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Father/daughter relationships

francke125's picture

I'm not sure how to start this, but it is something that has been on my mind for some time now. I am wondering what a normal relationship between a father and teenage daughter should be. I never had a real close relationship with my father. My parents divorced when I was 13 and we really didn't see him much during or after. We didn't exchange hugs or "I love you's" very often, if at all. DH is very affectionate with all of us. He tells all of our chilren he loves them all the time. He always hugs them. The thing that bothers me is whenever sd17,sd15 & sd13 are over, they all seem to be too affectionate with each other. If sd17 is sitting on the couch and he goes and sits next to her, the first thing she does is throw her leg over his or plops her feet is his lap. I noticed she does the exact same thing with her boyfriend. :sick: The last time she was over DH was laying on one end of the couch and sd17 was on the other end and they seemed to have their legs entwined. I almost took a picture with my phone to send to my sister to ask her if she though it was normal, because I was a little disturbed by it. They always seem to be either sitting on his lap or pushing themselves up against him when they are hugging. He is very playful with them. He is always poking them in the sides or smacking them on the ass. Sometimes he will wrestle with them like he does with the boys. I guess it wouldn't bother me so much, but they are all very developed teenage girls.
I don't think he thinks this is wrong. I am sure he is just doing his guilty parent thing and trying to give them as much attention as possible. I don't believe he has some sick attraction to them or anything like that, it just bothers me.It bothers me sometimes to where I have to leave the room they are in. I think if anyone was to see what I see they wouldn't think it was right either, but then again maybe it is. Maybe it bothers me because of how I feel about them and BM. (I'm not fond of any of them)I also thought, maybe I am just jealous of the attention he is giving them. I don't know, is my worrying unecessary? :?

Layla21's picture

That's a tough one... I am in the same boat where I never had a father around and am not sure what a typical father/daughter relationship should consist of. It would definitely bother me if my fiance started acting the way you are describing though. Obviously children still need love and affection but once they reach a certain age, that affection can become inappropriate. Right now my SD is only 3 but she insists on getting kissed on the lips by her dad and myself. While this is obviously okay and cute since she is young, this would definitely need to change once she gets older. Maybe you should talk with your husband and let him know it bothers you. Remind him that you didn't have a father around so this is very new to you but that some of the behaviors seem a bit strange to you. Keep it about how you feel, not accusing him of anything or he will most likely get defensive. Hopefully you can get this straightened out.

Anon2009's picture

I think often, how we feel about our SDs relationships with our DHs is influenced by our own relationships with our fathers.

I think the ideal father/daughter teenage relationship is somewhere in between where you feel and where your DH feels. I think it's great he hugs and kisses them a lot and is close with them, but I do think it looks sort of weird for SD to put her feet on DH's lap. Maybe he needs to ask her, how would you feel if your BF put his feet on his mom's lap? Maybe instead of her doing that, the next time he sits next to her, he could walk over and say, "so SD17, how has your day been?" If he has nicknames for them that he uses affectionately, i.e. "snookums," I think that is ok.

I think you need to pick and choose your battles wisely. I would definitely say something about SD's plopping her legs on DH but let the other stuff go.

When talking about the leg issue with DH, ask him, "SD will undoubtedly have more boyfriends. How would you feel if one of them got into a huge fight with her over this? Would you want that to happen?"

dragonfly5's picture

It's normal. I had the same relationship with my dad. He is gone now and I miss him so much. We had an amazing relationship. I was secure in him.

My SO and his daughter have the same relationship. I am glad. I can only speak for my self but I think I wasn't boy crazy or sexually permissive because I was secure in my relationship with my dad. I wasn't looking for a male figure to be in my life. I had one who thought I was the world.

Girls are affectionate especially teenage girls, even with each other. The description you have could describe myself and my daughter. She is 29 now but still needs to sit next to me touch hand and yes occasionally plops down in my lap.

It's not a bad thing...It will be to your advantage and theirs latter.

Too Young To Feel This Damn Old's picture

Completely agree with you. I had the same relationship with my dad. I am now in a loving affectionate marriage with a man who treats me like a queen because that is the way my dad taught me I should be treated. I love him very much and will still cuddle with him any time I get the chance and he is 70 years old.

