A girl’s relationship with her father can hold unprecedented influence over her life, especially as she makes the treacherous yet exciting transition from girlhood into adulthood. While many fathers are loving, encouraging, considerate, and would do anything for their children, others may practice behaviors that are discouraging, confusing, or even harmful. A dad's behavior prepares his daughter for how she should interact with other men in her life, often impacting her personal and social growth, even into adulthood.
Reddit has weighed in on this sensitive issue, providing a mostly anonymous place where daughters describe things they wish their fathers had done for them. Some daughters' desires are simple, such as one who wishes that her father had taught her more basic life skills, while others are more complex, such as the woman who expressed resentment that her father regularly wrote off her emotions. These stories provide insight not only into what daughters want from their fathers, but also into patterns of paternal behavior that can potentially affect children for their entire lives.
Vote below on which traits of father-daughter relationships are the most significant.
- 1138 VOTES
Support Our Mental Health
From a former Redditor:
My dad was, and still is, there for me in a lot of ways that I really appreciate, but he wasn't there for me when it came to mental health since my mom has bigger mental health issues than I do and she is blatantly against mental health care.
When [your daughter is] schoolaged (AKA: kindergarten and above, usually above), please don't be afraid to talk to her about her mental wellbeing as well as her physical wellbeing. Don't demonize it.
- 275 VOTES
Don't Belittle Us For Expressing Our Emotions
From Redditor /u/nersee:
I was depressed in middle school and would cry every night. One night my dad said, "You know, if you were a boy you wouldn't cry like this."
It changed the way I saw him, as though I were some weakling, like he would rather have a boy. But it also imparted how terrible it must be to be a boy and not be able to cry if you're depressed or anxious. So I guess I would add to let your kid get their feelings out no matter what gender they are.
- 3127 VOTES
Listen To Us
From Redditor /u/OneEsk:
I just wish [my father] had listened and taken my words to heart. Our relationship has been irreparably damaged over the years because he never listened or learned from his mistakes or made our relationship a priority. I guess he always just figured he could fix things later or that I'd continue to forgive and forget. Nope.
Listen to your daughter and take her seriously, even when she's young. She's the best person to tell you what she wants and needs from you.
- 4127 VOTES
Teach Us 'Masculine' Skills
From Redditor /u/writingskimmons:
Include the daughter in stereotypically male housework. I can cook and load a dishwasher like my life depends on it, but I can't do any sort of maintenance like putting up a picture frame or unclogging a sink.
- 583 VOTES
Believe Us - And Other Women
From Redditor /u/choixpeau:
There are some men (and boys) who are perfectly decent when other men are around, but are not nice to women (and girls) when there are no other men around. Believe your daughter about her own lived experiences, even if you didn't witness them yourself.
And believe other women about their own lived experiences as well. If your daughter grows up hearing you talking about how your mother and sister were clearly overreacting when they said your childhood neighbour was creepy - because, after all, he was always perfectly decent to you - your daughter is not going to go to you when your own neighbor is creepy to her when you're not around.
- 6133 VOTES
Don't Be Afraid To Show Affection
From a former Redditor:
It doesn't make you look weak to show affection once in a while. My dad hardly ever hugged us or said he loved us.