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Jennifer Wolf

Encouraging the Involvement of an Absent Parent

By June 17, 2008

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How do you get an absent parent to start playing an active - and positive - role in a child's life? Apparently the National Fatherhood Initiative hopes that shaming some dads into the role could help. Check out some of the controversial ads they've been running recently: Questions for Our Single Parent Community: What do you think? Is this an insult to the families whose fathers made a choice to walk away and have no involvement whatsoever in their kids' lives? (Because, frankly, many of the single mothers who are forced to be both "Mommy" and "Daddy" to their children do so because they have had no other choice; the other parent simply is not around or is not capable of contributing to the child's life in a positive way.) And when non-custodial parents - men and women alike - choose not to be involved, is there any benefit in shaming them into the role? Can that possibly result in a positive experience for the children? What can? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Jen's Thoughts on How to Encourage Absent Parents: I suspect that many of the parents who have walked away from the responsibilities of parenthood did so because they believed they were not equipped to parent well. Therefore, more than ad campaigns directed at uninvolved parents, I think we need programs to support and train these moms and dads in how to maintain a visitation schedule, communicate effectively, and handle conflicts in a positive way. Much of what is required is actually simple - things like planning ahead for visits, being there when you say you will, and not allowing your commitment to your kids to fall into an "out of sight, out of mind" abyss. Once parents who initially thought they couldn't or wouldn't be involved in their children's lives begin to see their own ability to have a positive impact, their motivation to maintain their involvement can develop.

Related: Being Involved | Successful Single Dads

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Comments
June 18, 2008 at 10:19 am
(1) Carolyn in Gainesville FL says:

I have been single for nine years with two children (now 10 & 12). It has been a good thing that the other parent has not been really involved though I wish they did have their life experiences. There is less double-standards because of this. I do wish they had the role-model that is missing though, as I had two great ones when I was growing up.

June 19, 2008 at 7:28 am
(2) sweetycannon says:

My CHILDREN CONSIDER ME MOM AND DAD AND i don’t have a problem with it, but I know my sons want their father involved in their life. But I CAN’T FORCE HIM.

June 21, 2008 at 8:06 pm
(3) suziern03 says:

It’s really sad that it would even have to come to this! Shaming them will NEVER work. If garnishing their wages doesn’t, why would a commercial do it? Do they think these things have never been stated before? Im with the other women as well, as much as I would like my son to have a positive fatherly influence in his life, his father aka sperm donor would be TOXIC to him. He has my dad as his “strong male role model” and that is all he needs. Although, I agonize daily over what will come the day he asks the big question, “why don’t I have a daddy”, I still think this is best and that bridge will be crossed when we come to it.

June 24, 2008 at 9:08 am
(4) singledaddale says:

I am a single dad & I actually have the problem of MOM not participating in our daughters life! It’s not always DAD’s! My daughters mom moved over an hour away to be with a guy and rarely has anything to do with her. Its sad because my daughter is loves being with her mommy, but never really gets the chance!

June 24, 2008 at 7:19 pm
(5) Kim says:

I am raising 3 alone and the dad lives just 10 miles away. I think the ads are great. I don’t know if it will help any, but, it will be a constant reminder of his children and his lack of participation in their lives. I do think the ads should include white children. It is not only black daddies who abandon their chilldren.

June 26, 2008 at 1:24 am
(6) erin says:

I know that shaming them into being a parent will not ever work but I still liked veiwing all 3 of the ads. It reminds me that my children and I are not the only ones in our position. And I do believe that I will email these litttle bits of wisdom to their father right now! If nothing else it might make him think for a minute about his children and the fact that they still need him. Until my children are old enough to stand up by themselves for what they deserve I will be there to do it with them! No matter how hard it is for me to call their father month after month so that he might hang out with them for a day, I feel that that’s part of my responsibilty as their mother!

June 27, 2008 at 6:02 pm
(7) Toby says:

I don’t think these ads amount to shaming. They amount to truth. Shaming would be like saying “how can you be such a useless sack of ish?”

I also think it’s PC run rampant that anyone could be offended by something like this. It doesn’t take anything away from mothers to say that every child deserves a father. I was raised by a wonderful single mom, and there were some things she just couldn’t help me with. It would’ve been nice to have someone who’d “been there”.

Finally, I also think we send a mixed message to men who do want to be fathers. We deride inactive fathers while simultaneously pushing men away from their families – whether in family court or in the media.

- single dad of 3

August 20, 2008 at 8:25 pm
(8) Christine says:

I help single parents find rentals and homes in the western suburbs: Westchester, Berkeley, Brookfield, Hinsdale, Bellwood, Lagrange, Riverside and more; feel free to contact me.

August 20, 2008 at 8:27 pm
(9) Christine says:

Click my name for contact info.

