When You Don’t Have a Father on Father’s Day


With Father’s Day coming up, I’ve been reflecting on all things “dad”. Some were lucky to have an amazing and supportive dad growing up, while others may have had a distant relationship or even no relationship at all. More specifically, I’ve been reflecting on how that affects us as parents, and how it affects our kids that may not have an active father in their lives.

My dad passed away earlier this year.
He was also not an active participant in my life.
Both of those things were hard.

This is a post to offer some hope.

I knew my dad ” loved” me, because that was the one thing he always made sure to tell us. His actions spoke differently.

I remember looking for him in the audience at my soccer games and dance recitals. Occasionally he would be there, but most of the time he was not. After my parents separated, seeing him on “his weekends” was inconsistent at best.

Those father-daughter relationships my childhood friends had didn’t exist for me. When I had boy troubles or needed fatherly advice, I rarely got it. I really struggled with my father’s absence in my life. Growing up, I had no male role model to look up to, and my emotional needs from my dad were unmet. 

As I grew older, I learned to let go of my resentment and learned to love my dad for who he was and not who I wished he was. He was the life of the party, “loved” everyone and was the funniest man I knew. He just didn’t know how to be a “father”. He was a big kid, always being goofy, and he LOVED singing karaoke. That’s when I could truly connect with him, behind the microphone.

Now as an adult, I have several friends that either don’t have dads or their children have absent dads. They are understandably struggling with Father’s Day coming up in a very real way.

If you are missing a father in your life, or your kids are, I wanted to share 5 things that helped me cope – I hope they help you too.

1. Let go of the resentment. You can’t change another person, but you can change your heart and you can grow from your experience.

2. Surround yourself or your kids with other great role models.
* Uncles and Grandpas – give the best advice and hugs
*Coaches – teach you a lot about the game of life
* Your older neighbor across the street would love company in a game of War or Chess any day, but especially Father’s Day, when he’s lonely too.
* Visit a nursing home on Father’s Day and bring a treat for the dads. Doing something kind for others always makes your heart happy and your kids WILL remember that.

3. Learn to ask for help. People/Dads/Men love helping; they just need to be asked. (How do I tie a tie? Who can teach me to fix a flat tire? Who can I ask for relationship advice that I can trust?)

4. Talk to a counselor. It is healthy to have an outlet for our frustrations and feelings. This is probably what helped me the most over the years.

5. On Father’s Day, celebrate your children or have a “family day”. Make it a day of fun and positivity. Your little boys will likely be dads someday and will value this day even more.

Practicing these skills, I learned what I did not want in relationships as I got older. I learned to figure it out and evolve. If you’re weighed down by grief today, know that there is hope for you or your child. I am now married, and my husband is an amazing father and provider who values family as much as I longed for when I was little.

My dad passed away last fall, and I was able to hug him, say goodbye and hear an “I love you” one last time before he passed. I did not have any regrets. He wasn’t perfect, but he contributed to who I am today and I am thankful for that.

Missing a dad that is absent or has passed on is profoundly hard on our hearts.
But – there is growth that can come out of it, if you seek it.

Happy “Family-Fathers Day.”

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