Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Book on Fathers and Daughters

Dr. Linda Nielsen, the president of the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, has a new book out, Between Fathers and Daughters: Enriching and Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship. Although I haven't yet read the book, Glenn Sacks has a post up on the book and makes note of "an excellent chapter on the devastating effects that divorce often has upon the father-daughter relationship." He points out a quiz daughters can take to determine if they have picked up negative views of their divorced dad:

The chapter contains a “Divorced Dads Quiz" that every adult child of divorce should take. Nielsen writes:

As for your father-daughter relationship, remember: the negative beliefs that you have about any group of people influences what you remember about how they behaved in the past and how you treat them - even when your beliefs are wrong.

This is why it’s important to ask: what did you, as a daughter, believe about divorced dads at the time your parents divorced. By taking the 'Divorced Dads' quiz, you can see which beliefs were affecting you then – and might still be affecting you now.

Since children mainly reside with mothers after a divorce, it is likely that if a mother says negative things about a father, it will impact the child's view of that relationship strongly. The mother's reality often becomes the child's and they often come to view dad with more contempt and anger than the circumstances might warrant.

If you would like to view the quiz and see if you have false beliefs about divorced fathers in general, you can view it here.

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Blogger Unknown said...

The hardest thing I have ever done in my entire lengthy life is to not once bad-mouth my daughter's mother to her after the woman ditched us.

That was a conscious decision based on my desire not to be seen as a bitter ex and the belief (later borne out) that the woman would destroy her own relationship with her daughter.

My daughter -- now an incredible mother of two -- and I have talked about this on numerous occasions and she acknowledges that it was partly because of this that she was able to realize the problems the woman had that made her an unfit spouse, mother, etc and has told me she finds it pretty amazing that in all those years I kept my mouth shut.

The self-programming is so deep that to this day I find it hard to tell her about many of the things her mother did. She usually has to gently drag it out of me.

Hard, so very hard, but the reward in my relationship with her was worth it.

11:16 AM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Olig, way to go! I appreciate and respect that you have protected your daughter's relationship with her mom. It has not been easy, yet that has been part of your job as a divorced dad, and you did it. Outstanding.

What I like about the article was that it takes a proactive view and looks to repair that which was damaged rather than accept things the way that they are.


12:00 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger Tari said...

My mom told me recently that she "chose" to raise me "as if she were a widow" after my parents' divorce, and she was so glad she made that "choice." Her "choice" was made without my input and was enabled by her good attorney and my dad's lousy one, and by the bias the courts had even then against father's rights vis a vis their children.

Now, years later, my dad and I have slowly re-built a great relationship, but it's certainly no thanks to all the efforts my mom made all those years. I'd love to read this book as a resource to help that relationship grow even stronger.

Thanks for the post.

12:03 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger Difster said...

My ex does not, as far as I can tell, bad mouth me to my daughter. Even so, I wonder if that would change when I get married again? The fact is, I spend far less time with my daughter than her mother does and that alone will damage our relationship to some degree. It's something I'm always aware of and I compensate for it as much as possible. She's only 7 now but the teenage years are going to be rough.

12:42 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Difster, are there ways you can be more involved in your daughter's life? How can she see you supporting her more? The kids I see get confused and think that their dad does not love them. If you show up for events and stuff and spend time with her when she is with you, that shows her her that you love her and are happy that she is your kid. I know kids who spend lots of time with a parent and still are not sure if that parent loves them. You show her so that she never has that doubt despite your being split from her mom.


1:00 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

It reminds me of the proverb that "the first one to plead their case seems just until another comes and examines them."

When one only hears one side of the story, it is easy to be swayed to that side. Typically, we only here the female's perspective.

2:18 PM, August 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

difster, please. While you still are a "hero", do the best you can to build and maintain as best a relationship with your daughter as possible. You will not regret it, neither will she.

My ex did not do so with our son. There is a very large hole in his heart, his being, I cannot fill.

4:36 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I fought in court for several years to make sure I got joint physical custody. I won every time but by ex kept filing new petitions. She only quit when she realized she might end up paying my legal bills.

She still bad mouths me to the kids(2 boys - 19 and 15, 1 daughter - 12) and I hold my tongue 99% of the time. I admit to a few failings.

It was worth every penny and all the heartache. My kids are happy and doing well. My ex doesn't push custody issues anymore because she knows if the kids were forced to make a choice she'd very likely lose.

As it is now the kids spend plenty of time with both of us, pretty much at their discretion. That is how I like it as do the kids.

7:37 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

dadvocate --

I am sorry to read your post. My situation was easier as the ex had taken off and rarely came by, me having full custody. Much easier for me than thee. Glad your situation worked out as well as it did.

10:48 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Trey --

I don't think you actually got my gist. I was protecting my own later relationship. I knew damned well that the ex would destroy hers. I didn't want to be seen in any way as contributing. I'm not all that altruistic.

10:50 PM, August 12, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Olig, enlightened self interest is often mistaken for altruism. At any rate, you let your child make up their own mind. Whatever the motivation, you done good!


11:35 AM, August 13, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

I think all you dads on here are terrific. I've seen shameful behavior by exes with regard to their children. Glad to see it's not always that way.

8:00 PM, August 13, 2008  
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