Do You Ever Cry, Dad?

Do You Ever Cry, Dad?

Posted on June 12 by I.J. Schecter in Non-fiction, Recent Releases
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Nobody goes into a marriage expecting it not to work, but, as we know, about half of marriages unfortunately do end. During the past few years, I went through my own experience of family breakup, which was, like every other such situation, extremely challenging both practically and emotionally. A family split has a profound effect on everyone involved, none more, of course, than the children. What helped me through the most wrenching days — and there were many — was the support of friends, family, and others who had gone through the process.

While men of my generation are more willing to talk about their feelings, they’re still men, and therefore not necessarily inclined to seek outside support. Because they may feel weak, vulnerable, exposed, or like they’ve failed at the most important endeavour of their lives, they may, without necessarily realizing it, retreat into their proverbial emotional cave. This is dangerous not only for them but especially for their kids, who during this process need more than ever for their fathers to be present, alive, and communicative. My purpose for writing this book was to try to help other dads, and their kids, make the journey through these stages of family breakup as smoothly and harmoniously as possible, and to emerge out the other side as soon as possible, when light, hope, and happiness can again begin to take root slowly but surely.

This is not an overnight process or a simple one. It takes tremendous fortitude, patience, composure, and faith. For me, a word of reassurance or reinforcement from someone else — often at an unexpected time or from an unexpected source — could get me through a certain day, hour, or moment. That is most fundamentally what you need during this process: to borrow energy, hope, and assurance from others when you aren’t sure you have much yourself.

I didn’t want the book to be just about my experience, since I was buoyed up so much by the perspectives, insights, and simple generosity of spirit offered by others. I talked to a great many fathers who had experienced family breakup to gather their stories and understand their experiences. Every split has common elements, but these, of course, play out differently in every situation, since no two sets of family circumstances are the same. Collecting so many different stories from so many different dads helped, I hope, give the book context and breadth beyond my own lens.

I also sought advice from a range of experts in the field, including psychologists, social workers, family counsellors, and child therapists. Many of them spoke about similar themes and gave advice along consistent lines, but all of them also provided their own unique thoughts and particular tips. So, in the end, the book combines three threads: my own experience, the stories from other dads, and the observations and insights of experts in the field.

My hope for the book is that it helps other dads and their children get through this very difficult and complex journey with a little less heartbreak and a little more peace. As the saying goes, if my experience can help even one other dad, I’ll have achieved my goal.

 

 

 

I.J. Schecter

Posted by Dundurn Guest on March 27, 2018
I.J. Schecter photo

I.J. Schecter

I.J. Schecter has written hundreds of articles on parenting and family topics for publications including Today’s Parent, Men’s Health, and MUM Magazine. His work has also appeared in the National Post and the Globe and Mail. I.J. lives in Toronto.