Alone on Father’s Day – helping dads cope with separation from their children
Father’s Day on June 21 will be a bittersweet occasion for many newly separated dads who no longer live with their children full time.
After years of being with sons and daughters 24/7 in the family home, the transition to living apart from children can be tough. And never more so than on the day when children throughout the UK celebrate and indulge their fathers with cards and gifts.
One million men – 1 in10 dads – don’t live with their children. However, encouragingly 87% still have contact with their offspring – although a few hours a week and every other weekend is very different, both practically and emotionally, from being a full time dad.
Making the shift to part-time parenting – and ensuring that the special father/child relationship thrives – can be a practical and emotional challenge for parents and children. It requires planning as well as empathy and understanding from the mother, who should recognise that spending quality time with dad is in the child’s best interests – both in the short and long term.
At Jones Myers our collaborative approach to separation and divorce means that we work with our clients to ensure that any children are at the heart of discussions. We aim to help mums and dads to understand the importance of contact with both parents and try to come to amicable agreements about how that will happen – and what it will look like.
Going through the pain of separation and divorce can be lonely – and fathers who have moved out of the family home and are living apart from their children may feel particularly isolated or helpless. They may feel uncomfortable discussing their personal issues with friends or workmates. However, there is a plethora of useful online advice and support for separated and divorced fathers. Here are some of the helpful resources:
Relate, is one of the UK’s largest and most recognised providers of relationship support – assisting more than one million people a year. Their Being Parents Apart campaign recognises that separating well – where both parents are able to be amicable, cooperative and fully engaged with their children – means better outcomes for the whole family. It also aims to raise awareness of the challenges that separation brings and to let parents know that the organisation is there to help.
Gingerbread , a long-established organisation providing advice, practical help and campaigning for single parents, has a useful section on its website just for dads. As well as tips on issues including finances, housing rights and divorce, it has useful links to other online resources.
Only Dads is a website specifically for fathers who are going through separation or divorce. There is a sister site for mothers called Only Mums. Helpful sections include relationships, mediation, parenting, legal advice and finance.
Separateddads covers topics ranging from emotional to financial and legal matters with an online directory to help fathers find further advice and support. There is a lively blog and an ‘ask the expert’ section.
We hope that whatever their personal circumstances, many thousands of dads will be able to celebrate their special relationships this Father’s Day.
If you have any questions about contact with children or any aspect of separation or divorce please leave us a comment below or contact us. You can follow us on Twitter at @helpwithdivorce