August 22, 2008 at 1:50 am
(10) Laura says:

I’ve struggled with this for some time. I never intended to raise my children alone and it hurt everytime I watched my children particpate in a play or sport and was surrounded by couples. It hurt everytime my children did something amazing and I had noone to share this with. I felt bad for my children, because they only had me in their lives. The question of where is Dad would come from other children or adults, but never really from my children. When my youngest child was 3 years old her pediatrician asked about her father and she replied matter of factly “I don’t have a father” she was not sad when she replied it really didn’t seem to bother her. At four years of age I decided to reach out and try to establish a realtionship with her father. He was and still is a drug addict. He came into her life and completely turned it upside down. He brought drug addicts around and took both my children with him to cop drugs. He stole from them and put them in danger and all the while I kept trying to help him so he could be a parent. I got him out of our lives more than a year ago and now my youngest child who is now 6 misses him and talks about him. My other child a teenager knows the truth and is completley okay, but again my youngest is not. I believe you don’t miss what you don’t have. Had I not tried to bring this dead beat drug addict father into my children’s lives they really would have been fine. Having a parent that really shouldn’t be a parent is far worse then raising children on your own.

January 5, 2009 at 11:04 pm
(11) Juliet says:

I am begining to see more and more single mothers (like myself) that are strong willed, motivated and independent. I personally think that its amazing to show where we as women have got. But at the same time I am starting to think that these absent “dads/ fathers” are intimidated. And to an extent that they believe that since we mothers don’t need the deadbeat that their child(ren) don’t either, but it is completely the OPOSITE!!!! These absent fathers, my own and my sons, need to realize its not the mothers who are needing you (or you’d probably still be in the picture…) its the kid you brought into the world that DOES need you!!!! I’m trying to get past what my sons father said about both my son and I, and all the things he has done… I want my son to have his father and it breaks my heart completely that his father wants nothing to do with him… ITS NOT MY SONS FAULT!!! sorry just had to say it…

March 12, 2009 at 11:14 pm
(12) David says:

I am an absent father. My ex wife is raising our son, Zack, who is 10 years old. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish things had turned out differently. My alcoholism had become so destructive that I could no longer function as a husband or father. My ex did what she had to do and I harbor no resentment for her, in fact I hope she is happy and loved. When I talk to him I tell him that I have always loved his mother, that I never loved anyone like I loved her, and that he is part of me and her and I loved him before he was born. Till the day I die I will regret visiting the sins of my past onto my son. I daydream about showing him how to fish, or ride his bike, or skateboard, or hack computers or work on a car, or swim in the ocean, or finish a triathlon, or safely handle a gun, or how to ask a girl out, or weld or a myriad other things that will die with me never having passed them on.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.

June 27, 2009 at 7:07 pm
(13) islandgirl says:

I divorced my ex husband 3 years ago. In those 3 years he has seen the children maybe a total of 20 times. He has forfited visitation, and hardly sends child support. It is usually 1/6 of the amount he should be sending. He has played mental games with the children and now they speak to a physcoligist every two weeks! He doesn’t call them, or email, yet claims I stop communication and visitation. He had done this with his eldest son for ten years, and gave up his rights to the second eldest. I have remarried a wonderful man, that would love to adopt the children (and they have asked him to), but my ex wants to stop everything we do to improve our lives and the childrens. He still wants to control me like he did when we were married. My son said if he could ask him one question it would be WHY?
I don’t call it shame, I call it truth. These men and women made a choice to have these children and have made the choice to walk away. I say keep walking. Don’t come in and out of the childrens lives when you feel like it. This causes a lot of problems for them while they are growing up, and can put them in the same type of releationships when they get older.
Children are what they learn. So love them with all you’ve got, listen even when you think they aren’t talking about anything important. You might be surprised at what they have to say. Spend time with them, no matter what. Yes, I know it is hard to be single, but it is even harder to be a “single married mom”. I had no help from him durring the marriage, so why would I have it now?
Stay positive and strong.
Teach your children no matter what happens in their lives you are going to be there for them. You are their rock, security, and unconditional love.

August 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm
(14) Tee says:

I am a single mother of a 12 yeard old girl. Her father disowned her at birth, raised by another man whom she called her daddy left her at age of eight years old as things didn’t work out between us. His girlfirned couldn’t accept her, she made him choose between her or my daughter. I was in a 10 year relationship with a man I thought would be there, until I caught him with another woman. Now my daughter’s father had come back into her life and now he is gone again. I really think I shouldn’t have let him back in her life, but she wants to be so loved by him. My daughter has been smoking weed, expertimented with drugs and last but not least with hairspray. I have researched on a absent father and drug awareness.

