From the article: Child Abandoment: Help Your Child Cope With a Parent's Absence
Unfortunately, custody visitation plans aren't always written in stone. Things come up, plans change--and, in the process, little hearts get broken. When this has happened to your child--either because custody visitation plans were changed for a legitimate reason, or because the other parent has become a repetitive "no show," what have you learned to say or do what has been particularly helpful for your child? Share your thoughts here. Share Your Strategy
What About the Deadbeat Moms?
- My husband and I have custody of my stepdaughters and their mother has supervised visitations. Well, for the first she didn't show up, then she came for about 6 months; then she went back again to the no shows, no phone calls, and saying she's not coming... When she does talk to the girls all she does is scream at them, blame everyone else, and tell the girls they are an inconvenience to her... The oldest, who is 13, started cutting herself because "mommy doesn't love her," so we just stopped answering the phone when she does decide to call. We also told her not to bother coming anymore because her "when she decides to" attitude and brutal words are doing too much damage.
- —Guest stepmom of 2 beautiful girls
Bad Mothers Too
- I have been raising my stepson since he was 5. My husband was a single father when his son was 2 months old! His mother has been in and out of his life and now that he is older, I thought it would be easier, but it is not. He now looks for her on Facebook and calls her like crazy when my husband and I step out the room. He almost begs her to pick him up, and she says she will and then doesn't show. I can count on two hands the number of times she has picked him up in 8 years. She has two other children (daughters), and they are older. She went and gave them tattoos for Christmas and is happy with how they turned out -- bad, like her -- but I am not sure why he is acting like this when she has NEVER showed him any type of affection or love. He feels rejected, and I have even started therapy for him. I am currently taking her to court for failure to pay child support. All I can do is take the computer away and keep him in therapy. I always text her that I love her son and, "Thank you for being such a horrible mother!"
- —Guest Dealing with a bad mother
- After 4 no-shows in one month, I just simply made his life easier by not allowing any visitations. So if he wants to see them, he will have to go to court to get visitation rights with court ordered times. And if they're broken, guess what? He has revoked his own rights. I don't play nice with a man who's willing to intentionally hurt OUR kids. Until then, for all he knows, we don't exist. Because I've uprooted to a different state, obtained my master's degree, and have changed my number and blocked him from being able to email me. So I can take care of my children and place them around loving and supportive people who won't take them and their early years for granted. Yes, I'm cold, but my kids' hearts are filled with warmth!
- —Guest Proud mommy
What about forced abandonment?
- We rip fathers for "abandoning" their children. Certainly, there are some worthy of that. However, there are a much greater selection of fathers who have been abused by laws that, while they claim to support both parents, are clearly motivated toward protecting women and forcing the male figure out of the children's lives. I had such a thing happen to me. Though I have always paid child support, I was blocked from previously agreed-upon visitation by my x-wife after announcing the conception of a new child to my children. There has never been any legal complaint filed against me. Yet, the courts not only failed to uphold my rights as a father, they made them effectually non-existent. So, as I walk out of my children's lives, I do it because of a crooked justice system that fails to uphold the truth of the matter. It will look like I abandoned them, but in reality the primary custody parent blocked, smothered and killed my relationship with my children.
- —Guest John
Now it's Too Late, but Easier
- My son's dad lived overseas, but I tried to set up regular Skype calls, etc. But there was always an excuse or lateness or just nothing (& sometimes requests for money). In the end, I stopped trying, and my 6-year-old just accepted that while he had a dad, he just wasn't here. This month, his dad had a car accident, died, and was buried before we even knew. It was the hardest thing to ever tell a child, as the concept is just not there yet. But I know that as he gets older, he'll know more about what an opportunity his dad gave up and could never get back. But at least now, it's easier for him to say my dad is dead than give a full explanation of why his dad isn't here. I think Obama is a great example of a child that grew up with an absent father and a strong mother, and who took his own opportunities. I know I can point to great sons in the world and great moms, and I'm confident that we did our best.
- —Guest Ms Bery
Texts Each Month
- My son is four, and I'm pregnant with my second child. His dad dropped him off over a year ago and said he didn't want to ever see him again. Right in front of our son! Now that I'm pregnant, he now "wants" him back. But he only texts me every month to let me know that I “ruined his life.” He has made some plans to come over and spend time with our son, but he never texts then or shows up. The only time I hear from him is when I've apparently done something wrong. It's always about child support and how I'm a bad parent for spending the little $81 every two weeks on our son. I've dealt with the questions: "Does my daddy hate me?" and "Why does that boy have a daddy?" It's heartbreaking. But I tell him that he has so many people in his life that are worth a million daddies. Sometimes it works, but other times I just have to say some daddies aren't ready to be daddies. It's still a struggle, and I don't put down his dad. But we make it through...
