Live-away Dads: Staying a Part of Your Children's Lives When They Aren't a Part of Your Home

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9780140272802: Live-away Dads: Staying a Part of Your Children's Lives When They Aren't a Part of Your Home

A handbook for divorced fathers desiring to maintain an open and loving relationship with their children explains legal procedures, discusses difficult emotions, and shows how to build a welcoming home.

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From the Author:

A little about me and encouragement for the reader.
I wrote Live-Away Dads because I was one myself. When my daughters were three and five years old my wife wanted out, so I moved out. That was the most difficult time of my life, although there were other difficult times. My father died of a heart attack when I was sixteen years old. That was another reason for this book. Losing my father helped me understand how important they are.

My dad was a salesman who worked nights, so my mom and the four of us kids didn't see him much. He loved us a lot but didn't seem to understand the importance of being really close to us. He provided financially, and that was what he saw to be his main job. Now men are learning that there is more to fathering than being a breadwinner, and I hope this book helps other dads be involved and loving parents-- even if they don't live with their children.

Out family moved a lot when I was young and that was pretty tough on me. My mom was hospitalized with a "nervous breakdown" when I was ten (now they would probably call it major depression and panic attacks). I flunked sixth grade (my parents kept telling me I was just "being held back," and "repeating" sixth grade, but the fine points of their language were definitely lost on a twelve year old). There is always an up-side to problems, however, and for me it was that I was one of the oldest in my class and that probably gave me an edge in football, wrestling and track in high school, and in my college wrestling-- although by that time the age advantage had worn off.

I'm not whinning about my problems. Countless people have had it a lot worse. I'm just expressing a bit about where I've come from, and that I have-- hopefully-- turned out okay. You can handle your personal crisis too. Do your best to deal constructively with your strong emotions. Do your best to avoid conflict with your child's mom, expecially in front of the children, and don't put your anger at your child's mother on your kids.

Your children are doing the best they can. They need you. Don't ever give up on them even if you can't see them as often as you want. Even if you are broke. Even if you don't have as much influence over them as you'd like. Even if you can't control what their mother does. You can control your own life, or at least your reactions to what happens in your life, and it matters what you do.

Now that my daughters are in their twenties and we remain very close, I know the answer to the question I asked myself constantly in those early times when things were so difficult. That question was, "Does it really make any damn difference if I stay involved in their lives?" The answer is "Yes."

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