General Question

dopeguru's avatar

Why do some dads act like their daughters are their sweethearts?

Asked by dopeguru (1894points) April 19th, 2019

I see this very often actually. A dad calling her grown up 20 year old daughter “my love” and speaking in a very soft, kind way. Seems to say something about the mindset of that father – narcissistic and gender normative at its best. What is this about? Its bothersome.

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35 Answers

hosa's avatar

I can understand your discomfort. I guess it depends on how this parent’s generation were raised, it was a different time back then. It can also be a factor of the daughter’s own behavior and personality, some girls are tomboys so they require a more normal treatment.

kritiper's avatar

Because girls are just so darn sweet! What Dad wouldn’t fall in love with his beautiful daughter and want desperately to protect her from all threats, both real and imagined?

ragingloli's avatar

Because they are like Donald Drumpf and secretly fantasise about fucking their own daughters.

rebbel's avatar

Donald wasn’t very secretive about it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Or stepdaughters. Don;t forget Woody Allen who married his stepdaughter.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s a male’s form of showing affection, and admiration. In most cases…

dopeguru's avatar

But its condescending and disturbing!

gorillapaws's avatar

I think some are attempting to provide a positive male role-model for their daughters as a template for the kind of person they want their daughter to marry. They want them to marry a guy who is kind, gentle and respectful to them.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@dopeguru . Not every person is an expert at showing emotion.

dopeguru's avatar

@gorillapaws I saw this older father saying to his daughter at a coffee shop: “my sweetheart? How is my wonderful dear love? my valentine…”

MrGrimm888's avatar

Apparently, men just can’t do anything right…

Darth_Algar's avatar

Oh, it gets creepier. Ever hear of purity balls? The dads that take their daughters to these things might as well go ahead and preemptively sign themselves up on the sex offender registry.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. That does seem extreme. Although I admit that I am not an expert on purity balls.

At most weddings (I’ve heard of/western culture,) the father gives away the daughter, and even has a scripted last dance with her. I don’t personally see that as creepy. Maybe that’s a bad analogy…

Darth_Algar's avatar

The father “giving” the bride away (as if she were his property) is antiquated and paternalistic, but it’s not creepy on the level of having your daughter swear an oath to you to remain a virgin until marriage.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s a habit that begins when the girls are toddlers or even earlier. It always cracks me up to watch some 80 plus year old guy look warmly at his 60 year old daughter then call her “pumpkin”.

josie's avatar

Maybe they love them daughters. As unusual as that sounds.
The Comments and some of the responses are a little disappointing even for Fluther.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Love is one thing. Pet names, however, are fucking creepy.

Brian1946's avatar


“It always cracks me up to watch some 80 plus year old guy look warmly at his 60 year old daughter then call her ‘pumpkin’.”

That’s hilarious!

It seems like a Henry-to-Jane moment from “On Golden Pond”, which I have never seen. ;-p

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Darth Algar I dunno. Old habits are hard to break. Usually it’s moms who persist in calling their kids pet names. When my mom was in her 70s my brother and I would cringe while our wives rolled on the floor at the sound of “Dootle” or “Bunky”.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Were those nicknames or pet names? There’s a difference.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t understand. Do you mean literally the names of pets? If so, no. My mom would be talking to or about me and my brother.

Kardamom's avatar

Sometimes affection is just affection, and not a sign of some sick mental condition, a la Donald Trump touching his daughter inappropriately, or saying that if he wasn’t her father he would date her.

Some people, some families, and some cultures, are simply more affectionate than others, and show their affection more openly. It doesn’t mean that all these dads want to fuck their daughters.

Caravanfan's avatar

I generally always speak kindly to my adult daughter. I’m not entire certain what the big deal is. What would you prefer that I do? Yell and be an asshole?

Brian1946's avatar

@stanleybmanly @Darth_Algar

My daughter, Rover and my son, Fido, both think that pet names are ridiculous! ;-)

Patty_Melt's avatar

I wish I had a doting father.
My dad’s nickname for me was fucking dummy.

He even called me that when I was three and stole his tractor. I know he was scared and angry, but he was also proud of me for being able to get it in gear and drive off with it. He never said so though. Life continued that way. He always cursed me for whatever downside he could find.
If he had ever called me his sweetie pie I would have been confused, but it certainly wouldn’t have been sexual at all.

Darth_Algar's avatar


I mean an affectionate name like you would call a romantic interest. Something that you generally would only call them , and they would only be called by you. Different from a nickname, which everyone might use to refer to that person.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Darth_Algar “an affectionate name like you would call a romantic interest.”

I think the issue here may be mostly cultural/regional. I don’t think any fathers are calling their young daughters “sugar tits” or “hey sexy.”

I will refer to my friends’ young daughters as “sweet pea” as a term of endearment. I had a teach who would refer to her students as “sugar,” even “pumpkin-puss” and there wasn’t anything sexual going on at all, it was just cultural. I’m in Virginia as a point of reference.

ragingloli's avatar

“I’m in Virginia as a point of reference.”
But that is in the south, so….

JLeslie's avatar

Yuck, gross.

My dad and I were close when I was young, but he didn’t talk to me in what could be mistaken as a romantic way. Serious yuck.

I remember when I was very little he called me sweetie, and then at one point I asked him not to, and he stopped. But, he never calls my mom sweetie, it was a term he used with me as a little girl, it had nothing to do with being a sweetheart.

The promise rings, like promising your dad to stay chaste, is disgusting and creepy to me. My dad never did anything creepy like that.


Darth_Algar's avatar


Well I wouldn’t call anyone something like “sugar tits”, not even in a romantic context.

As for your teacher – honestly, I find that kind thing patronizing and disrespectful. The teacher should refer to his/her students by name.

cookieman's avatar

Sometimes it’s just a term of endearment. In my family (current and historic), we tend toward goofy nicknames instead.

My dad was “Bean”, my grandfather was “Mouse”, my grandmother was “Tina”, my aunt was “Cat”, and so on.

My daughter has a goofy nickname too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I still affectionately call my 31 year old son “Dumbass.” It’s a name he’s been stuck with since his first set of stitches at age 2.

Much of what your concerns would depend on context. Only you can hear the inflection and see the setting it’s said in.
To me, a grown woman calling her father “Daddy,” gives me the creeps.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Obviously various people are creeped out over differing things.

A girls first love is her daddy, under normal circumstances. Nowadays, however, people equate love with sex, and that is where a lot of disparity comes into play.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Darth_Algar “I find that kind thing patronizing and disrespectful. The teacher should refer to his/her students by name.”

All I can say is that I never once felt patronized or disrespected. I’m pretty sure my other classmates would say the same thing. She had a sincere kindness and a grace that radiated from her. She was one of the nicest teachers I’ve ever had and she made Middle School biology a lot of fun for her students.

I really do think it’s a cultural difference. You can tell when someone is speaking to you with a patronizing tone and when they’re being endearing and positive in a sincere and friendly manner.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I might call my students “sweet heart,” or “darlin’” either male or female. Especially in elementary school.

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