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5 Father's Day Tips According to Psychology for Divorced Dads that Want to Raise Their Parenting Game

holidays and divorce Jun 12, 2018

Father’s Day is a different kind of day for divorced dads. There is no one around to create a special day for you.  There’s no one to acknowledge all that you’ve been through and done to be able to parent your kids. Your kids aren’t able to understand the dynamic that led to you having to fight for parenting time and, honestly it’s best if they don’t have to.     

Your kids can’t read your mind to know the joy and satisfaction you receive from being an involved and engaged parent.  Nor can they understand the initial struggles you went through to “get up to speed” on all aspects of single-parenting. To them, you’re simply just ”Dad.”  

If your kids feel cared for, safe, and loved by you, then CONGRATULATIONS!  You’re an awesome dad!

As awesome a dad as you are, Father’s Day doesn’t have much meaning to kids. They won’t know how wonderful you are until they are old enough to see your value through other kids’ dads who aren’t as supportive, understanding, or event present in their lives.  Kids can’t fully appreciate what it takes to be the dad you are until they have kids of their own.

Bottom line, it’s up to you to take pride in who you are as a dad on Father’s Day and make the day as pleasurable as possible for you and your kids.

Don’t wait or wallow...give yourself a great Father’s Day by making it a day of pleasure, chilling-out and getting take-out!

It is up to you to take pride in who you are as a dad on Father’s Day and make the day as pleasurable as possible for you and your kids. Don’t wait or wallow...

Father’s Day is also a perfect day to evaluate how you parent.  Jeff Cookston, professor of psychology at San Francisco State University and co-author of a 2013 study on fathering behaviors and adolescents, suggests you use Father’s Day to examine your parenting approaches.  

If you are interested in upping your ‘dad game’ Cookston offers the following 5 tips:   

  1. Ask your kids for feedback about your relationship with them.

    Ask them individually,  ”Am I the father you need or want me to be?”

    Be ready to listen and change course to meet your children’s needs. The world they’re growing up in is different than the one you grew up in.  How you were parented may not be the best approach for their generation.
  2. Be emotionally supportive.

    Cookston said fathers who emphasize their emotional relationships with their children raise kids that are more likely to be appropriately expressive, solve conflicts peacefully, and stay safe through the challenges of late childhood and young adulthood. They are often the kids that have successful growth and navigate safely through the challenges of late childhood and young adulthood.

  3. Be willing to switch up your parenting style.

    If you haven’t been a particularly present, supportive, or an accepting father, it's not too late to become one.  According to Cookston, divorced dads (and moms) serve their children best by constantly adapting and tweaking their approaches to parenting depending on the needs of their children.

  4. Do your best to be a team player.

    Cookston's work with divorced families has taught him how valuable it is when parents work together. Children are more likely to talk to divorced dads (and moms) about issues that are important to them if they see agreement around parenting decisions.

  5. Raise your expectations of yourself as a father.  

    Cookston’s study indicated that today’s children need their father’s engagement, involvement, and heartfelt interactions.  

    It’s not enough to just be present or a financial provider.  Not yelling at your kids or simply going to the games isn’t going to cut it as the type of father your children deserve.

    The generation we live in demands innovation, involvement, and open-parenting to ensure that your kids grow into healthy and capable adults.

Parenting is already difficult as it is.  Solo-parenting is even harder.

Acknowledge yourself for being a loving and present dad that’s willing to constantly improve their parenting.  You deserve the praise.

If you are interested in making the process of divorce easier on your life, your kids, and your finances, click here. Make this a rewarding Father’s Day.  


  1. A. K. Finlay, J. T. Cookston, D. S. Saenz, M. E. Baham, R. D. Parke, W. Fabricius, S. Braver. Attributions of Fathering Behaviors Among Adolescents: The Role of Gender, Ethnicity, Family Structure, and Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Family Issues, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0192513X13478404

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