On Sunday, June 20, we will be celebrating dads everywhere. Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show gratitude to the men raising children in your life. If you are a man raising a child, pat yourself on the back. You are doing the best you can with the tools you have at your disposal. Fatherhood can be hard and it’s important to acknowledge what is going well.
Express What You Are Thankful For
Father’s Day is for families to get together and express gratitude. You can write out some notes on a card explaining all that you feel you have learned from this father or father-like figure. Phrases like “Thank You,” “I Love You,” and “I’m Proud of You” are all appropriate. We seldom share these tokens of love and appreciation with one another, but they make all the difference.
The work that fathers do to provide and upkeep their families often goes unnoticed. There is no way to effectively count the number of hours that men devote to their families, whether it is helping out around the house or on the job to financially support other family members. Workdays can be long and the responsibilities do not end when you enter the home.
Parenting in particular is a trial and error process. Some of what you try will work and other times it will go amiss. Your children appreciate the affection you show them. They are grateful when you say “I am proud of you.” And they grow from the feedback you provide to them throughout life.
Grieve If Appropriate
If you are sad on Father’s Day because of the loss of your father, allow yourself to experience that emotion. You can take this day to grieve if you are missing his presence. If you feel comfortable leaning into the experience of grief, you can revisit photographs and other memories you shared. If that does not feel appropriate, find the means that best suits the situation. Even scheduling therapy around the date to fully process the feelings you have around this time of year is a completely appropriate response.
Reflect on the question, “What did your father mean to you?”
Lean Into Special Memories
Do you have any traditions in your family? Perhaps you bake cakes for another or do a shared activity on Father’s Day. June 20th presents itself as an opportunity to make new memories. You can go on a family bike ride together or gather together to watch dad’s favorite show. Ask your dad what he wants to do and lean into that idea. Do not be afraid to also incorporate an element of surprise.
Give a Gift That Represents Him
To surprise him, think of something meaningful that you can give him in the form of a gift. There are the classics: a new tie, some outdoor gear, a #1 Dad trophy. That might be the perfect gift. Take some time to carefully consider his taste and what would suit his personality. Is there a hobby that he can not seem to live without? Try giving him something along those lines. Often, if you can plan appropriately, experiences make the best gifts. If you can gift your dad some sort of an experience he will enjoy such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, then also consider that as an option.
Value The Work of Fatherhood
Dads do not get a lot of credit when they contribute to the child-rearing process. In a modern age of living, men often change diapers, do pick up from school, and prepare meals for their families. That is valuable work and dads should be proud of themselves for contributing in that way.
Dads also have to make difficult parenting decisions. How do you discipline your child if they break a household rule? How do you instill discipline and a strong work ethic in your child? These are questions dads have to ask themselves and their potential partners all the time and then later decide how to best respond. That response does not always lead to the anticipated outcome. Parenting is inherently a trial and error process. Remember that, dads, and give yourself grace if you ever feel like you are coming up short.
A Note To Dads With Substance Use Disorder
You guys are genuinely trying your hardest. You make mistakes, but you try to learn from them and not make the same mistakes again. If you are a dad in recovery, remember that you are not alone. Many men and fathers struggle with substance use disorder. If your child grows old with the knowledge that you made a healthier choice for yourself and that you made a commitment to sobriety—they will respect you. Children are capable of seeing you in a new light if you show them through action that you are capable of change.
It is also acceptable to tell your children that you are sorry for your actions in the past. If they are old enough, and you feel like it is appropriate, you can be open with them about your condition and the steps you are taking to treat it.
This Father’s Day, find a way to celebrate in whatever way feels best for you. Express what you are thankful for or grieve if appropriate. Perhaps you could lean into special memories you have with/of your father figure or them a gift that represents them best. Remember to value the work that goes into fatherhood and be mindful of the note to dads living with substance use disorder. Here at Valiant Living, we are committed to helping treat fathers (and others) who may struggle with substance use disorder. We want everyone to be able to enjoy their father’s day, no matter what stage of life they are in. Our men’s only facility works hard to incorporate family members into our modalities of care. Located in Colorado, we offer both inpatient and outpatient services. To learn more about the different ways in which we can help you or a loved one, reach out today at(303) 952-5035.