Your Father

Fathers and Daughyters: Eye Opening Facts

We strengthen father-daughter relationships by making ourselves aware of the facts and freeing ourselves from the demeaning myths about men as parents. Recent national statistics and research from the most well respected experts in psychology and sociology, show that………. 

Fathers generally have as much or more impact as mothers in the following areas of their daughters’ lives: (1) achieving academic and career success—especially in math and science (2) creating a loving, trusting relationship with a man (3) dealing well with people in authority—especially men (4) Being self-confident and self-reliant (5) Being willing to try new things and to accept challenges (6) Maintaining good mental health (no clinical depression, eating disorders, or chronic anxiety) (7) Expressing anger comfortably and appropriately—especially with men

Because our society emphasizes the importance of mother-daughter relationships more than father-daughter relationships, most fathers and daughters do not ever get to know one another as well or spend as much time together throughout their lives as most mothers and daughters.

Most children’s books, TV programs, and movies send the message that fathers and daughters are not supposed to know each other as well or spend as much time together as mothers and daughters.

Daughters who are raised by single fathers are just as well adjusted and as happy as daughters raised by single mothers.

Fathers and daughters are usually closer when the mother works full time outside the home while the children are growing up.

Most fathers want to spend more time with their children, but can’t because of their jobs.

Realities: (1) Eighty percent of the fathers in our country earn most of the money for their families. (2) Counting the time spent commuting, working, doing house and yard work, and being with the kids, the average father has 5 hours less free time each week than the average employed mother. (3) On average, employed fathers work 10 more hours a week than employed mothers.

A father usually has a closer relationship with his daughter when the mother lets everyone in the family know how much she appreciates his ways of parenting—especially if his way of parenting isn’t exactly like hers.

A daughter has a better relationship with her father when her mother does not rely on her for advice or comfort on adult issues—especially issues involving the parents’ relationship with each other.

When parents are unhappily married or divorced, the daughter is more likely to side with her mother and against her father.

Some mothers feel uncomfortable or jealous with the idea that their daughter might share as much time or as much personal information with her father as she does with her mother.

The mother who had a distant or unloving relationship with her own father is usually more jealous and more unsupportive of her daughter’s having a close relationship with her father. 

©2008 Dr. Linda Nielsen

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It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father. Pope John XXIII

Dr. Nielsen has been teaching, counseling, conducting research and writing about adolescents and father-daughter relationships since 1970. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of the outstanding graduate's award in teacher education from the University of Tennessee in 1969, she taught and counseled high school students for several years. After earning a Master's Degree in Counseling and a Doctorate in Educational and Adolescent Psychology, she joined the faculty of Wake Forest University in 1974. Her grants and awards include the Outstanding Article Award in 1980 from the U.S. Center for Women Scholars and a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Association of University Women. For the past fifteen years she has focused primarily on father-daughter relationships with a special emphasis on divorced fathers and their daughters. Her work has been cited in the "Wall Street Journal" as well as in popular magzines such as "Cosmopolitan", and shared through television and radio interviews..

In 1991 she created her "Fathers & Daughters" course - the only college course in the country that focuses exclusively on father-daughter relationships. In addition to having written several dozen articles for journals such as the "Harvard Educational Review" and the "Journal of Divorce & Remarriage", Dr. Nielsen has written three books: How to Motivate Adolescents (Prentice Hall) and Adolescence: A Contemporary View (Harcourt Brace) which sold more than 60,000 copies and was adopted by hundreds of universities throughout the country and abroad between 1986-1996. Her third book, Embracing Your Father: Creating the Relationship You Want with Your Dad was published in April, 2004. www.wfu.edu/~nielsen or E-Mail

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