Father’s Day can be a difficult time for many children due to many factors, including divorce. As a result, many children don’t have the opportunity for what many consider a “traditional” Father’s Day. I’d like to share some thoughts about the importance of this day from the perspective of both a son who has lost his father and a practicing divorce lawyer for over 25 years, and how you as a divorced parent can make this holiday meaningful for you and your children:
- Keep Your Child’s Best Interest In Mind. If it’s within your power to help your child spend some time or just talk with their father on Father’s Day, make it happen. Most parenting plans provide for a father to have their child for the Father’s Day weekend. Moms should encourage the children to see their father and put the bad feelings aside so that they can enjoy the holiday and strive to reduce conflict.
- Have a Plan for the Weekend. If you are blessed to be able to spend Father’s Day weekend with your children, do it! Many times I have seen fathers decline to exercise their Father’s Day weekend visitation because they want to “do what they want” for the weekend. The golf course will still be there next week! Creating a tradition for your children on how to spend Father’s Day weekend may last them a lifetime and become something they pass on to their children. Start a legacy for them.
- Make the Time Special. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not about the gifts. This is an excellent occasion to try to reinforce the important role fathers play in a child’s life. Talk with your children and listen carefully. Encourage your child to express his or her feelings freely.
Remember that children who have strong loving relationships with both their Mother and Father grow up the healthiest. On Father’s Day, we should remember the words of Sigmund Freud: “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads.