Once upon a time, people assumed that what a girl really needed when her parents divorced was her mom. Hence courts typically gave mothers physical custody of their daughters and allowed the fathers to see them on weekends.
Times have changed. While courts still believe that girls need their moms, they now realize they also need their dads. What’s more, they need them to be more than the guy who comes to take them out for ice cream on the weekend.
Girls do less well without their fathers in their lives
A Wake Forest University professor narrowed the importance of fathers to their daughters down to three things: money, men and mental health. She found that girls whose fathers did not play much of a role in their life were more likely to suffer in those three areas. Those whose fathers were there did remarkably better in these areas:
- Men: A girl who feels unloved by her dad will be more willing to accept lousy options to fill the gap. If dad makes her feel loved, valued and supported, she expects the same of the other men in her life.
- Money: It is not about daddy granting his darling daughter her every wish. It is about support. When dad is a strong presence in his daughter’s life, it gives her the security and support to get better grades and go on to earn her own money.
- Mental health: The study found that dads help daughters understand that risk is a part of life. It is not to say that all moms overprotect their girls, but dads are more likely to have an “OK. You fell over, now get up” attitude. Girls that grow up with this are better equipped to cope with all the other knockdowns they will experience in life.
Those are some of the benefits dads can give their daughters. Moms bring their own unique set. Hence, by finding a custody agreement that allows you both to play a role in your daughter’s life, you give her the best start you can. Negotiating that agreement can be tough, so ensure you have legal help to work it out.