LETTER: Father’s day tips

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Father’s Day is meant to be a time to celebrate our dads and thank them for all they have done for us, but what if your relationship is far from perfect?

If this is the case, you may take some solace in the fact that you are not alone.

A recent study of over 16s in the UK by Relate, Marriage Care and Relationships Scotland found that 71% of people whose parents have separated said they have a good relationship with their mum, whereas 57% had a good relationship with their dad. For parents who remain together, the difference was less marked - 78% had a good relationship with their mums and 72% had a good relationship with their dads.

Relate counsellor, Marie de’ath at Relate Sussex believes there are likely to be many complex reasons for this difference in relationships with dads post separation. She said: “We know that breaking up is hard, and for many families, this will leave a lasting legacy. For anyone who doesn’t get on well with their Dad, shops full of cards saying ‘Best Dad in the world’ and the sight of happy families having Father’s Day lunch can be a painful reminder of what is missing. But if you do want to rekindle your relationship, there are lots of things you can try which may help. As with most relationships, what a lot of it boils down to is good communication and forgiveness.”

Relate Sussex’s tips for improving your relationship with your dad

· Talk to your Dad – don’t leave it to just once a year to tell him how much he means to you, how important he is to you, how much you still need him and value time with him.

· Good relationships are a two way process. Remember that this needs effort from both sides and it shouldn’t just be you doing all the running.

· If you’ve lost touch or fallen out with your dad, then Father’s Day might be a good time to try to rekindle the relationship.

· It’s easy to become caught up in your parents’ separation and feel that you have to side with one person but remember you have every right to maintain a relationship with them both.

· If your parents separated, maybe there’s still some resentment there. If so, consider talking to a counsellor about your feelings. They can help you to find a way forward and address any issues with your dad.

· Good relationships are safe and healthy. In some cases, it may not be in your best interests to rekindle your relationship with your dad. Remember this is your choice to make and every situation is different.

Any family can come to Relate for help. It doesn’t matter what their size or how they are made up. Relate Sussex can help families understand and cope better with the stresses and strains of family life and get you all talking again.

Call 01293 657055 or 01273 697997 or see www.relate.org.uk/sussex

Sue Quinn

Manager, Relate North and South West Sussex

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