Leving Book Helps Divorced Dads
Attorney Jeffery M. Leving has advocated for Fathers’ Rights for 40 years, and gained a reputation as an ally for single and divorced fathers — to the degree that men literally stop him on the street and ask for help on being a good divorced dad. This happened so much that he wrote a book on the subject — How to be a Good Divorced Dad — which was endorsed by President Obama and by the late Cardinal Francis E. George, who was the archbishop of Chicago at the time. It’s a readable book, it doesn’t take forever to get through, and if you’re a divorced dad, you should feel better about your prospects for a good relationship with your kids after you read it.
The book provides practical advice for tackling a father’s challenges, including an ex-wife choosing to remarry, and having limited connection with his children. It also features stories of real fathers who have gone through divorce, thereby supplying additional depth to its perspective.
Some of the helpful highlights:
- Don’t feel down about yourself over the divorce. Many men blame themselves when they did nothing wrong. The fact that your relationship with your wife ended doesn’t mean your relationship with your children should end. Also, if you’re anxious over any aspect of the divorce, don’t underestimate the benefits of counseling. Some men are hesitant — they think if they see a shrink they aren’t tough — not true!
- The children are not to blame. The divorce is not their fault, even if disagreement with your wife over how to raise the kids is a source of strife.
- Make the best of the time you have with your children, and let them know you love them and will always be there for them. That means engaging with your children. Take them places. Demonstrate that you’re happy to be with them, that you want to know about their lives. If they become reticent as teenagers — that’s how teenagers can be. Attend important events, such as meet-the-teacher night, or your child’s sports or arts performances, and milestone religious ceremonies.
These are some basic suggestions. The whole book is useful to read, and I urge you to do it. It’s hard becoming a father and knowing what is best to do — but it’s worth it. Being a divorced dad can be bewildering, and this is a manual that will help you do it — and your kids should really benefit.
Jeffery M. Leving, founder of the Fatherhood Educational Institute, is president of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd., and is an advocate for the rights of fathers. He is also the author of Fathers’ Rights.