Fathers & Daughters: Building a Meaningful Relationship
April 22, 2016
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If you’re like most girls, you probably have a more open and personal relationship with your mother than your father. Even if your relationship with your father isn’t strained, it is probably more cordial than personal. You may crave a more open relationship with your father on occasion, or perhaps have resigned yourself to this ‘norm’.  Whatever your situation, it is crucial to start building a more meaningful relationship with your father. It has been proven that daughters with fulfilling relationships with their fathers are generally more confident, independent, have better relationships with other men, better marriages and less problems with drugs and alcohol.

You’ve probably come across the terms “daddy issues” in relation to a woman’s dysfunction as a result of growing up with an absentee father or an emotionally unavailable dad. This will typically describe a woman who exhibits indiscriminate sexual behavior and likely prefers older companions, drinks like a fish and engages in one or more forms of self-destruction or bratty conduct.

Read Also: Sins of our Fathers

Here are some ideas for how you can start building a fulfilling relationship with your father.

Spend more time alone with your old man. This will allow you quality time together in a relaxed setting to get to know each other better. Ask him questions about himself, his life, his work, his parents and his childhood. You can take out old photo albums and go through them together. The idea here is to take an interest in his life, keeping in mind that he was once a little boy and certain events in his lifetime shaped him into the father you know today.

Keep in mind that most men bond over activities like watching a movie or playing ball as opposed to women who bond by talking. Ask him to show you how to do something he does well, like show you how to drive or fix a cabinet. Ease into it and you will notice him opening up. Ask him for advice on a personal matter and let him know that you value his opinion. Most fathers leave the raising of the children to the mothers because they’re probably convinced that they wouldn’t know anything about what a teenage girl needs. Remember that they probably had a hard time figuring out what a woman needs in their hay days and that this may spill over into their parenting technique for their daughters. The important thing is to understand that even though they will get it wrong sometimes, that doesn’t mean that they’re no good to you.

Self-esteem: What your Inner Dialogue says about you

Consider that his perceptions as a man will be different from what your mother’s are so try not to make any comparisons or set misguided expectations of what he can offer you. Release any pain you may be holding onto as a result of his past mistakes and purpose to make things better starting from the present.

Lastly, celebrate the little victories. Opening up to you about his vulnerabilities or failures may be the hardest thing your father has had to do in a long time so acknowledge his efforts and take it slow.


About author

Wanjiru Ndung'u

Wanjiru Ndung'u writes fiction, poetry and essays. She is an irretrievable night owl, tea-lover and cat mom. She enjoys books, alternative music, movies and streaming shows.

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