For dads without custody, it can be hard to be away from your children for extended periods of time. Days can feel like weeks, and the bigger they get, the more it feels like time is passing you by. It strikes an emotional chord when you think about the time that you could be spending with your children and how quickly children change both physically, mentally, and emotionally over time.
For some fathers, it can be difficult to adjust to a life without their children living in the same home as them. These feelings are amplified during holidays like Father’s Day, if you are not the custodial parent.
Unable to have their day
Many fathers struggle with not being able to spend time with their children on Father’s Day. There are instances where experiencing the holiday with your children is simply not feasible, due to incarceration or distance, and there also are times when the visitation schedule does not line up.
Even though many orders allow fathers to see their children during Father’s Day and a child’s birthday, there still are situations where they may not, due to the terms of the final decree or various legal orders preventing a father from seeing their children. Looking into the specifics of the language in the decree may be beneficial in understanding why the schedule was constructed in a specific way.
Emotions of the issue
Outside of the technical aspects, there is an emotional side that is not as easily understandable. For dads, Father’s Day has been a federal holiday since 1972, and economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day, according to The History Channel. It is a day that dads find themselves acknowledged for the little things that they often do without thanks.
In being an active parent in your child’s life, fathers are choosing to be there when it matters most. They are choosing to support their children and help them grow into the adults they hope to be.
Male role model
In a child’s life, the presence of a male role model can greatly help a child’s growth and progression. Both The Guardian and Scouting Magazine recently highlighted the importance of male role models in the lives of sons and daughters. They talked about what having a male role model in their lives meant and how it taught them how they should be treated. Through learning how individuals should treat one another, they are able to form positive behaviors.
Additionally, Dr. Leonard Sax, a researcher and psychologist, states in his interview with Scouting Magazine that it can be beneficial for boys to learn positive behaviors in becoming men from a male role model.
During the battle for visitation and custody, it can be difficult to quantify all of the reasons why it would be developmentally beneficial for a daughter or son to have their father more present in their lives, especially if past events or facts that paint the father negatively are verified and presented in court proceedings.
However, it does not change the fact that a father’s ability to set a precedent for a positive male role model in a child’s life. It comes from a place of earnestness and part of the job of being an active parent. Whether you are a father or a mother, the job of a parent is to nurture and support your children as an active member of their life.
That is why spending time with their children is so important to fathers on Father’s Day. It gives dads an opportunity to acknowledge their own role in their children’s lives, and children have the opportunity to spend time with a major figure in their lives.
Social consequences for children
One aspect that many do not consider when they keep children away from a parent on the day that that parent is honored is how this affects the child. Children are social creatures who seek acceptance in their social circles, and when someone exists outside of the normal circumstances, it can be jarring for the whole.
Having to deal with a parental divorce already can weigh on a child, but keeping them from their dad when all of their other friends are celebrating their own dads is a hard pill for a child to swallow.
Even though a custody schedule may not reflect it being a father’s day to spend with their children, this is one of those circumstances where doing the right thing may be outside of what’s on paper. Divorced, single, or married, active fathers love their children and would love nothing more than to see them on their special day.