If you or your ex-spouse are one of those skeptics, arguing that it is just another money-making gimmick, take a moment to read and reflect on these notes.
On father’s day, we have the opportunity for an annual show of honour and appreciation for fathers – not only your own father, but also the father of your children. Being divorced does not relieve you of the responsibility to teach your children the importance of special occasions. Instead, it is also a chance to teach your children to consider the relationships they have with the men in their lives.
As the mother, your ex-spouse (the father of your children) probably relies on you to initiate celebrations. Don’t try to punish him and your children, by deliberately spoiling the day. Instead, here are some valuable tips on what you could do to make it count:
- Ignore him when he shrugs off the day as “not important” or “no big deal”. It IS a big deal and you should encourage your children to make a fuss over him.
- Make arrangements well in advance with your ex-spouse and allow ample time for the kids to spend with dad on father’s day and do the same for mother’s day. Ensure that your children are able to spend father’s day with their father and mother’s day with you – it’s simply the right thing to do – good karma and all that…
- If, for some reason, your children will not be able to spend the day with their father, make an effort to enable communication between them, be it a phone call, messaging or skype etc. Remember to afford them some privacy during this time.
- If you are not available or able to organise things yourself, ask relatives or friends to assist your kids with the task of planning, purchasing or making something special for father’s day.
- Inspire and support your children with the annual celebration of their father, on father’s day. Whatever his beliefs are about these special occasions, he is bound to appreciate your effort.
- Remind the children of the upcoming event in advance and take them shopping, for a small gift, voucher or something thoughtful to give to their father.
- Stock up on some arts and crafts stuff and get the kids involved in making some personalised cards or gifts for dad, to give him when they see him on father’s day. It will be a pleasant surprise.
- Offer to let the children spend an extra day, to give them some much needed time together. It will be a generous gift.
- Regardless of how a stepfather feels about his stepchildren, he is not their father and should not be the focus of father’s day celebrations. It might be a good idea to celebrate stepfathers on a separate occasion such as stepfather’s day. However, as the mother, you need to be sensitive and sensible about this.
- Sometimes, other people do the fathering, or fullfill the role of a father, like a grandfather, uncle or stepfather. Ensure that the father of your children, retains his position and status as father, while the relationship with the other father figures can be acknowledged as well.
- Blended families succeed when all parties involved are afforded respect and issues are put aside while paying homage to everyone who nurtures the children, on these special days.
Honour your children’s father – let him have a wonderful father’s day!
Written by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Stellenbosch RSA)