Part two of this article looks at the incredible potential fathers have to influence the choices their daughters make. This significant paternal influence was illustrated to me very powerfully recently. The other day my teenage daughter was watching a modeling program on television. On this episode, as part of their training, the young women hoping to become famous models were taking acting lessons. The acting teacher was instructing them on how to cry on command. The technique she used was to give them a blank piece of paper and told them to imagine that it was a note from their father saying he was leaving them forever—that he never wanted to see them again. Every one of the young women spontaneously burst into tears, some of them sobbing in anguish. The instructor then told them to rip up the paper and release their anger at their fathers. These young women ferociously tore into the papers with violent anger.
Of all the illustrations she could have used, she chose an example involving the girls’ fathers abandoning them. Either these young women were already the best actresses I’ve ever seen, or it was a gripping testament to the power her father plays in the life of a woman.
Fathers set a huge role model for their daughters regarding the qualities she looks for in men and the standards she maintains. He is the first man in her life and models how a man should treat a woman, how a man should act, and how a man shows healthy love and affection to a woman. He also sets the standard for how a daughter feels she deserves to be treated by men. He even determines how a girl feels about herself.
Fathers who are active, loving, positive role models in their daughter’s lives provide them with the opportunity to use those character traits as a measuring tape for future men in their lives. The way in which a man treats his wife speaks volumes to a girl on how she should expect to be treated and valued by men later in her life. If her father shows that he values her mother as someone worthy of love and respect, a girl will expect that for herself from her husband. If he exhibits a model of abuse or disrespect for her mother, a girl may feel that she deserves to be treated that way as a wife as well.
And if her father shows his daughter love, respect, and appreciation for who she is, she will believe that about herself as a woman, no matter what anyone else thinks. A little girl who has her father’s love knows what it’s like to be unconditionally loved by a man. She knows the feeling of safety and security that love creates.
Conversely, men who abandon or abuse their daughters set them up for a lifetime of pain, distrust, and feelings of worthlessness. You can feel the pain in this woman’s statement, “I have expectations of being special, loved, cared for, and protected that my spouse is not able to live up to. I grew up feeling angry, unloved, unappreciated, not accepted. I knew my value, but I struggle with believing that others know my value, even God.”
When men are angry or disrespectful to the females in their families, it sets their daughters up to expect this kind of treatment from men. If a man does not provide and protect them, they have no expectations of this behavior from the men they enter into relationships with. Why would a woman willingly marry a man who can’t or won’t hold a job to support his family? Why would she intentional marry a man who abuses or abandons her? Probably, she wouldn’t. Perhaps that was the type of man that was modeled for her growing up and she is subconsciously attracted to that model, believing she deserves that kind of treatment and is unworthy of anything better.
A Father’s Influence on a Woman’s Choices
One area that a woman’s father plays a major role in is the sexual decision-making process of a woman. For instance, girls with uninvolved or absent fathers tend to become sexually active at an earlier age than their fathered peers. They also have more sexual partners.
A woman’s father also plays a significant role in her relationship choices, either consciously or unconsciously. A woman with a positive relationship with her dad might tend to gravitate toward men who have the same characteristics. Women who resent or despise their fathers would look for a man with the opposite qualities, or marry a man with similar qualities and resent him. This can cause much confusion if a woman is not attuned to these influences.
Women who have not had a model of healthy masculinity in their lives often have trouble detecting predators, abusers, and men who will abandon them. They are in some ways like a lamb left to the wolves. Oftentimes, these women continue to choose the same “type” of men, getting the same results over and over again.
Men, as Father’s Day approaches please remember the power, influence, and responsibility you have in your daughter’s (and sons) lives. Father’s Day is not about ties or other gifts. It’s about knowing you matter and that no one or no thing can take your place. You matter! Happy Father’s Day!
Get a copy of Rick’s ebook, That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers His Daughter, for a limited time offer of only $1.99 here.