Building Good Father-Daughter Relationships


In 1985, The Color Purple made its debut into America's culture. The story follows the life of Celie, a young black girl growing up in the South. At 14 years old, she becomes pregnant by her stepfather. During her journey through adulthood, Celie would face a difficult life. She was riddled with doubt, low self-esteem, and lacked any meaningful relationships with men. Her misery could be traced back to the dysfunctional relationship with her stepfather.

Media outlets bombard society with themes of irresponsible and abusive fathers in the home. These men lack any emotional courage to deal with their daughters. Therefore, the emotional connection is passed to mothers. In our society, young ladies face tremendous cultural pressures. Everyone wants to fit in. However, some girls pursue it at any cost. Looking for love in all the wrong places often leads them down a path of destruction. For example, America has the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the western industrialized world. According to one estimate, one in eight teens suffer from depression. Some problems can be traced back to the lack of father-daughter relationships. The US Department of Health and Human Services report that 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.

A good father-daughter relationship can make a difference. A number of significant studies demonstrate that high levels of involvement by fathers contribute to children's wellbeing. Noted sociologist Dr. David Popenoe argues, "Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is likely to bring." According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the number of teen mothers in the United States is on the decline. Some people would profess it is due to better education. Dr. Bruce Ellis, a psychology professor at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, explores the significance of fathers in a daughter's life: "It is also likely that girls who have high-investing fathers in the home tend to begin sex and dating at a later age and thus have less pheromonal exposure to male dating partners in early adolescence."

Contrary to popular belief, I see many men who are trying to teach their daughters to carry themselves with dignity. I hear them tell their daughters "you can be anything that you want to be." Some tell their daughters to pick their friends and relationships wisely: "If you lie down with dogs, you will get fleas." Therefore, the positive messages of good father-daughters relationships are lost on foolishness and sensational journalism.

The real fathers just continue to instruct their daughters and set proper examples for them. There were plenty of men carrying themselves respectfully and being an example to the young men who would escort their daughters. Dedicated fathers will do anything to help their daughters be successful. In the Color Purple, Celie was denied a good father-daughter relationship. We can only hope that today's fathers will not miss out on this opportunity with their own daughters. Let's pray that it is not too late.

Dr. Daryl D. Green writes on contemporary issues impacting businesses, societies, and global communities. He has over 19 years of assisting organization decision-making.

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