Coping with Father’s Day
Advice for families who are separated or divorced this Father’s Day
For many families, Father’s Day is a time for spending quality time together; getting together for a Sunday dinner, with children giving their dads handmade cards and gifts.
But for the one million men who do not live with their children, it can be a very different day.
The transition from living with your children and seeing them daily, to having them every other weekend and maybe a few hours during the week can be tough. However, “different” does not have to mean “awful”.
Choosing to make an effort to find ways to enjoy the day can be a challenge, both practically and emotionally. It requires both parents to put aside their personal feelings and focus on planning a day where the children get to spend quality time with ad.
Doing this can be extremely difficult, especially hard when it’s your first Father’s Day since going through separation, even though you know it is in the best interests of the child, the more so if the breakdown of the relationship is recent.
Celebrating Father’s Day
With Father’s Day just round the corner we have put together some ideas, which we hope, will help to make it a positive experience.
1. Talk to the Other Parent
If Father’s Day does not fall on your scheduled weekend, see if itis possible to change weekends or swap part or all of Sunday. Try to give plenty of notice so other plans are not made. This makes it easier to find a compromise that suits both parents.
2. Plan Ahead
Do not leave it until the last minute to decide what you are going to do. Having a plan will help to reduce uncertainty and stress, so try to come up with at least one outdoor and one wet weather option for the day.
3. Remember it is Just One Day
It is going to be strange, especially if you have recently separated, so try not to put too much pressure on it.
If you cannot see your children on Father’s Day then try to arrange to phone or Skype them on the day. Then celebrate it when you next see them, perhaps having a special meal – even if this is on a school night.
4. Talk to the Children
Once you have agreed on the arrangements for the day, talk to the children about what the plans are. Maybe there are traditions you would like to uphold, such as breakfast pancakes or a game of football at the park. Perhaps you would like to make new traditions, such as a trip to the zoo or theme park. Think about what you really enjoy doing with the kids and plan something around that.
5. Plan Something for Yourself.
If you are not able to see your children on the day it is possible that your mind will start thinking about Father’s Days in previous years or imagining what they are up to now. Try to have plans for the day to stop you from dwelling on that. Even just meeting up with a friend for a drink or going and watching a film can give you a lift.
Support for Fathers
Relate is one of the UK’s largest providers of relationship support. It has a campaign called Being Parents Apart which offers a variety of support for parents and families at all stages of separation
Gingerbread is a long-established organisation that provides advice and practical help for single parents, with a dedicated dads section on its website.
Only Dads is specifically for divorcing or separating fathers.
Separateddads has a blog with an ‘Ask the expert’ section and an online directory to help fathers to find further advice and support.
We hope that whatever your current circumstances, you are able to have a Happy Father’s Day.
How we can help
Since this article has been published we no longer offer Family Law services but we can help you with:
- Wills, Probate & Power of Attorney
- Personal Injury
- Court of Protection
- Medical Negligence