Father Daughter Relationships: Do Daughters Marry Their Dads?


The father daughter relationship is important because it is part of a girl’s foundation of love, trust and security. The father daughter relationship sets the standards for respect and what she “should” expect from boys and men in other areas of her life. A daughter’s relationship and interactions with her father is a significant predictor of the type of short-term and long-term relationships she will pursue when she starts dating, and, later on, gets married.

It has been said that daughters marry their fathers. That’s largely because children learn a lot about love and life by what they observe growing up. If they observe love and kindness they tend to seek those attributes in other relationships. Alternatively, if they observe abuse and neglect, they are more inclined to seek relationships accordingly.


A recent study showed that fathers and mothers bond differently with daughters: Dads feel more connected and close when they are actually “doing” things with their daughters whereas moms feel closest when they are having a conversation with their daughters.

1. Doing vs. Dialogue

A recent study showed that a significant “Game Changer” with fathers and daughters sense of feeling close were shared activities especially sports! Other meaningful life events for fathers and daughters include: 1. leaving home; and, 2. getting married.

While the Baylor Study showed that both fathers and daughters agreed that playing sports helped them bond the most, other activities dads said enriched their relationship included:

1. Engaging in faith based activities such as church;
2. Doing projects around the house together; and,
3. Giving their daughters driving lessons.

The study also showed that daughters indicated that they bonded with their fathers when they began to play a sport, a hands on activity during which the father is the “primary playmate” as daughters learn to:

1. Handle competition,
2. Try new things and take risks; and ,
3. Defend themselves.

Sports is favored because it an opportunity for daughters to have the undivided attention of their fathers. It makes them feel special. One woman said “I used to love it when my dad would take off work to come coach my softball team.”

There are several positive components of parenting daughters than fathers can consistently do to enrich his relationship with his daughter that have a lifetime impact, including”

1. Ongoing involvement is an important pare of the development of a girl’s
2. Communicating encouragement in words and actions;
3. Listen, paying close attention to the way she feels,
4. Get involved with the health and positive things that she has expressed interest in.

Many men feel uncomfortable with all of the physiological and psychological changes that his daughter experiences during the tween and teen years. Puberty and the emotional roller coaster that accompanies it makes dads feel that their daughters no longer need the affection that they expressed when they were younger. However, research shows that the tween and teen stage of daughters’ development is one of the most critical times of her life wherein she needs the love and attention of her father. The emotional support of fathers helps shape daughters’ self-image and sense of who she is. Emotionally supportive relationships with their fathers is linked to:

1. Reduced teen pregnancy and decreases the likelihood of early age sex,
2. Enhances the daughter’s self esteem, and;
3. Significantly affects girls’ identity as she becomes a woman.

More about Psychologist, Dr. Trevicia Williams at: http://www.treviciawilliams.com

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