Handling a Difficult Father on Father's Day
TORONTO, June 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ No one gets to choose their parents but certain holidays, like Father's Day, make it especially difficult for some children to honor their dads the way society expects them to. Carol-Ann Hamilton, whose late father was demanding, knows the guilt and conflicting emotions some adult children will face on Father's Day.
As the author of Coping with Un-cope-able Parents: LOVING ACTION for Eldercare, she advises such children to refuse to accept society's messages about how to treat a father, especially if that dad was physically, mentally or emotionally abusive. She also points out that even poor fathers can serve as instructors on how not to act in a parental role. "When you have a trying parent," she says, "they serve as a 'great' role model of what not to do in the upbringing of your own children. They help you renew your commitment to never become him."
Some of her tips include:
- If you have to see your difficult dad, have an escape strategyan infallible reason for why you can't spend more time together on Father's Day and stick to it no matter what anyone else says.
- Build something you consider fun into the day. A round of golf, watching sports or whatever you will enjoy doing.
- Apply the QTIP strategy. Quit Taking It Personally when your father is belligerent or obnoxious because it's not about you.
- If you have to get a card, choose one of the most neutral ones on the rack to remain true to yourself.
For those whose challenging fathers have already passed away, Hamilton says it is important to acknowledge the influence dads have even after death. It is OK to mourn the loss of the relationship you wish you had with your father on Father's Day and equally OK to celebrate that you no longer have to bear the burdens of your imperfect relationship.
Credentials: Carol-Ann Hamilton spent 25 years as an organizational development consultant in Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial settings and has written several books on business and personal growth topics. An only child with a demanding, inflexible, formerly alcoholic father, she spent three years caring for him until his death at age 89 in 2012.
SOURCE Carol-Ann Hamilton