their lives, and they need the united force of their parents to make them feel safe.
Should dad be demanding with the child and push them too far, it can cause them to doubt their new skills. Both parents must allow a child to use the repetitive nature that comes along during the formative years as it’s essential for growth. Your child needs everything in place so they can master their environment.
When a child has a skewed father-daughter relationship, it can cause self-doubt to occur. Doubt can cause a child to place limits on themselves as they grow. These kids usually make derogatory statements such as:
- I’ll never be good enough to try out for the school play.
- Everyone else is better than me.
- I can’t do that spelling bee because I fear I will mess up.
The self-doubt that starts in the formative years from a poor father-daughter relationship or other outlying factors can turn into low self-esteem. When children make such comments as listed above, some say they are shy or afraid to explore things.
The real problem is that the child is making these statements, hoping that someone will give them advice on the matter. A daughter desperately longs for her parents’ approval, and she doesn’t feel free to try new things without a gentle nudge in the right direction. A child uses the rules they’ve learned early on to set the patterns for life.
If a father doesn’t allow children to explore, experiment, and be adventurous, they won’t be curious or welcome experimentation in life.
Negative Patterns Follow Throughout Life
When a parent sees an issue with the child’s esteem, they must correct the dynamics. If these issues flourish, they will be a constant problem well into adulthood. The father-daughter bond is essential, but any negative patterns from childhood must be corrected to change their self-doubting nature.
A self-doubting child turns into an adult who is afraid to go for a job promotion as they are fearful they can’t keep up with the work. Many are so scared to try anything new or move too far away from their homestead. Girls who don’t have a good father-daughter dynamic may be scared to do anything, even in adulthood that might be a little risky.
A father must be encouraging his daughter. They should motivate them to try new things, be adventurous, and be on the sidelines, cheering them on in life. Remember, they will make errors, but you need to be there to pick up the pieces. Mistakes are a part of life and how you learn.
Both mothers and fathers must support their children as they grow and make blunders. When required, offer advice, but make sure you are a support system and a shoulder to cry on.
Setting The Stage for a Happy Life
Children are a product of their environment. Have you ever heard the statement, “She has daddy issues?” While it’s natural for a girl to want to marry someone like her dad, if the father-daughter dynamic is toxic, it causes problems.
Conversely, a boy who never had a mother be there for him can have issues trusting women in life. The most significant gift a dad can give their daughter is to teach them respect. Respect is not something that comes freely, as it must be earned.
You can show your daughter the true meaning of respect by treating her mother and other siblings well. Being that constant positive in her life sets the stage for how her husband and sons will treat her. She will know what to expect and won’t settle for anything less.
Mothers and fathers can both put the wheels in motion for healthy patterns. Girls tend to gravitate to what is familiar to them. It doesn’t matter if her father was a positive or negative force in her life; she will look towards comfortable things.
Being a father is one of the biggest job titles that come with the most significant rewards, so dads have a lot of pressure not to mess up.
Promoting Father-Daughter Bonding
Some dads have a hard time relating to their daughters, as it’s easier to relate to males. However, it would help if you could bridge the divide and do things your daughter likes. For instance, take her to a movie and out to ice cream.
No one is going to refuse a good flick and a sweet treat. Most cities have those daddy-daughter dances around Valentine’s Day. While it may be out of your comfort zone, you must go for the sake of her self-esteem. The memories you will make with her will be priceless.
Try building something together, and you may find that your little girl has a liking for power tools. You can take a cooking class and then use your skills to create dinner for the family. Many girls love to shoot hoops or take a drive in the evening with the music blasting.
When you think about it, you and your daughter would like to do tons of things together. It doesn’t matter what you do. Make sure you let her be a part of the selection process so you validate her opinions.
Thankfully, it’s never too late to work on your relationship with your daughter. Even if you weren’t there for her in her formative years because of divorce or work, you could be there for her now. Did you know that women who grow up and have positive relationships with their parents are generally more confident and well-rounded in life?
Women with confidence choose better partners, have emotionally healthy ways to deal with stress and drama, and often have well-balanced relationships with males and females. The joy of raising a good child is one of the most significant accomplishments you can have in life.
Working on your father-daughter relationship is imperative as it means everything to raising well-adjusted girls with self-esteem–and who don’t have “daddy issues.”