John Mayer’s writes, “Fathers be good to your daughters,
daughters will love like you do, girls become mothers who turn into
lovers, so mothers be good to your daughters too.” His point is
that a father’s interaction with his daughter impacts her ability
to give and receive love when she becomes a woman.
But in truth, it impacts a lot more than that.
Research has proven that a woman’s sense of self-worth is deeply
rooted in the interaction between her and her father during the
developmental stages of her life.
According to the article, “When they need you most, dads and
daughters” by Carma Haley Shoemaker, “Fathers will help their
daughters develop aspects of self-image and what they come to
expect from men, society and the world.”
What does that say about many of today’s fathers considering
that 86 percent of teenage girls are, or think they should be
dieting (Fat Talk, Harvard University Press, 2000)? And while girls
model dresses for their dads, dads are consciously or unconsciously
modeling the traits that she will value in a man as an adult.
“A girl whose father listens to and respects her will expect her
life partner to listen to her and treat her well,” states Joe
Kelly, author of “Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand
and Support Your Daughter When She’s Growing Up So Fast.”
Many daughters aren’t expecting much from their men these days,
considering the fact that one-third to one-half of all adult women
are beaten by their husbands or lovers at some time in their lives
(according to Take Back the Night’s Web site).
Kelly goes on to say, “That’s why it is so important for us to
show and tell our daughters that we believe they are capable of
anything.” And how capable do fatherless daughters really feel
when, according to the National Principals’ Association Report on
the State of High Schools, 71 percent of all high school dropouts
come from fatherless homes?
Stemming from a girl’s sense of self-worth, the most prominent
effect that a father has on his daughter lies in her need for
According to fathers.com, “in one study, promiscuous men and
women told researchers that their sexual activity is merely a way
of satisfying yearnings to be touched and held.”
What many dads don’t realize is that if they withhold physical
affection from their daughters, their daughters are far more likely
seek out men who are willing to fulfill the innate need to be
touched and held.
According to Barbara Whitehead, who wrote “Dan Quayle was Right”
in the Atlantic Monthly, daughters who come from single parent
homes are 111 percent more likely to have children as teenagers
than those coming from homes where both parents are present.
It is during the adolescent stages of a girl’s life that fathers
tend to shy away from their daughter’s need for affection.
According to Shoemaker’s article, it is the onset of a
daughter’s “awkward and/or dynamic changes” during adolescence that
result in a lack of communication.
It is safe to say, however, that many young men are often more
than obliged to provide affection for a young woman in need.
So as young men who are dating young women, maybe a relationship
should consist of more than just a one-night stand; after all, we
are modeling long-term relationships and are learning how to
Something to consider: this little girl is somebody’s daughter
just like your little girl will be somebody’s girlfriend. You may
want to treat her with the same respect you want somebody to treat
your daughter with.
However, according to fathers.com, if a daughter learns at home
that she is accepted and appreciated for her personal qualities,
because of who she is as a person, she will be much less likely to
feel the need to earn love from men through physical means.
It was once said good girls are hard to find. The fact of the
matter is that good dads are much more rare.
Patrick is a junior studying technical journalism. He is the
state/regional editor for The Collegian.