Girls Connecting with Dad More During Puberty? Is This True?

Updated on May 06, 2010
L.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
9 answers

I THOUGHT I read somewhere a few years back that when a girl goes through puberty, she feels a pull towards her father. It said something about how girls tend to have a closer relationship with Mom but once they reach puberty they seek the attention of their father more and more. Such as hugging more. Is this true? I've done searches on-line but am only coming up with: girls with a healthy father/daughter relationship reach puberty later than those that have an unhealthy and unhappy Father/daughter relationship.

If someone can direct me to an article I want to show my friend whose daughter (going through puberty) has suddenly grown very attached to Dad and really seeking his attention. Maybe I'm wrong and someone may have told me this rather than something I read??? On the other hand would love to hear your opinion on this too.

UPDATE: My friend was not upset when she was telling me her story about her daughter. She did mention that her daughter has been crying over every little thing and when she tried to comfort her like she has always done, now her daughter says "I want my Dad!" That is when I told her about what I THOUGHT I read to ease her mind. I think she's just missing that making her feel better ability! =-) I think she lkes the bond but is feeling like SHE'S not meeting all her daughter's needs right now.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Reno on

Years ago, I read (and don't ask me where, I can't remember!) that girls tend to compete with their mothers and idolize their fathers. I never did either, and I thought it was odd when I was growing up and my friends would say things like, "My mom's handwriting is so much nicer than mine," or they'd lament that their mom complimented their schoolwork, but, "My dad didn't even notice."

Then, I had 3 girls. Oh, my goodness. Every one of them sees me as some kind of competition, and feels that their dad can do no wrong. They now range in age from 23 to 11, and consistantly adore their dad. My oldest just got married, and it was very, very important to her that her dad approve of her husband.

Everyone is different, but I'd have to say that most girls tend to be daddy's girls.

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Honolulu on

I don't know about that article, nor heard of that. But try researching articles on "tween development" or "tweens" or "tweens and their Dad" etc.

Here's a link per a Google Search:

When I was that age, I was closer to my Dad... he was just more approachable and less "judgmental" toward me and my sister. And we could talk to him... and he taught us a lot. He passed away several years ago... and I still miss him. My Dad, made sure to be available to us, when we were that age, because of the developmental things girls go through at that age and in relation to guys. He steered us right.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It's not true for every case. I know a few girls who pulled away from their Dads quite a bit during puberty.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Oh my gosh!! I was horrible. I was really awful to my mom and did have more of a closeness with my Dad. I think that since puberty is what prepares our bodies for sexual maturity that there is probably some brain chemistry that automatically makes girls more emotionally close to Dad so we can prepare ourselves to choose a good partner. Who knows! I just know that I felt less judgement from my Dad so I didn't have to put my emotional guard up all the time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi. There is the book - an old standard - "Raising Ophelia", which i believe mentions the fact that not only is it normal but also extra important for a daughter/father relationship to be more connected at ages 11-13, because it is where the healthy idea of man/woman relationship gets embedded. If girls aren 't bonded with dad by that time, they likely will never, and may have unhealthy ideas of relationship or themselves moving into adulthood.

Studies show that the cues they get from Dad at that time are triply informative as they move into their adolescence and early adulthood, choosing mates etc. Dad's are supposed to not only provide strong support in the way of listening, laughing, discipline-giving and teaching, but most importantly cue their daughters as to self-image: if Dad tells daughter she is beautiful, worthy, smart, approved of, valued, and attractive (likeable, worthy) to him, and if he gives the message that she's worth a lot of respect and should value herself - if he does all this especially during these ages, daughter will form a positive self-image. She needs DAD to tell/show her this approval and support because she will be forming a relationship with a man as she moves forward (unless of course she's gay, but even then the traditional cue-giving can be more trusted if coming from dad). Mom is discounted precisely because daughter identifies with mom. It's like ask herself if she's worthy. She doesn't know and Mom doesn't know. They are one in the same.

Finally, Daughter needs to differentiate in order to survive in life. At puberty girls begin to know they aren't actually their mothers and they know intuitively that they will partner with others in the world, probably men, so that male perspective and succeeding with that heretofore unknown counterpart becomes a matter of survival essentially. Moms should smile and be proud if their daughters are stretching away for this time from their old Mother/Daughter closeness because it signals appropriate development; something daughter would not be confident enough to do if mom hadn't already provided so much security in their relationship. And no worries of course, because moms are important for life.

Mom will regain her daughters ear/interest the more mom can hang back without checking out or getting insecure herself. Smile, be proud and supportive, don't take it personally, stay interested and trust trust trust...daughter for life. :)

here are some resources for your friend - books that talk about Dad/Daughter relationships:

Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters by Joann Deak (Paperback - Aug. 20, 2003)
Buy new: $15.99 $10.87

Just Dad and Me: The Fillin, Tearout, Foldup Book of Fun for Girls and Their Dads (American Girl) by Stacy Peterson and Erin Falligant (Spiral-bound - Mar. 1, 2010)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I too am not sure about the article but have seen it in our house. Our daughter is 15 1/2 and has been a daddy's girl since about 11 or 12.

And not to offend anyone, but I'm not sure why mother's get upset when this happens. *I realize you did NOT say your friend was upset but that's usually the mother's response.

Speaking for our house, my husband and I are best friends and a team when it comes to our kids. I also completely agree with Becca (well kinda) that once our daughter hit puberty/teen years she and I do often lock horns. I don't think my husband is more easy going, sometimes he is much more strict than I would be. BUT he does take a more logical instead of emotional approach to our daughter's occasional drama.

They also share very similar personalities and interests so that helps the bonding. She is now playing softball. Even though I am a very supportive mom and do anything and everything to help with her success, I never played. Her dad helps her with pitching/hitting etc. She is a very strong math student, again, my husband's brains!

I think it's a good thing that any kid girl or boy has a strong relationship with a parent especially during their pre-teen and teen years! Kids need to know they are loved by someone and there is security and stability especially during this time of their lives.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I have heard the opposite

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Visalia on


i have heard this from talk shows. young girls need father emotional bonding and security, without this, young girls will find it thru a boyfriend and confuse emotional bonding with sex.

i have 3 daughters and they bonded with dad. of course it helps when the dad takes on this role. at times i felt like chop liver, but my girls always have my back.



answers from Los Angeles on

L. - while I do not have a book off hand to recommend to you, the relationship between a girl and her father through puberty and on is actually crucial to her self-image, self-confidence and how she will let others - especially boys treat her during this time. I think it is hard as moms as we are used to being the comforters , the care givers, the confidantes. It's strange when we may not be that for things. As long as it's a healthy relationship between the father & daughter, she should support this and help them have those times. My daughter is just heading into this age as well but I know from good friends who have older girls that they have taught their daughters a lot by taking them on 'father /daughter' dates, showing them the type of respect they should expect, being solidly there for them, so they did not need the emotional love from the boys their age - which so often leads to physical relationships they are not ready for.

It's good that her daughter can also learn to have needs met outside of mom. She needs to be able to develop those relationships independent of mom as she starts building her own world. =-)

Give your friend a big hug, tell her to schedule more coffees with her friends, enjoy seeing her daughter develop into a young woman , and just be ready for the times her daughter does need her.

Next question: My Husband Won't Be Quiet About My Little Girl's Belly!