- —Guest fed up
- My son is 5 now, and for the last year has not seen his dad. Well, on Friday - out of the blue - he showed up (and, yes, I keep track of who's weekend it is ). He has tried telling me it's my fault, that I wouldn't tell so-and-so to pick him up... Well, needless to say, he asked our 5-year-old, "Do you want to come to my house?" My son said, "No, thank you. But you can visit with me." His dad so no. Me and my 5-year-old are close, and he does tell me, "Mom, my daddy don't love me." I try to say he does; it's just that the other baby takes up his time, but my son knows better. What can I do after a year of him not showing up, and now he wants to? And my son freaks out; he starts crying and screaming that he doesn't want to go.
- —Guest mom27
- All I can say is that the pain of not having a father physically around can be so unbearable. I hate my dad, and I remember being so jealous of other kids who did have a father-figure.
- —Guest Fatherless
He Left as Well
- All the theories in the world don't change the hurt of being abandoned. May God show them in tenfold what they've done to their children!
- —Guest S
She Doesn't Miss What She Never Had
- My daughter is 13 now. Her dad left when she was 6 months old. He never came back, never paid any support, never asked to see her or ever sent her a birthday card. Its like she just wasn't anyone he ever knew. She is happy, healthy, caring, kind hearted, and a very loving person. I'm proud to be her mom! She was told her dad wasn't ready to be a dad. He wanted to have fun with his friends and not have to pay bills all the time, so he left. She understood and has never asked about him. She is loved and she knows that I've worked hard to make her content. It's his loss!
- —Guest pa mom
"You Should Have Picked a Better Dad..."
- Yep, that's what my daughter said to me after (yet again) her father failed to call. Fortunately/unfortunately he has no legal rights to our child whatsoever, but I try to keep the contact. It's hard to see your child suffering and know that ultimately your choices brought this on. So we deal with the disappointment and the anger. I try to always create our "Special" time at least three times a week. We'll go have ice cream, to a movie, or a park. I always tell my daughter that her father loves her, but sometimes he just doesn't think. That leads into a discussion of the "How comes?" "How come daddy doesn't call, see me, care...?" The list goes on. So I try to focus on the good things and I always tell her how thankful and grateful I am to have her. I tell her that I must have done something very special for God to have given her to me. Then she smiles and our lives go on, until the next time her father calls (which is usually months later) and we repeat the process.
None of that works
- None of this stuff works with a stubborn kid when he just lost his dad. I am a teenager and yes I did just have my dad walk out on my family of 8. Before this we had an example family my oldest brother was valedictorian at our 5a high school, but now my grades have fallen because I can't ever sleep at night. My mom has taken me to therapy once and it was the stupidest thing ever and my mom doesnt have enough money for all that and supplying for us. You see she doesn't work so times are getting really tough. And my dad just recently got a job in Tennessee which means i will problably never see him again.
- —Guest T.S.
"I Wish I Had a Daddy"
- I have custody of both my grandchildren. One is a 6-year-old boy and the other is a 9-year-old girl. The girl used to have to take a lot of cruel words from kids after school at day care, telling her that she is a loser because she doesn't have a Dad. I told her she does have a father. Our Heavenly Father and he will always love her and never forsake her. She still wishes for an earthly father, but I told her that God will send her the right one, when the time is right.
- —Guest Deborah
Dealing with Absence
- I have two beautiful children. One is 7, and he has been abandoned by his father since July of 2006, and before then had only had 6 supervised visits from 2004-2006. My daughter is 3 1/2 and ever since we moved from my ex-finance's back in 2008, he has been extremely absent with his biological daughter and abandoned my son. (He had been a close male figure for my son during the time we were together.) From time to time, sporadically, he will visit with my daughter only and possibly take her for a weekend day, or once in a while a one night sleepover. My son, who used to be included, has now been forgotten and dumped to the side by two selfish, inconsistent, unhealthy men. And these parents still have the right to visitation? The right to pick when they will parent, to become active in the child's life! It is unbelievable to me that more has not been done to protect our children. Become a fan on face book: "In Their Absence." Support our children, and let's raise awareness about emotional abuse!
Dealing With No-Shows
- Unfortunately, this is a situation we deal with often. My boys are young (4 and 2) so I try to keep things vague and not tell them when Dad is coming until the last minute. When I do tell them, I make sure to frame it as "Daddy is going to TRY to see you this weekend." When he cancels, I try to get him to talk to the boys, but he usually refuses. Even if he gives them a lame or vague excuse, it does help for them to hear it from him. As others have said, I don't ever bad-mouth him. Just "Daddy thought he'd be able to see you today, but something happened, and he'll see you again soon." I tell them that it's OK to be sad or disappointed, and then try to spend some extra quality time with them to make up for it. It still breaks my heart when my 4 year old says, "Daddy told us he was coming, but he lied."
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