Author Paul Mandelstein shares what inspired him to write the book The World’s Best Dad During and After Divorce: A Guide to Co-Parenting for Divorced Dads. This book is a guide to help parents navigate the often difficult divorce process. Read along to learn more about the author and his journey.
Learning from Divorce
Given my decades-long successful career in self-help publishing and the well-documented negative issues of the “absent father syndrome,” when I divorced, I was motivated by my sense of loss and my desire to help other people.
I spoke with many fathers, mothers, children, lawyers, therapists, and extended family members who had been affected by a divorce. I realized that my own cautionary tales, and the truthful and unvarnished details of other families’ divorces, could be helpful in guiding others.
It also occurred to me that perhaps we could approach the process in a more positive way than previous generations had. I began to ask, Why can’t we view divorce as a path for personal healing and growth for ourselves, as well as for everyone else involved?
I concluded that the concept of the divorced family as “broken” was obsolete and detrimental to the creation of a healthy family consciousness for your new “extended family” way of life. Reframing divorce using a collaborative, non-adversarial approach offers the best operating system for the empowerment and stabilization of this newly emerging extended family lifestyle, especially for the kids.
I knew that while it might be difficult to embrace such a position, it could pave the way for a much more positive and healthy transition, again, especially for the kids.
Clearly, divorce is an unfortunate and troubling event, not anyone’s first choice of a life change. But like other challenges, we would do well to find a way through it that has the potential to provide us with practices for making our lives better. In other words, I believe that the crisis of divorce can spur personal growth, resulting in change that contains the germ of happiness.
My intention was to create common-ground solutions, as well as a process to keep kids in each parent’s life and establish a healthy co-parenting environment guided by the principles of collaboration and cooperation—even if your ex-spouse refuses to participate or you have never collaborated before.
The process was designed in a non-antagonistic manner. I was careful to avoid any hint of an adversarial tone, with the idea that either spouse could recommend the book to their ex-spouse, friend, or relative as a basis for creating common ground in your new extended family lifestyle.