Father’s Day was first celebrated on June 19, 1910, by Sonora Dodd in honor of her father, William Smart, who raised six children after his wife died in childbirth. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law making Father’s Day a permanent holiday.
And now, as Father’s Day quickly approaches, we’re reminded of the important role dads play in our society and culture. However, Father’s Day celebrations may change after a divorce, and adjusting to these changes can be challenging for everyone—especially when it’s only been a few years since your divorce or separation. And if time with your kids is already limited, not being able to spend Father’s Day with them can be especially stressful and emotional.
Focus on Your Relationship
If you’re able to spend the day or weekend with your kids, use your parenting plan and make sure you’ve scheduled pickup and dropoff times. Plan activities you all can do together—such as playing board games, doing arts and crafts projects, or even going a weekend camping trip. Just make sure there’s time for conversation and interaction so you can continue to build your relationship with one another. Take photos throughout the day and frame a few for your kids to remember your time together.
There’s also plenty of opportunity to foster a relationship with your children if you aren’t able to spend the day with them. Whether it’s online, in a card, or over the phone, it’s important to remind your kids how much you love them. Regardless of what you do, your children will appreciate knowing you’re thinking of them. You also can use this time to visit your parents and celebrate your own dad.
If you’ve lost touch with your children or your relationship with them is strained, remember it is possible to rebuild these bonds over time with consistent communication—especially as children start to mature and develop a better understanding of relationships and family dynamics.
Influence with Positivity
Divorce significantly increases the risk for children experiencing serious challenges. Remember, as a father you have an important impact on your children’s lives. According to The National Fatherhood Initiative, positive father-child relationships have been shown to:
- Help reduce cognitive delay in young children.
- Lessen the chance of children developing behavioral or psychological problems and engaging in risky behaviors.
- Foster children’s social skills, confidence, self-control, and well-being.
- Increase children’s reading skills and overall academic achievement.
Make a Difference in Your Kids’ Lives
This Father’s Day, focus on your relationship with your children and reflect on your parenting skills. Think of positive role models in your life and find ways to emulate these behaviors and actions in your own parenting style. After all, this day is ultimately about reinforcing relationships, spending time with your children, and creating memories that will last for years to come.