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How Important Is It That Fathers Take An Active Role In Their Daughters Lives?

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By Marcea Hibbert-Roye

With the rise in single parenting, have we fully understood the impact of a missing parent, namely the father. The father’s role in the past has been the ‘bringer of the bacon’ whilst his wife took care of the children. Fathers were usually the one that were considered the disciplinarian, ‘wait tip your father gets home’ mantra. Yet, we cannot forget about the ideology that fathers teach their daughters about the type of relationship they may expect to have by shaping their perceptions about self and relationships. If these are some of the roles that fathers play, what happens to the female who is raised without her father?

Have we become too complacent about accepting that many fathers are not involved in their daughters lives? Have we allowed many women to decide what role if any, a father will play in their daughters lives? However, the more important question is what, if any is the impact on a fatherless female?

When a relationship ceases for whatever reason and there are children, the separating couple must rise above their own emotional war with each other to protect the emotions of their children. However, there are exceptions whereby a father is not involved in his daughter’s life such as where sexual abuse has occurred. Some may argue that with the right support and treatment, any threat by a father may cease to continue for his child. This argument leans more towards the ‘rights’ of the father and reduces the impact of sexual abuse to the victim. Sexual abuse is not the only abuse that a father is deemed as dangerous to his daughter; he may not even directly abuse his child but the environment that is underpinned with violence within the home afflicts just as deeply.

With the above exception processed, let us examine the other situations that does not lend a father to being a potential predator to his daughter’s physical or emotional well-being. Without digressing and noting the benefits that a mother brings to her child, what about the father. Changes to the way we live our lives makes it more acceptable for fathers being an integral part to their daughters lives, in fact, making a very positive contribution to her emotional health. Yet, this contribution is dependent upon several factors including the father’s acknowledgment about the role he plays in shaping his daughter’s outcomes. All to often, we are seeing a larger than acceptable number of fathers reneging on their responsibilities and disengaging with their previous families when a relationship breaks up. The solution in these situations to stabilize a broken relationship with children is for both parents to recognize the need for children to create and maintain another type of relationship with the absent parent, in this case the father.

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Far too many adults gravitate towards their own needs and expect children to ‘level’ up to the resulting outcome of a split. Especially if either parent enters into another relationship, one could argue that it is easier to distance the absent parent in favor of ‘supporting the new relationship’. Or the opposite is equally true for the absent parent to renege on his previous responsibilities in favor of supporting his new relationship. Whichever scenario fits best, it is not promoting the needs of the children that are paramount.

So much information is out there in the ether that supports how children benefit from two good parents who are able to see through their split and work together to provide their children with minimal disruption. However, the rise of single parents that are not supported by the absent parent is quite visible. I read somewhere that following a split, the absent parent has a higher percentage of totally not being involved in their children’s lives after one year of a separation. What this tells me that in the ‘grey’ time of a separation when emotions are raw, the parents are unable to prioritize their children. This is bad news for children’s outcome. Some people may argue that children adapt to a split but is this without damage? According to the type of concerns raised in external agencies such as Social Care, this adaptation is clearly not without its own concern. More young people and children have been diagnosed with depression, possibly on closer inspection, this would equate to Socially Reactive Depression (SRD) as opposed to depression organic in nature. However, the severity of behavioral outputs as a result of SRD affects schools in particular.

Let us try to examine the role of a father in relation to his daughter and maybe we can clearly identify why or if a father is required post sperm donation.

A female’s first experience of a male is usually her father. Not unlike the mother, the female learns approval and self-esteem amongst other things from the father. However, what fathers can also offer, more than mothers is how they should be treated as females from males. Fathers can provide the backdrop to inputting the necessary values a female will use to collate information about herself. When a mother speaks about employing these values, they come from a subjective perspective yet when a father speaks about these same values, it is more likely to derive from an objective perspective. Why is this? It is quite possible that some fathers appears to exhibit a ‘my little princess’ ethos about their daughters and may be far stricter in defining who their little princess is able to interconnect with. Fathers who makes ineffective parents appears not so concerned with who their daughter dates or they do not show any concerns.

However, let us go further back to a younger female’s life with her father because any deposit of positivity is not shown only at the daughter’s dating journey. There is something about a father’s love towards his daughter that is quite indescribable. What is surprising is that this love is felt as missing even if you have never experienced this.

What demarcate having a father’s love from not having this love is mysteriously complex. Many children do learn to adapt without a father present but my question has always been, what has been the trade off? It may be unclear as to the visibility in determining any damage of an absent father because physically there are no traits. Yet, can we be so sure that there are no damages?

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If a female misses this love in the event of never having this love from a father, how is this possible? It becomes clear to me that we are dealing with the concept that fathers do make a positive impact upon their daughters emotional health. We can all resonate to the archetypal father lovingly relating with his daughter, surreptitiously informing her of many requisites she will later require in later life from others and namely her mate.

What else does a father give to his daughter when he is fully engaged with her growth? A female learns her worth from a male perspective, she learns validation that her existence is laudable. This love is naturally expected from her mother but when this same love is shown from her father, the paradigms are shifted in the female’s emotional health. Fathers see their daughters differently and can act as an important mediator between mothers and daughters. Fathers have a different perspective and can give balance to a relationship. Just the tone of a father’s voice is met differently on a female than her mother’s own voice. The love of a father is never more significant than a mother’s but it is clear that this love is different in nature and activates in a female a different set of emotions and behavior.

Many females live with the absence of a father and performs adequately in life. However, just because you are unable to clearly see any damage, that does not mean that no damage exists. You may have to look closely or you may not even attribute a particular behavior to the loss of a father. Nature works well and the mere fact that a male is needed in the creation of another life must mean more than their job is more than sperm donation. Whilst in some situations, the absence of a father cannot be ameliorated maybe there is not enough being done to support a healthy father/daughter relationship. Is it time we addressed this issue?

My name is Marcea Hibbert-Roye, qualified Social Worker and Life Coach. My specialism is developing emotional awareness in females. I have devised a 6 Step Program that promotes good emotional health by accessing information held in the subconscious mind to the conscious mind. The result is having more control over thoughts, feelings and behavior.

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About Dangerous Lee

Writer of essays, short stories and Ask A Black Girl. Author of Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down & The Half Series - When Black People Look White. Webmaster of DangerousLee.biz.

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