December 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm
(15) Paul says:

All I can say is that I was a great husband and dad. My wife found a new lover while I worked hard to provide. When you are cut down to the point where extreme depression is a way of life you have to put yourself first, even if it means no contact with the kids. I am just done fighting and begging. I gave up. It is better for a man to live in a desert than with an angry wife. I move to this desert and am not leaving anytime soon. All the co-parent stuff is BS. I didn’t sign up for that and I am not alone.

September 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm
(16) Patricia says:

My son is now 11 yrs old. From day one, his father decided not to be in his life. My job took me all over the US, but every time that we were even close to him; I called. I always asked if he would like to see my son. The answer has always been the same…NO. All of this time I have tried to help build that proverbial FATHER/SON Relationship. I even moved within an hour of the father and he still puts no effort forward. It’s never about making time for my son, it’s about when it’s convenient..and this is a SAD FACT. Trying to be the bigger and better parent is a hard road to walk! All of my efforts have not minimized what my son thinks and feels. All of the answers and love that I give do not fill that void inside of him. Even as he says that he understands and knows that he is loved. There is nothing to heal that awful hurt in his eyes on FATHER/SON Day at his school. No amount of love will ever completely take his hurt away. So what do I do? Continue to allow the father to see him when it is convenient for him? Keep him far away from my son? This is one that teeters among right and left. Sometimes there is no answer to be found. Like many Single Parents, I will be the best that I can be…Love beyond the word Love itself…Pick him up whenever he falls and the most important…Always let him know that nothing that his father does is about him! Today, his father wanted to take him to a Cattle Sale and introduce him to the shakers…MY SON said,”No thank-you Dad.” The one thing that I hope is that, his father will not stop him from being a great father. He is a wonderful boy in-spite of his biological father. I hope it stays that way.

October 15, 2010 at 8:43 am
(17) Duke says:

Patricia, had to respond to yours. I am 25 and my wife is pregnant with my first son. My father was even less involved than your son’s, he made some efforts behind the scenes when I was very young but those only served to confuse me about his interest/lack thereof. I am still dealing with that void you talk about, currently I am trying to decide whether it is better to attempt contact or not. I think he still lives in my hometown. For me, I am a very curious person, and nagging anxiety will probably lead me to an attempted contact ill-fated or otherwise. If anyone knows how I should go about that please point me in the direction. I think your son being able to turn down his father is a good sign. It means he has confidence and he understands that his father is interested/cares (i.e. his father will be back and this won’t be the last opportunity) even if its not the most consistent interest/care. I know for me just knowing with certainty that my father cares at all would help a great deal. As to my own impending fatherhood, I look forward to it. I am totally unsure of what to do with an infant, but I think the rest of their life will be great fun!

October 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm
(18) CARRIE says:

I am a single mother with a 5yr old son. His father & I broke up when I was 4 months preg, he wanted a DNA so all was done & he was the father which i new. He saw him when he was 2days old in the hospital and than when he was 4 months and to this day he hasn’t seen him. He lived the high life and now is broke and gain like 5 stone? All his mates have moved on and have settled down with families and he now 38 and living with his mom. He had or maybe still has a drug problem, he texts me alot to go out on dates but never mentions my son and say we have business to take care of. He wants us to rekindle but to me it just for one thing. He never ever mentions my son and he lives in the same town. I am so confussed whether or not to see him, I am hoping he wants to speak of his son but deep down I know he want only one thing beginning with S**. It breaks my heart when my son come home from school with a father day card or when he see boy walking with their dads. I arrange to meet him to night hoping for a mircle but got no reply. Can someone please shake me out of this emotional period i’ve allowed myself to fall back into. As someone once said if you dig up the past be prepared to live with the ghosts. Am doing this all for my son, but maybe i could open a door that could ruin my son life due to his fathers behaviour. My son is a well loved and happy child & I am blessed. Am normally a strong single mum but when he texts me I fall or seem to run back to him wishing we could end up happy ever after but he ignored me all this time & i am so sad that i feel so weak & pity him. We worked together & he didn’t acknowledge me during my pregnancy and he even lets his than time girlfriend collect him in his car & he would kiss her as i would leave the work place… I do forgive but sometimes when i think back I can’t forget but why do I still yearn for a reunited family.

October 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm
(19) Bery says:

All these stories ring true… my son is 5 and his father lives in another country. I’d tried to keep us together when I became pregnant, but he cheated, stole, did drugs and even landed himself in jail before I left his country and came home.

For the sake of the child, I kept in touch, I even went to visit with my infant son – he still lied, cheated, did drugs and hit me – while begging me to stay with him and not take “his” child away from him.

I made the mistake that so many sole parents have done, tried to keep in touch and I am the one that is emotionally challenged by doing so. I wish I had never bothered, but at least I can be honest to my son when he grows up to say I tried.

