You did it. You finally received a final judgment of dissolution of marriage, restoring you to single status. The moment you had been waiting for while going through such a painful process has finally arrived. Game over. Right?
Except that now Father’s Day is coming up and you’re wondering how this first father-centric holiday post divorce will affect you and your children, emotionally.
There’s no point in denying your feelings will intensify during the holidays. However, you can be proactive in trying to make the day as pleasant as possible. With that goal in mind, the following is a short list of things you can do to mitigate your feelings of loss or helplessness:
Set a good example for your children.
It is completely irrelevant if your ex-spouse is as pleasant as walking barefoot over shards of glass. Your kids are always watching and always listening. Be the bigger person. Your kids may be small now, but as they grow up, they will see the behavior you’ve been modeling, and they will be thankful for it. They may even take it for granted. And wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?!
Keep your word.
If you told your kids you would pick them up at 10:00AM, pick them up at 10:00AM. If you promised to take them to their favorite restaurant, don’t change plans due to minor inconveniences. Divorce is a hard blow for everyone involved, but especially for your children. Provide consistency and stability for them by always keeping your word.
Talk with your kids.
You can take all the co-parenting advice you want from well intentioned people who’ve already been in your shoes, but nobody knows your children like you do. If you see they are sad, talk to them. Ask them what’s wrong. What can you do to make them feel better? Let them know that you are there for them and that they can trust you, whether it’s Father’s Day or not. You’re their father every day of the year.
Take care of yourself.
Don’t forget you; you matter, too. Take care of yourself first, because if you’re not 100%, you can’t be there for anyone else, not even your kids. If you’re not doing well emotionally, your children will be affected, too. As long as you are prioritizing your children’s best interests, it’s OK to focus on your own well-being. And if, for some reason, you won’t get to spend this Father’s Day with your children this year, look for creative ways to celebrate it on your own.
If you believe that despite all of your reasonable efforts to have a successful co-parenting relationship, your ex-spouse is behaving in a way that may negatively impact your children, talk with an experienced family law attorney. Knowing your available options will help you make an informed decision about how to move forward. Let Open Palm Law help you.
Follow Open Palm Law to learn more about the collaborative divorce process and how it can help you!
About this week’s authors: Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as professor in law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.