Skip to main content

While we don’t always think about this kind of thing, the relationships we have with our parents affect us in big ways. If you’re a daughter, your bond with your father may have something to do with your self-esteem whether you want to admit it or not.

Actually, according to Dr. Carol Langlois who wrote for Psych Central in a medically reviewed (by Scientific Advisory Board) article a healthy father-daughter relationship overall is ‘key for developing a girl’s positive self-esteem.’ This makes a lot of sense because when you’re a little girl your father is usually the first male figure in your life, he is the one you learn a lot from overall. If you and your father don’t get along and have issues from early on, this could have a serious toll on your self-esteem in the long-run.

Langlois wrote as follows on the topic:

This powerful relationship between father and daughter begins around age 2 and lasts a lifetime, but the critical (formative) years are ages 2 through 4. The basic questions that go along with development at this age are: Is it OK to be me? Am I free to explore, to experiment with my new environment and enjoy the things I gravitate toward?

If parents allow the child to be self-sufficient, to explore, and be repetitive in her actions, then she will grow with a sense of autonomy. She will also learn to understand that parents are there as a united force of safety and security. If dad demands too much of the child at this age, ignores her new skills and doesn’t allow them to be exercised repetitively, then mastering her environment cannot occur and she can develop self-doubt.

This self-doubt can seep into how the child sees herself and limits her actions moving forward as she grows older. Statements like “I can’t try out for the school play. I can’t run fast. I can’t enter the spelling bee” may be heard in the home. This leads to second-guessing her actions and can slowly turn into low self-esteem. Parents can mislabel her as “just shy” or “cautious” when she is neither. She is looking for signs of approval or disapproval from her parents instead of exploring new things freely. There is no curiosity in the child, no experimentation, just rules she has learned. This can be exhausting.

If not dealt with, these issues will consistently resurface well into adulthood. We will continually play out our role from childhood if we don’t see and correct the negative patterns. Dads, encourage your daughters at a young age to try new things, cheer them on, allow them to make mistakes. Offer advice when asked, look her in the eyes when talking to her, be patient when teaching new things and lend a supportive shoulder for her to cry on.

After reading that I am sure this makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? If you have a positive/good relationship with your father and even your mother you are able to feel more confident overall, aren’t you? You know more properly what you want in a partner and even are more comfortable in who you are as a person, right? Because you grew up in such a way and have these bonds, you are able to really create meaningful bonds with others as well, moving forward you’re ahead of some people in a lot of ways.

If your father pushes you to be yourself and helps you be confident overall, you’re going to take those things on as you grow, right? The older you get the more this will end up playing out in your life. It’s not as complex as it may seem and really makes a lot of sense.

What do you think about all of this? I, for one, see it big time in my life looking back. You see, my father and I didn’t have a good relationship and still don’t and honestly, my self-esteem is something I have always struggled with in big ways.