DRUM - - Hey Teens -

Find a fa­ther fig­ure, for in­stance a close fam­ily friend or trusted rel­a­tive, but go easy on your­self, says psy­chol­o­gist Ty­rone Edgar.

“It can be hard to open up to a fa­ther fig­ure if you’ve never had some­one like that in your life. Don’t put a lot of pres­sure on your­self to be open. Start by sim­ply con­nect­ing on a ba­sic level with some­one you and your fam­ily trust.”

In­stead of sup­press­ing your emo­tions, ac­knowl­edge them.

“When you feel sad­ness, fear and/or anger about not hav­ing a dad around, try not to push those feel­ings away. Your emo­tions are im­por­tant and valid. And if you feel the need to, seek sup­port.”

If you’d like a re­la­tion­ship with your dad, try telling him how it makes you feel that he’s not around or doesn’t seem in­ter­ested in you.

Start by say­ing some­thing like, “I feel hurt that we’re not spend­ing enough time to­gether . . .” Then you can take it from there.

No one likes to be the odd one out but don’t be dis­cour­aged if you’re the only one in your group of friends in a sin­gle-par­ent house­hold. Re­mem­ber, hav­ing a dad around doesn’t solve all life’s prob­lems.

If you’re mourning your dad’s death, cre­ate your own mem­ory box with things like pic­tures or birth­day

cards that re­mind you of him. Try to ac­cept that there will be days when not hav­ing a dad will feel ter­ri­ble – such as your birth­day and Fa­ther’s Day. Make a list of the peo­ple in your life who sup­port you. This will give you per­spec­tive and help iden­tify those you should be grate­ful for. *Not his real name.

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