The psychological effects of absent fathers on daughters

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Historically a woman’s role is to perform duties to maintain the home and nurture the children. A man’s function is to provide financial support. Today the focus has shifted. The nuclear family has dissolved and many women began to play both roles. Homes are now run solely by women. Mothers are now maintaining a career and nurturing the children. Although they are very capable of doing this securely the children suffer in the process. A father is important in the healthy development of a daughter. His absents results in emotional, psychological, and physical deficiency in female children.

A positive father is a key figure in his daughter’s development. The first male a female encounters is her father. He loves, protects and nurtures his daughter which teaches her how she is supposed to be treated by the opposite sex. Her view of other males she encounters also comes from the way her father treats her and the other females in her life. The interaction between father and daughter gives the female a model on how to interact with other males. A positive model allows the female to view the opposite sex with confidence and trust. If the daughter doesn’t have a model to rely on the child will view the opposite sex with mistrust and doubt. This will make the child incapable of interacting positively with the opposite sex. As the young woman matures the relationships she has with a significant other will never be healthy. She will continue to be insecure about his intentions. Possible waiting for him to abandon her as did her father “Based on the interviews with 150 U.S women ages 18-70 a size able amount of women grow up with a remote aloof father, these women do not feel affirmed by their fathers. They tend to respond to men in their lives as they respond to their elusive father. They desperately seek intimacy but are unable to believe that men can be trusted to remain close and are thus always on guard”(Scheffler 1999). A father is able to give a daughter an inside view of the opposite sex, giving her the ability to forge an understanding of males. Without the fathers presence the female grows unable to bond with the opposite sex making it difficult for her to develop positive intimate relationships. Fatherless daughters can also become needy or clingy around men, searching for the attention she did not receive from her father. In this case the daughter becomes promiscuous confusing sex with love. Her intimate relationships will be short lived and sexually based. Fatherless
women can become sexually aggressive. Promiscuity can lead to early pregnancy. “Studies show that girls reach puberty at a younger age, they become sexually active earlier and are likely to become pregnant in their teens if their father was absent from the home when they where young… in a long term study of girls in New Zealand and the US, a team led by psychologist Bruce Ellis of the University of Canterbury followed more that 700 girls from preschool to age 17 or 18… this study showed that the absence ofa father had the biggest impact on the girls early sexual behavior” (Nowak 2003). To a degree sexual interaction are motivated by paternal deprivation. Such interactions seem potentially risky emotionally and in terms of physical health. “Fortunately, a growing body of research indicates that emotionally responsive fathers help adolescent girls both delay sexual activity and to make sexual interactions less frequent, decreasing risk for pregnancy, STD’s and other consequences” (Katz and Van Der Kloet 2010).

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Girls who were raised without a father deal with low self esteem. A father validates his daughter and when that father becomes absent or was never there to begin with. The daughter will blame herself. Feelings of rejection will surface, making her feel as if she wasn’t good enough. Low self worth can open up a whole world of self destructive behaviors, Such as eating disorders. Dr. Maine author of, Father Hunger, explains how the father daughter relationship contributes to the development of eating disorders. The term father hunger is the emptiness experienced by women whose fathers were absent emotionally or physically. This void leads to unrealistic body images, yo-yo dieting, food fears and disordered eating patterns (Maine 2004). Low self esteem can also make her vulnerable to outside negative influences, resulting in Illegal drug use. They use drugs to

Girls without active relationships with their fathers act out behaviorally. They become rebellious and defiant. This is the case with Nicola’s youngest daughter Nikea. She is rebellious and aggressive. She is confrontational and defiant with adult figures. This may be due to the feelings of frustrations because of the absence of a father. Her aggressive behavior is used to hide her insecurities. Cecilia is the direct opposite of her sister. Her feelings of abandonment are internalized. She stays close to her mother seeming to feel that she too will leave. She has issues regarding separation anxiety. Cecelia shy’s away from men while Nikea is clingy regarding the opposite sex. The feelings of abandonment daughters have from the absence of the father is due to the way in which their fathers where lost. “Female observation and perception is dependent upon whether they lost their father to divorce, abandonment or death, and at what age. How and why a father is absent will have an impact on the emotional and material outcome for the child” (Krohn 2001). Girls that lose their fathers to death are less likely to feel abandoned. Because of the way in which the father was taken is beyond anyone’s control. They do however have difficulties with male interaction. It is stated that, “females deprived of a father as a result of death tend to have the most positive concept of their fathers while feeling the saddest about his disappearance….daughters of widows are less inclined to possess a lot of anger or seek immense amounts of attention from adults or males. In terms of sexuality daughters of widows were likely to be scared of men” (Krohn 2001)

“It is suggested that a college education concerning fatherless females can be problematic for two reasons. Single mothers may be unable to afford the cost of a college education. Either the father can’t or won’t contribute to the education of the daughter. The second reason is that, in search of a sense of security, women tend to forgo college and enter the work force. Although, she may feel liberation within a pay check it limits the fatherless daughters from achieving higher education and creates a false hood that a pay check can act as healing. I do not allow the fatherless female deal with the issues she has with the absence of her father” (Krohn 2001). Fatherless females don’t always go down the wrong path regarding education, some are over achievers. They excel in school trying to fill the void their father left when he abandoned her. Conclusively a daughter needs her father to develop into a happy healthy well-adjusted individual. Although, she is able to do so without his presence, there will always be a void where the father should be. A child needs to identify with both parents and without the presence of her father she is missing a part of herself.

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The psychological effects of absent fathers on daughters. (2016, Nov 19). Retrieved from

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