Growing up Fatherless
“When a child grows up without a father, there is an empty place where someone must stand, Providing an example of character and confidence.”
~ Steve Largent
Fathers generally have as much or more influence than mothers on many aspects of their daughters’ lives. Fathers have a greater impact on their daughter’s long-term (romantic) male relationships because of their ability to trust, enjoy, and relate well to the males in their life. Girls with involved, fathers are more likely to have healthier relationships with the opposite sex because they learn from their fathers how proper men act toward women. They also have a healthy familiarity with the world of men; they don't wonder how a man's facial stubble feels or what it's like to be hugged by strong arms. This knowledge builds emotional security and safety from the exploitation of predatory males. Well-fathered daughters are also more aware of their sexuality, body image, social skills, and their academic goals because they are usually more self-confident, more self-reliant, and more successful in school and in their careers than poorly fathered daughters. A Father’s Influence and Involvement is imperative for adolescent girls. In a study taken eight years ago; only thirty percent of fathers believed that active involvement in their daughter’s life was vital to their health and well being (Roper Poll, 2004). On the other hand, the same study showed that nearly eighty percent of college-aged girls wished the relationship they had with their father was emotionally and personally closer, so they could more closely and comfortably communicate about such personal issues as marital problems and divorce, drug and alcohol use, financial matters, depression, eating disorders, and sex before marriage. When girls are exposed to a stressful environment, especially when it is due to a father’s absence in the first 7 years of her life, they tend to have an early onset to puberty, advanced sexuality, and unstable relationships as adults. It is clear that girls who grow up without a father (especially if he abandoned them) are significantly more prone to destructive behavior than those who have a father present. It therefore seems that a father indeed has influence on his daughter and on her development as a whole person. A daughter will be a different kind of person depending on the level of involvement her father has. The question now remains: In what specific ways, or in which areas of life, does a father influence? A young girl's relationship with her family, especially with her father, may influence at what age she enters puberty, according to Vanderbilt University researchers. The study looked at 173 girls and their families from the time the girls were in pre-kindergarten until they were in the seventh grade. Girls who had close, positive relationships with their parents during the first five years of life tended to experience relatively late puberty, compared to girls who had more distant relationships with their parents. More specifically, the researchers found that the quality of fathers' involvement with daughters was the most important feature of the early family environment in relation to the timing of the daughters' puberty so that girls growing up in father-present conditions reach puberty later than girls growing up without a father present. The information is important because multiple studies show that when girls reach puberty younger, they become sexually active earlier and are more likely to get pregnant in their teens. Daughters of single mothers are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages. Researchers have found that when girls entered puberty later, they generally had fathers who were active participants in care giving; had fathers who were supportive to the girls' mothers; and had positive...
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