Father’s Day

What’s the deal with Father’s Day? 

Fathers Day is the third Sunday in June each year. It’s a special day to show appreciation to dads for their role. Gifts, crafts, handmade cards with cute notes and special meals are examples of how some people show their appreciation to their dad on Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is an opportunity for children to learn how to recognize and how to describe the positive traits in their father. It’s a chance to teach children how to be thankful and kind. A small act of kindness like making a picture or card is all that it takes to achieve that goal.

Who’s responsible for Father’s Day?

The social norm for Father’s Day is for the mother to help the child celebrate it. In a way, Father’s Day is a test of the character of the mother. In high-conflict situations, Father’s Day is vulnerable to being ignored or it’s used as a tool to retaliate. In other words, instead of Father’s Day being used to teach kindness it’s used to spread hate.

Without a court order to direct otherwise, Father’s Day is left to the discretion of the parent that has the children in their care based on the regular parenting schedule. A vengeful parent might decide to have the child go fishing with their new boyfriend instead of letting the kids spend that time with their dad on Father’s Day.

A parent that lacks character might refuse to let the child see their dad for a visit or speak with him on the phone. She might decide to do nothing at all to help the child celebrate him on Father’s Day.

The mother might be trying to match the effort put into her day the month before or she might believe that he is not worth the acknowledgment on Father’s Day. The focus is shifted from what the child feels about the father to how the mother feels about him.

What about Step-Parents?

Stepparents tend to be overlooked when it comes to Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. A stepparent is usually only acknowledged when the biological parent is entirely out of the picture. The stepparent is then praised for making the choice to stand in the place of a parent and celebrated in the absence of the other parent.

Stepparents, despite how much they may do it in their role are rarely shown appreciation or given much acknowledgment if the biological parent is still in the picture. It’s ultimately up to the biological parents to teach their children to recognize the stepparent as a parent and to teach their children that it is acceptable to also show them gratitude for it. This usually only happens in co-parenting situations where the parents are secure in their roles.

In high-conflict situations, the stepparent is occasionally celebrated to spread hate, to hurt feelings or downplaying the role of an unliked biological parent. In these situations, both the child and stepparent are being used as a weapon to hurt the other parent. The focus is usually on the parent’s feelings and is unhealthy for everyone involved.

Final Thoughts 

Father’s Day is an opportunity for children to learn how to recognize and describe positive traits and to learn how to show kindness. For children without a father or with a second father, Father’s Day is an opportunity to learn to recognize or appreciate everyone that is involved. It’s ultimately up to parents to use it as an opportunity to benefit their children.

Edmonton Family Network has connections to legal professionals and community support services. Email us to learn more.

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