If you’re a divorcing father with a daughter, you’ve probably been hearing from seemingly well-meaning people that girls need their mothers – particularly as they approach or go through adolescence. Mothers often believe this as well. It’s not hard for fathers to come to the conclusion that they should let their soon-to-be-ex have primary custody of their daughter.
All children benefit from maintaining a close relationship with both parents after divorce – assuming of course, that they’re both loving, responsible parents. While girls certainly need their mothers, you shouldn’t let that keep you from working to have shared custody that will allow you and your daughter plenty of time together.
Fathers can have a significant effect on how girls see themselves – both when they’re children and when they grow into adults. They’re generally a girl’s first and most important male role model.
Years of research have found that a girl who has a positive, healthy relationship with her father will most likely grow into a woman who expects men to treat her with respect. This means healthier romantic, professional and platonic relationships with men.
Fathers and body image
Fathers can affect a girl’s body image for better or worse. One teasing comment about her being “chubby” can stay with a girl for the rest of her life.
Girls also look at how their fathers treat other females – including their mothers. Fathers who are always commenting on women’s looks (positively or negatively) rather than their intelligence, talent or accomplishments can make their daughters believe that this is the most valuable thing about a female.
Rules and discipline are still crucial
While both parents often strive to be the favorite, dads can be particularly lenient with their daughters – especially if they don’t see them as much as they’d like. However, it’s important to show any child that love doesn’t mean a lack of rules or accountability.
We’ve just touched on the ways that a close father-daughter relationship in childhood can help a woman become more successful in all aspects of her life as she becomes an adult. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t strive to maintain a close bond with your daughter after separation and divorce. This means getting a fair custody agreement. Having experienced legal guidance can help.