Come on Dads, your daughters need you!
A message from Brian Hunt, Senior Counsellor, Catholic Social Services
Much is written, discussed about absent fathers. Of course there are many reasons for this to occur. We read and discuss among ourselves about the impact on boys who do not have good male role models or fathers in their lives. We talk about the harm this causes boys, however, rarely do we discuss why daughters also need their fathers to be present and emotionally available for them. Daughters need their fathers to learn about growing up and how to be in a fast paced world that will take advantage of anyone not taught to be fully aware. It sounds daunting and it is.
Fathers have the characteristics to guide their daughters through this mine field and survive. Stop for a moment…open your eyes, see what you daughter faces today, tomorrow and in ten years. It’s tough and it’s frightening, but this is the way it is. While you would like the world to be cautious and gentle with her, it is cruel beyond belief, even before she becomes a teenager. Though she may not participate in the ugly stuff, it’s all around her: sexual promiscuity, alcohol abuse, foul language, illegal drugs, and predatory boys and men who want only to take something from her. Let’s not forget also a narcissistic consumer driven market environment to look better and have more than others. She learns early in life to sexualize her image to fit in with her peers, and of course, “I must not be rude, I have got to answer my phone right this moment”.
Research confirms that fathers have more influence over their daughters than movies, music and magazines, and sure, these things have enormous influences that shape what girls think about themselves and what clothes they wear and even what grade they get. But their influence doesn’t come close to the influence of a father. Fathers always come out on top. ‘The effects of loving, caring fathers on their daughters can be measured in girls of all ages (Meeker 2016).
As I mentioned earlier, this can be daunting for fathers and even if you think the two of you operate on different planes, even if you worry that time spent with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt you are having a meaningful impact on her, the clinical fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts. She will absorb your influence, she might not understand why you are happy, angry, affectionate, but you will be the most important man in her life, forever.
Come on dads your daughters need you.