Opposite-sex parent relationships are important in making children feel validated and encouraged, and communication is an essential building block for all family relationships.
The Journal of Communication and Religion (November 2008, Volume 31, Number 2) contains an analysis of the importance of opposite-sex parent relationships. The conclusion is backed up with social science data and affirmed by a peer-reviewed scholarly article: girls need a dad, and boys need a mom.
The study also found that communication is an essential building block for all family relationships - family interactions are the crucible for attitudes, values, priorities, and world views. Beyond the shaping and modeling of these essential personal characteristics, the family shapes an individual's interpersonal system and self-identity.
Family structures are changing more rapidly than at any previous time with divorce at around 40% and the recent push for same sex couples raising children. Other studies indicate that cohabitation, delayed marriage, and numerous blended family structures are affecting relationships and expectations between family members. Studies conclude that after a divorce mothers are less affectionate and communicate less often with their children. Long term erosion of family relationships is common, with the father-child relationship being the most endangered relationship following family turmoil.
While family communication and interaction is critical to high-quality relationships for children and adolescents, this study suggests that the opposite-sex parent is especially important in making children feel validated and encouraged. This is true of boys as well as girls, but it is especially true of daughters. Fathers have the greatest impact on their daughters' vitality as an adolescent college student. Daughters with a strong relationship with their father are more self-confident, self-reliant, and are more successful in school and career than those who have distant or absent fathers.