Fathers Day is the best time to reflect on how very important fathers are. We all know how much boys want their fathers, but what about girls? Do they need their mothers as much as boys do? Can mothers provide everything a girl wants, or is there something very special that only a father can provide?
Fathers are vital to their daughters. How a woman feels about herself is very much dependent on how she was treated by her father as she was growing up. Without a father’s unconditional love, girls can grow up to possess reduced self-esteem and reduced self-image. The lack of a father’s love can leave a girl with serious self-worth issues, particularly if she perceives that her father abandoned her. Girls who’ve grown up without a father’s love can subconsciously crave male attention and work to fill this emptiness in unhealthy ways. Feeling ‘not good enough’ to get a good loving relationship with a man, they are vulnerable to becoming involved in abusive relationships or becoming promiscuous. They’re more at risk of teenage pregnancy because of going through puberty earlier and becoming sexually active at a younger age. Girls who have missed out on their daddy’s love are also more at risk of developing depression.
It has been heart-warming to see the relationship blossom between my husband and our daughter over the last five and a half years. I remember standing in the door of our daughter’s bedroom one night as her dad tucked her in and said goodnight. “Daddy, you are my true love”, she said as she wrapped her tiny arms around his neck. Her dad is her prince, her protector, her supplier, Centurian Services, 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 give his princess the special love that only a father can give. Today, up to about a half of marriages end in divorce. This means that many children are growing up in homes where they are separated from one parent, most often their dad. Unfortunately, in some cases, mothers are preventing their daughters from maintaining vital contact with their father because of the pain and bitterness of divorce. Sadly in many houses, instead of love, some girls are being abused by their daddy. Sometimes dad’s present in the house but he just is not there for his brothers. Then there are the children conceived outside of a committed relationship that are being left to be raised by their mother. Additionally, there are many children being raised by only their mothers, who choose IVF in their desire for a child. Is it possible that many mothers in addition to fathers do not realise exactly how much their kids, regardless of their sex, need both a mother and a father?
Unfortunately for me and my siblings, my father was a violent alcoholic who had been ripped in my life when I was a kid. We did not even get to say goodbye. I grew up craving my dad’s love and found myself in painful relationships, feeling unworthy and hungry for the love of a man.
Thirty-three years later, I had the chance to see my father as he lay in a nursing home near death. I was remarried with a beautiful 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 guy I had known and loved as a little girl. I went there expecting to help him through his last days but I did not realise exactly how much it would do for me. It did more for me than years of therapy. For the first time I remember, my dad told me he loved me. Thank God we had been given this chance as he died only weeks later. I lost him, but at least this time, we must say goodbye.