icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-user Skip to content
Senior Correspondent

Mismanaging money isn't what Oprah thought she was talking about. In fact, she and Iyanla Vanzant had been talking about “Daddyless Daughters,” exploring what happens to girls whose fathers weren't around to fulfill their traditional roles.

You’d think they were just speaking of girls who never knew their fathers. But far more girls fall under the heading of “daddyless,” including when:

  • Daddy was never there (the more expected situation).
  • Daddy was there, then gone through divorce or death.
  • Daddy was in the home, but not present.

So the number of girls who are daddyless daughters extends to far more of us, and to more of our friends and colleagues around us.

Probably the most unexpected on the list are all those girls whose fathers were there, but were actually not engaged in their upbringing for some reason. Maybe they were emotionally distant, or working too hard to be very involved or absent through addictions. The reason doesn’t matter.

Here are the major conclusions of Oprah and Iyanla’s exploration: the main impact girls suffer because of being daddyless is that they are cheated out of the first intimate relationship with a man that is not sexual. This unique relationship establishes:

  • how we feel about ourselves (because Daddy said so),
  • the standards we set for how others interact with us (because Daddy set his high standards) and
  • the fact that we are loved because of the relationship … not because of a sexual element in it.

Not having that vital input affects how daddyless girls later establish social relationships, what they’re willing to accept, what they think they deserve and what standards they keep for themselves (or don’t).

Mismanaging Money … and Daddyless-ness

So what does this have to do with money?

Well, during an Oprah’s Life Class episode called “Fatherless Sons,” Roland Warren said this about fathers: “Good fathers, they do three things: They provide, they nurture and they guide.”

For a son, a father is a role model and someone who sets the standard of what is expected of him. By being fatherless, without that role model, a son grows up not knowing what is expected of him … and, most important, what he is capable of achieving. The first and best image of himself is simply is not there.

So when a father leaves a son, he takes along his son’s self-esteem.

But when a father leaves a daughter, he takes along her self-worth.

These are some phrases used to explain the impact on a girl:

  • “Without internal validation, a girl craves external validation.”
  • “She needs to know she’s beautiful by 5, if daddy doesn’t do that, she’ll buy her beauty.”
  • “He takes a piece of his daughter’s soul with him and leaves her forever seeking.”
  • “She’s left with symptoms of low confidence, overcompensating in other relationships, and seeking love in all the wrong places.”
  • “She doesn’t know how to be within herself and, therefore, how to have healthy boundaries in a relationship.”

Some of the basic reasons why women have trouble managing their money are:

  • Avoiding Money: they ignore it, push it away, don’t ask for it or miss out on investing out of fear.  “Not deserving” is a major factor here.
  • Worshiping Money: they hoard it, become a workaholic, take on too much risk or grossly overspend. “Overcompensation” and “external validation” are factors here.
  • Mixing Money and Relationships: they use it as a tool to manipulate, which destroys trust, results in unhealthy boundaries or leads to enabling or being enabled. “Poor relationship patterning” is a factor here.

Can you see how being daddyless can creep into to a woman’s behavior with money once she is an adult?

So How Can This Relate to You?

If there’s any chance this applies in your life, are you able to see where those factors could be causing you to trip up with money?

Are you willing to acknowledge that you received unhealthy messages, but that you now have the choice to release them … as being totally unproductive?

Are you willing to forgive yourself for holding on to those beliefs for so long, especially if you can see how they somehow served you and kept you safe?

If you’ve brought forward a story that you’re still telling yourself, are you willing to accept that it is worn out and could be let go?

Can you see that you deserve as much as anyone else and that you simply got a batch of bad messaging that has cheated you out of what you deserved for all these years?

Are you ready to move on, let go of the baggage, start over in your relationship with money on new, solid footing … and thrive?

Let us know in the comments section below if you had realized before just how interrelated money is with how you were raised, whether you were “daddyless” or not.

Stay Up to Date

Sign up for articles by Sharon O’Day and other Senior Correspondents.

Latest Stories

Choosing Senior Living
Love Old Journalists

Our Mission

To amplify the voices of older adults for the good of society

Learn More