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The Impact of Divorce on Special Occasions Like Father’s Day

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Jun 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

Yesterday was Father's Day, and many families in the midst of a South Carolina divorce had to grapple with the difficulties of what to do to honor one parent in spite of personal feelings that might be far from honorable.

The problem for many parents in South Carolina in the midst of a divorce or custody battle is that they are often pulled in two directions. On the one hand, they understand that their children need and want both parents in their lives and that it is important for children to spend time with each parent on special occasions. Despite the nastiness of a divorce, children want to feel close to both parents – even if they are hurt by the events surrounding the split.

On the other hand, the impact of divorce is often unavoidable. Parents are often hurt and harbor bitterness towards the other party, frequently blaming them for the split. All the years of slights and misbehavior can cause anger to develop, and with anger, there's a tendency to be vindictive or lash out. You might think that by denying the parent access to their children on a special day you will get back at them for the harm they've caused. The reality is that you'll only be harming the innocent children who had nothing to do with your marriage problems.

A recent article in the Huffington Post dealt with this complicated issue and recommended that parents work hard to ensure that the other spouse is acknowledged on special occasions like birthdays, important holidays, and events like Father's Day.

The expert recommended that a parent in the midst of a family law case start by reminding the child about any upcoming occasions that require acknowledgement for the other parent. Rather than inserting your own wishes on the child, ask them what they would like to do for the other parent to show their appreciation. If need be, make age appropriate suggestions, but work hard to ensure that any animosity on your part stays out of the conversation. Finally, rather than act as an impediment, help facilitate the special occasion by offering to take the child shopping or helping them make a gift or a card at home.

Though this discussion focuses on Father's Day, the same advice can be extended to Mother's Day, birthdays, and important family holidays. Go out of your way to put your children and their interests above your own grievances, and everyone will be better off for it in the end.

Source: “Helping Children of Divorce Celebrate Father's Day,” by Diane Danois, published

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J. Benjamin Stevens

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