Father’s Day is nearly upon us and it a special occasion for many fathers across the UK. It is a day to give thanks to your Dad and show appreciation for everything he has done for you. It is a day for children to show their love and make their Dad feel special. However, for some children and some foster parents, Father’s day can be difficult.
As like any annual event, the shops are filled with cards and presents and adverts on the television fill the screen. Children are encouraged to make hand-made cards at school and think of gifts for their father to wake up to. But what about the children who don’t have a father? Or the children whose father will be drunk that day? Or the children who are too scared to go near that Father in case they become angry and abusive?. The idyllic idea of Father’s Day is a distant reality from what some children experience within their home. This ‘special’ occasion is most likely to be dreaded by vulnerable children who have no Father or who don’t have the perfect father as displayed on their TV screen.
Children in foster care may experience a variety of emotions whether good or bad. Children may have a great relationship with their foster carers and may consider their foster father, their own Dad. Celebrating this day would come easy to them, it would be celebrating the incredible support they received from him, the opportunies he has given or simply idealising father figure they never had.
However, Father’s Day can be difficult for children in Foster Care. They may feel dis-loyal to their biological Father for celebrating the day without him. They may feel guilt or sadness. They may even feel anger towards their Foster Father. Anger because he has taken them away from their family and Father’s Day has simply emphasised that. These range of emotions must be understood and Foster Father’s must be aware of this and understand ways of how to support them.
Try to have a discussion about the upcoming day with the child in care and try to have a mutual understanding of what is involved or what is happening on the day. Especially if there are birth children in the household. It is important for the child not to feel pressured and not let down by any expectations.
Father’s Day should be a happy and loving day but for some children and Father’s it is a difficult day to get through. For anyone finding it hard on Father’s Day, should be supported by their loved ones and should not feel pressured with what is in the shops and advertised on the television. The day should be managed appropriately in individual circumstances and treated with empathy.