Because a father is the first man to whom a daughter relates, that relationship is incredibly important – more so than most men realize. Daughters need to know that their fathers accept them as women and not just as little girls.
It is important for a father to make his daughter know, in all phases of her development, that he really approves of her. Beyond his appreciation of her skills and spiritual capacities, she needs his approval of her physical appearance.
Perhaps the most important thing is that he really believes in her potentiality and expresses that to her. Many girls never hear that from their fathers because some fathers think they should leave their daughter’s raising to the mothers. While mothers have their own game to play, there is no substitute for a father’s affirmation.
Daughters also need physical affection from their fathers. Some fathers feel embarassed about giving affection to their daughters. They may have to push themselves and deliberately demonstrate affection until it becomes natural.
Fathers who are unable to express affection should take a hard look at some men around them who don’t have that problem. Watch them carefully, and maybe even talk to them about it. A father may have to seek counseling to help overcome this problem.
As kids become teenagers, parents often think of them as too big to touch. Studies show that girls who have a lot of appropriate, affectionate touching from their parents, and especially from their fathers, do not usually get married as young as those whose fathers ignore them. Appropriate affection meets their need for physical closeness and causes them to take time to make a serious marriage choice.