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Can He Be a Father to a Fatherless Girl?

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From the U.S.: A friend of me and my wife has a 12-year-old daughter. She recently became close to me and my wife. I’m a little nervous about it because she tells me she likes me like a father. She used to tell me and my wife she misses her father, but the last couple months we take her out from time to time to give her mom a break and also she doesn’t get to go out much and she has gotten really close to us. she really opened up to us and always wants to hug and lay her head on our shoulders. Although I do like the idea of having a daughter I’m just a little freaked out because I’m not sure if it’s normal.

Can He Be a Father to a Fatherless Girl?

Answered by on -


It’s not only normal, it’s generous and kind. You and your wife have become important honorary aunt and uncle to a girl who is looking for stable adults in her life. Such relationships only become abnormal when the adults violate the trust of the child or put a wedge between the child and her parent. You aren’t doing that.

As you move forward, it’s important to keep boundaries clear. Keep the affection to friendly and limited hugs. This girl is moving into adolescence and needs to absolutely know that you will draw the line if she starts to develop a crush on you. (This is also normal, by the way. Young girls often develop crushes on older men who have been kind to them.)

Remind her that she has a father and that you can’t take his place. Emphasize that you and your wife are very happy to be her adult friends who care about her and who are responsible for her. Keep open communication with her mother.

By providing positive role models and keeping the relationship safe and clear, you can be an important support to this family.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Can He Be a Father to a Fatherless Girl?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Can He Be a Father to a Fatherless Girl?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.