Top Reasons Why Daddies Matter

When the chemistry is right, fathers make contributions to the welfare of their daughters in almost every dimension of life. Here is a quick overview of some related findings in that regard. After reading it, you'll see again why daddies matter.

Girls whose fathers provide warmth and control achieve greater academic success.6

Girls who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety and withdrawal behaviors.7

Parental connectedness is the number one factor in preventing girls from engaging in premarital sex and indulging in drugs and alcohol.8

Daughters who believe that their fathers care about them have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and unhealthy weight.9

Girls with involved fathers are twice as likely to stay in school.10

Girls with fathers or father figures feel more protected, are more likely to attempt college, and are less likely to drop out of college.11

Girls whose parents divorce or separate before they turn twenty-one

tend to have shorter life spans by four years.12

Girls with good fathers are less likely to seek male attention by flaunting themselves.13

Girls who live with their mothers and fathers (as opposed to mothers only) have significantly fewer growth and developmental delays, and fewer learning disorders, emotional disabilities, and behavioral problems.14

Girls who live with their mothers only have significantly less ability to control impulses and delay gratification, and have a weaker sense of conscience about right and wrong.15

Both boys and girls do better academically if their fathers establish rules and exhibit affection.16

The next study may amuse you. Researchers have observed that women who had good relationships with their fathers during childhood tend to be attracted to men having similar facial features. Some grown daughters have spouses who bear an astonishing physical resemblance to their dads.17

Unmarried women may not be thrilled by this information!

Here's a related study that was first published more than thirty years ago but was well documented at the time. It is still valid, in my view. The findings were published in a book titled Daddy's Girl, Mama's Boy by James Rue, Ph.D., and Louise Shanahan.18 Its thesis was that the cross-sexual relationship (girls with fathers and boys with mothers) was found to be a highly significant factor, for better or worse, in all future romantic decisions. Girls with loving, nurturing fathers tended to search for marital partners having a personality and other characteristics similar to those of their dads. Girls with abusive, rejecting, and irresponsible fathers searched for men who were not like them at all. The same was true for boys regarding their mothers. Thus, Mom and Dad continued to shape the romantic interests of their sons and daughters long after childhood.

The bottom line is this: "Choose your parents wisely." You not only carry their genes, but you are also influenced one way or another by their thoughts, behaviors, values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, hopes, dreams, biases, intelligence, mistakes, failures, successes, sicknesses, health, joys, and sorrows. It is scary, isn't it? That is why great fathers and mothers are treasures.

6.Rebekah Coley, "Children's Socialization Experiences and Functioning in Single-Mother

Households: The Importance of Fathers and Other Men," Child Development 69 (February 1998):


7.A. Morcoen and K. Verschuren, "Representation of Self and Socioemotional Competence in

Kindergartners: Differential and Combined Effects of Attachment to Mothers and Fathers," Child

Development 70 (1999): 183–201.

8.Michael D. Resnick et al, Journal of the American Medical Association 10 (September 10, 1997):


9.Diann Ackard et al, American Journal of Preventive Medicine 1 (January 30, 2006): 59–66.

10.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, "Survey on Child Health" (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1993).

11.Greg J. Duncan, Martha Hill, and W. Jean Yeung, "Fathers' Activities and Children's Attainments" (paper presented at a conference on father involvement, Washington, D.C.).

12.Joseph E. Schwartz et al, "Sociodemographic and Psychosocial Factors in Child as Predictors of Adult Mortality," American Journal of Public Health 85 (1995): 1237–1245.


Bringing Up Girls

13. Claudette Wassil-Grimm, Where's Daddy? How Divorced, Single and Widowed Mothers Can Provide What's Missing When Dad's Missing (New York: Overlook Press, 1994).

14.N. Zill and Carol Schoenborn, "Child Development, Learning and Emotional Problems: Health of Our Nation's Children," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Advance Data 1990 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1990).

15.E. M. Hetherington and Barbara Martin, "Family Interaction," Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood (New York: Wiley, 1979).

16.F. Horn and Tom Sylvester, Father Facts (Gaithersburg, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative, 2002).

17.Agnieszka Wiszewska et al, "Father-Daughter Relationship as a Moderator of Sexual Imprinting: A Facialmetric Study," Evolution and Human Behavior, published online by Elsevier (2007).

18.James J. Rue and Louise Shanahan, Daddy's Girl, Mama's Boy (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1978).

Book: Bringing Up Girls

By Dr. James Dobson

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