Incredible as it seems, the first man in a woman’s life — her dad – may have subtly yet profoundly impacted a daughter’s self image and even how she interacts with men throughout her life.
Some women will dismiss the significance of her dad (or his absence) in her life. But the reality is, directly or indirectly, a woman learns much about men and about how she herself fits into the world, by watching and living with (or not living with) her dad.
Many dads do not realize that daughters, even as young children, may observe a father’s actions and interactions more astutely than would a son.
A daughter notices the shows her dad watches on television, how he ogles at the Miss Bikini USA Pageant, and his under-the-breath comments about the neighbor’s wife. All this begins to paint a subtle and not-so-subtle picture in her mind of how men behave and how they think.
More importantly, because of a female’s heightened sensitivity to social and emotional interaction, even young daughters may be adept at recognizing how a father interacts with women – starting at his interaction with your mom and with you.
Did he listen intently when your mom spoke? Did he show respect for your opinion? Did he interact differently with women compared with men?
This “daddy-effect” goes beyond behavior and self image.
Body-image problems such as bulimia and anorexia in many women have been linked to relationship issues between daughters and their dads.
Even the onset of puberty can be linked to the relationship a daughter has with her father. Studies have shown that young girls with close supportive relationships with their dad tend to experience puberty at a later age than girls with absent or less involved dads. 2
So, the potential physical and emotional impact of your dad on your personality, your physiology, and even on your socialization with men — could be significant.
Many dads have no idea how profoundly their words and actions may have affected their daughter. However, we have discovered that the connection between a father and his daughter can often be improved through simple means, regardless of how old the two of you are.
Are you willing to take a challenge?
No matter how great or poor you believe your relationship is with your father, would you be willing to try an experiment to find out if it can be improved?
We found that having the daughter ask a few really important questions is all it takes to spark an amazing connection between many dads and daughters.
Try it and find out what happens. Besides strengthening the relationship with your father, you may experience subtle and dramatic changes in your own self image, in your understanding of and interaction with men, and much more.
Begin by printing out The Daddy Questions (below) and use them to interview your own dad.
Then, come back to this website and let us know what happened.
THE DADDY QUESTIONS
(Designed for a daughter to interview her dad)
SELECT THE SECTION BELOW THAT APPLIES TO YOU
c. Step Dad;
1 (Source: Johnson, 1997; Lecompte, 1986; Lopez, Melendez, Sauer, Berger & Wyssmann, 1998).
2 (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Sept, 1999).