Their better relationships with men may also be related to the fact that well-fathered daughters are less likely to become clinically depressed or to develop eating disorders. The well-fathered daughter is also the most likely to have relationships with men that are emotionally intimate and fulfilling. Given the benefits a woman gains from communicating well with her father and feeling close to him, their relationship and communication matter a great deal. Interestingly, too, when female college students were asked what they would do if their fathers disapproved of their career plans, the overwhelming majority said they would not change their plans. Yet both sons and daughters generally say they feel closer to their mothers and find it easier to talk to her, especially about anything personal. Child Care , Women , Fathers Conversations about the importance of fathers usually revolve around sons:
Considering the benefits of being able to talk comfortably with their fathers, these findings are discouraging. Most daughters also wish their fathers had talked with them more about sex and relationships, even though they admit that the conversations would probably have been uncomfortable at first. And while fathers may find it easier to relate to and connect with their sons, they should make the effort to build a close relationship with their daughters, too. Child Care , Women , Fathers Conversations about the importance of fathers usually revolve around sons: But as recent research shows, fathers also affect the lives of their young adult daughters in intriguing and occasionally surprising ways. Yet both sons and daughters generally say they feel closer to their mothers and find it easier to talk to her, especially about anything personal. Some research suggests certain turning points or significant events can draw them closer. Indeed, the low cortisol daughters were more likely than the higher cortisol daughters who had the better relationships with their dads to describe their relationships with men in stressful terms of rejection, unpredictability or coercion. Interestingly, too, when female college students were asked what they would do if their fathers disapproved of their career plans, the overwhelming majority said they would not change their plans. The well-fathered daughter is also the most likely to have relationships with men that are emotionally intimate and fulfilling. Even college and professional female athletes often credit their fathers for helping them to become tenacious, self-disciplined, ambitious, and successful. As you might guess, daughters whose fathers have been actively engaged throughout childhood in promoting their academic or athletic achievements and encouraging their self-reliance and assertiveness are more likely to graduate from college and to enter the higher paying, more demanding jobs traditionally held by males. Both fathers and daughters said in one study that participating in activities together, especially athletic activities, while she was growing up made them closer. This, in turn, leads to waiting longer to get married and to have children—largely because she is focused on achieving her educational goals first. So how can fathers and daughters forge a close, positive relationship? Compared to sons, daughters are also more uncomfortable arguing with their dads, and take longer to get over these disagreements than when they argue with their moms. They are also less dissatisfied with their appearance and their body weight. Many still seem to believe that daughters should spend the most time and share the most personal information with their mothers, but women miss out if they neglect the bond they have with their fathers. Not surprisingly, a girl who has a secure, supportive, communicative relationship with her father is less likely to get pregnant as a teenager and less likely to become sexually active in her early teens. Some daughters also mentioned working with their dads or vacationing alone with him. Furthermore, daughters tend to withhold more personal information than sons do from their fathers. But the daughters who communicated the most comfortably and had the closest relationships with their fathers were more willing to reconsider their plans if their fathers disapproved. As a consequence of having better emotional and mental health, these young women are more apt to have the kinds of skills and attitudes that lead to more fulfilling relationships with men. For example, undergraduate women who did not have good relationships with their fathers had lower than normal cortisol levels. Given the benefits a woman gains from communicating well with her father and feeling close to him, their relationship and communication matter a great deal. And people with low cortisol levels tend to be overly sensitive and overly reactive when confronted with stress.
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