Understanding the Importance of Father-Daughter Relationships

father daughter relationshipBy Contel Bradford

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on father-daughter relationships. Click here to read Part 2.

The importance of father-daughter relationships is something that should never be underestimated.

In fact, you can say it is critical to the development of a woman and the identity she takes on in the future. Not to be all doom and gloom, but depression, substance abuse and promiscuity are just some of the issues that can result from a poor relationship.

Whether you are raising her in a two-parent, or single-parent home, as a father you have the power to shape the woman your daughter will become.

In this article, I will explain the importance of building the father-daughter relationship through each vital stage of her life.


Getting Started on the Right Foot

Ideally, the development of a father-daughter relationship should start from day one.  Sure, there is only so much that can be done during the infant stage, but even the little stuff helps.

One of the best things you can do at this point is start playing an active role in caring for your daughter when she’s a baby. This includes feeding her, changing diapers, rocking her to sleep, and providing her with comfort when she wakes up crying in the middle of the night.

These activities and more will help to lay the foundation for a strong bond that hopefully continues through the subsequent stages of her life. As your daughter grows older, the methods you employ to strengthen that bond will change considerably.


Strengthening the Bond Through Childhood

Kids grow up fast, and for all fathers with daughters, I think you’d agree that time moves even faster. The key is making sure you stay engaged as she continues to grow and progress through the childhood stage.

As your daughter travels through her elementary school years, make efforts to spend time with her and teach her new things about the world. For example, you could continue to develop a close relationship by creating activities she looks forward to. This could be attending baseball games, taking fishing trips, playing Frisbee out in the yard, or other activities that help strengthen the bond you initially created.

Keep in mind that building this relationship shouldn’t be solely based on fun and games because helping out with school work, teaching discipline, and instilling solid moral values are just as important at this stage.


Enter the Teen Years

Now we get to the fun part – the teen years, the crucial point when a father-daughter relationship can either progress for the better, or a take a turn for the worst.

Instead of looking forward to (insert your favorite team) games and hanging out with dad, she’s now more interested in walking aimlessly around the mall, and you guessed it, boys.  Most children develop a sense of independency as teenagers, and the title of “Daddy’s Little Girl” often loses appeal at this stage.

It is common for fathers and daughters to grow apart during the teen years, but there is still plenty of room to maintain and even strengthen the bond that was created. However, you may need to devote a little more effort than you did before.

The teen years represent a time when you must carefully balance the act of being a parent and a friend.  This is every bit of difficult as it sounds. Even the coolest dad is still a parent, and a man at that, so try not to fret if she doesn’t feel comfortable confiding in you about every single detail of her life.

The best thing you can do is to make yourself available to listen and be there when she needs you.  Whether it is trouble with school work, or trust issues with friends, always keep that door of communication open.

One can never be certain what the adolescent years will hold so my advice is to take it one day at a time and cross individual bridges as you encounter them.

Do this, continue to play an active role in her life, and the relationship you have with your daughter as she enters adulthood may be stronger than ever before.

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on father-daughter relationships. Click here to read Part 2.


Contel Bradford is a professional freelance writer, journalist, and published author of multiple books. He specializes in many areas, including legal, divorce, and family-related topics. You can learn more about his services by visiting www.contelbradford.com.

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