dads and daughters

5 Reasons Why Dads Are Important to Their Daughters

While mothers are considered natural caregivers and nurturers, we can’t simply overlook fathers’ role in their children’s lives. And although most people recognize this as particularly true for young boys, girls also need a positive male role model. A daughter’s relationship with her father can affect not just her confidence and self-image, but also her opinions of men and ability to trust later in life.

Fathers who constantly make an effort to connect with their daughters can have a true and lasting impact. Research suggested that the relationship girls had and have with their dads can affect their ability to sustain or maintain satisfying relationships, be effective parents, find fulfillment in life, and speak up for themselves.

Why Father-Daughter Relationships Matter

Fathers are more than just providers. The way dads approach life will serve as a model for their daughters to create and build their own. This is also the reason why daughters with a healthy and loving relationship with their father:

  • Are usually more secure and more content in their romantic relationships
  • Do better academically or get good grades
  • Make better choices in who they date, spend time with, and marry
  • Feel more confident and better about themselves
  • Are usually assertive but not aggressive

Below is an exploration of the 5 reasons why fathers are important to their daughters:

1. When fathers are involved, daughters do better at school 

Fathers who are involved in their daughters’ studies don’t just demonstrate the importance of education. Dads who continuously encourage their daughters to do well in school or offer help whenever they’re struggling can instill a positive attitude about learning and curiosity. This will then enable the kids to enjoy school more, participate in extracurricular activities, or do well academically.

Even seemingly trivial acts can make a huge difference. Helping them with their projects or homework or simply motivating them to take on challenging courses can give daughters the confidence to do well and achieve career and economic success. Being there for them like showing up to their plays, recitals, or games can also have a positive and lasting impact.

2. Dads set the standard for their daughter’s romantic relationships

According to research, girls with good childhood relationships with their dads are more likely to choose romantic partners that resemble them. Fathers set the standard on how their daughter should be treated by future partners and what they should expect in adult or romantic relationships. Young women tend to judge all the men who come into their lives based on the example set by their fathers.

A good father-daughter relationship bolsters their girls’ confidence and provides them a good foundation for self-respect. It is also suggested that girls with strong and healthy relationships with their dad are less likely to become sexually active early on and less likely to experience teen pregnancy. With a positive male role model, daughters can have a higher chance of having a satisfying and long-lasting relationship.

What daughters need from their fathers is to make a constant effort to talk or spend time with them. This can then teach young women that men can be caring, nurturing, dependable, and flexible. They will learn not to settle with the man who’s just cute or says nice things, but to the one who loves, accepts, and respects them.

3. Fathers affect their daughter’s confidence and self-esteem.  

Fathers serve as the first male figure and role models in their daughter’s life. This is why a loving and strong father-daughter relation can positively impact their girl’s assertiveness and self-confidence. Dads who constantly provide affection, validation, and affirmation can help their daughters grow to become secure, strong, and confident adults.

Girls who have a close bond with their father tend to have a more positive self-image and increased levels of self-esteem. This can help them become more ambitious, self-disciplined, and successful. The best part is fathers don’t need to make grand gestures or extreme efforts to make a positive influence. Just being there and lending an ear and hand is often enough.

4. Dads can help promote a positive body image.

Another reason why fathers are important to their daughters is that they play a huge role in how girls view their bodies. Daughters take much into consideration, not just the way their dads speak about their appearance, but of other women’s as well. Good fathers know the value of respect and speak in such a manner about how other people look regardless of their size, shape, or weight.

Studies, furthermore, have shown that girls who had healthy relationships with their dads were less likely to develop anxiety or depression. There is also less risk of being dissatisfied with their appearance, which means less likelihood of developing body dysmorphia or eating disorders. This can translate to better mental and emotional health, which is beneficial in dealing with stressful situations effectively.

5. Fathers empower their kids to take risks and chances.

According to studies, girls’ confidence plummets to 30% between the ages of 8 to 14. Dads, interestingly, are better at spotting this confidence drop. This then allows them to engage more with their daughters and encourage them to believe in themselves. Good fathers help their daughters to realize their strength and potential, pushing them to take more risks and chances.

Empowering daughters in their early years provides a good foundation for success in the future. When dads (and moms) nurture their daughters to believe in themselves, they are then encouraged to explore more and do things outside of their comfort zone. They’ll develop a sense of adventure and learn that there are upsides and downsides to taking risks. They’ll also know what to do when challenges arise.

What Dads Can Do to Strengthen Father-Daughter Relationship

Another important reason why fathers are important to their daughters is that they can impact their daughter’s well-being. This also includes their self-esteem, relationship choices in the future, and the way they feel about their appearance. With present and emotionally available dads, young women can grow up to become more self-assured, confident, and have better chances for success.

Here are a few suggestions for creating a healthy father-daughter relationship or strengthening it.

  • Shower your daughter with love and affection – Show and remind your daughter that you love her unconditionally and no matter what. Say “I love you” often, give hugs several times a day, and reassure her that you’ll always be there for her during tough times. It is also a good idea to compliment her appearance, but don’t link it to her size or weight.
  • Show that you love and respect her mom or your wife – Little girls (and boys) learn by observing adults and this includes how their moms and dads interact with each other. Be sure to treat her mom with love, respect, and kindness. This will show and help her to know what to expect in her future relationships with men.
  • Be actively involved and interested – This is what most daughters need from their fathers. Ask not just about how her day went, but also the things she likes or passionate about. Then, make an effort to get involved. Show support and attend her games, events, and other activities. Doing so will make her feel valued, which can then strengthen your bond.
  • Always make time to connect – This means setting aside undivided time to connect and interact with your daughter. It could be as simple as having movie time, playing games, or even eating meals together. The key is being consistent with having father-daughter bonding days, so your relationship can grow and stay strong.
  • Validate her constantly – Make her know that her emotions and thoughts count. Remind your daughter that you believe in her and validate her accomplishments, way of thinking, and unique personality traits. Doing so can let her know that you understand her. This can then help your daughter feel supported and connected.

How Online Therapy or Counseling Can Help

Whether you’re struggling to maintain a strong father-daughter relationship or want to strengthen your bond, talking to a mental health professional is worth considering. A therapist can help you develop a better understanding of your daughter (especially during teenage years) and recognize what daughters need from their fathers. Therapists can also provide you suggestions on how to treat your daughter right, as well as the steps to take to restore and improve your bond.

The good news is you can do this at the comfort of your home or wherever you are. Online therapy or counseling lets you talk to a licensed mental health professional without having the need to travel or commute. You can also schedule your sessions to fit your lifestyle. The best part is the setup – it is more flexible and accessible, as it can be done through a messaging app or live video chat.

Don’t be ashamed of getting professional help. Acknowledging that there’s a problem and taking a step to solve it can improve your situation, or in this case, your father-daughter relationship. The willingness to make a change, along with professional guidance, can set you up for success or help you become a positive role model for your daughter.

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more