If you are newly divorced or currently going through the separation or divorce process, Father’s Day may look different this year.  You may be spending the day with your children, with your family, or alone for the first time.  Whatever your situation may be, Father’s Day can still be a memorable and fun day for both you and your children.  As a Guardian Ad Litem appointed by the Court to represent the children’s best interests in divorce proceedings, I have witnessed both very involved and uninvolved fathers and how that impacts the children.  Here are three tips on creating the best relationship possible on Father’s Day and throughout the year for you and your children:

  • Create special memories with your children. Father’s Day after divorce is the perfect opportunity to create new traditions and spend quality time with your children.  Whether you stay home and have a barbeque, go the beach, or visit with family, having this time with your children deepens your bond and them that you care and genuinely want to spend time with them even if your family situation has changed.
  • Do not speak negatively about the other parent. This cannot be emphasized enough.  Speaking negatively about the other parent, regardless of your personal relationship, does a major disservice to your children.  This can cause anxiety and/or depression, cause them to lash out, and potentially negatively impact your relationship with your children.  It does not do your children any good to paint the other parent in a negative light.
  • Be fully invested in, concerned about, and responsible for your children every day. Even if during your marriage or relationship you were not the parent regularly bringing the children to school, speaking with their teachers, and arranging for doctor’s appointments, it’s never too late to start doing these things.  Children appreciate when both parents routinely show up for them, stay involved with their schooling, and participate in medical decisions.

Regardless of your situation, children want a father who is involved and cares about them.  Even if Father’s Day after divorce is hard for you, it can still be the perfect time to reflect on and improve your relationship with your children so that you can all successfully move forward with your lives and create a lasting bond.