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Last Updated: May 29th, 2012 - 03:07:02 

Parenting & Pregnancy  


10 Tips for Live-Away Dads
By Dads & Daughters
Apr 24, 2008, 00:01



Ten Tips for Live-Away Dads
Dads who live away from their children due to divorce, separation or conflict with the child's mother.Get DADs in your email box for Free!

1. Hang in there for the long haul. My involvement in my daughter's life may be different than my dreams for the two of us when she was little, but it is no less important. I remain a tremendous influence in her life and need to stay involved in a calm, loving and committed way forever.

2. Develop healthy social and emotional supports for myself. Some live-away dads struggle to handle anger and loneliness with maturity. These feelings are normal, but I must be careful not to become emotionally dependent on my daughter. Instead, I need to spend time with healthy adults and get my emotional and social needs met through them.

3. Remember that my daughter lives in two homes. I need to be patient if my daughter doesn't do chores or follow rules the way I want. She has different rules in her mother's house. She may sometimes be upset or moody when she leaves my home or her mother's home. I need to remember that my relationship with her is much more important than getting her to do things the way I think she should.

4. Father the best I can when she is with me. I cannot change how her mother raises her or make up for what her mother does or doesn't do. I can't correct excessive leniency by her mother with excessive strictness on my part. Instead, I need to father her calmly. Give her choices. Be a patient and loving father, not a demanding and critical perfectionist. Be the dad she can always talk to and trust to support her—even when she makes mistakes.

5. Keep my daughter out of the middle—even if her mother doesn't. Talk well about my daughter's mother even when I'm angry at her—and even if she talks poorly about me. Negative talk about my daughter's mother is a little wound to my daughter, and causes her to think less of herself, her mom and me. I'll resolve adult conflicts away from my daughter and allow her to be the child.

6. My daughter and her mother are different people. I'll not misdirect anger at my daughter's mother toward my daughter. When my daughter does not listen to me, does less than her best in school or makes other mistakes (normal behaviors for most kids), I'll be careful not to confuse my daughter's mistakes with her mother's actions, and instead, see what I can do to make things better.

7. Give my daughter consistent time and attention. My daughter needs my healthy attention in person, on the phone, over the internet, through the mail, or any other way. I can't try to buy her love with things—even if her mother does. My daughter needs my presence not my presents.

8. Listen to my daughter. Lecturing and arguing get me nowhere. It does not help if I minimize my daughter's feelings or falsely tell her everything will be okay when I can't guarantee that it will. Instead, I need to listen and be there for her. Accept my daughter for who she is; not who I want her to be, think she should be, or think she would be if she were raised only by me. I'll take the lead in communicating—even when I feel unappreciated. I may not agree with everything she says or does, but when I listen, I build the emotional connection that will help her listen to me when it really counts.

9. Focus on my daughter's positives. Many men were raised by fathers pointing out what we did wrong, so we could fix it. That may work on the job, but intimate personal relationships are not like a job. Focusing on negatives undermines her strength and confidence—already stretched by living in two homes.

10. Be her father, not her mother. I am a powerful and encouraging role model, and I'll tell her that she has a special place in my heart. My masculine actions and loving words can help her realize that she too can be adventurous, playful and successful—and should expect respect from affectionate, honorable men.

Created by DADs advisor William C. Klatte, author of Live-Away Dads (Penguin, 1999) ©Dads and Daughters, all rights reserved. These tips may be used for educational purposes if reproduced unaltered, in their entirety, and include: "© Dads and Daughters www.dadsanddaughters.org All Rights Reserved."




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