How Dads Influence Their Daughters

How dads influence their daughters

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to talk about the impact fathers have on their daughters.

First a quick update:

“Is it cheating?”
What constitutes cheating?  Is cheating kissing or sleeping with someone? What are the boundaries? And is cheating only physical or can there also be, “emotional cheating”? Take the quiz and Read the full article I wrote for date.com and matchmaker.com on my blog.

Now let’s talk about fathers and their effect on their daughters.

As a Human Behavior Expert and Clinical Hypnotherapist, I have long taught that the relationship that a child has with his or her parents will greatly determine the type of relationships the child has as an adult. In other words, often the dynamic experienced as child will be repeated as an adult. And this occurs because the child forms beliefs and conclusions about his or her self-worth, self-image and self-esteem. The child also forms definitions of love – even if they are twisted and unsatisfying as an adult. In fact, most of the work I do with clients is about healing the client’s childhood relationship with his or her parents and helping the client to create new beliefs about him or herself, his/her self-worth and the world around him/her.

For example, a girl who was raised by an abusive or highly critical father will often find herself in adult relationships with men who are also abusive or highly critical. In one case, a woman had never been told she was pretty or beautiful by her father when she was a child. As an adult she subconsciously believed that she is not pretty or beautiful and she continued to repeat the pattern of being attracted to men with whom she does not feel pretty or attractive. Specifically, she was in a live-in relationship with a man for three years and their physically intimate relationship became almost non-existent to the point where she said to me, “I feel like there is sign on my forehead that says I am ugly.” In turn, when she did find a man who praised and complimented her for her beauty she sabotaged the relationship because she didn’t believe that she is beautiful and continued seeking more men to try to prove to herself that she is pretty and beautiful, only to feel resentful, empty and ugly. Of course, the key to her happiness was to change her belief and understanding about why her dad never complimented her and to convince her at a subconscious level that there is nothing wrong with her – she is not ugly, she is pretty and beautiful.

Interestingly, the relationship that a father has with his daughter will affect the daughter on many levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually.

A study was conducted in the United States and New Zealand in 2003, by Bruce J. Ellis, from the University of Arizona that reveals the power and effect a dad has on his daughter. The researchers listed various negative outcomes adolescent girls experience when they have early sexual experiences:

“Specifically, adolescent childbearing is associated with lower educational and occupational attainment, more mental and physical health problems, inadequate social support networks for parenting, and increased risk of abuse and neglect for children born to teen mothers. Despite these consequences, the United States and New Zealand have the first and second highest rates of teenage pregnancy among Western industrialized countries. . . . Given these costs to adolescents and their children, it is critical to identify life experiences and pathways that place girls at increased risk for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.”

The study followed a total of 820 subjects for their entire childhoods, from before kindergarten to approximately age 18. The study concluded that:

“Father absence was an overriding risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. Conversely, father presence was a major protective factor against early sexual outcomes, even if other factors were present.”

In another study, in 2006, involving 10,000 students between 7th and 12th grade, Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, showed that girls who had positive relationships with involved fathers waited longer to have their first sexual experience and he said:

“Girls who have poor relationships with their dads tend to seek attention from other males at earlier ages and often this will involve a sexual relationship.”  

Contrary to popular belief, raising daughters is not the lone responsibility of mothers, and neither gender on its own makes a better parent, because in the above study, the surprising characteristic of strong father-daughter relationships was not duplicated between mothers and daughters.

Linda Nielsen, professor of adolescent psychology and women’s studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina has been teaching a “Fathers and Daughters” course since 1990, conducting research among her college students for almost 20 years. Her work reveals that positive fathering produces well-adjusted, confident and successful daughters who as adults relate well to other men in their lives. Linda says that unfortunately, fathers tend to spend less time with their daughters than with their sons, and many do not see anything negative about doing this, and she says that “most of these fathers and daughters do not communicate, share personal things, or get to know one another as well as mothers and daughters.”

Next week, I will talk more about what to do if you are the daughter who didn’t have the healthy relationship with dad!

Remember to check out my Blog on my website to read my past Success Newsletters, post your comments and take a few exciting quizzes. If you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis PhD
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist
www.patrickwanis.com 

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9 replies
  1. Avatar
    Sally says:

    Hello Patrick,

    I read your newsletter every week and there are always some insipiring words, so thank you.
    In reference to Dads, I can tell you that I love my dad and he loves me, in his own way. I have struggled with the feeling of abandonement and low self worth as it comes to him. He has separated from my mother many years ago, but keeps a close eye on her well being. He just had a difficult time in separating my mother and I. Through their separation, I was left without my father’s time, attention and interest. I could say that there way always something more important to him than me and this got in the way of my time, my space, my love. So much so, that today, 25+ years later, with 2 children of my own, still affects me dearly. I did not realize just how much until I needed to go to family therapy with my sons due to my divorce.
    This is a real issue and more men need to be aware of this because the effects are lasting. All I want is for him to accept what he did to me and ask for forgiveness as a form of closure. I have not gotten that yet.
    Thanks for listening.

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Sally,
      I am sincerely glad to hear that my weekly newsletters are helpful to you.

      I can understand the pain that you feel for not having recieved your father’s time, attention and interest, and I can understand the effect it has had on you. May I humbly the following:

      You said, “All I want is for him to accept what he did to me and ask for forgiveness as a form of closure. I have not gotten that yet.”

