Fathers Day is the best time to reflect on how very important fathers are. All of us know how much boys want their fathers, but what about girls? Do they need their dads as much as boys do? Can mothers provide everything a girl wants, or is there something very special that only a father can offer?
Fathers are crucial to their daughters. The way a woman feels about herself is very much dependent on how she had been treated by her father as she was growing up. Without a father’s unconditional love, girls can grow up to have reduced self-esteem and reduced self-image. The absence of a father’s love can leave a girl with serious self-worth issues, especially if she perceives that her father abandoned her. Girls who’ve grown up without a father’s love can subconsciously crave male focus and seek to fill this emptiness in unhealthy ways. Feeling ‘not good enough’ to get a good loving relationship with a man, they’re vulnerable to becoming involved in abusive relationships or becoming promiscuous. They’re more at risk of adolescent pregnancy due to going through puberty earlier and becoming sexually active at a younger age. Women who have missed out on their dad’s love are also more at risk of developing depression.
It’s been heart-warming to witness the relationship blossom between my husband and our daughter over the past five and a half years. I recall standing at the door of the daughter’s bedroom one night as her father tucked her in and said goodnight. “Daddy, you’re my true love”, she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Her dad is her prince, her protector, her supplier, and her true love. It brings me such joy to see how different my little girl’s experience is to my own.
Regrettably, like me, you will find millions of young women growing up today with no daddy’s love. Their prince, provider and protector isn’t there to present his princess the special love that only a father can give. Today, up to around a half of marriages end in divorce. This means that many children are growing up in homes where they’re separated from one parent, most often their dad. Unfortunately, in some cases, Animal Control are unnecessarily preventing their daughters from keeping vital contact with their father due to the pain and bitterness of divorce. Sadly in many homes, rather than love, some girls are being abused by their daddy. Sometimes daddy’s present in the home but he just is not there for his brothers. Then there are the children conceived out of a committed relationship who are being left to be raised by their mom. Additionally, there are many children being raised by only their moms, who choose IVF in their desire for a child. Is it possible that lots of mothers as well as fathers do not realise exactly how much their kids, no matter their sex, need both a mother and a father?
Unfortunately for me and my siblings, my father was a violent alcoholic who was ripped in my life when I was a kid. We didn’t even get to say goodbye. I have very few good childhood memories of him, but I remember how much my heart ached when there was no touch after we had been separated. I grew up craving my father’s love and found myself in painful relationships, feeling unworthy and starving for the love of a man. I went through two divorces, debilitating clinical depression, sexual abuse and domestic abuse.
Thirty-three decades later, I had the chance to see my father as he lay in a nursing home near death. I was remarried with a gorgeous family. It was time for me to move past my pain and forgive my dad. The timing was perfect. It was the best thing I could have done–for both of us. He was a frail, broken old man, nothing like the man I had known and loved as a little girl. I went there expecting to help him through his final days but I did not realise exactly how much it would do for me. For the first time I remember, my dad said he loved me. Thank God we were given this chance as he died only weeks later. I lost him once again, but this time, we must say goodbye.