Difficult Father Daughter Relationship

For fathers, relationships with daughters can start out as simple as can be. She adores you when she’s little, and you adore her just as much. You spend time together doing the cool things that you both enjoy. You love seeing her grow up, even though you sometimes wish she could stay little forever.

But when she starts to get older, things change. Suddenly she doesn’t worship you like she once did. Now it seems like you can’t do anything right. She is much more interested in her friends than she is in you, and then along come boys – and suddenly her father is not her “best man” anymore. What can you do when your good times with your kid turn into a difficult father daughter relationship?

How to Fix Difficult Father Daughter Relationship

What happens when a difficult father daughter relationship rears its ugly head? It can be tough to give your daughter the support and unconditional love she needs if she is constantly pushing you away and acting as though what you say doesn’t matter. It hurts – and it can create a solid rift in your relationship if you let it. The good news is that difficult father daughter relationships can be remedied – and this can happen no matter when you start trying to close that rift. Even an adult daughter who has moved on with her own life is likely open to forgiveness and understanding, especially if you are the one who makes the first move.

First and Foremost: Understand, Love and Respect

Initiate the conversation, and ask your daughter what you can do for her. Say “I’m sorry” if that’s what she needs to hear. Speak to her mother about what went wrong and how you can fix it. And always, no matter what, offer unconditional love – and make it clear that you are always there if she needs you. It might sound trite, but it is the most important piece of advice: Love your daughter. Period. Just love her. The more you love her, the more strength and confidence she will have, and the more successful she will be in life, love, and anything else that comes her way.

Treat her with respect and love, and in addition, treat her mother that way too – even if you and her mother are no longer together. The way you treat her and any other woman in your life sets the stage for how she will view men when she gets older. Remember, daughters often look for men who are like their fathers, so make sure she seeks out a mature, kind, caring and respectful man who will treat her like the wonderful gift she is.

There are plenty of other things you can do right now before you wind up with a difficult father daughter relationship. Here are a few ways to keep things strong between you and your girl:

What You Can Do


Stay patient

It might seem impossible to stay patient when your child is driving you mad, especially when she is a teenager who seems to want to push your buttons just for fun. But the more patient you are, the more she will calm down and see that things don’t have to be confrontational.

Avoid quick fixes

Sometimes she doesn’t need you to solve her problems, but she just needs to talk them over. Listen to her, and try your best not to get into the middle of what she needs to figure out on her own.

Let her be herself

You can influence your daughter, but you can’t change her. So embrace who she is and who she wants to become. Even if it is not what you want for her, keep in mind that this is her life, and you have prepared her to be independent.

Make her laugh

Don’t throw a fit when she colors on the walls – get down and color with her. You can paint over it all later. When she does something that is not-so-good, find a way to turn it into a positive. That attitude will stay with her for the rest of her life.

Spend time with her

This is very simple: Just plan out time for the two of you. Take her to a movie or to dinner. Take her out to do the things she likes to do. Sharing those things will bring you both closer.

Keep your word

When you say you will do something, do it. Even if that means that you have to let other things go in order to keep your promises. You need to show her that a real man is always trustworthy and keeps his word, even when it means sacrificing something else.

Respect her privacy

It can be tough not to peek into her room, read that journal she left open on the bed, or lurk in her Facebook account. But it is necessary to show her that you respect her boundaries, especially when she becomes a teenager.

Understand her world

It might seem odd, but try to “get” what her life is like. Try to understand her attention and attachment to certain television shows, games, friends, boys, and more. When she sees you trying to understand, she will be more open to sharing with you.

Avoid direct criticism

One negative word to your daughter can resonate for a very long time. She needs to hear positive comments, and she needs you to be proactive instead of negative. For instance, instead of mentioning that she has gained some weight, ask her to go on a long walk with you.

Tell her she's beautiful

Every female, no matter the age, will eventually face what the world thinks about her looks. If you tell her she is beautiful, she will grow to believe it. Then if the rest of the world tells her something different, she will still have that fact that “Daddy thinks I’m beautiful” to hold onto forever.

Teach her new things

She will never stop learning, so make sure that she learns a few things from you. Teach her how to do things that might not be ‘expected’ of a girl, like how to fish, build a bookcase or change the oil in the car. She will feel empowered!

Teach her independence.

Expect your daughter to complete chores and do things on her own. The older she gets, the more she can do. Never do everything for her – you want her to learn to handle herself.

More Notes on the Importance of Being a Good Father to Your Daughter

Never underestimate the importance of a great father daughter relationship. From the very start, a father shapes so much about his daughter – her self-esteem, her confidence, the way she will view men, her self-image and much more.

The importance begins when she is born. A hands-on father bonds early and easily with his daughter, and from that point on he becomes her greatest champion. It’s important that she grow up seeing her father taking care of her just as competently as her mother does, and that her father is willing to get down on the floor and play with her.

When she gets older, it’s still just as important, though she might act like it’s not. When she becomes a teenager, suddenly hanging out with dad isn’t “cool” anymore, and she might pull away to spend more time with her friends. But she still needs those moments when dad says, “Hey, get in the car,” and you take a short trip together. She still needs those moments when she can sit quietly with her dad and tell you all about her day. Just because she seems to be too cool for hanging out with Daddy doesn’t mean she really is!

Dads should verbally encourage their daughters, making a point of letting them do the things they want to do, even if they aren’t stereotypical ‘girlie’ things. You should also tell her that she can do whatever she sets her mind to, then help her find the tools to succeed in anything she tries.

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