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How fathers can stay relevant to daughters during divorce

If you ever thought sports were overrated, a new study may change your mind; especially for fathers who seek to improve their relationships with their daughters. A study conducted by researchers at Baylor University found that fathers who played sports with their daughters were more likely to have bonding moments, and thus, stronger relationships.

Researchers found girls who played sports with their fathers were more likely to stand up for themselves, find value in competing and build self-esteem. Fathers were able to establish solid lines of communication as well as trust through sports.

We find this study important in the context of divorce, where the emotional toll of a family break-up may drive children and parents apart; particularly fathers and daughters. We explained in a prior post that a majority of January divorces are initiated by women, which could suggest that men are not around frequently enough to have good relationships with their children, much less their spouses.

Nevertheless, the demise of a marriage does not have to doom a father-daughter relationship. Also, sports is not the only way that fathers may bond with their little girls. Sharing household projects, taking a child to the office, and even talking about dating experiences helped fathers and daughters grow together. Suffice it to say, spending quality time, without any emphasis on judgment and critique, helped to foster lasting relationships.

As such, a divorce may lead to changing family dynamics, but strong parent-child bonds can still be maintained even if the amount of time a parent can spend with a child is now different.

Source:, Playing sports helps fathers bond with daughters, February 21, 2013

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