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Father's Day blues: What divorced dads can do

Your first Father's Day as a divorced dad can be tough to handle -- especially if you don't have primary physical custody of the kids.

This is one of the few times it's okay for a divorced dad to make the issue about himself, not the kids. If you're finding it hard to cope with being apart from your kids on Father's Day, try some of the following ideas:

1. Ask your ex-spouse for extra time with the kids. If there's no particular reason not to be accommodating and you've had a reasonably decent post-divorce relationship, your ex may agree to the shift in visitation schedule.

Consider bartering the time against some other time that matters a little less to you but more to your ex. For example, if you know your ex would like to take the kids to their grandmother's the next Sunday, but that's normally your visitation day, propose a trade.

2. Make Father's Day the day you do have with the kids. The actual holiday matter less than the memories you create. If your kids are young, spend your closest visitation day to Father's Day making mementos -- paint pet rocks, get a kit to preserve their hand prints or go to the park together. Take plenty of photos and print them out for your kids -- and you -- so that you both have physical reminders of your time together.

3. Take advantage of technology and use your phone or computer to connect with the kids if you aren't able to be together on Father's Day. If one of your kids is a gamer, figure out how to get on Steam or another gaming platform and play a game together while you talk in the chatroom. If one of your kids is a reader, read a bedtime story over Skype.

4. Indulge in a little therapy. Make an extra appointment with your counselor, write a letter for your kids (even if you can't send it to them right now) about your feelings or journal about how you feel. It may help you work through some of the sorrow, anger and disappointment that you're feeling.

If you feel like you aren't getting enough time with your children, that's something you may want to discuss with your attorney. It may be time to consider a change in custody or visitation.

Source: The Spruce, "Father's Day for Divorced Dads," Wayne Parker, accessed June 16, 2017

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