As hard as it may be to imagine, there are fathers unable to spend Father’s Day with their children. If you are a father who has the opportunity to celebrate the special holiday celebrating the active role you inhabit in your child’s life, you need to take full advantage of the opportunity.
As a divorced dad, your relationship with your co-parent may include a lot of history that can be clouded by your emotions. When you are looking for an end result, it is important that you allow civility to win, setting aside the events of the past and how you feel, in favor of doing what is in the best interest of your children, as well as yourself.
Co-parenting and communication
That means attempting to forge a co-parenting dynamic. As challenging as it may be, days like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are important reminders of what it means to fill those roles, and as long as the children are not in danger, allowing your co-parent to celebrate their day with your shared children is an excellent way of extending the olive branch and forging a better co-parenting relationship.
That being said, this requires cooperation from your co-parent, as well as them recognizing that just as Mother’s Day is their day to celebrate with the children, Father’s Day is yours. While that may not be easy, arguing and escalating the conflict is not necessarily the most effective way of achieving your end goal in this situation.
You need to calmly and rationally help them understand that this is not just something celebrated within their familial unit. This is a national institution that occurs every June, surprising no one.
In an ideal world, you would be able to work with your co-parent to make sure that they had the opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with the children, and you would be able to spend Father’s Day with them.
Active, despite obstacles
However, the ideal situation does not always exist, requiring the assistance of your family law attorney. He or she can help you get the child custody agreement reassessed, so that the parenting plan can reflect your ability to spend Father’s Day with your children.
Wanting to spend Father’s Day with your children is no more of a selfish act than your co-parent wanting to spend Mother’s Day with them. It is not about the day itself. It is about what it means.
It means you have spent the time and energy teaching your child life lessons and had the opportunities to forge deeper bonds with your child than many parents who were unable to spend time with their children, either due to the difficulties of their child custody situation or because of parental alienation causing their children to no longer desire a relationship with them.
Problems with parental alienation
In cases involving parental alienation, the concept of Father’s Day can be a bit more complicated, especially from the child’s perspective. They may stop acknowledging Father’s Day or may dread its coming, due to the feelings that it elicits from their changed perspective.
You or someone you know may be facing these types of circumstances, and for them, it is important that they seek the help of a mental health professional, who is trained to provide to them the assistance that they need during this difficult time.
They also need to avoid giving up on their child all together. As challenging as it may be, your child is too important for you to give up on. Reintegration therapy is an excellent method of combatting parental alienation and giving you the opportunity to spend Father’s Day with your child for many more years to come.
You should not obsess over the notion that this is your day, but do not allow anyone tell you that it is just another day. You have given yourself to provide a stable, loving home for your child, and just because your child has two of them with two separate parents, does not diminish your contribution.
You cannot allow the emotional weight of divorce or child custody challenges to paralyze you and prevent you from being the parent that you want to be or celebrate the day honoring your parenthood. Through remaining an active and loving part of your child’s life, you have earned that right.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.