As you can imagine, Father’s Day evokes a mix of emotions for the kids that live here. What is often a happy day filled with a big lunch, gift opening and spending time as a family does not match many of our kids’ previous experiences. Some of our children do not know their fathers while others were abused by them. Regardless of the circumstances, most of our kids will not be spending this Father’s Day with their dads celebrating.
As with any holiday, we like to provide opportunities for our kids to enjoy themselves without the focus being on what they are missing. On both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we typically avoid taking the kids to church or other community events where the focus will likely be on the parent-child relationship. Instead, we plan activities that are insulated and provide both distraction and fun.
We share this with you not to make you feel guilty about enjoying your Father’s Day but to shed light on how complicated it can be to do this work. Something that might not seem like a big deal can be a very big deal for our kids. We constantly have to look ahead for potential landmines and plan around them. In the deeper therapeutic work that we do, we look for ways to provide healthy male role models to our girls. When possible, we work with our kids’ fathers or father figures to repair the relationship. Our hope is that in the future, they too will have a reason to celebrate and appreciate Father’s Day.