How Dads Build Strong Father-Daughter Relationships

As it turns out, his guidance is more than just a catchy tune and has a sound basis in science. Research published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology from May 2017 finds that girls who receive higher quality fathering engage in less risky behavior than their peers. Using a clever research, method investigators studied pairs of adult sisters from either intact or broken families in which their age gap was at least four years—the idea being they would have had different experiences of their father, especially if he had separated from the family before the younger one reached maturity but would have controlled for the same mother. Girls who communicated well with their fathers and felt close to them experienced much more parental monitoring, hung out far less with sexually risk-prone peers and experienced less sexual risk-taking behavior including promiscuity, unprotected sex and sex while intoxicated. Interestingly, the impact was more pronounced for older sisters. The scientist explains, “The prolonged presence of a warm and engaged father can buffer girls against early high-risk sex.” She adds, “A silver lining is that what dad does seems to matter more than the parental separation.” Meaning that divorce itself may be less harmful for a girl than the experience of a bad dad.

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