Fathers, Daughters, and Complicated Relationships

Blood is thicker than water and family is forever. This is what we are taught, but is family really forever? The widely used phrase, “Dad went to go get milk” that implies a father abandoning the family, in the media, shows just how common father estrangement is. But estrangement doesn’t just cover completely absent fathers, but also those who are emotionally absent. The trauma of a childhood without a father figure can do a lot of damage to a developing little girl, even having long-term effects that will subconsciously impact their future relationships and families. Here are some of the forms of father estrangements and the impact it has on their daughters. 


Estrangement Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes

 As there are many different types of fathers, there are also many forms of estrangement.

The most “clear” one is the complete absence of a father, physically and emotionally. A study (one of many on the topic of absent fathers) showed that father involvement is associated with better cognitive and developmental outcomes in children, including improved receptive speech skills, better results in academics, and generally positive development in infants. And this is only concerning the first few years of the daughter’s life.

Although a father may be physically present in their daughter’s life, emotional absence is another form of estrangement, one the child may not understand until they are at an older age. On the surface, it may seem as if there is this perfect little family living in a good home with children going to a good school, all provided by the father. But in reality, the father will come home late from work and leave early the next day or be at home glued to the television all day or night. This leaves no space for emotional connections or even just simple conversations. Although, to the father, it may seem as if he is doing what is best for the family, many daughters who grow up in a household like this one spend a majority of their adult life feeling like they aren’t worthy of anyone’s love. They become sexually promiscuous or pregnant at an early age, or have difficulty forming healthy long-term relationships.


The Effects of Father Estrangement 

 The effects of not having a father in the home or the lack of an emotional relationship with the father may lead to: 

  1. Very low self-esteem or self-confidence caused by the feeling of being abandoned or constant struggle with self-loathing emotions.
  2. Behavioral problems in social settings, developing an aggressive attitude to disguise underlying resentments or complete isolation from those around them.
  3. Low academic performance and low likelihood to achieve professional qualifications in adulthood.
  4. Juvenile delinquency.
  5. Higher rates of underage sex and teen pregnancy with young girls seeking validation and love from men due to the lack of it at home from the emotional loss of their fathers, also leading to easy exploitation by adult men.
  6. Effect on future relationships with higher rates of divorce and children born outside of marriage.


Fathers are Needed

As you can see, the absence of a stable father-daughter relationship can have physical and emotional effects on a child. The impact of an absent father is very serious. I know. I’ve been there.

My father was absent physically and emotionally. I know how painful it can be and how empty it can make you feel. But there is definitely hope. It’s amazing how God gave me father figures, in my adult life, to give me what I needed.

If you are a father reading this blog, please give your daughter the undying love and peaceful childhood she needs. If you are a daughter that feels your father may have been absent while you were growing up, seek therapy to help you resolve any built-up emotions that you may have repressed over the years. You don’t want your past to hinder the bright and loving future that is waiting for you.

I hope this blog was beneficial to your life. If you have any questions or just want to talk, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note at erikanicholllc@gmail.comAlways take good care of yourself.

Coach Erika Nichol

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