The Effects of the Father-Daughter Relationship on Self-Esteem

young girl with fancy gloves looking in round mirror

All of our relationships throughout our lives effect our self esteem. As early as childhood, all of our friendships on the playground up to our work relationships with our bosses will shape and mold our opinions of ourselves, no matter how hard we might try to make it not that way. Parental relationships, of course, are always at the core of our being from start to finish. And the father – daughter dynamic is a powerful one for sure. Here’s why.

Daddy’s Little Girl
If you are a “daddy’s little girl” you could be anything from a spoiled brat princess to someone that knows that they should be held in high regard. Many fathers of one-daughter households especially will treat their child to everything their heart desires. While this can produce a very confident daughter if it is handled well, the opposite side of the spectrum can come into play. A child who is bought every thing throughout childhood, doted on exclusively, made to feel she can do no wrong many times sends the personality of the girl askew and produces the Lindsey Lohan personas of the world. Nothing they do is wrong, they are untouchable and if heaven forbid they ever do get into a scrape, daddy will always be there to rectify the wrong. This sets up the self esteem of the child to be very off from the way the real world may view them.

Trust Issues
If a father figure in a girl’s life is always disappointing her, whether it be by lacking a simple presence in the child’s life to never giving financial support or possibly just being the type that promises the world but never produces, this can cause a very untrusting soul. A girl’s self esteem can be damaged in unseen ways; sometimes in ways the grown woman will never even understand how the two relate. A child disappointed over and over again by the father that is to be trusted will develop a very tough skin that others cannot break through. Many times the self esteem of the disappointed child is so damaged that even simple gestures by others throughout their lives will come under scrutiny. Something as simple as a male who pulls out a chair for them at dinner can be met with the suspicious eye of the low self esteem girl harmed by the father’s ways in the fact that she will even question “why is he doing that, what does he want in return”.

They Always Leave” Syndrome
Women who have been abandoned as a child by a father will many times grow up, even possibly unsuspectingly, thinking that everyone leaves. They are conditioned to believe that no one sticks by them forever so they will go into boyfriend/husband relationships believing that, jobs believing it, even sometimes throwing the baggage onto even their relationships with their own children. They will feel that no one is “safe” since their earliest memories of safety being shattered by a departing father due to divorce, death perhaps or a father that was absent even due to a job situation such as even the father being in the military or such where he is still “absent” much of their lives. This sets up a shaky self esteem situation where a missing component in their lives will spill over for years to come.

Happy is as Happy Does
Women who are the result of healthy relationships with their father, thus producing high self esteem due to it, can many times become strong women in all aspects of their lives. These women have a balance many others do not, which gives them a leg up many times on the workplace where many times it is a “boy’s club”, help to produce confident woman in situations such as college, sports and simply dealing with others in every day life situations. They never understand that they are not equal with all, have a good balance in their lives with their father — not too spoiled, not too catered to, just healthy, normal checks and balances — and as a result their self esteem is neither bloated or diminished.

Whether we like it or not, or understand it or not, we will always be affected by the most primal relationships that begin the moment we enter the earth. The father bond, or lack thereof, can be one of the most affecting of our entire lives.

Jackie Bricks writes about family, health, child development and more. A CNA, her most recent work focuses on ranking the best online rn to bsn program rankings.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to better understand the effects of fathers on daughters.

Image courtesy of babymellowdee via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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