While many fathers may find it difficult to express their feelings in words, the primary motivator in their lives is relationships, especially the relationship with their child/ren.
From the child’s perspective, every child has a biological father whether he is present, absent or even deceased. They have a natural curiosity about their father because it leads to answers about who they are themselves and why they look, feel, think and behave as they do.
Children need many different sources of familial input to understand and value their own existence. Positive support for the father‐child relationship is as healthy and vital for children as it is for the father.
However, this is only true for the father who is willing to be open to the changes that separation creates and who is willing to seek new knowledge and the support required to meet the new challenges. The post‐separation experience is not about ‘getting even’ with or seeking revenge on the mother, but involves the subtle nurturing of a stronger relationship with their child/ren. When this focus is achieved, many fathers report that after separation they achieve a new, deeper and more meaningful relationship with their children. Often the relationship is both richer and stronger than before the separation occurred in spite of the confusion in role experienced by many fathers today.
After contact has broken down, separated fathers are likely to re‐involve themselves with their children when they receive respectful support that nurtures the significance of the father‐child relationship. Professional support needs to be accessible, easy to understand, relevant to their immediate situation, of high quality, and yet still affordable.
(excerpt from King, A. & Fletcher, R. 2007. Re-engaging separated fathers with their children after contact has broken down. Children Australia. Volume 32, Number 5. Page 21-26)
See Groupwork Solutions – Working with Men for the full article and many other important writings from Andrew.
Andrew King (consultant trainer and program developer in group work)