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London - Forget playing with Barbies and building a doll’s house: according to new research, the best way for fathers and daughters to build a close relationship is by playing sport.
Researchers at Baylor University in Texas say that shared activities – sport in particular – can help family bonding and achieves more than just talking to one another ever could.
“This is the masculine style of building closeness – called ‘closeness in the doing’ – whereas the feminine orientation is talking or ‘closeness in the dialogue’,’’ said Mark T Morman, a professor of communication at Baylor.
When asked what key experiences changed closeness in their relationships, fathers and daughters participating in the study mentioned events typical of those that help cement masculine friendships.
While Morman was keen to point out that the study is qualitative (based on written responses rather than by a statistical analysis), he did say that it reveals meaningful markers of when relationships changed, regardless of whether they became closer or more distant.
The 43 fathers and 43 daughters in the study were not related to one another but were asked to pinpoint in writing a crucial moment of change in their own father-daughter relationships.
Daughters in the study were required to be at least age 22, while fathers ranged from 45 to 70. Adoptive and step-family relationships were among those included.
“These (turning points) were independent of some type of family history,” Morman said.
Pivotal moments most frequently mentioned by daughters included engaging in activities with their fathers, their marriages and times when their male parent wasn’t around.
Fathers most frequently mentioned joint activities, a daughter’s marriage and the beginning of a daughter’s dating.
Other important moments noted by fathers and/or daughters in the study were adolescence, a family crisis, parents’ divorce, a daughter’s financial independence, giving birth, starting school, a daughter’s developing outside friendships and poor decisions on a daughter’s part. – Daily Mail
KEY POINTS NOT TO MISS
According to the researchers at Baylor University, there are several pivotal points in a girl’s life at which father’s have a real opportunity to cement their bond. Here are the ones you really don’t want to miss:
Playing sports, working together and going on holiday as a pair were the activities most frequently mentioned by daughters as a time when they felt close to their fathers.
Sport, in particular, gave daughters the chance to be the centre of their father’s attention.
“It made me feel really important,” one woman wrote. Another said: “I used to love it when my dad would take (time) off work to coach my softball team.”
A daughter’s marriage was the second most frequently reported turning point, sometimes bringing them closer together, although many reported the marriage distanced them because the father was no longer the protector and provider.
The third most mentioned shift for daughters was when they left home for the first time. Some felt they lost touch while others felt a strain was lifted as they had their own space and developed a friendship with their father rather than viewing him as a provider, adviser and disciplinarian.