Holidays like Father’s Day are intended as celebrations to honour fathers and father figures. It can also be problematic for some individuals due to a variety of personal reasons. Like Mother’s Day, it’s important to remember that not everyone has a father or has a great relationship with their father. A quick search will lead you to endless articles about surviving Father’s Day with a toxic father or when your beloved dad is no longer here.

The hope is that, despite this, we all have at least one, important male figure in our life who we can celebrate. Even so, it’s wise to never assume that we all have the same family dynamics and experiences. It’s best to use cautious empathy with others around these, often, triggering days.

Here are some potential issues with Father’s Day

Father's Day
photo: Jed Owen/Unsplash

Loss or absence of a father

For people who have lost their father or have an absent father, Father’s Day can be a painful reminder of that loss or absence. It can bring up feelings of grief, sadness, and loneliness.

Exclusion of non-traditional families

Father’s Day can sometimes overlook and disregard non-traditional forms of fatherhood. While the day is traditionally focused on recognizing biological fathers, it’s important to also celebrate other father figures who have taken on an important role in a child’s life. Stepfathers, foster fathers, grandfathers, teachers, coaches etc. Additionally, the holiday can make those with two mothers feel excluded. Young children are constantly exposed to Father’s Day crafts and celebrations in school. It’s crucial to be inclusive and recognize all forms of loving families on this special occasion.

Difficult or strained relationships:

Not everyone has a positive relationship with their father, especially if there’s been conflict, abuse, neglect, or estrangement. Father’s Day can stir up all sorts of negative feelings or memories. It’s not all Leave It To Beaver so don’t ever try to tell someone how they should feel about their parent.

Father’s Day Pressure and Commercialization:

The commercial aspect of Father’s Day can create pressure to spend money on gifts. This can be stressful, especially for those in financial difficulty. It can also feel like the holiday is more about consumerism than genuine appreciation. This can make it feel like the holiday is focused more on consumerism rather than genuine appreciation.

It’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates these types of holidays, and it doesn’t reflect their love for their dads. Therefore, it’s best to avoid imposing your opinions on others. Hallmark holidays and it doesn’t mean they love their dads any less, so keep your opinions to yourself.

Parent Alienation

When parents divorce or separate, one parent may experience parental alienation, resulting in limited or no access to their children. This can make special occasions like Father’s Day difficult, increasing feelings of sadness and injustice.

Reminder of unrealized dreams of fatherhood

Father’s Day can be a difficult day for those who desire to become fathers but can’t due to reasons such as infertility, personal decisions, or life circumstances. It serves as a reminder of unfulfilled dreams or goals, and it’s essential to be mindful of this when interacting with those individuals. Let’s all be considerate and compassionate towards one another.

Cultural Sensitivity for Father’s Day

In societies with diverse cultures, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that not everyone may have a connection to the widely celebrated concept of Father’s Day. This can lead to feelings of discomfort or exclusion.

Understanding these potential issues can help people to be more compassionate and inclusive when considering how to approach such holidays. It’s important to respect that not everyone might find these occasions to be celebratory, and some people may choose not to observe them at all.

Much like Mother’s Day, it is interesting to see how the rest of the world celebrates. Just be mindful that we don’t all have the same perspectives.