Father’s Day weekend is right around the corner, and for many divorced dads, this can be an especially difficult one emotionally. If you’re the non-custodial parent, it may serve as a painful reminder of the most precious thing you lost in your divorce: time with your children.
While you may be feeling a whirlwind of emotions, it’s important to remember that this day is just as much about your children as is it is about you. Whether you have the kids for an hour, the entire day, or not at all, it helps to prepare ahead of time, so you can survive the day without getting caught up in anger or despair.
If You Won’t Be Seeing Your Children
What if current circumstances prevent you from being able to spend time with your children on Father’s Day? Here are some tips to help make the day more meaningful:
Call or Video Chat with the Kids
If you can’t be there in person, arrange for a phone call or video chat session with the kids. Be sure to set up the time of the call in advance, so your ex knows when you’ll be calling.
Have something planned for your chat, especially if you plan on using Skype or another video chat service. Plan to tell the kids a story or play a game. Create a list of questions to ask them to express your interest in their lives.
Father’s Day is a time when kids get the chance to let dads know how much they care, and dads need to do the same. If you absolutely cannot see your kids in person, at least make an effort to call or Skype.
Prepare Yourself Mentally For This Day
Divorced dads understandably have a hard time being alone on Father’s Day. Prepare yourself mentally for the feelings and thoughts you may have, and plan an escape route to avoid getting lost in these feelings.
Plan a day of activities to keep yourself busy.
If You Will Be Seeing Your Children
Have a Plan
Make a plan for Father’s Day, whether you’re seeing your children for a few hours or the entire day. Try to focus on activities that let you maximize quality time together. Cook lunch together, play a board game, do some crafting, or go for a hike.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy quality time with your children.
Make sure that you know the kids’ schedules ahead of time, so you can plan for things, like mealtimes, bedtime and naps. While you’re making your plans for the day, also think about what you’ll eat and how you’ll fit all of your plans into the day, so you’re no scrambling to get places or feed the children at the last minute.
Reach Out To Your Own Father
There’s a good chance that you won’t have the children for the entire day, but even if you do, make an effort to reach out to your own father on this important holiday. Doing so may bring you some comfort, and will also set a good example for your own children. Send a card and talk to him on the phone if you can’t see him in person.
Father’s Day can be a difficult time for divorced dads, but a little planning and focusing on quality time will help you make the most of this special holiday. Whether you’ll be seeing the kids for a short time or not at all, make sure that they understand how much you love them and how much they mean to you. Father’s Day is just as important to the kids as it is to you.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm focusing exclusively on family law for men and fathers. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has experience working with child custody. You can read more on this topic by visiting our Child Custody & Support blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.