Some Father’s Day Advice for Dads after Divorce

Father’s Day originally began as a way to honor a single parent named William Smart. His daughter, Sonora Dodd from Spokane, Washington, thought to create a day to celebrate fathers, thinking about all her father had done for her. Her mother had died and William took care of all his six children on his own. During a church sermon in 1908, while a priest rambled on about Mother’s Day, she thought about the importance of fathers and encouraged local churches to celebrate fathers in June which is her father’s birth month. In 1910 the state of Washington proclaimed the nation’s first father’s day. However, it was 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a law making Father’s Day a permanent holiday.

It can be a tough holiday for fathers who are divorced, but you are not alone. About 40 percent of America’s children do not live with both parents.

Studies show that men fare worse emotionally than women after a divorce. For example, they are three times more likely to commit suicide and they have more problems with alcohol abuse. The loss of custody and changed parenting responsibilities can lead to depression and are the most stressful aspects of post-divorce life for men.

While there are fewer single dads than single moms, times are changing and more and more men are heading single-parent households. Single dads need to be recognized for the hard work they do alone.

Each year Mother’s Day is celebrated with enormous fanfare and commercialism and Father’s Day is kept more under the radar. It seems father’s are not as appreciated.

When the mother has custody and acts as a gatekeeper, it is important that she encourage the children to be a part of the Father’s Day celebration. It’s critical that moms project a positive outlook on her children’s relationship with their father. It helps greatly if children do not have to deal with negative comments.

The number one rule is to HAVE FUN WITH YOUR KIDS. You are creating memories for your kids now. Perhaps do something you wished your dad had done with you. If you enjoyed grilling a special meal on the bbq, share that with your children. Not only will you create memories, you will be creating new family traditions. Another rule is – everyone participates. This is day WITHOUT electronics – no tablets, no video games and no cell phones.

If money is an issue, you can make Father’s Day about the simple delights of being together. For example, go for a hike in one of the great state parks Colorado offers. Draw pictures with your children and put them into inexpensive frames – you can pick them up at a thrift store. Have them read you stories or visa versa. Fly a kite in the park. Father’s Day is about spending time with your kids and teaching them real values.

What if you cannot see your kids on Father’s Day? Celebrate anyway. Call them, send them an email telling them how much you love them and/or send them a card. Don’t let distance keep you from showing your love.

If you are able, spend the whole day with your kids. And keep things positive. Don’t burden your children with adult topics, such as financial responsibility or emotional problems. Interact with them, listen to them and keep things positive.

Happy Father’s Day!


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Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).