Freedom2005's picture

I am in the same situation. I was not close to my father, but I think the world of him as well.

SO is, what I consider to be, too affectionate with young girls in his family. He is more affectionate with them in public than me... he will hug them, and if they are sitting next to him, cuddling with him, he will play with their pony tail.

I cringe at it. It is not only his daughter. However, he says he loves my girls too, he is not that way with them.

I would love to know what the actual answer is.

My counselor says they are to affectionate... just from a pro's perspective. She says that how she treats her Dad is how she will treat her boyfriends/spouses.

Willow2010's picture

I think it is normal. The way they act and the way you feel. It will probably slow down over time.

Just as long as he is not going into a bedroom with then and letting them stip and watch them change cloths, like another posters husband! :sick:

Shell97's picture

I feel the same way you do francke125. My father has been in my life since the day I was born and still is. We have an amazing relationship. We hug & say "I love you", but there was never was & still isn't any of that other stuff going on that you described. My SD16 does the same things with my DH and there are times when I have to leave the room because of it. I don't think it is normal to do things with your father that you would do with your SO. I can deal with the hugging each other, the kiss on the check, & the "I love you", but that's as far as it should go. If it goes further, I feel as tho they are crossing the line of a normal father/daughter relationship.

uncommon's picture

My 7 year old DD is extremely affectionate with me... I know she is younger than your DH's kids, but I don't necessarily think it's an issue unless, you know, it's an issue. He loves them, they love him, they have good relationships with each other - the weirdness that might cross the mind of someone outside the relationship probably never even crossed their minds. I see it being more and more common for kids to have more affectionate relationships with their parents than when I was a kid. I think it's a new cultural trend.

francke125's picture

Thank you for all the comments. I am happy to know this is totally not abnormal. I would never have thought of doing anything like this with my father. A simple hug was uncomfortable. It still is even though it happens more often now than when I was younger, but I hug my grandmother and stepmother when I see them too. I am thankful that I am an affectionate person. I have tried to hug my skids, and they always seem to either pull away or give me that hug that isn't really a hug. That is when DH says they have never been taught that. They don't get any affection from BM. So maybe this is a good thing. DH used to walk around in his underwear in front of them. I finally told him that I felt it was inappropriate since they were getting older. He said he didn't even think about it until I said something to him and he either puts on shorts or lounge pants now. I guess he is just a man who is comfortable in his own house around his own family. I just wish some of their actions didn't creep me out so bad. I really don't know why it does....but it does. I probably won't say anything to him unless it really gets out of hand, like Willow said, going into a bedroom to watch them change. I am sure I am just overreacting.

jojo68's picture

I think how you can tell when it crosses the line if it makes you uncomfortable...I am with you on leaving the room....Brief hugs and kisses on the checks is normal..."Luv you dad" is normal...being goofy with each other sometimes is normal. What is not normal to me:

Holding hands wherever they go in public
Constantly holding onto body or legs when standing next to each other
hugging and kissing on the lips several times during an hour
Texting over 50 times a day
Laying all over each instance dad laying in recliner with his daughter laying on top of him and he had his arms all around her...I left the room on that one.

francke125's picture

I have witnessed them laying on eachother on several occasions. It wasn't always like this. The hugs and the I love you's don't bother me. He got rid of his cell and doesn't use email, so I don't have to deal with any of that. Actually, he got rid of the cell because BM was calling and sending texts at all hours and I was finding out about it. I know he loves them and they love him and they miss eachother. They don't kiss on the lips at all that I have ever seen. That would really bother me. Another thing that I don't like is he calls them the same names he calls me.(honey, sweetheart) The reason it bothers me is that if I'm not looking at him, I don't know who he is talking to and if I go to answer him and he is not talking to me, well, I feel really stupid. Of course they just love hearing him say, "I wasn't talking to you"

