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“Neither too close nor too far”, the challenges of the father-daughter relationship

Rose, 10, already knows what she is going to give her father for his birthday in a few weeks. “I’m going to make him a pocket for his papers with a beautiful design”, she said in a timid voice. The little girl finds her father ” kindly “. It’s even ” The World’s Best Dad “. She is charmed. And he does it well. “He is crazy about his daughter, says the mother. They really have a very strong relationship. » Yves, 50, was also delighted to have a daughter: “As a man, I didn’t know the female universe very well and I said to myself that through her, I will get to know women better. »

While every relationship between parent and child is unique, the relationship between father and daughter is unique in many ways. It’s the first time the little girl has a significant and lasting emotional relationship with someone of the opposite sex, notes the psychoanalyst Didier Lauru, author of Father daughter. A look story (Albin Michel, 2020). It is this man who will serve as a reference throughout his life, not only as a father, but also as a male figure. »

Very early, around the age of two or three, the little girl turns away from her mother to take an interest in her father, whom she will try to seduce. This is what Sigmund Freud called the Oedipus complex more than a century ago. Marco, father of two children, clearly recognizes the behavior of his 3-year-old daughter. “She tries to charm me”says this 43-year-old former postman, recently trained in psychology.

A model or counter-model

Therefore, what is at stake in the father-daughter relationship, “it’s becoming a woman, the success of the love and even professional lifeanalysis Véronique Moraldi, psychotherapist and author of Her father’s daughter. The Father-Daughter Relationship: A User’s Guide (Les Éditions de l’homme, 2011). The way he looks at her is extremely important. It is he who will give him confidence and open the doors to the male world. »

If later, if the teenager is heterosexual, “the father will serve as a model or counter-model for his romantic choices, observes Didier Lauru. The partner will look like him or will be very different”. Béatrice, 66, is aware of having chosen a man ” at the opposite “ of a father she admired, but with whom she had a conflicted relationship.

The gaze of the father, but also the way in which he responds to his daughter’s attempts to seduce will be decisive, insist the “shrinks”. “If the little girl says she’s going to marry her daddy and he lets her believe it’s possible, that’s obviously not a good thing.confirms Didier Lauru. On the other hand, if he says to him:TYou are my darling little girl, but you know we can’t get married. One day you will grow up and you will find someone you will love”, he will give him the authorization to have other relations with another man than himself. »

Even absent, he is sublimated

The father’s attitude and the compliments he gives his daughter will also leave a lasting mark on her. If he insists only on her beauty and her feminine grace, he risks locking her up in this register, whereas if he also values ​​her intelligence and her ability to succeed, “it will give him the keys to the professional world still dominated by menunderlines Véronique Moraldi. A lack of recognition from the father will often push the daughter to seek recognition from men, sometimes by wanting to subjugate them..

Whether close or distant, the father plays an essential role in the psychic construction of the little girl. “ If he fails, she will dream of an imaginary father, sublimatedcontinues the therapist, which will also have significant consequences on her love life since she risks remaining in a position of waiting for an absent and inaccessible man. »

Cécile, 48, admits that she has always been more lenient with her father, when he was away. “He was working all the time and didn’t show much interest in me.she says. Yet I idealized him. Our relationship was very conflicted but I admired her more than my mother. »

When the father is present, this does not prevent the daughter from fantasizing about “an even better dad”notes Didier Lauru. “Children like to imagine that they belong to another family, but an idealized father figure can lead to the expectation of Prince Charming. »

A relationship that has evolved a lot

A loving father, benevolent and curious about the feminine universe “will strengthen her daughter’s sense of confidence and allow her to become a free beingassures Véronique Moraldi. But being close does not mean being a “loving” father who says yes to everything,because the girlrisk of beingeternally attached to him and not to find a partner who can match him”, warns the specialist.

If in the past fathers were often distant, the father-daughter relationship has changed a lot since the 1970s. Now, dads are close to their daughters and sometimes even live close relationships with them, notes Valérie Colin-Simard, a former journalist turned psychologist. , author of Fathers of today, daughters of tomorrow (Anne Carriere, 2003). “Some are a little too protective, she analyzes. Others, unlucky in love, transfer their affection to their daughter. However, these fusional relationships can create an incestual climate, in all unconsciousness, and have harmful consequences. »

A father must not stand “too close, not too far” of his daughter, also says Didier Lauru. “If the relationship is too close, it is up to the mother to impose limits, as the father must do in the mother-son relationship, recalls for her part Véronique Moraldi. But if everyone plays their part, everything goes wellshe adds. A present and invested father is a chance for a daughter and a good example for the choice of her romantic partner. »


Paternity leave extended for a year

Since 1er July 2021paternity and childcare leave is 25 split days, compared to 11 consecutive days previously.

For a single birth, the duration is fixed at 25 calendar days broken down into two stages: a period of 4 days taken immediately after the birth leave and another of 21 days. In the event of multiple births, the duration of the leave is 32 days.

To benefit, you must be the father of the child and be an employee on a CDI, CDD or temporary contract. If the mother lives as a couple (marriage, PACS or cohabitation) with another salaried person who is not the father of the child, the latter can also benefit from it.

Paternity leave is compensated by Social Security under the same conditions as maternity leave.



Father daughter, a story of gaze, by Didier Lauru, Albin Michel, 2020, 240 p., €7.90.

Based on stories of women listened to in his psychoanalyst practice, Didier Lauru sheds light on the issues of the father-daughter relationship.

Her father’s daughter. The father-daughter relationship instructions, by Véronique Moraldi and Michèle Gaubert, Les Éditions de l’homme, 2011, 272 p., €22.

The authors address all facets of the father-daughter bond and give advice to facilitate an often complicated relationship.

Fathers of today, daughters of tomorrow, by Valérie Colin-Simard, Anne Carrière, 2003, €4.86.

A former journalist, Valérie Colin-Simard collected separately the testimonies of fathers and their daughters.

A year with my father, by Geneviève Brisac, Editions de l’Olivier, 2010, 180 p., €16.

The novelist accompanied her father who was seriously injured in a road accident which claimed the life of her mother. A luminous testimony on mourning and the father-daughter relationship.


Like father like daughter, by Olivier de Plas (2006)

Bruno, an immature thirtysomething, discovers that he is the father of 13-year-old Nancy. After a rejection of his paternity, he decides to start from scratch and listen to his daughter, in the midst of a teenage crisis.

Most promising Actress, by Gerard Jugnot (2000)

Yvon Rance, hairdresser in Brittany, would like his beloved daughter to become a hairdresser in a large salon. But Laetitia, she dreams of cinema.


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