Live-Away Dads

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Live-Away Dads.

Tips for Live-Away Dads

Living away from your daughter after a separation or divorce is tough. But it doesn't prevent a rich, valuable and valued dad-daughter relationship--especially if you follow this time-tested advice from Dads & Daughters advisor William C. Klatte, author of Live-Away Dads (Penguin, 1999).

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

2. Develop healthy social and emotional supports for myself. I sometimes struggle to handle anger and loneliness with maturity. That's normal, but I'll be careful not to work those feelings out through my daughter. Instead, I'll get my adult emotional and social needs met by spending time with healthy adults.

3. Remember and respect that my daughter lives in two homes. I'll be patient if she doesn't do chores or follow rules exactly 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 mom's; sad that she has to leave either of us "behind." I'll remember that my relationship with her is more important than getting her to do things my way.

4. Father the best I can when she is with me. I can't change how her mother raises her or make up for what her other parents do or don't do. I can't correct their excessive leniency with excessive strictness on my part, or vice versa. I'll father her calmly; give her choices; and be patient and loving, not a demanding perfectionist. I'll be the dad she can talk to and trust to support her—even when she makes mistakes.

5. Keep my daughter out of the middle—even if others don't. I'll speak well about my daughter's mother even when I'm angry at her—and even if she speaks 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 let her be the child.

6. My daughter and her mother are different people. I won't misdirect my anger at my daughter's mother toward my daughter. When my daughter doesn't listen to me, does less than her best in school or makes other mistakes (normal behaviors for most kids), I won't confuse her mistakes with her mom's actions. Instead, I'll remember that mistakes are great teachers, and do what I can do to make things better.

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

8. Listen to my daughter. Lecturing and arguing get me nowhere. I can’t help my daughter if I minimize her feelings or falsely tell her everything will be okay when I can’t guarantee that it will. Instead, I’ll listen and be there for her. I’ll 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 she has a special place in my heart. My masculine actions and loving words help her realize that she too can be adventurous, playful and successful – and should expect respect from affectionate, honorable men.

To learn more about healthy fathering of girls, visit our website

Dads & Daughters: Making the world safe and fair for our daughters

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