Celebrating Father's Day differently with man and child on the beach

A Different Kind of Father’s Day

June 7, 2022
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain

It’s summertime, and that means long, hot days; cannonballing into the pool; and celebrating Dad. Yes, it’s time for Father’s Day.

However, if you’re reading this blog post you may find yourself in a tough situation regarding Father’s Day. Perhaps you’re a child whose parents are separated, or your contact with your father is sporadic. Perhaps you’re a co-parent who has an acrimonious relationship with your fellow co-parent. Perhaps you’re a single father.

The point is there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate Father’s Day. In the spirit of our blog post “4 Tips for An Unconventional Mother’s Day” (by asking the same questions), here are four tips for a potentially different kind of Father’s Day:

  1. What is the child used to?
    Traditionally Father’s Day could mean an afternoon spent around the BBQ or a lazy Sunday watching golf or a ballgame on TV. However, when separation and/or divorce is factored in, routines may need to change. If there’s another father figure in the mix, for instance (say a stepfather or an uncle), you may want to look into splitting the day. The important thing is to talk with the child(ren) beforehand so they’re comfortable celebrating the day.
  2. Can the day be split?
    As touched upon above, if this is a different kind of Father’s Day than all parties are used to, the answer may be to split the day: say a ballgame with one honored person, and a dinner with the other. The important thing here is to make each honoree feel like they’re being feted for what they do; the contribution they make to the child’s life. Carving out a special moment (even if it’s a half-hour trip to get ice cream) for each special person is one way to do so.
  3. Can an alternate day be selected to celebrate?
    In other words, what are you doing next Saturday? Or the last Sunday in June? The truth is, just as we often reschedule birthday plans or when holidays are observed, we can move our Father’s Day celebrations, so they take account of changes in a family. (If the pandemic has taught us anything these past couple of years, it’s that flexibility is key.) This may be especially useful if a child has two fathers: simply designate a different day (it can even be, say, a Wednesday night) to celebrate the other father with something special: an outing to a movie, a home cooked meal or just a fun time in the backyard.
  4. How can you honor the holiday if there is no father figure in the child’s life (or if the child’s father is not currently exercising their parenting time)?
    Give the child a way to celebrate. Select a special figure in the child’s life (an uncle, a family friend, a grandfather) and help them to make a card or cook part of a special meal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to honor the intention of the day, which is to celebrate the caregiver in a child’s life— and to make sure the child knows they are loved.

Consider separation and/or divorce? We can help. Reach out to the Family Law Department at Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC to set up a consultation. Telephone (201) 488-1161 or visit: www.lmllawyers.com