Do you suspect unhealthy father-daughter relationships in your family? It’s one thing to think it, and another to prove it. Proving it can be difficult and disturbing for everyone involved. As an adult, I’m sure you must have seen the signs of inappropriate father-daughter relationships, right? I don’t know how, but some moms say they didn’t suspect a thing! 

Having an emotionally abusive father can leave scars for a very long time. These are the wounds you don’t see on the outside. We all think of the typical father-daughter relationship as a loving one where the daughter is adored and looks up to her father, but what happens when the tables are turned inside out?

A woman’s pursuit to find a passionate relationship and to get the love she desires can take on many negative behaviors because of her father. Although her intentions may be good, her actions may say otherwise. Fortunately, the same woman can become successful and achieve an envious lifestyle. But here’s the kicker: her drive may stem from seeking attention from her father.

Let's Talk About Unhealthy Father-Daughter Relationships
Benny Harlem teaches his princess, Jaxyn, about respect and self-love.

Since the father is the first impression of a male role model a female has, it only makes sense she looks to him for direction and support. This is why it’s so important a father is a positive influence in the eyes of his daughter, but a lot of men don’t get it or they don’t care. 

However, Benny Harlem and his daughter, Jaxyn, are an inspiring father-daughter duo we should watch. He knows the importance of the relationship and fosters it quite well, I think.  

Before we go any further, let me explain. This post is not to bash men, but we’re going to keep it real. Some men may need help to understand what it takes to be a mentor. We understand if you never have seen one before, how can you become it, right? 

There are so many households with unhealthy father-daughter relationships, this dad may not know what it is to be a good example or father figure and need guidance and education himself. You would think, however, this man would make strides to ensure his kids get the things he never had.

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In other words, he would work diligently toward providing for his children something more than a check which is typically not even enough to fully support the child with. Well, of course, that’s my opinion and that of professionals in the business of human behavior.  

Why Healthy Father-Daughter Love is Important

What many men miss is that all father-daughter relationships set the tone for their daughter’s future relationships. The kind of men the daughter dates will depend on her relationship with the predominate male figure in her life. It’s not that hard to figure it out. 

If the father was loving, supportive and caring, she’ll look for stability and emotionally healthy individuals and unconsciously, she’s likely to attract and to go after them.

If the father figure was abusive or a guarded man even who doesn’t such much emotion, the relationship she ends up with will probably be unhealthy. Sadly, most of her relationships will be unfulfilling. What’s more is it becomes a painful cycle of guilt, self-harm, and isolation.  

When she finds a good man, the odds of it lasting for long are slim because of self-sabotaging. If she doesn’t find a cure, she’ll pass this behavior to her daughter and so on.

Now, do you see why it’s crucial she has a positive foundation? If not, continue reading so we can take a deeper look at unhealthy father-daughter relationships so you’ll have a better understanding.

The Love Between a Father and Daughter

There’s no love greater than that of a father and daughter, well, except for the mother-son relationship, of course. Each parent has their individual and key roles in the development of their children, wouldn’t you agree?

But when you don’t have the tools to parent, it can be one of the most difficult times in both the parents and child’s lives and until the cycle is broken, there’s always going to be troubled relations. 

Even small children are affected by unhealthy father-daughter relationships.

Fathers help to determine if their little girls will have low or high self-esteem. The difference between a father who’s in the child’s life and a father who’s not around or if he’s abusive is detrimental to her adulthood. 

As a mother, women need to protect their daughters. In the case the father is exceptionally negative toward his or step-daughter, according to Adults Surviving Child Abuse, he may be abusing her. 

When fathers are not around, or when they can’t provide emotional support, young women are truly affected by it. But when you have a good dad, the father will instill certain behavior patterns in his daughter.

We, as women, will then develop a strong sense of who we are and feel more confident about ourselves. Although the mother-son relationship is critical, so is the one between the daughter and her father but to a higher degree. Let me explain. 


Thinking back to when your mother would yell, “I’m going to tell ya’ father when he gets home.” You’d start crying right away as no one wants dad to know we got in trouble…we’d do anything if he didn’t have to get involved.

This reaction has a lot to do with a man’s ability to influence others, especially his kids, whereas a woman may not have the same persuasion skills.  

Having said this, think about the impact the neglectful father has on his daughter’s well-being. When it comes to the girl’s mental health, psychological difficulties are a high possibility plus the likelihood of drug or alcohol abuse.

Nobody wants that for their child, but sadly, it gets worse. This person is more likely to fall into one of the mood disorder categories. Major depression, substance-induced mood disorder or bipolar disorder are serious lifelong conditions.

Bad Father-Daughter Relationships

The way a father-daughter interact with each other, studies show, will determine how his daughter communicates with men in her life. If it’s all good, it’s likely a reflection of their bond.

pexels-photo-Ricardo Esquivel unhealthy father-daughter relationships
Women learn how they should and should not be treated by watching her parents, especially her dad.

Daughters learn how a man should treat a woman by watching their dad with their mom. They learn how women should treat a man by watching the mother. This is important in the life of a young girl.

What they learn from their father figures as a child, they carry with them into adulthood often, resulting in unhealthy father-daughter relationships or terrific ones. 

Studies such as the one in the Journal of Genetic Psychology show much about a father’s influence and his relationship with his daughter. If the father is hurtful, orally or physically, she may think this is acceptable behavior. Most girls think their fathers are superheroes. Whether he is or not depends on how she sees him.

Unhealthy Father-Daughter Relationships Takeaway

At the end of the day, men have the responsibility of leadership. From the standpoint of any biblical references, he is the one to provide for the family a stable environment along with the mother. The fairy tale is that both parents are in the same home as the child. Often, it’s not the case these days.

Still, men are extremely important to a child’s foundation. The father doesn’t have to be in the same home to show his children love and attention, but it helps. If a young woman sees her parents are still together 20 years later, it gives her hope.

Adults teach their children about love and relationships whether verbally or by observation. We need to be more concerned with how our relationships affect them. Mothers need to think twice about dating and relationships but more so about having casual sex. Women also need to think about what kind of man her lover is before deciding to reproduce with him.

Just because he’s a good lover, doesn’t mean he’ll be a good father. Women must do their part in protecting their children and be more careful about the men they bring into the home to help parent their children. There are more cases of step father-daughter relationships gone bad than I care to recall.

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