Relationships

Study Shows That Fathers With Daughters Live Longer Than Fathers With Just Sons

By Melody Rose··  6 min read
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We all know fathers play an important part in a girl’s life. And it turns out the favor is returned!

A study conducted by Jagiellonian University collected data from over 4,310 people, which included 2,147 mothers and 2,163 fathers. The research concluded that there was a positive correlation between the longevity of fathers and having daughters. To be precise, the “number of daughters was positively related to a longer life span of their fathers, increasing their longevity on average by 74 weeks per daughter born, while the number of sons did not have a significant effect on paternal longevity.”

While there’s still much to be researched about this incredible discovery, it serves as an uplifting reciprocation of the special father-daughter bond. Despite modern-day culture’s quick-to-label “toxic masculinity” impulse, we know it to be different when nurtured. Fathers play a critical role in the home and in a woman’s life, and therefore they need to be put back in the conversation.

5 Ways Fathers Impact Their Daughters’ Lives

While it’s challenging to limit the immense impact of a father’s emotional and physical presence to just five points, these are probably the most prominent to a young girl’s development of herself, her success, and her worldview.

1. He shapes her self-esteem and confidence.

A father is the first male role model a girl has. During early development, especially ages 2-4, the father figure is vital in establishing core beliefs about the opposite sex. Being actively engaged, supportive, and encouraging will provide a sense of safety for the young girl. She will grow to trust men and, more importantly, trust herself. This confidence and stability will result in more positive decisions later in life and avoid the need for external approval.

2. His involvement increases academic performance.

Did you have a father who would help you with that geometry worksheet you just couldn’t figure out or help you find the ever mysterious “x” in algebra? Well, it has been reported that children with actively involved fathers are 43% more likely to earn As in school and 33% less likely to repeat a grade than those without engaged fathers. They are also twice as likely to enroll in college or find stable employment after high school.  There’s still more research being done as to why this is, but nonetheless, it proves the significance of a father’s participation in his daughter’s academic success. 

Children with actively involved fathers are 43% more likely to earn As in school.

3. He influences her views on love and relationships.

Just as a father is a girl’s first male role model, he is also her first love. A young girl will observe her father’s behaviors (predominantly to her mother) to learn about support, loyalty, trust, and closeness in relationships. His behaviors will shape her overall view as to how women should be treated by men. Positive paternal communication and trust has been known to reduce negative outcomes in romantic relationships such as early sexual initiation, teenage pregnancy, violence, and risky sexual behavior.  

4. He empowers healthy risk-taking and problem-solving.

There’s no denying that the role of the mother and the father are equally important when raising a daughter. However, these roles are naturally different and provide different skill sets for the child. Dads are usually top of the emergency list when it comes to flat tires, broken cabinet doors, and telling off that boy who broke your heart. And that’s because fathers are generally seen as the protectors, fixers, and rescuers. They’re naturally more adventurous and likely to take risks. Because of these innate qualities, they also have the ability to teach and empower their daughters to find these traits within themselves so they feel fully equipped in solving life’s problems.

5. He promotes a positive body image.

Young girls look to their parents for approval and therefore take their words to heart. Even the slightest messaging will have a profound impact. Therefore, it’s important to acknowledge the daughter for her inherent value, preciousness, and beauty, as well as her strengths outside her appearance. Girls will internalize “jokes” and other commentary, especially during puberty when they’re most vulnerable, and it could escalate into poor self-image. While a study found that fathers tend to encounter barriers when discussing body image with their daughters due to a lack of confidence in uncomfortable conversations, gender differences, and noticing their daughter’s discomfort when discussing their bodies, it’s still so important that these conversations happen.

It’s important to acknowledge the daughter for her inherent value, preciousness, beauty, and strengths.

How To Create a Healthy Father-Daughter Bond

It’s evident that the father-daughter bond is not only special, but truly important for appropriate psychological, emotional, and social development. So what constitutes a healthy bond? What actions can be taken to enhance the father-daughter relationship?

  • Quality time. This can begin from the day of birth. A father can cuddle, bathe, read to, and feed the baby to develop a close bond from the start. As the girl gets older, he can utilize his innate adventurous male energy to teach her new things like riding a bike, playing a sport, and even changing a tire. These moments will show the girl her father is dependable and loving.

  • Listen. A girl is always craving a male perspective, especially as she begins to date. Having a father as her confidant will inspire her confidence and trust. He will encourage her self-esteem and validate her worth so she doesn’t fall into settling for anything less-than.

  • Get involved. From the school play to homework to bring your daughter to work day, there are many ways for fathers to creatively be present in their daughter’s life. Showing up consistently and taking a genuine interest in her hobbies will strengthen the daughter’s relationship with her father.

Closing Thoughts

While it may be true that daughters can help their fathers live longer from a biological standpoint, a loving, present, and secure father who nourishes a healthy bond with his daughter will undoubtedly leave a lasting healthy imprint in her heart and life. 

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