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Daughters without daddies

Brittney M. Walker | 6/16/2010, 5 p.m.

Father's Day is here, and some Black women don't even have a daddy to celebrate. Some of us have a "sperm donor" to fill the spot during the holiday, but that's all he is for some us, a space filler. And then there are those of us who have a great dad ... Celebrate your good, active and loving daddy, girl, but we're not going to focus on your kind right now.
Ladies who do not have a relationship with your father, ask yourself this question: How would my life be different, if I did have a father figure in my world?
Don't get all hostile and try to convince yourself about your independence by saying 'that a man couldn't do anything to make my life better, etc.' Be real with yourself and know it is not natural to be without a father figure in our lives.
In fact, research has shown father-daughter relationships do have a significant impact on the emotional and even physical development of women. But unfortunately, a large number of African Americans have not had a real relationship with their father during their early, formative years.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), 60 percent of African American children lived in father-absent homes as of 2009. Research also shows that children, who live in father-absent homes, are three times more likely to be poor, use drugs, experience educational, health, emotional, and behavioral issues than those who live with their married, biological parents. They are also more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
In an article published in "Report Newsmagazine" (a Canadian publication) called "Daddy's girl matures later," females who have a positive relationship with their fathers begin puberty later than girls who don't.
"In North America, one in seven Caucasian girls and half of all African-American girls enter puberty (develop breasts or pubic hair) by the age of eight. The typical parade of suggested triggers has included obesity, pollution, and food additives. New research, however suggests a radical new theory--that the father-daughter relationship is also a very important factor, in when girls mature."
An American researcher and psychology professor, Bruce Ellis at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, suggests that the more time fathers spend in the lives of four and five-year-old girls in the very early stages of development, the less puberty development by seventh grade. He also says girls who have a "high-investing" father are less likely to enter into dating male partners in early teen years, which means less pheromonal exposure.
Now let's not ignore the psychological and emotional development of women. Dr. Meg Meeker, a fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics who specializes in teen health, says the father-daughter relationship is one that is unique and doubly important in the lives of women, especially when it comes to romantic relationships.
"If there is positive male experience in her early years, she is going to do much better," Dr. Meeker said in an interview on Oprah Radio. "If she has a bad experience, when she is young, she is going to be very put off by all male figures in her life. That's the power of a dad."
The choice of men many women select, usually reflects the kind of man their fathers were/are, regardless if he was a part of a woman's life or not.
So, take another moment and think about the relationships you have had. Does he reflect your father's behavior? Does he fulfill the attitudes you have toward your father?
Maybe a father figure can't do for you what your mother or you, yourself has done, but even in his absence, your father has probably affected you one way or another.