So! Father’s day is fast approaching… and for single dads, this is either a celebration of everything that’s great in our life or a stark reminder of everything that’s wrong.
Now, generally when I work with single dads there are a few main issues that they experience. Being scared of what the future holds, feeling lost or lacking identity, experiencing feelings of powerlessness or feelings of having no significant impact in their children’s lives.
Dealing with these issues show up in many ways, ranging from numbing themselves with drugs or alcohol, going into their shell and isolating themselves from others or lacking motivation to do the simplest of things.
I’m not saying that these things are morally justified in all cases. There is no ‘correct’ way to deal with not being able to see your kids as much, in my opinion, but some methods can definitely be more resourceful for you than others.
So, when you’re a single dad and you’re struggling to see your kids, you’re having financial stress due to the breakup or you’re battling through the court system/mediation, you have your good days and your bad days. But the good days aren’t really good days, they’re just days that you survived without any major breakdowns or slumps happening.
It can bring a man to breaking point. Even to the point where men will say to me: ‘I think may just be easier for me to stay away from the kids’. Like somehow in this whole situation, the better option becomes giving up the fight in an attempt to reduce the stress or drama in their kid’s lives. Some even decide that the end of their life is the best option.
So, fair to say that when Father’s day rolls around each year it certainly can amplify things, both good and bad.
It’s not only the fact that we may not be to see our kids on Father’s day, it’s much more. Deep down it becomes a reflection of the man that we have become and the life that we now lead.
‘If I’m not able to see my kids on father’s day, what kind of Father am I?’
Some men will go into blame mode. Blaming you, the co-parent, blaming other people, blaming work. And some parts of that blame may be justified, but behind all of that there is a deep sense of inadequacy and powerlessness.
When I’m writing this post, I’m not talking about Dad’s that don’t want a part of their kids lives because I know that they’re out there. I’m talking about the fathers who want nothing more than to be a part of their kid’s lives, but for whatever reason, they aren’t able to do that to a level where they feel they’re presence is impactful and meaningful.
So, for what it’s worth here are some ideas or suggestions to think about for this coming Father’s day.
BE A FACILITATOR NOT A BARRIER
Be a facilitator for the kids. Get them to make cards, think of little presents and make it OK to show interest in their Dad. If there is one thing for sure, it’s that kids pick up on awkward or tense vibes more than we give them credit for. If ‘Daddy’ becomes a naughty word in the house that will cause tension in you, they will begin to filter themselves. Then, potentially you find yourself in the situation where they prefer not to see their dad because they want to avoid the tension – but in your eyes it’s their decision.
MAKE FATHER’S DAY FLEXIBLE
By this, I mean doing things like swapping weekends or being open to time adjustments in your child visitation agreement.
PUT JUDGEMENTS TO ONE SIDE FOR FATHER’S DAY
It can be very easy to get trapped into the habit of thinking: ‘Well he doesn’t deserve it’, ‘He doesn’t show up any other day so why should this be different?’ but I would invite you to put these to rest for just one day. Not only do these thought patterns tend to keep you at a low energetic and vibration, they will also be passed onto your kids if not unchecked.
ALLOW KIDS TO MAKE DECISIONS THEMSELVES
It’s important to raise children so that you bring them to a place where they are able to decide for themselves, without that decision being biased from you, or anyone. All you should do it outlay the options.
LOWER EXPECTATIONS OR BETTER YET, HAVE NONE
They say that expectations are the root of all disappointment. I think that both having too low or too high expectations of something can lead you to a place of disappointment. When too high, anything less than that seems not good enough. Similarly, too low can lead you to a place of thinking ‘I knew that would happen’. So on Fathers day, having no expectations will lead you to a place of being present, and in this place you will find relief.
Now, you may be thinking,
‘Why should I?, ‘What’s the point?’, ‘Their Dad is a drop-kick!’ or ‘Why should I have to be the one to do a nice thing?’ Well, ultimately you don’t have to, you don’t have to do anything. He may very well have made some mistakes in the past that have hurt you and even the kids. But men need opportunities to prove that they have changed, or at least trying to change.
And as long as the children’s safety is not at risk and there is some way of making it work this Father’s day, then please make the effort. It could just be the spark that sets him on a new path or rebuilds that trust that you’ve been looking for.