Its a great idea to remind fathers that their children are hurting by their absence, but for some fathers – if their child is going hungry or emotionally upset by him not being there – they blame the mother, not themselves.

To Carrie – my advice – is remind the father of your child’s special days, if he starts focusing on the child great – if not, change your mobile number – start being strong again, and take back your life. 5 yrs is long enough.

October 21, 2010 at 12:12 am
(20) merrie says:

I am a single mom of a 3 yr old little boy…my story is crazy and I don’t know w hat to do so i’ll start from the beginning…i was with “aaron”but he was a friend.He lied to me and told me he was wearing a condom but wasn’t…i still got the morning afetr pill but it didn’t work…i told him I was pregnant…he immediately said I WAS getting an abortion…then came up with these crazy made up stories and that was why he couldn’t be a part of my sons life…i stopped seeing him and talking to himwhn I was 3 mos preg and he realized I wasn’t changing my mind…i being stupid texted him a few months later wheni found out the sex…still didn’t change anything…i sent him and hia mom invites to the babyshower and the day of the scheduled caection…nothing…i called and so did my mom to let him knw the baby was born but had to get surgery asap and we were life flighted…he didn’t show up…my son was 2 days old when he did show up…didnt bring a gift and never has given a gift to my son til last xmas….anyways didn’t see him much maybe 6 times afte my sons birth then he went to prison when my baby was 4 mos….he wrote promising the world…he was released 2 mos afte my sons 2nd bday…didnt call for abt 4 days.i let him see him 2 times that week…i work full time an hour away so it’s hard to schedule time…my son took to him rite away as he does w/ everyone…we didn’t see him for another month….i will give him a time and day…he says it’s too early in the morning (10 am) or he hasto work which I have never rcvd a dime…i just recently stopped responding to his texts to see my child.he will send a text once every 2 or 3 weeks saying he wants to see him but doesn’t try. I invited him to my sons bday and he bought hima trampoline and told me that was 2 weeks of child support..gifts aren’t child support! ..

March 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm
(21) Greg says:

My advice for fathers is to just give up you can’t make it livable. Just WALK AWAY alot of men are doing just that. It is better for a man to live in a desert than with what divorce leaves you with now days. All the co-parent stuff is a LIE so don’t do it you will only get hurt more. Walk away and learn to live with it like a man.

April 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm
(22) aleayh says:

to Greg,

Walk away and live with it like a man? A man dosen’t just WALK AWAY!! A man will FIGHT for a relationship with his child(ren). But I’m gonna tell you this, the child(ren) you chose to WALK AWAY from will be the same child(ren) YOU will need someday coming out of that desert of yours. What you put out in the universe will eventually come back to bite you in the ass! Karma is real and alive!!

May 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm
(23) Renee says:

I’m a single mom of two girls (1 and 4) and I’ve tried so hard to keep their father involved but all my efforts have yielded nothing. Over the past year he has pulled further and further way from them. To this day I can’t understand why he doesn’t want to be in his children’s lives. Never would I have thought that he would be a neglectful parent but that’s what it has come to. He pays child support and he will call every 3-4 months to talk to our oldest. I SAY I don’t care, but I still do. What am I to tell my girls when they get older? He has no excuse. My girls weren’t accidents that just happened; they were both planned by two consenting adults. The father isn’t a drug addict, abuser, alcoholic or any other such. He was a good father when we were together so why isn’t he now?

June 3, 2011 at 6:18 am
(24) Ker says:

Having a mom so dead set against an absent father to remember the hate that hampered her life into her 30′s and our ignorance ( who he was). she did marry a man and her relationship is tenderly sustained but she is in her late 60′s to really walk away from that impact of his absence/abandonment. The misery loves company attitude is a nastier poison. greg must be a pusher. Urging wanna be men to forgo striving to connect denies chance. Life is a gift. single parents hate to be constantly trying to wipe the psychological excrement that hampers development. they do not know what it is some times -but it is constantly falling. Sometimes the focus is my child has to breathe first, eat next and see . Wiping the stench of that- does not stop. Stepping up stopping or wiping some of their ( own) fecal material off their offspring might lighten the damage. One feet of stench is less pungent than the ten feet of it. May be the fear that one really has to see it scares them… they have no right to expect a red carpet.. put picking up the shovel is not for their ego but to walk as a responsible adult. and model the capability to be more than past actions

July 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm
(25) Shon says:

Biology is important for a few reasons… NONE of which has to do with love and affection. Your “parent”, whether you have one, two or four is the person who loves you and cares for you and is there in good times and bad. DNA donors are just that. I learned this lesson the hard way. My mother and father are still married after 38 years. High school sweethearts, two kids, no prior marriage,white picket fence-the whole nine yards. I am a divorced mother of three and I have sole custody of them for almost 13 years. Their father is abusive, violent, and still attempts to play the brain picking and brainwashing game when the kids visit. I wish I had found and married a man who would have been a great daddy to them. But, my two boys and girl have grown up just fine having a strong family network of me, my mom and dad, and my brother and his family. “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad!”

