Relationships hold enormous power in the human psyche. Dissection of human relationships has launched thousands of movies, millions of books and billions (could we say gazillions?) of conversations. Like ancient crystals formed by the forces of nature, every relationship has its own unique quality and form. The relationship between the worker and the boss is shaped by the pressures and social codes of the workplace. The relationship between school friends is forged in the fires of finding your own way within the â€œsystemâ€. The relationship between gym goers is cast in lycra-laden shame but coloured by shared determination and pride. Yet none of these relationships is anywhere as powerful in shaping us as is the relationship between a parent and a child. In those familial psychic stews brew the nature of individuals and the hope of society. Now a new study has shown that one of those relationships, that between a father and a daughter, has some critical moments that shape it.
For the study, researchers surveyed fathers and daughters. None of the daughters was aged less than 22 and the fathers were aged between 45 and 70. Both fathers and daughters were asked to estimate what had been the pivotal points in their relationships. The results were illuminating.
According to daughters, the most frequently mentioned times were shared activities like playing sport together, which were moments when they felt closer to their father. It seems that shared activities like this allowed the daughter to feel the centre of the fatherâ€™s attention. The same applied to when daughters worked with their fathers when they were older. In second place as a turning point was the daughterâ€™s marriage, although some daughters found this brought them closer to their father while others found that it pushed them away. Leaving home was the third most mentioned pivotal point for daughters.
From the fatherâ€™s point of view, again it was shared activities that were the most significant moments. Sport was the most frequently mentioned activity by fathers although household projects and teaching their daughters to drive also came up. For fathers, these shared activities meant that lines of communication were opened up. Similar to daughters, marriage was a second turning point for fathers and again some felt it brought them closer while others felt it distanced them. The third most mentioned turning point for fathers was when their daughters started dating, as this was a time when they had to begin letting go.
Distill all that down and what you are left with is that dads and daughters need to do things together. Shared activities facilitate communication and communication is the basis of a healthy long-term relationship that will weather whatever comes along. Itâ€™s not rocket science but sometimes the bleeding obvious needs a bit of research to get it some attention.