Article written by Gary Direnfeld
It’s Father’s Day and we love to celebrate all the amazing father figures in our lives. But this special day that comes so easily to some families may be more complicated for others. Specifically, for the separated dad.
The truth is, as much as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are meant to be about the parents, they centre around the kids. They teach children to think beyond themselves, exhibiting how to be both thankful and empathetic. However, these lessons may look different in a separated household.
Father’s Day for the Separated Dad:
When it comes to a separated household, the outcome of Father’s Day often hinges on how Mother’s Day was handled. This is especially true with younger kids who depend on their other parent for help. For co-parents who don’t get along, this can become a source of conflict. But since these special days are teaching moments, what lessons are our kids learning from this?
We must remember that from a child’s perspective, they feel half of either parent. The kids look up and say, “I am half of each. Therefore, if I cannot celebrate both halves, then does that mean part of me is not of value or worth celebrating?” This of course sows the roots of problematic self-esteem.
Considering the impact, we recommend that regardless of what has gone on or is going on, parents allow their kids to enjoy all their relationships. Since this day may including celebrating dad and grandparents on both sides, it is best for co-parents to discuss plans in advance. By being accommodating and encouraging these relationships, it helps with your child’s emotional development.
Alternate Ways to Celebrate
Working with your co-parent to facilitate a smooth Father’s Day might not always be an option. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be celebrated for all your hard work. Rather than placing your child in the middle of a parental dispute, consider alternative ways to celebrate the day that won’t rely on your co-parent.
- Seek a kin or friend to help your child do something on your behalf.
- Take things into your own hands. Plan something that is more celebratory of the relationship between you and your child for your own special moment.
- Play the day low key.
However you choose to celebrate your day, just realize that you are doing an amazing job. Being a parent isn’t easy, and yet here you are doing what’s best for your child — even on your special day. That is what being a father is all about.
Happy Father’s Day!