July 27, 2011 at 8:21 am
(26) samantha says:

would like some advise on introducing my 4 year old daughter to her fa ther
she has not seen him since her first birthday so she doees not know him
i am trying to arrange through a solicitor at a contact centre but he has yet to pey the fees
i have been on my own since we split 4yrs ago
now my daughter is asking wheres my daddy
i dont want her daddy thinking he can just pop in and out of her life when it suits him and confusing her
thats why im not sure what i am supposd to be telling her.
Thank you

December 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm
(27) equal-rights-for-absent-parents says:

Let’s get some facts right here shall we.. 78% of absent parents are being refused access to their children by malicious partners…. 12% of absent parents don’t care if they see their children or not… so in classifying me as an absent parent classify me as one of the 79% that is being restricted by a vicious, lying, cheating partner who is using their offspring as a weapon against me… so remember when you call me an absent parent consider the fact that I am not using my child as a weapon and ruining their life….
Maybe you would like to read what happens to absent children?

http://www.equal-rights-for-absent-parents.com/index.php/78-icetheme/icetabs/71-family-law-david-norgroves
then tell me why 78% of partners with the child consider these detrimental issues as acceptable.

January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm
(28) Don't believe It says:

I don’t believe that most absentee parents are not involved because they don’t believe they are equipped to parent well. There are a lot of selfish people out there that would rather have the ‘problem’ just go away. They just want to live their life without the added responsibility and without paying child support. I have been a single parent for 12 years. The father has been in and out of my daughters life very sporadically with normally 6 mos to at the most almost 2 years absent in between. Just recently decided to get ‘involved’ in her life and now says he is going for shared ”equal” placement. I have to agree with first poster from 3 years ago that said it was really a good thing to not have them involved. I agree because your kids if raised in an atmosphere that is stable and not emotionally stressful for them will thrive and do well even without their father. And my daughter has done very well. She has a healthy outlook on life. ON the other hand, I don’t mind if her father wants to be involved, but not the way he has gone about it. Forcefully and pushy. Appears to be out of some selfish motive, not in her best interest. Don’t think they should be shamed. Also, don’t think they should just get to come back whenever they please and get all the rights they would have gotten had they been in the picture all along.

January 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(29) Greg says:

To Aleayh, Karma and singing “Kum Ba Yah doesn’t work. The fact remains that many fathers ARE WALKING AWAY and nothing is working to stop this trend. Again there are a number of good single parents who know this lost and there are many knowledgeable people who know the truth. One is that many absent parents are being refused access to their children or worse by malicious ex-partners, threatening and poorly managed state agencies and pro-women groups who have political agendas. So when you say “A man doesn’t just walk away, he will fight for his children”. REALLY with the current family courts and divorce laws you don’t stand a chance! Before you pop off again, maybe as a good parent you may NOT want your child in the middle of a eighteen year long WAR with a malicious self serving ex-partner maybe the best you can do for your child is NOT TO FIGHT and walk away. The “desert” I spoke of, is that fact that there is NO real assistance for absent parents to overcome the alienation they must experience or unpleasantness and aversions they must overcome. Also many women love to deride inactive fathers while simultaneously pushing away any efforts by the fathers to have a relationship their children. They love the current assumptions that all men are bad or have faults unlike themselves. Yes there are some who have very good reasons, but not all or as many as women would like people to think. “There are as many good fathers as mothers out there”. Sadly this shaming an absent parent idea is only going to do more harm. It will only encourage absent parents to walk away even faster and keep them away for good which only helps reinforce current political agendas and help self serving ex-partners gain more control. So walk away Mr. Fighter or find yourself in that lonely desert or in jail for you have to real rights. Understand at the end of the day, the mothers get to be free, the father’s get to walk and the child looses a parent and a real home, it must be Karma.

April 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm
(30) kim lane says:

So where r these support groups??! For the absent fathers wishing to reunite?? I live in Alabama.

May 4, 2012 at 8:56 am
(31) mj72 says:

i live in the uk i have recently had the caffcass organisation involved via the courts . i have 3 boys aged 4,7and 8 the eldest lives with his father my 7yr old has told caffcass he does not wish to stay at his dads over night and only wants to see him a few hrs a week he knows that his dad is only interested in the 8yr old but caffcass are now trying to force him to spen 2 nights a month at his dads and half the holidays surely they cant force a child to do this against their will can they?