      Sally, please understand that you might never get that. The key to being released, the key to forgiving him, so that you can feel free and feel worthy and loveable now won’t come from him. Yes, if he apologizes and acknowledges how he affected you, it will help you to forgive him but forgiveness is never dependent on the other person. Some people recieve the apology and still refuse to forgive. Please look in your heart and meditate or ponder on why you might be refusing to forgive him. What would happen if you were to forgive him?

      Two things are required here for you to be set free and to awaken to the realization that you are worthy, special and good enough:

      Release the pain, forgive him and realize at a subconscious level that it is over, wasn’t your fault (there is nothing wrong with you) and that he couldn’t give you what you wanted because of who he is (some people don’t how to love because they were never loved!)

      In my “getting over it package” I focus on forgiveness as well as the many reasons why we choose to forgive. Incidentally, you can forgive someone without keeping them in your life. Here is the link to the package: https://patrickwanis.com/blog/getoverit_package.asp If you can’t afford it, I will gladly give it to you as a gift.

      Also, consider a private session with me.

      All the best,
      Patrick

  2. Avatar
    Patrick says:

    Dear Tony,

    may i humbly applaud and honor your commitment to the love and welfare of your young daughter. No amount of money or material gifts can make up for the love, time and attention that you will give her and when she grows up she will be grateful for what you have sacrificed for her and that she was able to be close and have a loving dad that was there for her! Well done!

    May i suggest you email Dr Linda Neilsen for her leads to assist you in seeking custodial rights:

    Dr. Linda Nielsen
    Professor of Women’s Studies & Education
    Wake Forest University
    336-758-5345
    Nielsen@wfu.edu
    President, American Coalition for Fathers & Children

    I am sure that the coalition will be able to assist you or guide you. Whatever the outcome, i am sure that you will find the way to be a greater part of your daughter’s life and the rewards for the both of you will be huge!

    Patrick

  3. Avatar
    Tony says:

    Dear Patrick

    I am currently seeking to be the custodial parent of my daughter. I am retiring from the military after 20 years of honorable service to our country. My daughter is 3 years old. when she was born I knew right then and there that upon my impending retirement I wanted to spend more time with my daughter. My relationship with her mother is less than stellar, She currently works and she drops off our daughter at a daycare provider at about 0530 hours and picks up our daughter aprox. at 1800 hours. That’s close to 10 hours a day that my daughter spends with daycare. This is time that she can be spending with me. I am choosing at the moment not to join the workforce in order to have total involvement in my daughters life. The technical skills that I possess could possibly land me a job overseas well in the six figure range, but I know how important my presence, time and love are in order for my daughter to establish a solid foundation. If you have any insight or know of any web-sites that could expound on Dads seeking custodial rights, what to expect, etc.. please send it my way. Thanks for your help.

    Sincerely
    Tony

  4. Avatar
    Patrick says:

    Dear Maureen,
    Please accept my sincerest apologies as my intention was never to diminish nor belittle a child. Your corrections are exactly right and I thank you for reminding me to be careful to not turn the newsletters into clinical or scientific documents. I had been spending hours researching studies, reports and findings and thus, I wrote it as cold and clinical. Thank you for caring enough to write to me and remind me of what is important. I will not do that again. And yes, this one was not run by the editor as we were behind schedule. Again, I apologize if I offended in any way. I will correct the version on my blog, so your email has served a positive purpose on many levels!

    Sincerely,
    Patrick

  5. Avatar
    Maureen M says:

    Dear Patrick,
    While I have enjoyed your weekly newsletters for almost 2 years, the most recent one on Fathers & Daughters had a major flaw. I find it hard to believe anyone in your field, much less you, would ever refer to a child as “it”. While it may be more awkward or cumbersome to have to keep saying “his or her”, it is necessary. Here you are talking about a child’s sense of self worth and you refer to the child in the most diminishing terms. All I can say is you need to brush up on your pronouns and you need to GET A NEW EDITOR because this never should have gotten past its desk. By the way, I fixed it for you below.
    Best wishes,
    Maureen
    “As a Human Behavior Expert and Clinical Hypnotherapist, I have long taught that the relationship that a child has with its/his or her parents will greatly determine the type of relationships it/the child has as an adult. In other words, often the dynamic experienced as child will be repeated as an adult. And this occurs because the child forms beliefs and conclusions about its/his or her self-worth, self-image and self-esteem. It will also form definitions of love – even if they are twisted and unsatisfying as an adult. In fact, most of the work I do with clients is about healing the client’s childhood relationship with its/his or her parents and helping the client to create new beliefs about itself/themselves, its/their self-worth and the world around it/them.”

  6. Avatar
    Patrick says:

    Dear Kathyrn,

    I am sincerely happy that I am able to be of any assistance to you and to do so at the right time! I will be recording an interview with Linda Nielsen, professor of adolescent psychology and women’s studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina who has been teaching a “Fathers and Daughters” course since 1990. I will post that audio interview on my website so that everyone can hear it, so remember to check back soon!
    All the best to you Kathyrn and if i may add, remember the goal is to arrive at the place of understanding so that you can forgive dad and realize it was never about you – there was never anything wrong with you. Anyway, more on that next week!
    Patrick

  7. Avatar
    Kathryn says:

    Dear Patrick,
    I was just thinking about my relationship with my father today. And than your email arrives giving me more insight. I really appreciate it and thank you for investigating this issue.
    I am looking forward to reading more about it next week.

    I really enjoy reading your emails. Thank you again for your positive and inpirational words.

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