The above title is from Susie Orbach's book 'Emotional Literacy’. The author writes about the advantages fathers with contact can have in developing different and better relationships with their children post divorce:
'There is plenty of evidence now that fathers (particularly) who are able to hold onto their kids in the face of very real difficulties may be having a far richer experience of what it means to be a father than they did when they lived with their children. Instead of having to rely on a relationship with the mother, taking the relationship for granted, fitting in with and being helpful, they now share time and create their relationship with the child directly. They get to know their children and themselves in ways which extend them rather than slot them into the limited framework in which they may have related before.'
Male clients have confirmed the truth behind these words, but they have both worked hard to get to this place both in maintaining the relationship in the face of opposition and with their own anger and feelings of loss.
It's a different perspective and one which I suggest to fathers pre-divorce (mothers too) who simply aren't able to see how their relationship with their children could be any different to how it is pre-divorce and who may be going down a path which could result in their relationships with their children being irreversibly damaged.
For anyone about to go through divorce - best be warned and prepared. But don’t forget to consider the not so well publicised positive sides and listen to and learn from fathers who have made it work for them and their children. If this is you, we’d be delighted to hear from you by e-mailing the author firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll report back here so that those who have achieved a better relationship with their children post-breakup can teach those who are keen to learn how.