August 8, 2012 at 12:00 am
(32) Child First says:

I was a little taken by Greg’s comments. Yes there are both mothers and fathers that put themselves first and not the kids and use them as a playing piece. But for the most part as a teacher, I see fathers who have rights and visitation never show up for father luncheons. The mother’s are usually the only ones present for conferences. When agenda’s are sent home, it’s mom that signs them. Studentgs will even write in their journals about missing their dad or dad always having his girlfriend when they go to visit. Being a dad is doing what’s right and not always the easiest thing and bending and being nice when you don’t really want to. If you have to swallow pride and abide by ex’s request to see your child, you do because that is the most important thing. If the mother is at fault, document everything, all conversations, all communications, and see an attorney. Being a parent is the most important job you’ll ever have. It’s the one that you will “reap what you sow”. If you don’t put time and effort into your child, don’t expect to have a relationship with them as an adult. As my cousin who was raised without his father said, he needed a dad as a child. When he met his as a teen, he no longer needed a “dad”.

August 25, 2012 at 10:02 am
(33) Greg says:

Folks were a little taken by Greg’s comments. GOOD! Made people start to think a bit! Gee …..There are both mothers and fathers that put themselves first and not the kids and use them as a playing piece. Good folks a starting to see the truth.
Let me speak to the nice Teacher about showing up at school for you’re child. First you a just the “divorced dad” a label that quickly placed on you, what does that mean, you have no say, so you don’t matter, discussing your child education and needs alway come back to whatever the mother desides.
As for swallowing pride and abiding by the ex’s requests to see your child….Well isn’t that really just being “controling”, don’t get me wrong I feel its very important to work together but father’s are the only ones giving anything most of the time. If the mother is at fault go see an attorney….how many times have fathers heard that one, are you joking.
Truly many are missing the point, a level playing field is what’s needed. Father’s should not have to beg, put up with or swallow anything to be their child’s father. Until people understand that father’s just want fairness and be equal to any mother, then things will only get worse. Again the fact remains “Father’s are Leaving”, and no one is doing anything about it and those who are only seem to be doing more harm. Children need parents…need mothers and fathers too. But not beaten down fathers who can not help or assit in helping them grow. Their just a babysitter and children see it and know it, they are not valued by anyone, so the child doesn’t value them as well.

PS: I am not here to fight, but only wish to make a point of view, and help make a change if possible. TK YOU

September 12, 2012 at 4:42 am
(34) Desertchic says:

Thanks Greg for your insightful comments. I had never thought about the perspective from a Dad who wants to equally co parent. My son 9, lives in another country from his father ( not by my choice) and his dad visits 4 times a year. Even when we were Married he wanted only to be informed about what was happening in sons life, but really only wanted a loving uncle kind of role. I feel my son deserves the best relationship he can with his dad, so I encourage and reaffirm all contact and try to involve his dad in decision making of important stuff. I can’t control his future relationship with sons dad, but I can do my best. I am saddened to hear about women like your ex Who maneuver the dads out of kids lives. Thanks for your perspective. It was enlightening. I hear your pain, frustration and overwhelming despondency and can agree your situation would lead to being a marginalized
Person in your child’s life. Maybe there should be adverts shaming mothers of manipulating and posturing their children away from capable dads?

September 15, 2012 at 12:12 am
(35) Greg says:

I’m glad to see a few are trying hard to understand “dear ole divorced dad’s” point of view and why so many are just walking away. To begin to understand the true situation of a father’s frustration and the overwhelming despondency in what society has done in labeling all father’s as “dead beat dad’s” and marginalizing father’s not just with there own children but to all children in general is encouaging to read. Shaming mothers a bit would be ok, by showing that manipulating and posturing would be OK, but better I think to show that “good mothers” encourage and reaffirm having the Father there for the children, it also may help put capable fathering back into a better light for all children not just divorced children. Maybe kids would see having a mom and a dad is a good thing no matter what, even if they are divorced and see a balance in there lives. No shaming dads into the role, would be like shaming the children of absent parents. Not a good idea.
Thank you for you’re responses, sorry about the spelling, I work long hours, so being tried and sleepy is a problem.

November 8, 2012 at 11:53 am
(36) Malorie says:

I’m a little late in seeing this article and all of these comments, but I felt I had to ask something after reading several of these.

