Changing for Good
Separation and estrangement from your family can be tough at any time, but some special days can carry heightened emotions for those that can’t see their children or wider family. As fathering from a distance becomes more common in today’s world, you might be away from your family on these occasions for any number of reasons. ‘Special days’ can mean different things to different people, but most commonly they are days that are traditionally spent with family like Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays and Easter.
If you find that special occasions cause you distress, think about taking a step back and treating it as a normal day. It may be simpler to ignore the occasion as best you can and maintain the routine you already have for this particular day. Sometimes maintaining the status quo can be the best thing for you and your children.
If you don’t get to see your kids often (or at all) and are worried about how you’ll feel, surround yourself with people, activities and distractions like:
- Head along to a sporting match (local footy, rugby etc.) – with or without some mates!
- Drive out or catch public transport to a new location and go for a walk or hike: it’s active, and connecting with nature is good for your mental health.
- If your Dad, an uncle or a friend is potentially spending the day alone, head over for a chat or organise a shared activity you both get into.
- Tackle that project you’ve been avoiding: clean out the shed, fix the fence, organise the linen press.
- Organise a group of mates for a game of kick to kick or another sport.
- Go for a bike ride
- Cook up a storm and rock up to work with some treats for everyone! Cooking and baking are great ways to use your hands and create something!
- Find some free local music and go check it out. Maybe it’s a style of music you’ve never enjoyed before: give something new a try!
- Get back into a hobby that you have enjoyed
- Check out the plethora of websites with event listings in your area and try something new.
Placing too much importance on one day can result in disappointment for you and others. While it’s easier said than done for some, consider playing things down on special occasion days to make sure that you’re not overwhelmed.
Ways to Keep in Touch
If you have some contact with your kids via phone or online video/chat, consider preparing topics ahead of time to talk about with your kids, such as:
- What have you been up to?
- How is school going?
- What sports have you been playing?
- Who are your friends etc.
Put together some memories of your times together:
- Stories about your time together
- Funny things they’ve said to you.
If you’re in a position to do so, plan a time to catch up in the future: it doesn’t have to be what others deem to be an important or special occasion day, any day is a great when you’re connecting with other people!
Use the day as motivation for change
If you’re part of the Changing for Good program, you’re taking active steps to change your behaviour and create a new future. Use the opportunity as a motivator to plan out what you want your future to look like and the steps you can take to achieve it. Our counsellors can help you come up with a plan that is realistic and tailored for your interests.
Changing for Good welcomes new participants who have successfully completed a men’s behaviour change program and want extra support in their efforts at change. We also welcome participants who have difficulty accessing a men’s behaviour change program for a variety of reasons. Just call 1300 015 120 and leave a message with your name and contact details and one of the team will follow up with you.