Father-Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues

Father-Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues

Father-Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues

Father-Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues

Synopsis

This study investigated how college-aged daughters' reports of family communication patterns between themselves and their fathers impact fathers' and daughters' interpersonal communication satisfaction with each other. Two hundred seven father-daughter dyads participated in the study using the Revised Family Communication Patterns instrument. Results revealed that conversation but not conformity orientation was associated with both daughters' and fathers' communication satisfaction. The implications of these results for enhancing interpersonal communication satisfaction between fathers and daughters are discussed.

Excerpt

Father–Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues is one of the inaugural volumes in the Textbooks in Family Studies Series. Our purpose is to pair leading scholars with core topics in the field of family studies that are surprisingly underrepresented. These scholars are active researchers, practitioners, and talented teachers who can write engaging textbooks for use in the classroom either as standalone texts or paired with additional volumes.

Parenting and parent–child relationships are prominent topics of inquiry in family studies and perhaps among the most frequently addressed. This would not be surprising or particularly notable if it were not for the more obvious quirks. The field is largely dominated by talk about mothering, the contributions of mothers, and often the contested relationships between mothers and daughters. The contributions of fathers receive far less attention and, in some ways, we know little about what they actually do with children. While discussing the issue and apparent bias with my colleague Renate Klein, she replied swiftly and without pause: “The contribution of fathers is largely economic, when they are present.” There is a good reason that the field has focused largely on mothers and mothering: Women do the lioness’ share of child care. But there are exceptions, and lots of them: Men who contribute to childcare in ways both large and small. This book uncovers the nuance of exceptions. No doubt on average fathers and daughters are less communicative, less engaged, and less intimate than mothers and daughters. The relationships of fathers and daughters are consequently more unstable and fragile. The same issues pertain to relationships among fathers and sons. This simple narrative on parenting and the relative contributions of mothers and fathers is all true, but it hardly tells much of a story. Active fathers and active father–daughter relationships are a minority, but they comprise a story worth dwelling on.

While recognizing the family work of mothers, Professor Nielsen asks some very pointed questions: What do fathers do and how do we distinguish grades of quality fathering? How are fathers central in the personal development of their daughters, and, just as importantly, how do daughters influence the development, beliefs, and well-being of fathers? While bringing to bear . . .

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