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Importance of the Father-Daughter Relationship

             Many fathers and daughters know very little about one another side from the stereotypic roles they play in the family. Not surprisingly then most movies and television programs also push the father-daughter relationship off to the side or ignore it altogether. If the father is included in any discussion, he is often portrayed as indifferent, self-centered, distant, insensitive, uncommunicative, and stressed - especially when it comes to interacting with the daughter. More shocking is the data collected by V. Phares (1997) that reveals fathers generally are not as welcomed or as supported as mothers when it comes to establishing close relationships with their children - especially with the daughter and especially after she becomes a teenager. Yet although society tends to idealize and honor mothers more than fathers, this does not imply that the father has little impact on childrearing, in fact the opposite is true. Recent studies have shown that fathers are just as good as mothers at taking care of, nurturing, and bonding with children- even in early infancy. More importantly, the research also indicates fathers continue to affect daughters in their academic lives, future careers, relationships with boyfriends, sexual and social self confidence, their ability to express anger and stand up for themselves, mental health, and feelings about how they look and what they weigh (Appleton, 1981). Therefore the underlying questions become: why is the father-daughter relationship so poorly studied, how does a father's behavior during a daughter's childhood affect her social/sexual life, her career, and her interactions with the outside world, and what implications do these effects have on modern society? Without a doubt, researchers are beginning to realize how important the father-daughter relationship really is and thus the challenge becomes to get people to see how their own assumptions, biases, and behavior contribute to the notion of the father-daughter relationship.

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