When should your child celebrate your partner on Father's Day?


Knowing when to recognise your partner on Father’s Day for your child can be tricky. The solution to this isn’t always clear cut.

Today, the majority of primary carers are mothers. This means that when they have a new relationship, the impact on the child can be significant and this is also reflected in determining whether you should be celebrating your partner on Father’s Day.

To celebrate your partner on Father’s Day or not to celebrate them is a delicate game to play – you don’t want to do it too early and have your partner feel pushed into the relationship and you also don’t want to force your child into viewing your partner as a father-figure.

A couple of years ago, my children had a unique situation whereby their father wasn’t involved, their grandfather was out of the state and their uncle was out of the country. The school Father’s Day breakfast was fast approaching and I asked them what they wanted to do and whether they wanted to go. I knew of other families where the mother went in lieu of the father for Father’s Day breakfast. I braced myself for having two children take the day off school. I was open to them asking a family friend to take them… however, I was not prepared for them to suggest that my ‘flame’ go to the breakfast with them. At the time, he wasn’t a ‘partner’. I felt as though the children were racing in their relationship with my ‘person’ and I was left in the dust trying to catch up!

Here are three signs to look for that can signal recognising your partner on Father’s Day:

  1. When the relationship isn’t forced. The relationship between your partner (the male adult) and your child needs to be their choice. It is up to them (together) to determine what sort of relationship they have – Is it more of a father-figure? Is it more of a carer relationship? Is it a mutual friendship? As a mother, you can’t force the child to see your partner as a father-figure and you also can’t force your partner to choose to be a parent to your child. This process and timeline are out of your control!
  2. When they appear to have a unique connection or bond. You might hear your child ask “where is [partner’s name]?” “I miss [partner]” and this could be interpreted as an interest that your child is having for your partner. When a mutual interest is clear between both the child and your partner (the male adult) and they have some shared care for each other, then you might want to be open to celebrating your partner on Father’s Day
  3. When your child asks you to celebrate or recognise your partner on Father’s Day. In some situations, the biological father may not be near to the child and the child may ask to recognise the mother’s partner so that they have someone to celebrate or have someone to take to the school event. Being child-lead in this situation is beneficial for the child and ensures that they are comfortable with the involvement of the partner.

Caution: Please be aware that celebrating your partner should not be at the expense of celebrating the child’s biological father, especially if the biological father is an active participant in your child’s life. Your child, if they want, can celebrate both men for Father’s Day. Every person’s individual circumstances and situations must be considered for the appropriateness of this guidance.

Father’s Day doesn’t have to be a massive event and it certainly doesn’t have to be exclusively for the biological father. It is a day to celebrate all of the wonderful male role models in all of our lives – yours included!


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This is general advice only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or accountant before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. DivorceAnswered.com.au cannot provide legal advice. If you have an emergency situation, please contact Emergency '000'. © Divorce Pty Ltd