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Between Fathers and Daughters: A Conversation with Author and Researcher Dr. Linda Nielsen

Nielsen,Linda_bookA wealth of research highlights the importance of fathers to the development of both sons and daughters. Yet many women say they don’t really know their fathers very well and/or they often feel criticized by their fathers. In situations of divorce or separation, these issues often are even more pronounced. But, as Wake Forest professor Linda Nielsen knows from her research on the relationship of fathers and daughters, there are steps adult daughters can take to put their relationship with their fathers on a more positive path. And, dads, whether your daughter is a toddler, teen or adult, you can build a closer more supportive relationship with her. However the father-daughter relationships play out in your family, you will find this Mom Enough discussion insightful and encouraging!


How would you describe your relationship with your father in your childhood? How is it now that you are grown up and a parent yourself? Based on what you heard in this Mom Enough interview on the relationships of fathers and daughters, what steps could you take to strengthen your relationship with your father? What could you do to support positive relationships between your children and their father?

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  1. Donovan on March 25, 2016

    Dad listener here checking in! This podcast was another gem! Thank you both for putting all of this insightful and helpful advice out there.

    In this episode, near the end, it was discussed how boys are taught to shut down emotionally. Marty mentioned she tries to get here 7 yr old granchildren, boys, to express there feelings. Can I get some references!!??? HOW can I help my 6 yr old along this path. He is a spirited child and does not like to talk about his feelings. I want to help him with emotional intelligence and expressing his feelings but it seems it is the last thing he wants to do 🙁 Any info is appreciated. Sorry for any typos my 18 month onld dayghter is sleeping on me as I type.

    Many thanks in advance,

  2. Marti Erickson on March 26, 2016

    Donovan, thanks so much for listening! I love the image of your little daughter sleeping on you while you type. Your question about your spirited son is familiar; lots of kids (and adults!) resist talking about their feelings. But, especially as a dad, you can help make it easier for your son by intentionally mentioning your own feelings at times when you’re disappointed, frustrated, sad, angry, worried, happy, excited, etc. Naming your feelings will help your son learn to recognize his own emotions and those of others. And your example will tell him that men do talk about their feelings! Also, in a very casual way, you can ask about the things he enjoyed most and least about his school day. Then you can comment, “You must have felt proud that you did so well in math” or “I bet you were sad or angry when that boy wouldn’t play with you at recess.” And, if a sibling or friend does something hurtful, you can encourage your son to use his words to tell that person how he feels about what they did (a first step in conflict resolution). It also can help to read stories together and to ask now and then, “How do you think that character felt when that happened?” There’s no need to make a big deal of it, but just to be mindful of creating opportunities for talking about feelings without pushing it. Over time your son is likely to be able to express his feelings in situations that call for it. And he is likely to understand and empathize with others’ feelings, a very useful skill for getting along in life. All the best to you, Donovan. I’m so glad you enjoy our Mom Enough shows! ~ Marti