Cyber Week

Growing up, I had a great relationship with my dad, and I {love} to see my husband with our daughter. They have a special {bond} too. They do projects together, act silly, and make terrible puns back and forth. Though we often hear more about the father-son and mother-daughter relationships,  science has recently proven the great significance of the father-daughter relationship.  

Between the ultrasounds, birth classes and being in the room during birth–fathers are much more present in our children’s lives than other generations were. Now, men start bonding with the baby-to-be right away, making attachment easier when the child arrives. 

But it takes more than just showing up for a father to have a lasting, positive effect on his daughter. To see the “father effect” as it’s called, dads need to be involved on a daily level—changing their diapers, feeding them and playing with them.  Holding them, showing warmth and giving emotional {support} is also key to the equation. 

The Father Effect

 Interestingly, the Father Effect starts to work at a very young age. Numerous studies show that children who grow up in a household with a father show superior outcomes in intelligence tests—they tend to have higher IQ test scores by the age of 3.  With higher levels of intelligence come greater happiness, success, and longevity. So you don’t have to care about them getting into college to care about the IQ level.

That said, kids with active fathers also perform better academically and are less likely to drop out of school.  Small acts such as helping with homework and encouraging daughters to take challenging courses are associated with higher levels of sociability, a higher level of school performance, and fewer behavior problems. For instance, they are less aggressive, less likely to become delinquent and less likely to end up in jail. They’re also more likely to have high-paying jobs when they grow up. 

But the importance of dads goes well beyond academics and smarts. Fathers often help develop a sense of adventure in their daughters. They tend to play rougher, encourage sports, and offer more independence than some moms. For daughters to be adventurous and get out of their comfort zone, they have to be empowered to solve their problems and take ownership. They need to feel capable of taking risks and making mistakes. They need to feel they are capable of doing almost anything.  My parents always told me I could be and do anything—and that’s critical for confidence. Dads need to {support} and encourage their daughters to dream big, empower them for the future.

That empowerment and belief in their daughter is the bedrock of a girl’s self-esteem. Dads who provide praise, {support}, and unconditional {love} increase their daughters’ confidence. Studies show that if he thinks she is beautiful, smart, and strong, she will be more inclined to see herself that way.  When they aren’t being judged for their looks and don’t see their dad judging others on looks, girls are more satisfied with their appearance and weight. 

It’s About Empowerment

 For young women, that self-acceptance is crucial–most girls feel less than confident with their bodies at some point. For some, this is a minor thing. Unfortunately, for many others, this escalates. Girls with poor body images may isolate themselves socially, fret over the way they look, and lose confidence.  That can lead to depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. With a {loving} relationship with their dad, girls are less likely to become clinically depressed or develop an eating disorder.

Most studies suggest that, until children hit puberty, the Father Effect is roughly equal for boys and girls. Both boys and girls who are fortunate enough to have dads in their lives excel and, in some cases, outperform their peers. Later, when puberty hits and hormones are raging, dads have a somewhat different impact. They show a son how a man is supposed to act but shows his daughter how a man should treat her.

 Many psychologists believe that the way she perceives and interacts with her dad will influence a daughter’s future {romantic} relationships. Respectful and {supportive} fathers who keep their promises teach their daughters to expect that in their relationships. 

Setting The Bar

 Dads sort of set the bar for who their daughter dates–girls often pick those who have similar attributes to their father–and her overall quality of relationships with men. Women with a strong relationship with their father wait longer to enter a serious relationship, become sexually active, and even get married or have children. 

Daughters need great fathers—it would be hard to overstate the importance of the father-daughter relationship. Young women who have a positive relationship with their fathers achieve more academically. They make better relationship choices. They have more confidence, high self-esteem, and believe they can achieve their goals.⠀Let’s hear it for the good dads out there!

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