iloveit's picture

Welcome to the club francke!! My SO has that kind of a relationship with his daughters at least when they were younger. Now that they are in their 20's it has changed a little bit. Even though he is still affectionate with them he doesn't lay around on the couch with them in his lap or anything like that...that I am aware of anyway. I'm going to disagree with some of the other posters. Just because some see it as "normal" does that make it appropriate? I would have to say no and I don't think you are wrong in your thinking at all. I was really grossed out when my SO told me that SD20 sometimes lays her head in his lap when they watch movies together. I'm sorry but her head does not belong anywhere near his penis and I would LOVE to hear how that's 100% normal and ok. My feeling is that at the age of 17 they should not WANT to be cuddly with daddy. It's of course normal to be that way with your boyfriend but I'm telling you, I was close with my parents but I stopped the daddy snuggling when I was a little girl because I was growing up. I think it's unhealthy for 17 year olds to be sitting on dad's lap or for him to smack their butts or any of that. These are not girls they are young women and it's inappropriate for a dad to touch them that way regardless of how he sees these kids. I kind of wonder if fathers just don't see this or grasp this concept at all. They don't get that it makes people uncomfortable especially their wives/girlfriends etc. How many mothers do you see snuggling on the couch with their 17 year old sons? If people think that is completely different I would like to know why it's different. I'm being completely honest...I would like to understand that myself. I get being affectionate but healthy boundaries are so important. I don't want to think of my SO snuggling with SD's on the couch past the age of 8, that's just my opinion but when they are teenagers - no way. You're not weird at all for thinking this and if I were you and I saw that I would be mortified as well. My father loves me but come on...they have boobs and are developing, their not babies anymore...time to draw the line here.


I COMPLETELY agree!! My DH and SD10 WERE doing the whole leaning on each other thing (her mostly on him)while watching movies up until about a month ago when I finally said, "enough is enough". "This is gross and disturbing to me"! I understand that you both are affectionate but she is too old to be laid up all over you. It made me sick! I know that it is normal,,,but like you said,,,,to a point. There has to be some distance! Luckily for me he agreed and said he would put a stop to it! Now let's just see if he does!!

jojo68's picture

I often wonder how he would react if my son was all over me like that ...or if my son wanted to go and come on whims and I did what ever he told me to no matter what the expense was to anyone...or if my son kissed me on the lips all the time...or if my son was immature and more annoying than you can even imagine....I bet there would be a different opinion on all that.

Auteur's picture

I had a "professional" relationship with my father. No "i love yous" or kisses. Once in a while a hug. Totally old world Western European; you know the stalwart father and the child wanting to be a "good girl" and behave as best she can.

I have a problem with clinginess in children which morphs into looking oddly like shades of emotional incest when teenage daughters (or older) hang all over their father. To me that is revolting.

It's the way I was brought up. I guess those who feel it's normal were allowed to cross those boundaries as youngsters.

francke125's picture

I have teenage sons and I would never cuddle with them like that. I do get hugs and kisses on the cheeks from them just about every day, but that is it. They don't try to cuddle with me and I don't with them. We don't roll around on the floor and wrestle or sit with our legs on top of eachother. They too have girlfriends and I think it would creep them out more than anything if I ever tried to do that. We never do any of the things that DH does with his daughters.I also know for a fact, DH did not have that kind of relationship with his parents. Maybe it is different between fathers and daughters than it is with mothers and sons.

CaptainD's picture

If my dad would have smacked my ass as a teenager I think I would have been mortified. He did it when I was a little girl, and I remember that as I was getting older, I started shying away from it. I feel like I'm close with my dad and had a good relationship growing up. We tell eachother that we love eachother, and we hug. I kiss him on the cheek sometimes. a few months ago, we were parting ways and I went to kiss him on the cheek and somehow I kissed him on the lips (I dunno how) and I was very embarrassed. My husband was right there and I remember thinking "oh my god I hope he doesn't think we kiss on the lips aall the time, how weird and uncomfortable!"

I think your hubbys affection for his daughters is a little too much, but as someone else said... cultural norms are different as are individual people. But I know I sure wouldn't be sitting on my dads lap or propping my legs on him. Wweeiirrrrddd.

