Divorced Dads on Father's Day

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June 17, 2015, ACES

Divorced FathersAll parents of children on the spectrum have an incredibly difficult job, particularly those raising kids after a divorce. You may be a divorced dad but your commitment and connection to your child with autism remains strong. Involved Autism Dads; married, single and divorced, are all around us. They should be recognized and celebrated on Father's Day of all days.

Here are a few tips for divorced dads in making the most of Father's Day for your child with autism, for his mother, and for you.

You: Ideally you are you co-parenting to some extent with the child's mother. As hard as it may be to admit you want her help in making it a special day, go ahead and lean on your ex a little. What kind of day would you like to have and how can she assist? Is there something specific you want to do with your child, or that your child might like to do with you? Today is your day to reward yourself as well as demonstrate your love for your child in whatever form that may take -- just don't let your happiness depend on what your child does or does not do for you.

Child: Your child with autism needs your love. Showing it to him, even if he has difficulty showing it to you, is good for you both. Celebrate the true spirit of Father's Day by recognizing your amazing child for all that he is. We know that some days the lows are very low but on other days the highs can very high. Commit to the mindset that today your child's gift to you may be as simple as catching a grin on his face while he sings to his favorite song. Anything else is gravy. Do what you can to make that grin happen for both of your sakes.

Your Child's Mother: It is healthy and important for your child's mother to play a part in Father's Day. Children with autism, just like all children, benefit from a mom that is supportive of their father and demonstrates that through her actions. Ask her to get involved in preparing something to present to you as a gift. They get to spend rare quality time together while also nurturing the connection your child has to you.

Father's Day and Mother's Day are opportune times of the year to strengthen bonds between parent and child. They are also platforms from which to build goodwill between you and your ex-spouse. Do your best to set differences aside at least these two days and work together to make it special for everyone. You are an awesome Autism Dad. Seize the day!