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By D. Scott Sibley, Institute for Family Studies, July 15, 2019
The research literature is becoming increasingly clear about the substantial importance of fathers in the lives of their children. Unfortunately, far too many children in the United States and throughout the world experience father loss. As discussed previously on this blog, father loss can negatively impact children in a variety of different ways, even on a biological level. Compounding this issue are myths about fatherhood that are perpetuated in our society, including those that can lead to misleading assumptions about dads that can diminish the contributions active fathers make in the lives of their children. To promote healthy family functioning and child development, we need to readily acknowledge the unique role of fathers.
If research is any indication, daughters need their fathers, and he, in many ways, represents “a daughters first and most influential love.” The relationship between fathers and their daughters has been explored many times on this blog (e.g. here & here). Even so, the father and adult daughter dyad remains the least explored dyad in family relationship research. Much more exploration and investigation is certainly needed to influence the work of educators, clinicians, policymakers.
One of the reasons that father and adult daughter relationships should be supported and encouraged is to help young adult women make better decisions concerning sex and romantic relationships. As explained on this blog by Timothy Rarick:
Sadly, many adolescent girls in our sexualized Western world today find themselves in a tragic predicament. The conditions in our culture of both rampant fatherlessness and sexual promiscuity are incompatible with forming secure and healthy relationships with boys and with establishing stable families for the next generation. A young girl’s sexual development can significantly outpace her neurological and emotional development—the very resources needed to guide her sexual choices.. ….