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Emotional Closeness Key to Raising Daughters

Another study reveals differences exist in men and women. This one, published in The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, looks at family factors that contribute to social self-esteem in young college women. Kelly Gorbett and Theresa Kruczek from Ball State University examined several influencers (family adaptability, amount of time left in care of others, birth order, siblings, gender, and family cohesion) and discovered that family cohesion and healthy sibling relationships fostered later social self-esteem--a critical component of mental health and achievement.

What's interesting about this research is that it pokes a hole in the theory that cautions families against enmeshment, or being too close. Instead, this research finds that the close bond with daughters actually helps the daughters even more. Perhaps part of it is due to the fact that women's oxytocin levels increase (the bonding hormone) when they share secrets and are close. In contrast, men's oxytocin levels increases after sex--which may explain why men tend to run when women talk about problems. Women are seeking to bond and men may not understand that. Nonetheless, with a little patience and understanding men can increase their oxytocin levels by engaging in supportive and nurturing communication with their female loved ones. Men can also help by supporting and encouraging that close talk among the women in their lives. Women, take this as reassurance that all of that sharing and closeness that feels good with your daughters really is good for them.


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