You are using an outdated browser.
For a better experience, please upgrade your browser here.

Read Father’s Day advice from the Option B community

Amid commercials for the latest gadget and other gifts for dad, it’s hard to miss the fact that Father’s Day is upon us. For many, this is a time of celebration. But for others, Father’s Day highlights a painful loss or a relationship that’s less than perfect. Not everyone’s father is living or healthy. Some people are estranged from their dad. Others are struggling to have children or are facing this family-focused holiday without a partner.

We asked the Option B community to tell us how they feel about Father’s Day and to share suggestions for how you can be there for someone who may have similar feelings.

Acknowledge that the day is hard. Be sensitive.

As one community member told us, “The most important thing to do is acknowledge the hurt. It’s easy to stuff your tangled emotions down, but what you stuff will eventually blow up on you. Once I acknowledge that, yes, this is a day that I struggle with, I can start moving forward in dealing with it.” Simply letting a friend know that you understand it’s a hard day tells them that their pain isn’t invisible.

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • Try not to assume how your friend feels or what they want. As one community member who lost her husband said, “I don’t want people looking at us with sadness and pity. We’ve had enough sadness and pity.”
  • Be sensitive about sharing happy news—whether that’s something big, like the announcement of a pregnancy, or something smaller, like the fun plans your family might have for the day.

Be there. Do something thoughtful.

People who have a hard time on Father’s Day can feel isolated and forgotten. It can be painful to see photos of happy family gatherings they aren’t included in or the handmade cards they didn’t receive. According to one community member, “I’m a single mom and my dad would always send flowers and stuff. Now he’s not here to do that.”

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • Spend some time with your friend on Father’s Day if you can. As one community member suggests, on a difficult day it can help to “just show up ... share a meal or a cup of tea.”
  • Send a card, leave some snacks at the door, or maybe bring a funny movie you think your friend would enjoy. Even the simplest gift can mean a lot.
  • Make specific offers. Can I go with you to run errands today? Can I bring you some dinner? Can I take you to see your dad in the hospital? According to one community member, gestures like this “make such a difference.” She explained, “I’m not good at saying what I need, especially when I’m in a bad head space.”

Keep memories alive.

Those who have lost a child or a father are sometimes afraid that they’re the only person thinking of their loved one. It can be comforting to know that others miss them, too.

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • If you knew the person your friend misses, share your memories. One member of the community said, “I wish people would talk to me about my dad on Father’s Day. People tend to avoid doing that.”
  • Help your friend keep a loved one’s memory alive by inviting them to do an activity they shared with that person. As another community member told us, “I will probably go fishing because that’s how my dad would’ve wanted to celebrate his day.”
  • A member of our community reminds us to have grace. If your mom has a hard time on Father’s Day without her husband, “let her tell the same story a hundred times. Just be with her. It’s usually the small stuff that means something.”
  • One community member planned to do something for her daughter, who is missing her dad. “I’ll put together a frame with pictures of the two of them so that she can remember the good times and the love.”

Start brand-new traditions.

Sometimes, familiar traditions are comforting. Other times, it feels better to start new ones. You can help your friend create new ways to honor a loved one’s memory and feel connected to the person who is gone—or to the people in their life now.

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • Release balloons for a lost father or child. You can write notes on the balloons.
  • Plant a tree in honor of your friend’s dad or child.
  • Another member of the community told us, “I allowed the kids to decide what they would like to do. This year I’m thinking of taking them out of town for a fun-filled time—to create new memories and new rituals for the day. I know I’m not alone in this.”

No matter how your friend chooses to spend Father’s Day this year, you can help them feel loved and supported. As one Option B community member put it, “A day is a day. Love is eternal. This particular day can be so painful for so many reasons. I wish peace to all every day.”