My son will be 3 in December. His father and I started the divorce process around his 1st birthday. Up until that point, his father never showed any interest in being a father or husband and I felt we would be better off not dealing with the stress of infidelity, drinking, anger, etc. Regardless, I do and have always believed that my son deserves to know and have his father in his life. My question is this…what can you do to promote this? He has visitation, but rarely implements it. He of course says that he loves our son which I don’t doubt. I’m sure deep down he does love him because it’s hard to completely deny that love for a child, but yet he rarely implements visitation. He will say he’s coming to see him then either cancels or just never mentions it again and doesn’t show up. On average he sees him about once a month sometimes as long as every 2 months. I can honestly and whole heartedly say I am not trying to alienate him out of our son’s life. I keep him updated on things that happen at daycare, acheivements he has made, I invite him to special occasions such as Halloween, birthdays, Christmas, etc. Usually he will attend those special events, but on the regular basis, his involvement is scarce like I’ve mentioned. I’ve struggled with this about whether his random involvement upsets my son more or if I should push on and encourage it regardless. I have even let him know when our son asks about him and said that he should come see him soon since he’s asked. He said he would and then never mentioned it again. I’m just at a loss of how much do you push, how much is really in your control, and do I continue to urge it for my son’s sake or is this sporatic involvement going to end up disappointing my son? Any thoughts are welcome.

Thanks.

February 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm
(37) nana says:

My daughter is 7. Her dad was not around for the 1st 4 years and then he decided to comback into her life. While he was gone, he had 2 more kids that he did not leave behind My daughter is currently struggling with the fact he was not ready to be her dad, but he was ready to be their dad. How do you explain that?
He is distant with her still and wants to be “dad” when it is convienent for him. There are times that he wants to see her every week and others where he will go months without seeing her.
I used to feel that having the “absent” parent in her life would make it a fuller life. I no longer feel that way.

February 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm
(38) Smith says:

I am a social worker who works with families where there is often an absent parent. Though most of these absent parents are dads, it is becoming an increasing trend that moms are now leaving their children with the ex or their parents to pursue their own lives. Women’s lib I guess.
I am also a father who has dealt with a vindictive and selfish mother who thinks she knows best. Though I was the primary care giver when we were together, though she many times told me and our friends that she could never stay home and be with the kids and that would be my job, when she decided that she had enough of the marriage she was the one who got the lion’s share of time with the kids. I started with about 35% time, but it has dwindled over the years to about 22%. My son is now 12 and I have begged her to let him be with me more because he is at a very pivotal stage in his life and needs to be with his dad more now, but she continues to deny this. My daughter is now 18, but a year ago she decided that she didn’t want to spend the night with me anymore and slowly started weening herself from me. I now see her about once a month and she almost never answers my calls or texts.
I have been to court about a dozen times. I have never slandered their mom’s parenting or the way she operates her home to the court. I have stated what my intentions are and why I think we should share equal time with the kids (by the way, we have always lived within 5 minutes of each other). Unfortunately, my ex works in family law and the court has never sided with me once in regard to custody. Though they once recommended co-parenting counseling at my ex’s request, she quit going when we only had 2 meetings left because it wasn’t going her way.

February 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm
(39) Smith says:

I have found that despite my ability to provide a stable home environment where the children have their own rooms, where we can effectively transfer the children and their belongings because of proximity, that I have been on the losing end of maintaining custody with my kids.
All that being said, I would never, NEVER, be absent from my kids’ lives because of my hurt or anger at the system or their mom. She has done some villaneous things to me, and I have shamefully reciprocated. I have lived under depression and had some horrible thoughts during that time, but once I was out of that fog, I was back to doing what I had to do and that was to be there for my kids. To chose not to is pure selfishness.
In the work that I do, though, I have seen many times that mom’s do not know who the father of their child is, they don’t put a name of the birth certificate (in my state the parent has to be present to have their name on it, so if the mother does not allow the father to be there which is her choice then it does not go on the certificate), that they allow another man to assume the role while leading them to believe that it is their child when they know that it is not, or where a mom moves away while pregnant to live with family somewhere else and the father has not idea.
If a mom presents the family as a package deal, and divorces the dad while making it difficult for him to access his children, or where she says negative things to the children about the father, for some men it is sadly easier to just walk away from it all. It is easy for them to wallow in their pain, but it is the children who suffer the most.

February 25, 2013 at 7:42 pm
(40) Smith says:

continued- I have found that despite my ability to provide a stable home environment where the children have their own rooms, where we can effectively transfer the children and their belongings because of proximity, that I have been on the losing end of maintaining custody with my kids.
All that being said, I would never, NEVER, be absent from my kids’ lives because of my hurt or anger at the system or their mom. She has done some villaneous things to me, and I have shamefully reciprocated. I have lived under depression and had some horrible thoughts during that time, but once I was out of that fog, I was back to doing what I had to do and that was to be there for my kids. To chose not to is pure selfishness.
In the work that I do, though, I have seen many times that mom’s do not know who the father of their child is, they don’t put a name of the birth certificate (in my state the parent has to be present to have their name on it, so if the mother does not allow the father to be there which is her choice then it does not go on the certificate), that they allow another man to assume the role while leading them to believe that it is their child when they know that it is not, or where a mom moves away while pregnant to live with family somewhere else and the father has not idea.
If a mom presents the family as a package deal, and divorces the dad while making it difficult for him to access his children, or where she says negative things to the children about the father, for some men it is sadly easier to just walk away from it all. It is easy for them to wallow in their pain, but it is the children who suffer the most.