Eyes Wide Open's picture

When DH and I first got together, I think SD was 19. On one of the first few occasions meeting her, she actually came into the room and sat on his lap! DH caught the look I gave him and told her to move over to the couch. We had a little chat when she left--more like I chatted and he listened. I already knew she was skanky (just from one or two previous meetings and word on the street). And, she only has a relationship with him when it suits her need$. I told him that was COMPLETELY inappropriate behavior for a young woman of her age and her father and I would not tolerate it. I also told him if that was how they acted, I was out of there! I found out later that his sisters had been telling him this for years, but he didn't listen. Guess he finally figured out, hearing it from a non-family member, that maybe they weren't wrong after all!

As a side note, we all had a good relationship with our father. He loved us, we knew it, but I can't imagine ever just about "making out" with him on the couch!

hismineandours's picture

My dh is pretty affectionate with my dd13 and she with him. They hug each other regularly. She has put her feet in his lap ane wrestled around with her. She has rubbed his shoulders. I dont recall if he's ever smacked her butt ( I have though!). He is technically her stepdad but he's known her since she was 2 and is her only father. I'm ok with it-our 9 year old dd still sits on his lap and so forth. My ds is almost 12 and I still cuddle with him all the time. My dad was never real physically affectionate with me. But dh's family is. I like it-never felt it has crossed any boundaries in anyway.

francke125's picture

I'm not against any parent showing their child or step affection. Hugging, kisses, even the occasional snuggle doesn't bother me. Stv3, your BD is only 8. I don't think wrestling with her and snuggling is wrong and I don't think you should discourage that. I do think when she gets to be 17 and if you are laying on the sofa with her and have your legs wrapped around eachother or if you slap her on the rear-end when she bends over, then there is a problem, but that is just my opinion. It creeps me out when I see it happen with DH and SD.

iloveit's picture

It was stillsearching! Her and I have these conversations all the time (I know her outside of steptalk) and it's so true...if you have to THINK about it or ASK that question, there's a good chance you KNOW it's inappropriate. I do think by a certain age children need to be TAUGHT these healthy boundaries. I honestly believe it's up to the parent to draw the line and there's no handbook that states when the best time is but my thought is that once they start going through puberty, it is necessary to wrap this up if you haven't already. Like other posters said, a kiss on the cheek, hugs fine but anything aside from that -touching, snuggling on the couch at 17 - GROSS. There is a difference between being close with your parents and what some of these people do...there's a whole other word for it.

jojo68's picture

OH I so agree...I was close to my dad and I'll admit it I was a little spoiled at times, But I would never ever have been sitting on his lap at age 11 or holdin his hand every where we went...That is gross. You are right...I don't think that these younger 6-12 year old don't really know the difference in what is appropriate and not until someone says something. Clinginess is not a good thing no matter what age a child is. There is a big difference in clinginess and being close to someone. My FSD follows her father around like a 5 year old would and as soon as he stops and stands somewhere she is grabbing his leg or leaning up against him (against his crotch sometimes)....that is not normal for an almost 11 year old girl. He is not a very touchy feely person to anyone but her. Don't get it!

PrincessFiona's picture

This post has great timing. Just last night I looked over while DH and SD were snuggled on the couch together. I got a pang of jealousy, not because they snuggle, but there is an aire about it of her being posessive of him. In any case, I checked myself and looked around at my own kids. My dd12 was snuggled up pretty close with me and it's very normal for my ds14 to snuggle up on the couch also. So I tried to let it go.

Then........I looked over at DH and he leaned his head down on SD's chest like they were a couple. That turned my stomach.

So I've been trying to rationalize the difference, where does it become inappropriate, because that was to me. And how do I tell him that?

I think it has more to do with his actions not hers. You expect kids to push boundries, to want to keep being kids, to try to be more than they should be to their parents. When it gets weird is when the adult is an active participant also.

When my kids snuggle with me, I am the parent and act parental to them. It's when actions act more 'spousal' than 'parental'.

That's what I am thinking.

PrincessFiona's picture

Also, I think some men sometimes have a problem knowing the difference between treating women/females as a parent vs. a spouse/lover. The think love is love. Not to the degree that they dont' know sexual boundries but still general affection is different. Maybe it's their own growing up with their parents that leads there, I don't know.

