Father’s Day can be a welcome day to celebrate relationships between father figures and children, for others it can be a time of grief, upset and confusion. As the world celebrates these important connections, it is also a time to be aware of individuals celebrating ‘Alternative Father’s Day’.

There are many reasons that Father’s Day may not be a traditional day for some individuals, from bereavement or estrangement to illness or worries. For some it may be a situation they have been living with for many years, for others it may be new. Everyone’s situation is individual, and it is important to remember this, especially on days which can be so varied for people.

Celebration days and holidays can be a hard time for some people, this can lead to thoughts of suicide. Any young person experiencing thoughts of suicide this weekend can reach out to HOPELINE247. Advisers will be on hand to talk through these thoughts and work with you to find ideas to manage this time of year.

Below there are some ideas on ways to celebrate and manage Father’s Day. Remember it is all up to the individual and there is no right or wrong way to celebrate.

Bereaved father or child

  • Take time to remember the relationship; looking over past pictures, talking to other people who shared a relationship with your father/child.
  • Make a new tradition; travel to a location with fond memories, take part in an activity they used to enjoy (anything from playing board games to cinema visits) or prepare their favourite meal.
  • If you don’t want to acknowledge the day, this is okay too. Remember it is all about what you find comfortable, this can be something you want to think of in advance, or decide on the day.

Estranged father or child

  • Talk to someone you trust; this could be a family member, a friend, partner or professional. You might want to talk about your estrangement or come up with a plan to manage Father’s Day.
  • Be prepared that this may be a hard and/or upsetting day; prepare by doing things which bring you comfort, use self-care, maybe spending an extra hour in bed and having a healthy meal pre-made ready for the day.
  • Be aware of what you find helpful; if social media celebrations are uncomfortable, then consider a day offline. Alternatively if it gives you comfort, set out some time to look through your friends’ posts.

Seriously ill father or child

  • Talk about favourite ways that Father’s Day has been celebrated in the past, having an idea of the part which means the most to them helps you to focus on this part of the day if Father’s Day is going to look different to other years.
  • Be realistic, and creative; If a round of golf is the normal tradition maybe consider alternatives like going to the driving range or hitting balls in the back garden instead. If you normally meet up for a day trip, consider meeting virtually or for a shorter period.
  • Come up with a plan B; having serious health conditions can come with a lot of unknowns and good and bad days, having a few ideas means you can be more flexible on the day.

Self-care ideas for everyone

  • Enjoying some time in nature; going for a walk, seeing some new views, or visiting the local beach.
  • Giving your mind a rest; enjoying a book, listening to some music, or watching some TV.
  • Letting out your thoughts and feelings; writing in a journal, doing some art, or screaming and punching a pillow.

For anyone reading this who is excited and looking forward to Father’s Day then we wish you a lovely day to celebrate. We also want to use this time to ask you to be aware and considerate of those people who may be having an alternative Father’s Day. Checking in with friends, family and colleagues could make a big difference.

Again, there is no right or wrong way to spend Father’s Day. Take your time and do what feels right for you on the day.

If you are struggling this Father’s Day and this is contributing to thoughts of suicide, you can contact HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, via text on 88247 or via email on pat@papyrus-uk.org.

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