LETTER: Communication and forgiveness

Your letters
Your letters

As Father’s Day approaches, Relate Sussex knows that many people will be thinking about their relationships with their dad.

Father’s Day is meant to be a time to celebrate our dads and thank them for all they have done for us, but if your relationship is far from perfect you are not alone.

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

There are likely to be many complex reasons for this difference in relationships with dads post separation.

Breaking up is hard, and for many families, 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 revive your relationship, there are lots of things you can try to help. As with most relationships, what a lot of it boils down to is good communication and forgiveness.

Relate Sussex has these 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 contact him.

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 resume 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, Gleneagles Court, Brighton Road, Crawley

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