April 9, 2013 at 3:06 am
(41) K8 says:

Tarnishing them will not work. My approach to my 6 year old son (has been since birth) has been to never speak of the other parent and no person in my family is to say anything negative about him.

Since he was two he has loved watching Disney movies, not sure if anyone is aware but a lot of these characters are single parents. Pinocchio, toy storiesMum, little mermaid, Cinderella etc etc. I simply stated that some boys have mummies, some have daddies and some have both.

He is not old enough to understand that a male is required to have made him. And if this parent has not made an effort this far then why destroy his innocence.

When the BIG talk comes – nothing would have changed except he will know that his DNA is made up of two people and not just of me. But unless this absent parent returns the moral of the story is still the same. He was made, loved and raised by his mother only.

If he ever asks about the absent father I will tell him positive things. If he asks why he left I will tell him he wasn’t ready to be a father and this had nothing to do with him.

If the absent parent has been gone since birth, I see no reason for that child to think of there absent father as anything more than non-existant.

April 9, 2013 at 3:06 am
(42) K8 says:

Tarnishing them will not work. My approach to my 6 year old son (has been since birth) has been to never speak of the other parent and no person in my family is to say anything negative about him.

Since he was two he has loved watching Disney movies, not sure if anyone is aware but a lot of these characters are single parents. Pinocchio, toy storiesMum, little mermaid, Cinderella etc etc. I simply stated that some boys have mummies, some have daddies and some have both.

He is not old enough to understand that a male is required to have made him. And if this parent has not made an effort this far then why destroy his innocence.

When the BIG talk comes – nothing would have changed except he will know that his DNA is made up of two people and not just of me. But unless this absent parent returns the moral of the story is still the same. He was made, loved and raised by his mother only.

If he ever asks about the absent father I will tell him positive things. If he asks why he left I will tell him he wasn’t ready to be a father and this had nothing to do with him.

If the absent parent has been gone since birth, I see no reason for that child to think of there absent father as anything more than non-existant.

August 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm
(43) sarah says:

I have a 6 year old who’s farther bounces in and out of his life, I have begged and pleaded for him to be involved, he is always making excuses for not showing up. I can’t and won’t beg anymore, he is an adult and if he chooses not to be involved that’s his choice, I’m done making myself stressed because of his choices. If my child asks about him ill be honest, lying is not going to make the sitation any better.

August 18, 2013 at 9:26 am
(44) ian says:

I have 3 children aged 3,6,11 I have been in there lives since they were born. My wife left 13months ago n for the first 7months just wanted to party so I saw my kids everyday n be ame the best dad I could. She has since met someone n now won’t let me see the kids, she told them they now have a new better daddy. I’m going to court to fight for them, but in the meantime if I contaxt her I’m told she will state I’m harassing her. I’m almost ata ppoint of giving up. For the record I still love my wife n even now would welcome her back to have my family together. But on the outside she tells ppl I throw her out n won’t see my kids, this is simply the opposite. My big worry is that kids may believe her one day

March 31, 2014 at 2:38 am
(45) Tatiana says:

My story is crazy well I was with my son’s father for 4 years we were engaged and happy or so I thought when I told him that I was pregnant the first thing he said was get an abortion I’m not ready for a kid he would say we can try to have another one later I was not about to do that so I left him and I decided to keep the baby and raise him by myself 2 days later he was at my house with his parents begging me to reconsider he promised he would be responsible and asked me to move in with him dumb me agreed we ended up moving into his parents house he said some really nasty things to my family so when I moved out it was against my family’s wishes I didnt have contact with them for a while which hurt so bad because we’re a close family living with him was a nightmare his family didnt seem to like me so I was all alone my son’s dad would leave me in the room for hours he would take my money he didnt care if I ate or not he didn’t really go to any ultrasound and the one he did go to he was testing the whole time him and his uncle would talk s*** about me everyday since his uncle paid for Internet and cable I was not allowed to watch Tv or listen to music or nothing I was forced to clean my ex would scream at me everyday made me cry sometimes made me sleep on the floor I cooked for him washed his clothes everything I never asked him gfor money exceptfor one time

April 22, 2014 at 8:57 am
(46) J0e3gan says:

Amen, @singledaddale! I am in the same boat – dealing with a mom who isn’t there for her son. Moms can be deadbeats too.

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