As a social worker, I've heard some pretty disheartening stories about the behavior of people who are supposed to care for each other. Some of the worst stories come from the mouths of moms who were terribly hurt by the fathers of their children.
"He cheated on me when I was pregnant with our child," said one client.
"He took all of the savings I set aside for my maternity leave, and spent it on strippers and gambling," said another.
"When I confronted him about his anger, he told me that he regretted ever meeting me," said a third.
With good reason, these moms cut romantic ties with the dads of their children once trust disappeared. But if you have ever found yourself in a similar situation, you're likely aware that you can't really cut ties when it comes to divorce with children involved. Between sporting events, holidays, birthdays and normal day-to-day parenting, the jerk who hurt you deeply is always right there, unless he's completely bailed on your family.
To add insult to injury, the backstory of your breakup doesn't change the way your kids feel about their dad. They love him, they miss him when he's not there and they want to honor him on special occasions, even if he's not a good dad. Moreover, they can't understand the nuances of how their dad hurt you and them — nor should they have to understand. All of these factors can leave you feeling powerless and uncertain when Father's Day rolls around, particularly if your baby's daddy still behaves terribly towards you and your kids.
Hooray for Father's Day, right? The truth is that you don't have to like your baby's daddy on Father's Day. You do, however, have to support your children if they want to celebrate him. They shouldn't have to edit themselves or change their feelings toward their dad to accommodate you. If you're struggling with how to support them in a way that doesn't feel fake to you, here are some ideas to help.
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