I can count on one hand the number of friends who have solid and loving relationships with their fathers. While the majority of them have close bonds with their mothers, many grew up feeling largely ignored or hurt by their father’s role in their lives.
Is there a generational explanation? Perhaps, it was the traditional male role of being the provider but not emotionally available that fostered the issue. Quite a few adult women remember the time when her father was distant, judgmental, shaming or just not around. Far too many times, those actions left the women with low self esteem or always searching for a man to fill that childhood need of having a father who was proud of his little girl.
Of course, there were fathers throughout the years who always supported their daughters in every way. I have one friend who was as close to her Dad as she was to her Mom, who always felt tenderly valued and cared for by her father, and who, consequently yet not surprisingly, is one of strongest, kindest and most content people I know. On the flip side are my many friends who long to have grown up feeling cherished by their fathers. And others who dove into dysfunctional relationships looking for that love.
Hopefully, this is changing with our children. Today’s fathers are more involved now than ever before and have no qualms about talking feelings, women’s issues, or love with their girls. That matters so much to girls; I’m not sure most men realize how much they shape their daughter’s feelings about themselves, and it got me wondering what types of things girls need to know, hear, and learn from their fathers.
Here are 10 starters:
What’s missing from this list? What do you wish you heard from your father? How would it have changed your life?
Also, check out 10 Things a Mother Should Never Say to Her Daughter
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