StillSearching's picture

My BFs daughter is 17 and she is affectionate like this at times also. It makes me very jealous and I think it is unnatural for us because we didn't have that relationship with our father's so we find it taboo. However; I have noticed more and more daughters are like that with their fathers. Plus we see them as these developed young adults and not our children/babies like the fathers do. When my BF and his daughter were under the same blanket together watching a movie I felt betrayed in a way and had to go to my bedroom to watch TV it bothered me so much. My BF will also wrestle with her on the ground like boys do and get on top of her to hold her down, once again that makes my blood boil. I can't explain it either but it makes me not like her I know that much...LOL

carson87's picture

I know this post is old, but it resonated with me. Have this same problem with my 17 year old stepdaughter, who is also very "developed." I understand that he sees her as his little girl, but it still makes me very uncomfortable. I also know from comments she has made to me when her father isn't around that she is not oblivious to the potentially sexual dynamic. For example, she has said to me before, "It's so funny when I talk to dad about my bras and thongs. It makes him so uncomfortable!" Once several months ago she was sitting in his lap wearing shorts that barely cover her bottom, hugging his head into her chest, giggling, saying things like, "Feel how smooth my legs are!" It made me so uncomfortable that I had to leave the room. Later I talked to my husband about it and my concerns made him extremely angry. I think he was upset because he didn't want to think that something inappropriate had occurred between his daughter and him. I don't think his daughter was really trying to cross an inappropriate line, but I think she likes to mess with him to see his reaction and "test" her sexuality. Anyway, after a couple of days he and I were able to talk about it more calmly. I can't say that they don't occasionally still hug closely and she is never in his lap now, but I can say I have not witnessed anything to that extent since then, thankfully. I am ok with physical affection between parents and children, but I do think as they get into their late teens and up, it may need to change or be toned down a bit, or else it will seem inappropriate.

angie55's picture

Ive just joined this site, I could have written what you wrote.
my sd does the same. I thought when she got a boyfriend things would change and I suppose they have slightly when the boyfriend is here, but she reverts back to being 6 not 16 when her bf has gone.
my oh decided that she could have her bf to stay over and sleep in the same bed as this is what she does at his mums house, he does live 4 hours away so would have to stay somewhere. I wasnt happy with them sharing a room but i was over ruled as usual,I was told he was staying and when I said no it was to late he was already 10 minutes away.
They are very messy and oh just serves them like he does her, hes her slave, she will have her dinner on her tray cooked and served by daddy then she will want , sauce , drink, he will fetch like a good boy then they will dump the tray on the floor and walk staraight passed it , then oh will pick it up. we have had so many rows over her and now I just say nothing and do nothing to help just give him a look and walk away. Its been better recently as sd has not been at ours, she lives with her mum and spends a lot of time at her bf, but shes here till after christmas, just me and oh and her, we are meeting up with my side and im so looking forwrd to that but this Christmas I will be in the bedroom most of it as I cant stand watching them behave like 2 teenagers and she so knows how to play her daddy. (yuk) I am not looking forward to Christmas, sd has already kicked off because I put the tree up, shes now saying she will cook daddy a meal christmas eve and wanted to do breakfast. I think I might just move out x

beyond pissed-off's picture

I can see how it would be necessary for him to stay over but in the same bed? Oh HELL NO!!!! Does your H really want grandchildren now? If there is no couch for him to sleep on, he can sleep on the living room floor in a sleeping bag. I will never understand parents who do this - especially fathers with daughters. Unreal!

buterfly_2011's picture

My situation is very similar. The SD16 is all over her dad. She even told my daughter that she only dates guys with butts like her dad cuz her dad has a nice *ss! My daughter was disgusted! She also walks around in her towel after showering which I think is very innappropriate on many levels. And she only allows him to go with her to buy tamons, monistat 7, and various other feminine items. She begs to go to VS for underwear and insists he shops with her. I find it disgusting that she lays her panties all over the place. And dirty at that. I beleieve my SD has some serious issues and I don't think any of it is normal behavior. These girls are marking their territory. I finally stood my ground this time when she visited. And it appears as though I'm entering the new year single.