Rate Your Father-Daughter Relationship

New research explains why the quality of father-daughter relationships matters.

Posted Jun 13, 2019

 shutterstock/Nate Allred
Source: shutterstock/Nate Allred

Are you satisfied with your father-daughter relationship exactly the way it is now—or do you ever wish it could better? Do you ever find yourself feeling a little jealous of the comfortable bond that other fathers and daughters have? Ever wonder what might be done to improve yours—or if not to improve it, at least understand it better? In my upcoming blogs, we’ll be exploring the common problems faced by fathers and their older teenage or adult daughters. We’ll also be looking at specific steps you can each take to resolve those problems. For now, let’s begin by having you rate your relationship. This will help you figure out which specific areas need improvement.

How would each of you describe your present relationship?

0= rarely, never      1= somewhat, occasionally   2= definitely, almost always

Generally speaking, we…

__ look forward to spending time together

__ feel relaxed and at ease when we’re together without others around

__ spend one on one private time together without anyone else around

__ can argue with each other without it damaging our relationship

__ have discussed difficult, emotional, or controversial issues

__ do not lie or hide important things from each other  

__ have forgiven each other for past mistakes

__ feel accepted for being myself without being perfect    

__ talk comfortably about personal, meaningful things

__ are honest and open with each other

__  we can disclose our mistakes and weaknesses to one another 

__ communicate well without having to go through others to communicate for us

__ are comfortable disagreeing with each other

__ make one another feel loved and appreciated

__ know one another well as human beings, not just as parent and child

__ give advice to each other without getting upset

__ accept advice from each other without getting upset

__ communicate (phone, text, email) just with one another  

__ have successfully resolved certain difficulties in our relationship  

__ have as close a relationship as mother and daughter or father and son

__ handle our emotions well when we’re angry at each other

__ never use other family members to resolve our father-daughter issues

__ are able to apologize to each other

__ avoid putting each other on guilt trips

__ still feel loved even when we don’t meet each other’s expectations   

__ Your Score     (50 possible)

The higher the score, the more positive an impact the father is generally having on his daughter’s life. According to decades of research, daughters who grew up with  high quality relationships with their fathers are the most advantaged in terms of : academic, career and financial success, quality of their relationships with men, mental and emotional health (anxiety, depression, suicide, eating disorders), physical health (drug, alcohol and nicotine use, obesity, physical fitness), and self-confidence and assertiveness. So how would you, as a daughter or as a father, rate the daughter’s well-being in these aspects of her life? How closely do these ratings match the ratings each of you gave your relationship?

Daughter’s Well-Being    

0=  poor      1= acceptable, adequate   2 = excellent

__ quality of romantic relationships or marriage

__ wise dating decisions as a teenager or young adult

__ feels comfortable not always having to be in a relationship

__ comfortable asserting her opinions or disagreeing with males

__ school grades and academic achievements

__ achieved (or is achieving) her desired level of education

__ self-confidant in most situations

__ drinks in moderation or not at all

__ does not use drugs or nicotine

__ body weight

__ mental health: no clinical depression, suicidal thinking, anxiety disorder, eating disorder

__ behavioral problems: no delinquency, arrests, school suspensions

__ satisfied with self while recognizing flaws
           (I like myself even though I know I’m not perfect)

__ feels lovable and likeable

__ assertive and outspoken without being overly aggressive or overly defensive  

__ Highest score possible = 30         

In the next blog, I'll discuss communication problems that are holding your relationship back from being the best it can be.  And why listen to me? Because, as you can see from my web page at Wake Forest University, I am an internationally recognized scholar on this topic and have been teaching the only college course in the country on fathers and daughters for the past 26 years.


Nielsen, L. (2006) Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching and Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship, ( Nashville, TN. : Cumberland House) book

Nielsen, L. (2019) Father Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research & Issues ( New York: Routledge Press).book