Fathers Day is an important opportunity for your children to show their appreciation and love for their dad. I understand that this may be difficult for a divorced parent to accept. But I am challenging you to be the bigger person and put your feelings aside and think about your children’s feelings. Our kids love to celebrate special occasions. And since it is our responsibility to encourage their relationship with their dad, Fathers Day is a perfect opportunity to do that.
Depending on your children’s age your personal involvement may look different. If they are young you may have to remind them and even explain to them what Fathers Day is all about. As you talk to them, ask what ways they would like to celebrate and honor their dad. Not only is it important that you encourage them to appreciate their dad on that day but assisting them in making the day exciting is also important. Keep in mind, Fathers Day is a day designed to honor our dads. This is not a day to prove a point, retaliate in any way or even intentionally or unintentionally hurt your ex spouse. It is critical for you to put your personal feelings aside and focus on what is best for your children. This is a time you can really teach and show your child God’s love.
I think any parent would agree, the best gift any parent could receive from their child is something they put their time and heart into. The good news is helping them make a gift won’t cost you hardly anything. Make sure you don’t just send them away to figure it out alone. If they are young, help them come up with ideas and make sure it gets done on time. Maybe they would like to make dad his favorite cookies or do something special for him. Or maybe set aside time for them to make a card or make a special craft. It is also common for children to be confused about their feelings while going through a divorce. By encouraging them to write it out it will also help them in better understanding what they are feeling inside. It is especially important for you to open the door and encourage them so they can feel safe sharing with you what they would like to do. If there has been a loyalty struggle they may fear that by saying something they would be hurting you or making you feel uncomfortable. If they are older, remind them to go pick up a card. Not only will this help nurture their relationship with their dad but it also shows your children that you love them enough to put your personal feelings aside and do what is best for them. They will see that and believe me they will remember!
If your co-parenting relationship is healthy it is important for your children to know that you respect and care for their father and honoring him on Fathers Day is a excellent way of modeling this. And even if it is a difficult relationship and maybe your children will not be with their dad on Fathers Day, to have them give him a call and wish him a Happy Fathers Day would mean the world to him. Just put yourself in his shoes and do it for the greater good. If it gets difficult remind yourself that your child has the right to have a loving relationship with both parents. They did not choose this divorce and they should not have to choose one parent over the other either. This day is not about you and their father, it is about them and their dad. It is a great opportunity for you to put your feelings aside and be an example of showing God’s unselfish love. It also can serve as a teaching lesson about the importance of showing gratitude and compassion to the important people in their lives.
And last but not least, if at all possible, no matter your parenting schedule, make sure your children get to spend Fathers Day with their dad. Whether they verbalize it or not, they would like to celebrate this day with their dad like the rest of their friends and family get to do. If your schedule would need to change to make this happen, try to find a compromise that will work for both of you and be the first to offer it. If offering a compromise is just too difficult for you to do, then do it for your kids. And just as a little reminder, don’t think by allowing them to celebrate this day with their dad is enough. Let them enjoy it without having to feel guilty and be sure to ask them all about it when they get home. Take this opportunity to make sure they know you fully support their relationship with their dad and that their happiness is really what counts. And DO NOT use the excuse that he didn’t do anything for you on Mothers Day. Two wrongs never make a right, so be the bigger person and do what is right. Don’t take this away from them just to get back at your ex. You may think you are hurting him, but believe me, in the long run it will be you who will pay the price.