Saturday, June 7, 2014

What Does a Father Mean to a Young Girl?

How the absence of a father figure can result in negative adult relationships for women.
 by Natasha Nizel

I've met many women in my life who seemed angry and bitter, and I could never really understand why. I used to think maybe that is just the way that some people are, until I began to notice this trend emerging amongst many of my friends and myself who did not have the presence of father figures.

It is no surprise that a father figure plays a big role in a girl’s life. Yes, mothers can satisfy both paternal and maternal duties, but there is still that void felt in the life of a girl that can only be filled by the presence of her father.

Growing up with my siblings and my mother was a great experience; we shared memorable moments and my mother went out of her way just to make her children happy. Having a mother who played both roles of being a mother and father was not easy for her, but she managed. The pertinent question is whether that was truly ideal for me as a child. I did not care much at the time, but as I grew up, I began to question my mom about my father. I would say to her: "My friends have fathers, but what about me? Where is my father?" Of course my mom didn't have the answers, but I knew that I needed a father figure in my life

Most women who grow up without a father figure seem less confident and have low self-esteem. Iyanla Vanzant says that “the role of a father is to teach his daughter how to be in a nonsexual, intimate relationship with a man. In fact, it's the first relationship a daughter has with a man and therefore teaches her how a woman should be treated”. However, if dad leaves, Vanzant explains that the daughter lacks that healthy model and often seeks to fill that void in a variety of negative ways.

Therefore, women may seek to fill the void of an absent father through settling for the first man that waltzes into their life, be he bad or good. Because of their desperation to appeal to a male figure, they do not care if the man is emotionally or physically abusive. In many cases, young girls replace the love they seek from their fathers with the attention of their partner or what often amounts to a “sugar daddy”, namely an older man who gives them the attention they need and provides for them. The love, care, and money that a girl gets from a “sugar daddy” is seen as a substitute for the love that a father may give, except the girl gives the “sugar daddy” sex as a form of compensation.

Research has shown that girls who do not have a father figure tend to fall pregnant at a young age, and this may possibly be as a consequence of receiving no guidance from the father, thus they lower their standards or have none whatsoever. The importance of a father in a girl’s life is crucial, as this will help them in the relationships that they are yet to pursue.

I have had relationships that have failed due to the fact that I did not have a father figure to guide me, as this resulted in me having trust issues and not being able to commit in relationships. But despite the fact that my father was never around, I have learned that holding onto the past will not help me move forward. Thus, I made peace with the past, and made peace with him, in order for me to move forward with my life and future relationships.