Why the daddy-daughter bond is much more important than ever 5 years ago

Why the daddy-daughter bond is much more important than ever

Daddy and daughter - one of the strongest bonds in life.

And this precious relationship is a powerful first exposure to self-esteem.

It sets the scene for how they feel they should be treated. Dads are also hugely important when it comes to a daughter's early self-worth. What is sad is that as our daughters get older the affection sometimes can wan.

Relationship expert, Linda Nielsen says that many Dads (or father figures) fail to realise just how valuable they are to their daughter's body image:

"Research shows that healthy father-daughter relationships raise women’s chances of developing self-reliance and confidence while guarding against eating disorders. Additional research shows that fathers play a significant role in boys’ body image.”

And while Mums influence their children's outlook on life, it seems that when it comes to body image, in particular, it's Dads that help shape perception.

Here are some suggestions for Dads to help create your child's positive body image:

1. Be Healthy

Monkey see, monkey do! Supportive dads will encourage activity as an enjoyable part of life rather than a strict weight control issue. It is worth avoiding extreme dieting or fanatical exercise. Being openly comfortable with your body (even if you are not!) is a good example of acceptance and of self-love - the cornerstones of confidence when it comes to self-image.

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2. Stay Close

If your child is having difficulty trying to figure out who they are or what they think of themselves it is important that they know they have a solid figure there who will always love and encourage them. They need to know that you think they are fantastic no matter what. Focusing on your children's daily life and passions also place value on their achievements and help to stengthen your bonds.

3. Never criticise appearance. 

Some Dads might pass comment on their daughter's weight or how they look, but self-esteem is a very fragile thing, so it is more important to place emphasis on the beauty of life and smarts rather than how she looks in a dress. As a young girl, focus on how clever, kind and funny your child is rather than talking about how pretty or cute they are. They will spend a lifetime picking apart their own appearance - it will be essential to have your voice in the back of their minds telling them they are perfect just the way they are. If you want to help them, you can encourage activities by making them fun and something to do together.

4. Avoid negative media

Children are constantly exposed to images of an unrealistic expectation of beauty from celebrity land. These images are heavily edited, and fathers have a responsibility to bring these issues to light and explain the importance of authenticity over aesthetics. I love when my husband points out a magazine cover and says her legs must be photoshopped. It makes me feel more real and it is easier to not compare yourself if these images are manipulated. There is definitely a comfort in hearing that- especially when you are a teenager.

5. Focus on her strengths

Having confidence in one's own individuality is what will keep your daughter's self-image strong. Be sure to compliment her on what is unique to her. Focus on character qualities that don't change - her humour, her kindness and her self-initiative instead of allowing her to chase the ever-changing and unobtainable beauty standards she will be exposed to, especially online.

You will hopefully get to watch your daughter change from helpless infant to playful toddler and on to a moody teenager and on to become a strong woman.

You will always be proud so let her know that through every phase because she will never forget what her dad says. No matter what.

So talk to your daughter as much as you can, for as early and for as long as you can - for both your sakes.

What else do you think affects your daughter's self-esteem? We would love to hear from you so join the conversation and share with any men in your life who may benefit from reading this.