Father’s Day is right around the corner and this holiday can trigger quite a few issues for those who have been through divorce.
There’s the dad who’s still in the picture, but has shared custody. There’s the dad who perhaps doesn’t get to be with his kids on Father’s Day. Then there are the children without dads and the mom who is charged with helping the kid through a holiday that highlights his absence. And let’s not forget the role that step-parents could play on this day.
A holiday that’s designed to be a celebration can soon become full of heartache and bring up some tough emotions for parents and children alike. Whatever your situation, you can create a plan to help you prepare for this Sunday in June.
* For the dads who won’t get to see their kids…
Know that the day could be emotional for you. Make plans for the day with others or plan to do some of your favorite activities. This doesn’t keep you from feeling the emotions of not having your kids around, but it does help you focus on something fun for yourself and provide a distraction.
If you’re able to communicate with your children, set up a Skype session with your kids. Skype or other video technologies are a great way to interact with your kids more than a quick text or phone call.
* For the dads who get some time with their kids…
Having your children around on Father’s Day is a great way to celebrate! It can also be hard to have limited time with them. Simply knowing you’re on a time schedule can trigger resentment about the situation. Keeping the focus on the time you do have will help keep things in perspective and maximize your time.
Make a plan with your kids that’s different than what you would normally do. Give yourself a special present by making the day full of fun activities and a great chance to bond with your kids.
* For the children who don’t have a dad on Father’s Day…
Whatever the situation, your child’s father may be absent on Father’s Day. As other children and dads celebrate the day, it’s possible your child will feel left out and the weight of not having a dad around will be difficult. Recognize that emotions such as disappointment, resentment, or general sadness may be present.
Find ways to celebrate Father’s Day with a new meaning. Celebrate other male role models in your child’s life, have them do research on famous men they find inspiring, have conversations with your son about what kind of father he would like to be, discuss what a good partner would be like with your daughter, or celebrate how well your family is doing even without the presence of a father in the home.
* For the step-dads on Father’s Day….
The role of stepparent can vary widely from house to house. Perhaps you’re more of an everyday dad than a biological father, perhaps you see the kids rarely, or perhaps you’re still trying to establish a relationship with your spouse’s children. Regardless of the situation, recognize that you are the dad that has stepped into a child’s life knowingly and willingly.
Depending on the relationship and family dynamics, you could be the guy with most of the attention on Father’s Day or you could be the one who steps aside a bit to allow the kids the chance to connect with their biological father. Whatever your role on this day, you can help your stepchildren celebrate the day by fostering the relationship you have with them.
* For the mom on Father’s Day….
Regardless of your feelings towards your ex, it’s important that you help your children celebrate their relationship with their dad. Remember that this holiday, along with Mother’s Day, carries significance for your kids. It’s key not to skip celebrating the day or to let your own distractions get in the way of the purpose of the day.
Help your child celebrate the day in a way that’s best for his or her situation. This could mean helping them make cards or presents for their dad, taking them to purchase a gift, or simply giving them the opportunity to express what they enjoy about their dad or other male role models in their life.
One thing’s for sure – when family dynamics and children’s feeling are at play, it pays to be sensitive to the situation. Regardless, Father’s Day is a reason to celebrate the role dad’s play in our lives.
Enjoy Father’s Day!