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Father’s Day For The Fatherless

4 Tips to Cope on Father's Day When You're Fatherless.

It's different than living through Valentine's Day without a valentine. It's different than being a Jew on Christmas. It's a day that most of us feel entitled to celebrate - yet, many people either do not have fathers or do not have relationships with their fathers. For this minority, Father's Day is, at best, bittersweet.

The origins of Father's Day have been debated for some time. Critics claim that it is a holiday invented by the greeting card industry, (its first observance actually pre-dates Hallmark's incorporation by 2 years; 1910 / 1908 respectively). Regardless of whether you're pro or con, like clockwork, on the third Sunday of every June, we come face-to-face with a reminder of our paternity ~ or the absence thereof.

So what can you do when there's no one to honor on Father's Day? Here are some suggestions to help you through the day:

· Join someone else's celebration. Most of us have friends who would be happy to include us in their Father's Day celebration.

· Create your own ritual, which can include visiting his grave, lighting a candle, connecting with siblings who have shared your loss or doing something completely unrelated.

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· Take stock of the good male role models in your life. Send a note of gratitude to a teacher, mentor, or a friend's father who has had a positive influence on your life.

· Volunteer. Giving is a great conduit to healing.

Most importantly, be good to yourself. Be gentle, nurturing and accepting of whatever emotions surface. Make this Sunday a peaceful one.


Darcy Sterling, Ph.D., is Executive Director of Alternatives Counseling in New York City.


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