Tips on navigating Father’s Day during or after separation

Father’s Day is an important occasion which celebrates fatherhood and the many and great wonderful things that it means to be a dad, stepdad or granddad.  

But Father’s Day can be hard to navigate, especially during or after separation. Many fathers’ may be feeling lonely and isolated leading up to Father’s Day, especially those who may be apart from their children. This includes stepfathers and Grandfathers who may miss out on seeing children at all from separated families. 

Children may also feel sad about missing treasured Father’s Day traditions such as bringing their dad breakfast in bed or going to his favourite restaurant for dinner. 

Here are our top tips for Father’s Day when you are apart: 

  1. Communicate – if it is the other parent’s weekend to have the children, see if you can discuss how the day/weekend might work. You could try negotiating to trade weekends or having the children for a part of/whole of the day, or on Sunday might in exchange with your partner having more time with the children on another day. 
  2. It is okay to not be okay – accept your feelings and talk about them, reach out for support if you are struggling.  See our links below for contacts and support.  
  3. Eliminate the pressure – there is no perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day.  Just go with the flow and do something that you and your children enjoy doing together.  Set expectations aside.  Now is the time to start new relationships with your children, grand-children, and stepchildren after separation! 
  4. Praise and be present – get the children involved in organising the day: what do they want to do or go?  But remember: your children want to see you.  It is not your money or presents or expensive activities they will remember.  Be relaxed, your kids want to see you!  Take photos and keep memories.
  5. Move Father’s Day – if celebrating Father’s Day on the first Sunday in September doesn’t work for you and your family, move the celebrations to a different day.  
  6. Act surprised if you get (another) pair of socks! 😊 😊😊

Children look to their parents and grandparents for guidance in understanding the world around them.  Instead of focusing on the fact that you are separated during this special occasion, make it mean something different – create new traditions, planning your new type of Father’s Day whatever your family situation. 

Remember your self-care

If you can’t see your kids, or see them for as long as you wish, go easy on yourself:  men (that means you!!) are human too. The important thing is not to become isolated and alienated – can you catch up with other single dads or families? Or think of a hobby, activity or task that you have always want to do and get involved on the day. Look after your health, eat well, or spend the day treating yourself, doing something fun or something that you have always wanted to do.  

Don’t get angry with your partner, family, or your children if things don’t go your way.  Not everything is perfect all the time. See this as an opportunity to teach and show your children how to be resourceful, mature, and resilient during difficult times.  You’re a dad – show your kids you are in for the long haul!

Stuck for ideas on what to do with your kids?  Check out: (handy guide for conversation starters at every age group)

At Rachel Storey and Associates, we are wishing all the different types of fathers and families a very Safe and Happy Father’s Day! 

We also understand how important the little things are.

If you need any assistance in navigating through a separation, please contact us on 03 9415 9100 we are here to help you – because you are special every day!

Useful Support Links and practical resources/ideas for Dads:

Lifeline 13 11 14 

Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 978 

Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491

Join a Men’s Shed: (meet some blokes & have a yarn over tools)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 or TTY 1800 555 677 and ask for 1300 22 46 36

Family Relationship Advice Line: 1800 050 321 

Join a Dad’s Group: in**@da*******.org or ring them to start one of your own! 

Open Arms (for veterans): 1800 011 046

Support for Fathers run workshops and  

Tasks and resources regarding parenting: 

Watch the great and funny youtube channel ‘How to Dad’ by a Dad: 

Family & grandparent parenting resources: , also details services for dads, families, families of teens & local services.

Aboriginal dad resources developed by Aboriginal men: 

Resources for migrants and different cultural background dads:  which also lists local ‘Father’s Hubs’ to meet other dads/wider families from similar backgrounds, or start one of your own!

Find a mental health professional to manage this time: 

LGBTIQ dads/families: for an awesome list of links/groups

Join a local charity, nature or volunteering service or a church or community group. 

Or join up to a local group or class to start work on that hobby, sport or past-time you have always dreamed of or have been putting off. 

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