Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are two of the most emotional days for divorced parents. Today, let’s concentrate on the dads.

Divorce can trigger highly charged and sensitive feelings. Whatever the reason for the split, these feelings are very real and painful for the non-custodial father. He no longer has his children full-time and now has to deal with the issues of Father’s Day. These dads already feel horrible about the divorce (failing as a husband and a father), and now they have to manage the emotions attached to Father’s Day.

Here are a few suggestions on how to survive, find peace and enjoy celebrating on this day.

If you have your kids all day:

  • Plan, Plan, Plan. Depending on the age of the children, plan nap time, meal time, etc. Plan fun and interactive activities. Play board games, cook a meal together, take a walk, ride bikes around the neighborhood.
  • What about something creative? An art project that can be hung and remembered by all in your home and/or the kiddos can take home with them. This is an awesome way to celebrate and create memories of your day. Think about making this an annual project.
  • Take videos and pictures. Capture the moments. Make a collage or photo album.

If you will see your kids for part of the day:

  • Have a plan for your time together. The time with your children should be fun and interactive. The suggestions are the same as above just in a condensed amount of time. Remember to pick up and drop off your kids on time. This is not the time for anxiety and stress for anyone.

 For your time without your children:

  • Find other single dads and play a few rounds of golf, exercise, eat a good meal and just chill. If you are alone, consider journaling.
  • Celebrate your father or other father figures in your life.

If you don’t see your children:

  • Prepare emotionally, as being without your kids is extremely heartbreaking. Consider this and prepare for these feelings.
  • Plan, plan, plan ahead. Do you like to hike, bike, or take long drives? Are there movies or TV binge shows you have wanted to catch up on?
  • Write a Father’s Day card or letter to each of your children individually. Let each of them know how much you love him/her. Remind him/her of memories both sweet and humorous that you hold near and dear to your heart. Send them photos that make you smile with each of them.
  • Call or Facetime with them. If there are time zone restraints or other commitments that are had, set up a mutually agreeable time. Talk about pleasant, loving, humorous times together.

Being divorced on Father’s Day can take an emotional toll on you. I hope these suggestions help make this day better and start a cycle of positive memories for and with you and your children.

Jacqui Atcheson is a Certified Divorce Coach ® and Certified Divorce Mediator that specializes in working with her clients starting at the earliest stages of divorce. She helps them get certainty about what they want, control over their future and peace of mind knowing they made the best possible decisions.  Her passion for helping others through divorce began as a personal mission in 1979 and became her profession in 1996.  Get introduced to her services at: