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What to tell your kid when their dad is not involved

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Dear Emma,

When my daughter was six months old, her dad left and more or less never showed up again. There were a few visits for a few years, and a couple of visits to family court for child support, but since then we have not heard or seen from him. My daughter is now 8 years old.

We don't talk about it much and I feel like it isn't such a huge deal. She is a great kid — does well in school, has lots of friends and is polite. We are close with my parents and siblings, who live nearby. I am glad that I get her all to myself and don't have to share custody like some of my divorced friends. Sometimes people say things to me like, “I feel so bad for her that she doesn't know her father.” She never mentions her dad, and I feel like she doesn't care. She doesn't know any different. What should I tell all these rude people who judge our situation?

— Shannon

Dear Shannon,

I’m not worried about your rude neighbors. I am worried about you and your daughter.

Absentee fatherhood is a huge, complicated problem in this country. Incarceration, a culture and family court system that presumes fathers are incompetent, and other lack of support for shared parenting are among the causes for the fact that just 22 percent of fathers who don’t live with their kids see them once per week or more, according to Pew Research, and nearly a third never see their kids.

This, of course, is heart-breaking for your child, and stressful for you as a single mom.  If your child’s dad is not, or marginally involved, there are a few guiding principles for addressing your child’s concerns and questions.

Father not involved in child’s life? What do you do?

Every family is different, but here are some things to consider:

Work on co-parenting

If there is some communication, take the opportunity to improve co-parenting. Men are typically marginalized as secondary parents, and statistically likely to duck out of their kids’ lives if they have limited visits and a high-conflict relationship.

How to co-parent, even with a toxic ex

Types of co-parenting

Why 50/50 parenting is best for kids

Out now from Sourcebooks:

The 50/50 Solution: The Surprisingly Simple Choice that Makes Moms, Dads, and Kids Happier and Healthier after a Split

by Emma Johnson

Cover of The 50/50 Solution book by Emma Johnson.

Face your own anger at your kids' father

You may be angry that he gets to check out and expects you to take on the extra responsibility. That is a legit complaint! You may consider taking him to family court and demanding an equal parenting schedule. 

Missing dads are always an issue

But don’t pretend there is no issue. You, your child, and together as a family you may benefit from individual therapy or group therapy.

Looking for your kid's dad, but not sure where to start?

Background check tools like TruthFinder can be free or affordable ways to find people online you have lost touch with — or never knew.

TruthFinder has a free trial and A+ BBB rating.

What to say to your child when his dad is not involved:

1. Be honest. Don’t say he died if he didn’t. Never say “He’s working far away.” Your child deserves the truth, even if it is painful for both of you to address.

2. Be kind, and keep your feelings out of it. “Being a parent is really hard for some people, and your dad wasn’t ready to be a parent yet.”

3. As you will do in your relationship with your child’s father, as well as in your own heart, you will keep the door open to future, improved relationships. At the same time, be very careful not to nurture false hope in your child. It’s a tough balance, but an important one. Note in the “yet” in the sample script above.

4. Answer all their questions. “I’ll tell you when you’re older,” or “We don’t talk about that in our family.” These create the notion of secrets, and secrets foster shame, self-hatred, and lack of trust.

5. Highlight the fact that there are all kinds of families, and every family is whole. Even if it feels silly, as you go through your day, or are watching movies or TV, point out gay families, interracial families, kids being raised by grandparents, multigenerational households, friends who live together, foster and adoptive families, how some groups of friends create families, and on and on. Then, name the people in your family — blood relatives, friends, your neighborhood network. Do this enough and nuclear, married, straight families start to seem like the weirdoes!

6. That said, do not dismiss or minimize pain that a child experiences by his father being absent from his life. It might be really, really hard to hear, but listen. It sucks to feel like you’re the only kid at school whose dad isn’t around. It hurts like hell when your birthday comes around and your father doesn’t call. You worry you did something wrong, or you’re unlovable, or deeply flawed — no matter how great your mom and life are.

My father was mostly not part of my life after age 8, and there was no space for me to talk about it. Growing up with my mom, I heard no positive stories about my father, and no space for any of us to ask questions, or to share hurt feelings about the matter. The few times I remember asking about my dad, I was just reminded of how good our life was, which only made me feel stupid and selfish for feeling so horrible for not having an involved father.

I think my mom felt really bad about the situation, and didn’t know how to deal with her own feelings, much less her kids’. Fast-forward to today, after plenty of therapy and other ways of processing my daddy issues, I now find myself answering my children’s questions about why they don’t know their paternal grandfather. While your son or daughter is not your bartender, talking with your child openly can be a wonderful way to heal your own heart, too.

7. Do not always wait for your child to ask. For many reasons, your child may not bring up the fact that her father isn’t part of her life. It is up to you to talk about it very early, even earlier than you may think reasonable. One day, when my daughter came home from school and said, “Today Sofia talked about how both our parents are divorced.” She was 3! Even as a toddler your child sees her friends with two parents. Movies and TV shows and books are powerful messages, consisting almost always of a mother and father. It is your responsibility to address this, even if she doesn’t initiate the discussion.

8. Remember: Life is long. The questions will continue throughout your life, and each conversation at each age will lend new perspective and healing for both you, your child, as well as your relationship with each other.

What are the effects of fatherlessness?

Often, articles and even academic studies cite that 1-in-4 kids grow up fatherless, even though that figure is based on U.S. Census data that a quarter of children in the United States are raised in a home led by a single mother. However, most of those kids have a relationship with their dads, including in 50-50 time-sharing families. 

However, a lack of meaningful involvement with either parent is often devastating to a child—especially if that parent is alive, and ostentibally able to be involved if he chooses. 

Based on an analysis of dozens of studies, the federally funded Fatherhood Initiative reports that a child who grows up without meaningful time with his or her father, that child is more likely to struggle with:

  • Poor academic performance 
  • Emotional struggles 
  • Drop out 
  • Early sexual activity and teen pregnancy 
  • Incarceration 
  • Employment, long-term 
  • Mental and physical health issues 

Being abandoned as a child often produces adults who struggle to trust friends, colleagues or romantic partners. They may struggle with self-esteem, having an early message that they are unworthy of unconditional love. Adults with abandonment issues may unconsciously push people away, and repeat distant behaviors with their loved ones.

Alternatively, adults with a fear of abandonment may lack boundaries and be overly needy and dependent in an attempt to protect themselves.

When a parent is absent from a child’s life — no matter by choice, imprisonment or death — it is a loss. It is a loss for that child and a loss for those who love her.

Your child may ask you:

“Who is my dad?”

“How is my dad?”

“How old is my dad?”

“Where is my dad?”

“Where can I find my dad?”

“Why is my dad so mean?”

“Is my dad dead?”

We are all socially conditioned and predisposed with a deep need to know both our mother and our father. Socially, it is easy to understand that the majority of people grow up living with both a mother and a father — and nearly everyone else knows both parents. That is the norm. Your daughter is very aware that her family does not look like other families. She understands deeply that most of her friends have relationships with their dads and she does not.

We are biologically half our mothers and half our fathers. Humans have an intrinsic need for family. We yearn to know our relatives so that we can better know ourselves. When we are raised apart from our families, homelands and extended cultures, there is a sense of loss that transcends our daily experience.

This explains why people who are adopted are compelled to find their birth parents — no matter how wonderful their adoptive families. This also explains why humans are driven to visit their ancestral homelands, even when they are removed from the place by generations. This is why companies like DNA mapping companies and are so successful, and genealogy is among the most popular hobbies in the United States — and world.

Not every person will know both their parents. This is a fact. This does not mean that your daughter does not have a fantastic life, or that she is a wonderful child who will grow up to be a happy, productive and lovely adult.

But that does not mean that the process will be easy.

Before you can support your child, you must address your own loss and grief.

When your ex-husband left and abandoned your daughter, he also abandoned you — both as a husband but more to the point here, as a co-parent. You also suffered a loss in that you do not have someone to help raise your daughter — even if it means separately, as divorced parents. You do not have anyone to enjoy their sweet habits, or commiserate on the daily challenges of parenthood. You do not enjoy a happy co-parenting arrangement that gives you a break. Most of all, you suffer because deep down you know that your daughter is hurt. That, for any mother, is devastating.

This situation can be changed. But you must take action.

First, you must recognize the situation for what it is: A huge, giant, grave loss. It may not be your fault. Maybe it is. But it is your responsibility as a parent to address it. First, acknowledge how this has affected you personally. Lean into that pain. Right now you are avoiding that pain, which is why you are dismissing it in your daughter. Just sit with it. Cry, scream, punch the refrigerator or write him an angry letter you never send. Whatever is your way, go there.

Then, recognize that he is human. When a parent abandons a child, that parent is deeply wounded. There is a reason they cannot fulfill their responsibility. They do not recognize they are worthy of being needed, or can bring value to another person’s life. Your ex misses out — in a very major way — of the joy of raising and loving his child. He also suffers knowing that he deeply hurts her. Every day.

Recognizing this is part of the process of forgiveness. It involves empathy and grace. It will take time. But you must get there — for your sake, and that of your daughter.

While you work through that, you must now face your daughter.

Talk with her. Say: “I’ve been thinking a lot about your dad. I imagine you do, too. How do you feel about the fact you don’t know him?”

Ask her how she feels when she visits friends who live with their dads — or have visitation schedules with both their divorced parents. Tell her about her father, how you met him, what you liked and loved about him. Tell her stories about your time with him, and stories he told you about his life. Tell her about his family and jokes he told. Ask her what she’d like to know about him. Answer honestly — including about the part where he left. And why he doesn’t call. If you don’t know how to answer some questions, say so. “I wish I knew, but I don’t.”

That is just the first conversation.

Have another the next week.

And the next.

You may not have weekly conversations about your daughter’s father for the rest of your lives. But get into a habit of talking about him. About her father. Give her permission to ask, and to feel. Do not sugar coat the information, or your own feelings. Especially as she gets older, tell her what really went down, and how absolutely infuriated you were — and maybe still are. By recognizing your feelings and sharing them honestly with her, you give her permission to recognize and honor her own, complex and human feelings.

Only then can both of you move forward with a full, wonderful — and complex — life you were meant to have.

A definitive list of 7 co-parenting boundaries you need to know

Why fathers are absent in their children’s lives?

There are many reasons that explain fatherlessness. These reasons include:

  • Parental alienation, as this father explains
  • He did not want to be a father in the first place
  • Conflict with the mother was too much
  • The father cannot afford child support, and pursuing more parenting time means increased risk of going to jail
  • He doesn’t feel confident as a father — and with minimal parenting time each month, it is hard to grow as a dad

How co co-parent with a narcissistic or toxic ex

If a father doesn’t want to be involved, is this child abandonment or fatherlessness?

If a non-custodial parent — mother or father — is found to have willingly abandoned the child, they may lose parental rights depending on state law and a judge’s ruling. This can mean that the father is not allowed to have visitation or legal rights to his child. It can also mean that in the absence of other safe adults to care for the child, the child will be taken into the welfare system, including foster care.

There are Safe Haven laws in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, which decriminalize the leaving of unharmed infants at a police station, fire station or hospital so that the child becomes a ward of the state. 

Outside of safe haven laws, parents technically cannot voluntarily forfeit their parenting responsibilities without facing criminal consequences. 

While all states have child support policies and laws that force (in theory) parents to contribute financially to their children, there is no mandate for non-custodial parents to participate in the physical caring of children.

Child abandonment laws usually apply when a custodial parent or guardian fails to care for a child, leaves them with another adult for long periods without contact, and sometimes leaves a child alone at home, unattended.

The laws on these issues vary from state-to-state, and sometimes apply to non-custodial parents, but not typically.

Child abandonment may be an emotionally traumatic experience, though not a criminal one.

Proving child abandonment may be required to win full legal and/or physical custody of a child. Parents who wish to relocate with a child may want to prove abandonment or have the child adopted by a step-parent or other adult.

These are examples that a court may consider criminal child abandonment by a custodial parent or guardian, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services’s Children’s Bureau:

  • Leaving a child with another person without making arrangements to care for or communicate with the child for three or more months
  • Failing to maintain a regular visitation schedule for at least six months
  • Abandoning an infant in an unsafe place — as most states have ‘safe haven laws’ that allow mothers to leave their newborns in designated places such as a hospital, police station or church without facing criminal charges.
  • Leaving the child home alone in a situation deemed unsafe
  • Otherwise failing to provide care, support or reasonable resources (food, clothing, heat) for a child you are responsible for

Fatherlessness, meanwhile, refers simply to kids who grow up without an involved dad, for whatever reason.

Absent father now wants contact: What to do

Does an absent father have rights?

Increasingly, courts favor keeping families connected if possible. This includes reuniting children with willing fathers who have been absent from their lives, as well as recognize legal joint custody when considering matters such as where a child goes to school, where the child lives, and religious and medical decisions — regardless of the father’s or mother’s actual participation in the child’s life.

That means that even though a father is not involved with their kids today, there is an opportunity for them to be involved going forward.

Does an absent father feel guilty?

Many fathers who do not see their children regularly do feel guilty they are not more involved, or feel angry that they feel they were kept from being involved with their children. Parents who do not see their kids often miss them very much.

Movies and books on absent fathers and shared parenting:

Recommended shared parenting documentary: Divorce Corp

Kickass Single Mom, Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, By: Emma Johnson

Blend, The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, By: Mashonda Tifrere

Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You, By: by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD and Paul R Fine, LCSW

Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing, By: Dr. Richard A. Warshak

Is your child’s father not as involved as he should be? How do you deal with it? What mistakes have you made? What advice can you share with other parents? Share in the comments…

Single mom parenting after divorce. My kid's dad is not involved and I don't know what to say to her. First, you must recognize the situation for what it is: A huge, giant, grave loss. It is not your fault. It is life. But it is your responsibility as a parent to address it.
What are the effects of fatherlessness?

Being abandoned as a child often produces adults who struggle to trust friends, colleagues or romantic partners. They may struggle with self-esteem, having an early message that they are unworthy of unconditional love. Adults with abandonment issues may unconsciously push people away, and repeat distant behaviors with their loved ones.

Why fathers are absent in their children’s lives?

There are many reasons that explain fatherlessness: parental alienation, conflict with mother, can't afford child support, and more.

Does an absent father have rights?

Increasingly, courts favor keeping families connected if possible. This includes reuniting children with willing fathers who have been absent from their lives, as well as recognize legal joint custody when considering matters such as where a child goes to school, where the child lives, and religious and medical decisions — regardless of the father’s or mother’s actual participation in the child’s life.

Does an absent father feel guilty?

Many fathers who do not see their children regularly do feel guilty they are not more involved, or feel angry that they feel they were kept from being involved with their children. Parents who do not see their kids often miss them very much.


What would you recommend telling a child with no father who was conceived out of rape? This is the case with me and I was onboard with having my baby as soon as I found out I was pregnant cuz gods will is mine but for the last 8 months I have anxiety thinking about what I will tell her. I am not a liar and I believe the more we speak with children the broader their understanding is but it’s such a severe situation I wouldn’t know how to tell her.

Any advice please….. my daughter is 9yrs old her father wasn’t the best to begin with wasn’t around when I was pregnant barley around when she was a baby but she doesn’t remember any of that he started been involved properly when she was around 4yrs old, and I mean having her 50% of the time which was fantastic so I could work etc. He didn’t help financially because he had no job but anyway I really didn’t mind because they had a fantastic bound, August last year he suddenly left with out a trace of where he had gone after some digging I’d found out he’d moved back to his home town of London we live in the north of England so a 2 hour train journey, he told me mentally he needed to go back he wasn’t in a good place I understood because we had a good friendship. But then come the hard part I have to explain all this to my daughter (also he has another child he walked away from when he was a baby who he has only just started seeing now he’s grown up and back to London where his child has been living since he left to come to the north when he meet me) anyway all that aside I had to then explain to my daughter her farther had gone I told her the truth he wasn’t feeling well in his mind and wanted to be near his family. And I needed space and would call her when he is feeling better. 6 weeks went by and he started calling her she seemed pleased with that he made a trip to see her before Xmas she was so excited. But when she didn’t finally see him she was very quite and wanted to come home to me. She got very upset and said it felt strange been with him and she felt she didn’t know him anymore. She has been having support in school and is suffering rejection and attachment issues now from myself before all this stated may I add my father died of cancer (her grandad) whom was like a dad to her so that’s all ready a loss she suffered before her farther left. He’s now started trying to come out for a few days every school holidays but the past 2 times he has come she has refused to see him refused to answer his calls when he rings she says it’s to upsetting and like loosing him all over again when he goes back to London. And what’s the point it getting upset to see him for a few hours. I’ve never forced the situation and just rolled with her feelings any thoughts on If I’m doing the right thing? And just going with what she wants part of he’s is sad and protecting her myself and her heart, but she is also angry and says she only needs me in her life and her step farther (my partner who’s been like a dad since she was 4 yrs old) any help would be perfect please I’m so worried thinking am I doing the right thing or will she regret me not forcing her to seem him when she’s older. She is very strong minded and advance for 9 also thanks in advance

She will never think her relationship with her father is important unless you think it’s important and model that behavior. And it is important. It’s her father, good bad or otherwise. I think she’s acting out with anger because she’s hurting for the time lost. You should emphasize that it wasn’t forever, that everyone makes mistakes (including parents), and what’s important is that you learn from them and change. Remember she is 9, and no matter how advanced, does not have the ability or maturity to make decisions regarding what is BEST for her or what she needs in her life. Her intense emotions are proof that things are not O.K. inside her. Either the way she thinks, feels, or perceives the situation is obviously severely out of whack and should be addressed. Her refusing to see him or answer his calls is a 9 year old making decisions completely based on emotions (generated by 9 year old perception of the situation). Your intuition is screaming at you it seems. And it should! Your perception of the situation is extremely absurd……”will she regret you not forcing her to see him…” She will not look back and regret anything she did at 9 years old because as an adult it is ridiculous to hold someone accountable for decisions and actions they had at 9 years old! She will not regret it but she will be angry at you for not being the voice of reason, the logical decision maker who isn’t caught up in the emotion of the situation, and for not doing what is best for her. Which, at the very least, is to acknowledge her feelings, treat her dad with respect, and start working through her feelings that are effecting her so terribly so that she can process them and move forward and be happy. Don’t think that her feelings about her dad are ONLY effecting her when he calls or sees her. They are obviously hurting her often and triggering her experiences with abandonment. As are you, who seemingly would rather take the easy way out, let a 9 year old take responsibility for the quality of the relationship with her own parent, and avoid learning any form of resilliancy and understanding for someone who she had such a bond with. She is abandoning that relationship to protect herself from getting abandoned in the future. Thats where the intense emotion is coming from….fear, pain, and anger! But I guess you should just let her roll with it!

I would do anything to see my kids and know that they are ok. I would go to jail or die today if I could just see my kids a picture anything it’s literally killing me everyday. When the whole story comes out about my wife she was a great mom but I was never in love with her I tried to do the right thing and get married we had another child and then we both agreed to part ways. I did eventually got into some trouble went to jail for a year on a charge that didn’t even fit what I actually did (not what the paper says the charge is … they build the charges up to make people look bad) I got out was working again 7 days a week she started letting me see the kids again until the day I signed the divorce papers . At the christiansburg mall I heard from others she was living with people here and there. 6 months ago her cousin said she even stopped talking to them. I’ve reached out for help over and over. I’m not gonna lie this past year has been the roughest of my life I just want to know they are ok!

I think a single mom (by choice, necessity, or tragedy) can do a wonderful job of raising a child, but there is still something (someone) lacking, and it will affect the child negatively to some degree.
My fiancee dumped me only a couple months after learning she was pregnant. We were young, and I was nervous, but committed.
I failed to change her mind, tried getting through to her father, looked into legal options, attempted contact, and since my daughter turned 18, have reached out to her.
Nothing has yielded any positive result (that I’m aware of). I just keep hoping someday she will want to contact me and do so.
Her mother has been married twice, lived with at least two guys, and had other serious relationships.
My daughter has had problems with self-esteem and picked up some bad habits (some from her mother), but all I’m able to do is send good thoughts her way. I wish for a knock on my door or something.
Thank goodness for internet, as it has allowed me to keep some track of her and see what she looks like over the years.
I once saw a blog she had for a short time, and it seems she has been told lies about me (her blog statements were vague so I don’t know exactly).
I will freely admit I am flawed, but feel I could still benefit her in some ways. I just don’t know if there’s any way to do anything but wait and “hope” for the best.

This is TERRIBLE “advice”!!!!!
I will NEVER sit with my girls and pretend to tell them there are good things about their biological father!!!! I have no reason to accommodate his absence, his selfishness, his hatred for himself, nor anything else for the pain he causes my girls!
Due to his unhealthy habits, treatment and actions towards me, I buffer ANY contact from my girls and replace him with HEALTHY male role models such as my father, brother, and brother in-law.
This response is absolutely RIDICULOUS! I agree with Shannon: it’s a blessing to not have him involved to share parenting time and decisions and day-to-day things that would be unbearable tension and argument filled if the father WERE involved!
Shannon: you should tell your neighbors/”friends” to direct their sympathy towards someone who needs it, which is not your daughter. You should remind them you two have a great time on your own and with the support of your loving, PRESENT family and that is just fine.
I can’t believe this response. Emma, you are a terrible and judgemental person who shouldn’t be allowed to comment let alone dole out “advice” to vulnerable mothers or persons of any kind.

Dear Emma
Sorry I just found this and I have situation.
My husband to be id’s tangled up n in na long and ugly divorce. He has 2 sons one 2 other 4. Their mother tells them he has died. He supports them. When every he is in the country he has to pay supervisors to oversee visit cause she obtained a protection order under false accusations. Chase still in process.
The oldest is now acting rebellious and is getting a bit aggressive. How do gee help him? I love the boys. New also had a psychologist evaluate everyone. It does not look good for her.
She might even be prosecute for attempted kidnapping allionnation fraud and falsifying documetatio and contempt of court.
Our worry his the boys now hand how to help them.

Good understanding of the denial aspect! That is so important – to grieve the loss for yourself, helps you explain or support the sadness of your child. I’m very blessed that my son shares his feelings easily and could talk about stuff. If he missed his dad I empathised and gave him a hug. We pray for his dad. As he got older I was more open about the reason dad is not here, appropriate to his understanding. As time went on and he knew that dad made some unkind choices he would cry and talk about it and eventually the pain was less and less. I apologised for my part in not choosing the right person to be his dad.

The only difference in my own situation is that the father is not missing his child. He doesn’t care about the child because of his own severe mental health issues. Your line is “He also suffers knowing that he deeply hurts her. Every day.” Sadly in our case that’s not true.

I know he knows he hurt his child, because it was a goal of his. In part it was in order to escape responsibility and have an excuse not to look after him anymore. Also revenge, to hurt me. So there is an exception to the part about him thinking about the child’s well-being, some men (psychopathic ones) are only thinking about themselves. If taking care of a child is not rewarding in some way to him, he’s not fussed to be involved and not feeling guilt about it.

It’s nice to know you’re not the only one who goes through these challenges!

I’m also a single mom- also a Shannon- of a(n almost) 9 month old who is AMAZING! I’m amazed at all the family situations. And honestly, amazed in a good way. Collectively we are REALLY exploring and interested in knowing EVERY possible situation both romantically and as family. I love that at this point in time we have a huge freedom to choose how to navigate that path. I love that all of our kids can look to us and say “Wow my mom(s) and/or dad(s) were not only living their lives with us- they also actively and consciously engaged with others even (especially?) with those they disagree with!” Think about it. Just a generation ago, instead of having these open discussions or consulting a wide network of people the option was pretty much therapy and deal. Now- look at all of us connecting! I love that we get to pick a little bit of what works here and there and put it all together for what works for us individually. I love that because when we all get to do what works individually, it doesn’t take long- maybe a generation- before it hits the collective. Oh. And I love my baby’s father too. I love that when she’s old enough she can ask about him to any degree she’d like- and I love that she has some really magical and important roles in our relationship story. I love that no matter what goes on physically that there’s a greater connection there- it’s not only he and I but it’s enough to call forward and inspire another life, and I know that spiritual place of connection isn’t just about us 3. I know that because certain things aren’t simply coincidences. I love that her father is creating his own place in her life even though there has been no contact in months because that symptom of “no contact” could- and VERY likely does- mean he’s getting health, happiness, and other answers he needs in his life! I love that our paths crossed even for the brief time that they did if that’s the only time they ever will- call it being young and dumb OR call it being inspired and passionate- because I love my life more now than ever before. I love that I am now in a place where I wonder a LOT abot future relationships. Because I never pictured myself married or inspired or worthy of having an uplifting relationship but after ALL this past 2 years- I not only picture it I know it’s coming, and in fact it’s already here because I just feel amazing. I feel amazing as a mama, I feel happier every day, I am so in tune with my baby girl and open to her. I love that she is free to have HER experiences and relationships and that my role is to set a stage of trust in that knowledge and feeling of innate wholeness that we all come here with. I love that she gets mad at me (specifically in the car lol she hates the car seat and I don’t often drive with her) she expresses herself! I love that she wakes up smiling every morning and after each nap because she gets to start fresh and I love the evidence of that fresh satisfaction.

I could go on forever in infinite directions about what I love in relation to this topic- both topical to the article and personal- and in fact I think in my life I am going on forever in that direction. Because if we look at the BIG picture, put things in the furthest zoomed-out way, I think we could sum everything up by saying “We love our kids.” Which is really- really- REALLY powerful and always worth coming back to!

While this advice is great for some families in some situations, you come across as very judgy. Who are you to think you know this mother’s child better than she does? My biological father walked out and terminated his parental rights when I was 6. I have memories of him. I never felt a loss. At 14 I started to ask questions and talk about meeting him but really I just wanted to meet my half siblings born after he abandoned me. My mother explained that she would help and support me in that, but that they might not know I even exist and it could destroy their lives. I opted not to reach out and never regretted it. My mom remarried, he adopted me, and that’s my dad. Simple as that. No psycholoical scars. No grief. No loss. Of course, he was horrifically abusive so there wasn’t much to miss. I understand my experience isn’t universal, and many kids will grieve, but not so many you automatically assume there’s a big gaping hole in their life. My daughter’s biological father also was abusive. We ran from him and he terminated all contact I allowed him two months later. That was 3 years ago and my daughter has never grieved. We talk about him. I tell her that the truth was that he was very, very mentally ill and knew the best thing he could do for her was let her have a peaceful life with a mommy who would take good care of her and keep her safe. We’ve even explored her feelings in therapy and her therapist reports she doesn’t think he made any real lasting impact on her. One day that might change, but right now she’s not feeling any loss and bonded strongly to my new husband who has unofficially (for now) adopted her as his own. Beyond that, I have experience working in child protective services and in various treatment programs for behaviorally challenged children. I find most of the kids are pretty well adjusted and don’t miss the absent parent of they’ve got a good remaining one. Kids aren’t morons. They know when someone isn’t good for them. Some kids are devastatingly impacted but for you to tell this concerned mom she’s invalidating her child’s feelings… Get out of here with that bs. It’s untrue and unnecessarily mean. If Mom thinks everything is good and her kid is acting normal and they have an open line of communication, let the problem actually happen before you imagine one into existence. Every therapist I’ve ever seen (for post partum ptsd) had wanted to pin my issues on my biological father and it’s annoying when the reason I’m actually there is because i had a traumatic premature birth and then was treated like a piece of meat while they continuously made dangerous mistakes with my child. Was it really all my bio father’s fault? Or maybe, just maybe, could I be upset because they almost killed my baby and tried to discharge me 10 minutes before I started bleeding out? Just saying…

Ugh! I will not be explaining to my 4 year old why her father (my ex husband) is absent! He is in prison and will be a registered sex offender once he is out. She accepts that he lives very far away but wishes he could be here. I want my little girl to live a happy untainted life for as long as possible. When she is old enough to understand I WILL TELL HER! She will be able to draw her own conclusions about her absent father. My 13 year old knows why her biological father is absent and her ex step father. She’s lost her father figure twice and believe me it has hurt her more knowing the why than if I shielded her from it for a while longer.

TBH, this country has made men the way they are. The media, the government, other men and especially women! If everyone wants them to be the responsible, strong, and confident men then it’s going to take all of us! every man, women, and child. We have taken from men and boys the only thing they were ever good at, “Purpose”. I recommend the book ” The Boy Crisis” by Warren Farell. Only then will you see.

Fathers abandoning their children is a tale as old as time. Countless historical examples. Sometimes going to the store and never coming back, sometimes being a serial family starter, but abandoned nonetheless. This tendency to romanticize the past is not uncommon in a rapidly changing world, but it’s a fantasy.
While fathers today may face a unique set of challenges (as they have in many other time periods), blaming nefarious “others” for ones own failure to be a father is ridiculous. Everyone is accountable for their own actions. And studies into fatherlessness show that a very high number of abandoning fathers had highly unrealistic expectations of what fatherhood would entail, and highly unrealistic expectations of the relationship with the mother. When one or both didn’t live up to said expectations, they thought it easiest to just start over. Often these types have a very low threshold for shame, and thus abandon their child when they feel they’ve “disappointed” the child or failed at some point as a father. Instead of putting away their pride and accepting that a child needs a constant but flawed father rather than a perfect one.

Blaming some nefarious societal breakdown as is so common with reactionaries, is an insult to the many fathers who chose to not abandon their children through great personal challenges.

Mothers who hide children from their dads should realize that with dna websites, we will find each other one day. The devastation is that we miss out on raising them, holding them and playing with them when they are young. Some women can be heartless.

Children not seeing there Fathers is a complicated situation; individual to each and every family.
I broke up with my son’s Father about two months ago. He is a functioning alcoholic with a whole other string of problems. I tried and tried time and time again to make things work but in the end I worried that staying with him would bring more sorrow to our son then having a broken family. Since things are newly uncertain, I keep going round and round in my head how I am going raise my son so that he feels love and doesn’t feel the loss. My son is 3 years old. His Dad wrote me a text telling me that he doesn’t want to see him anymore. He immediately moved in with the woman that I felt he was having a relationship on the side with. I have fears of my son just going with his Dad on weekends because when we were together he would drink and Not come home. Sometimes he would leave his other son with me as well. I don’t know if that son’s mother knew how many times I took care of her son while he was drunk. I didn’t mind, but I don’t want my son to ever be in the same position. This is just one example of why I worry about my son being with his Dad when I am not around. Now I have this new worry – what if his Dad never does come again to visit. I tell my son that his Dad loves him and I don’t talk bad about him. No child wants to hear from one parent that the other is terrible. My son and I both deserved better than what his Dad offered when we were together. I feel I left one problem, only to have mess with our emotions from afar. I try to keep calm and read as much information on the topic. It allows me to understand both sides (Mom and Dad) and cope with the situation as best as I can. I wish he did the same, but that won’t happen because he is very reactionary. I just want to get off this rollercoaster and sit on a beach with my son and our dogs. I hope I made the right decision and continue to down the road. My son is my priority and always will be. I would like his Dad to be in his life but I can’t beg him nor can I control his behaviors. I tried that and it never worked for both of us. The situation is sad for all involved. Eventually I have to get over it so that my son doesn’t have a depressed Mother and instead has one that made the right choice.

I would speak to the other childs mum. She needs to know as to safeguard her son.. You also need to safeguard your son, if he s at risk it s up to you to make sure he is safe.. Make sure contact takes place with someone else present.. It must be very difficult but just keep your son safe :)

Wealthy Emma – In most cases of fatherless children, this is the truth which YOU wrote in your March 2017 blog – “Women are conniving, malicious, entitled nut-jobs who alienate fathers from their children while taking all said fathers’ money — all of which is supported by the family court system.” Blog title – A dad explains: Why I don’t see my child.
In most of the fatherless cases, this is the truth that children need to know. “Judges, Lawyers, Police and many women are conniving, malicious, .. (as you wrote).”

My mother told me that my father was dead when I was 7 years old. She didn’t tell me he suicidet at that point but she told me kinda early.

I think that I asked too often if I could visit him and why my stepbrother was able to visit his dad but I couldn’t.
So when she told me I was angry at her, but I never understood why.
Maybe I thought she lied to me because I didn’t want to believe it or it was my only way of dealing with the situation but today after reading this I think it is because of me having to ask and not getting quite a clear answer.

I love my mother and she did the greatest job imaginable, teaching me Morales and to be a good guy. Im so thankfull for everything she does for me and I feel guilty for having those bad feelings at that point.

Tell your kids, always be honest with them. It might not seem like it at first but they will thank you with everything they have later.

I don’t even want my dad back and don’t feel sad for what happened because I love my mother so much, I need only her to raise me.

My daughter’s dad while we were having a FWB situation made it clear that he did not want kids at all. We are the same age in our mid 40s, both stable and all. I got pregnant and my FWB wanted me to have an abortion. I refused as I saw the pregnancy as a blessing and as a validation of my womanhood. I had severe fibroids too so never thought I’d conceive.
When he abandoned me while pregnant, I must have said I’d do it on my own. He works next to my house and never ever saw me pregnant. He didn’t return my texts throughout the pregnancy and even on the day of the scheduled Caesarean section, I informed him which hospital I was in and pleaded with him to come see us and also give me moral support. He never showed up.
Anyway, I went ahead and had my beautiful baby girl who is a carbon copy of him. I named her after my own mum and she took up my surname since I figured what was the point of naming her after my ex FWB??
Anyway, the fact that his work place is next to my house kills me every day that he can’t even show up to my house to support his daughter. His friends have told him that what he’s done is wrong.
6months ago, I ran into him while out of town and he had a girlfriend. I text him asking him if he was not interested in seeing his child. That was a wake up call coz the following week he text back stating that why was he being forced into something he was against all along bla bla bla. He told me to let him be and that time would tell. I’ve steered away from texting him though it hurts as hell when I look up to his office from my house. The psychological damage it has on me now and in the future his daughter, will be irreparable. Oh , he’s also never ever supported his daughter even with diapers or clothing etc. Myaughter turns 1 next week Wednesday, should I inform him? What do I do?

My situation was very similar. Picture this: the father of my child came to the hospital, but left for a job interview when it was time for me to start pushing. Then avoided coming back to avoid signing the birth certificate so he would not be held responsible. He’s seen her once since then and it was because I took her to see him as an infant. Holding her didn’t do the trick. He cancelled any plans we made to meet up and now she is 2. He makes no contact whatsoever. (Frankly I’m not sad about it, as she is far better off without him).

I was able to let go of that ache when I learned to stop chasing him. My mother kept telling me to stop setting him to such a high standard. He was never a dad and he wasn’t suddenly going to morph into one. She was right. If he was not committed from the start, chances are he will not change his mind. He won’t send gifts or lend a helping hand because in his mind he is not responsible for this (ridiculous, I know). It is not your job to be angry (although you will be because you’re human) and it is not your job to teach him a lesson.

My advice? Set yourself free of him. He will have to live with this on his conscience the rest of his life. In my experience, it is better to have no father figure at all than some flaky guy with one foot in the door and one foot out. That is setting up you and your daughter for future pain and such disappointment. I would just start to look at life as being just the two of you and being proud of it. And like me, follow the advice of this article when the time is right. Have the conversation and heal.

Her father is a sociopath that trapped me, he doesn’t feel bad everyday that he hurt or ruined my daughter’s life and mine.

From my experience, Id give very different advice. Try hard to get the other parent to be a parent but after giving it a go (in my case for 7 years) let it go. You can’t control others. Children are smart and can set their own boundaries. Why would you want to make them emotional sitting ducks? By all means, validate their feelings (this is standard psychology) but don’t be a Pollyanna and pretend their father is a good guy or is visiting them.

My son complained a lot from age 2-5 and rightfully so. That’s when we were married no less! As the father became a worse and worse person- my son and even I are ok w his absence. He’s not good or safe to be around. He’s not healthy.

Be honest. Supportive. Validate. But if your kid is healing, why put a snag in that? There are some people out there that are very unhealthy and can’t or won’t parent.

That’s very true! I agree and am dealing with the same situation. My ex boyfriend has not seen his daughter since she was 3 years old and he never asked to see her then. I was the one always initiating the visit or just popping in on him at work. She is now 12 years old. Although I have finally been receiving child support the last 2 years, he is still behind 40,000 in arrears and never asked to see her. We both live in separate states and have not spoken since 2012. I feel that as a mother, women put up with everything from a man, his infidelity, immaturity, absence as a partner, absence as father to our child or children, cowardly acts, that go unpunished. Yet, women can sacrifice everything, and take care of their children. And all my ex ever did was tell me, I cheated with 10+ women because I never knew how to stay committed to one woman. What was I supposed to do with that? Then he could have redeemed himself by getting counseling and helping raise his child..but instead he said F you and her because I moved away from him and his physical abuse!!! How can you say that to your own flesh and blood, and a innocent child?? So, I did everything I needed to do to move on with my life and protect her. I’ve been married to a wonderful man who fathers her now and loves her like his own. I’m blessed and so is she. I’d personally rather my ex ask on his own to see her and explain his absence to her. But, he is a coward! So I will tell her when she is mature enough to handle it!

You are jussssst the type of guy that hits on “single moms” at school functions then leaves his wife for the babysitter.

I’m sorry, but I have an almost 4 year old that doesn’t see her father. We split when she was 2 because he was mentally and verbally abusive. Not to mention a sociopath and very manipulative. It got to the point where he was going to be physically anusive, and she witnessed this. Up until 9 months ago, I gave him chances to have her every other weekend, which he did until he decided he didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I’d go over there and bang on the door, my boyfriend too, because she wanted to see him. In 9 months since that happened, he’s asked to see her 3 tomes, and never follows through. At first it was rough because she wanted to see him. That lasted maybe a month or 2 and now she doesn’t ask to see him. Shell casually mention him, but never in regards to seeing him. For her being 4 she is very well aware of the situation. We’ve talked to her about it. Even asked her how she has felt. I’m 33 weeks pregnant with mine and my boyfriends baby. She knows she won’t have the same last name. She’s OK with this because my boyfriend in her mind is her dad. He might not have that “official” title, but he’s hers and she is his. I don’t think she’s hurting, she’s happy and healthy and in a good stable place with two people that love her. Even if I didn’t have my boyfriend, she’d still be ok. She’ll always know her situation is different but who cares? This is a very old she cool approach and not an OK to me. There’s so many different types of families and situations and as long as the children are happy that’s approach that matters. I would never stay with someone or be with someone who didn’t treat me and my daughter like we’re suppose to be treated. Be it her father or my boyfriend or whatever. It’s ridiculous people try to make others feel bad because there’s no dad or mom around. Shannon you’re making you daughter happy and that’s great I applaud you. Some people stay in crap situations or feel they need someone else to help “make things whole” and whatever. Don’t listen to negativity and take of you and that sweet girl. Clearly she doesn’t care, and neither should you.

I was hoping to find some advice on what I should do here, without commenting but I guess it’s the only way I will get any feedback (besides family & friends who honestly, don’t know what to tell me anyway!) So my daughter will be 10 weeks old tomorrow, her dad has not been in the picture what so ever, but his parents are who I am concerned about. They are good people and are very active in their grandkids lives (I have never met them but I know this) –I know he hasn’t told them about his daughter, do I send his mom a friend request on fb and message her? Ask for her number? And even THEN, what do I say to her?? We don’t live in the same town, they actually live about an hour away from us. I have NO IDEA what to do, so you guys please help me out!!

Your situation is very similar to mine. My son’s father abandoned me while I was pregnant and did not tell his parents or any family. I knew their names, so I looked them up and I sent them a letter telling them I was pregnant by their son, he had left and I also reassured them I was not seeking any money. I just wanted my son to have the chance to know his dad’s side of the family. His parents contacted me and they were kind, but they also said they had called their son and he denied it was his child (be prepared for that ok). I told them I understand their concerns and that I would get a DNA test so they could comfortably be involved. We stayed in touch. I sent them pics of the baby at birth. His mom called and said he was identical to her son. They lived an hour and a half away from us and didn’t come meet him until he was one years old. His dad evaded getting a DNA test for 2 years. I even offered to pay for it and told him that if he thinks it’s not his child, then he should take the DNA test to get rid of us. He didn’t do it until the court system forced him. Results came back that it was his child. His parents were very happy to have the confirmation. He still didn’t come around for years after that, but his parents remained involved. My son is now a teenager and his dad calls him once a year, twice if he’s lucky. But my son has spent Christmas, etc with has grandparents. His dad blamed me for him not seeing or talking to his son. None of which is true. I always let him come or call whenever he wanted to, he just has always been uninterested in seeing him. I used to try and involve him in decision making for our son, but he would always say, just do whatever you think is right. My point is this… contact his parents, but be as gentle as you can about the approach. Keep in mind that he his their child, they love him and you are a random chick they know nothing about. Expect backlash from your child’s father after you make contact. He will more than likely try and tarnish your reputation as a woman and be willing to accept the fact that his parents may side with their son. Also, let them know you are willing to get a DNA test. Don’t expect your word to be enough. If you know he is the father, then you have nothing to worry about. And just know that telling his parents and getting their involvement in your child’s life, does not mean that the father is going to want to be apart of the child’s life. Good luck to you. I hope it works in your favor with his parents as it did for me.

Yes. Contact the grandparents because children need to know and bond with their granparents and visa versa. I am in a similar situation. My 12 year old daughter don’t know her biological father because he chooses to be absent from her life and did not want his mother and father to get involved. So, she doesn’t know them. I didn’t have their information such as phoenix or address when we dated, and he didn’t invite them to baby shower even though I told him too. I wish I would have found out how to contact them because they take great care of their other grandkids! So yes, I would keep in touch with them and contact them ASAP! Of they are loving and positive people, then they will be there for your baby. Good luck!

That response is crap! Dear Shannon I am in the same boat as you unlike the person who responded, who has no clue because they haven’t lived it. I have. I am successful, a homeowner, never been on state assistance and I’m the only one listed on the birth certificate of my child. No child support and no stress. You do not need a man to save you or provide for you. The social norm is 6 O’clock news if you can manage to stay off of that show then yoy are going to make it in thos world. For me, Since I was never married my personal life is just that.. Personal!!! If some rude people out there ask you about your situation it’s because they are not strong enough to endure it, tell them your personal life is none of their business before they drag you down with their pitty. I have judges ask me who I’ve had sex with in court to try and get me to name “John Doe” if you are like me it’s no bodies business, not the judge, not the school, not your friends or family. There are a lot of religious people especially lawyers who will see you as a prostitute based on their religion that you have a child out of wedlock. You need to flip those people the bird! Mariage is part of religion and you can have a happy relationship with children and without ever getting married. There are plenty of little girls who don’t have a father and that doesn’t make you a bad person. I tell my kid that every ones family is different. Some people have 2 mommys, or only 2 daddys, some people only have grandma, some people only have grandpa, some people don’t have any grandparents and that it’s okay if you’re family is different from someone elses. Now if we could only change the religious views of the Marine Corps and the way they view single mom’s that have full custody. It used to be a man’s world but the world is changing men like other men and straight women need to be able to become the masculine role on society. Don’t let anyone bring you down with a pity party or some psychology that they read in a book without actually experiencing it for themselves.

OMG, we need to drink wine together. You. Are. Awesome.
thank you for your response: IT”S NO BODY”S BUSINESS BUT YOURS!

This is an interesting response. I wonder what you would say when it comes to gay families with two mothers and no father or two fathers and no mother? Or a single mother by choice (perhaps she used a sperm donor). Will all these children be suffering grave losses as well since they don’t have both a mom and dad?

I had a child with a FWB years ago, I lied about being on the pill even though I knew he didn’t want kids but thought because he was a decent guy, he would stand by me. He didn’t, so I had to bring up my son up alone until I met my husband (the father always paid child maintenance but never had any contact with my son). It was my husband that made me realised what I had done to my sons father was very wrong. I didn’t see it at the time as I felt the father had let me and my son down but as my husband said, it’s wrong to force someone to do something they don’t want to do just to keep someone else happy (especially as we were not in a relationship). I look back and realise how selfish I was by trying to force this man into fatherhood and taking money from him for child maintenance… I no longer accept child maintenance from my sons Dad as my husband pays for him as he does with our own children. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, although it seems wrong for a father not want to be in a childs life, it’s not always as black and white as ‘it takes two to make a baby so those two people should be in the childs life’… I regret what I did to my sons father but I don’t regret my son being here…. I’m just glad I finally met an amazing man who is an amazing father

You probably have no concept of the hell you brought to that man’s life.

You need to beg that poor man for forgiveness.

I agree that was wrong but what a gift. A child.
Maybe that’s the chance someone takes when they have sexual relations outside of marriage.

Damn it’s hard. I have two children, 17 and 6 who saw their dad no matter what until 7 months ago when he had a girl with a 24 year old round the corner. For the 9 months he said he didn’t want a baby wouldn’t be there etc et. She befriended me for 2 years saying he was a loser etc and then the weekend before she gives birth tells us he takes ketamine, cocaine and will not be in her childs life and shouldn’t let him see my kids. Fast forward 7 months he has not bothered with my children apart from 1 card saying he loves and misses them so much!!!! But lives one road away and all his family are flaunting everything on Facebook even though they said they didn’t like the woman. Oh there was some contact, in October he threw a brick through my window
At 1.30am, which also hit my car. He pleaded guilty went to court and is paying £50 a month compensation (£300
In total) when the window and dent is costing me over £600. The day he went to court he broadcasted ‘ha ha what a result’. I am so hurt that I have to write this instead of keep reading everyone else’s comments. He lives round the corner earning £500 cash a week and the CSA can’t get anything off him, whilst the woman gets housing benefit ….
Sad thing is this woman has a 6 year old son which he is bringing up. I tried to be honest with my kids and talk about it but it hurts. It hurts that he doesn’t care, love or fight for them but lives one road away. What do I say, ‘yeah he don’t care’ I put my house up for sale to move but cannot afford stamp duty etc and why should I move- to be happy? It hurts so much that for 20 years although not always together he cared and looked after and always saw the children. People says it’s the drugs but he doesn’t take drugs all the time. He said to me once she buys his drugs etc, but that is no excuse. How do I get over this?

Esme, take my advice: take your kids and run away!

The man will ruin your kids’ life. They owe him nothing! Nothing!

I feel this type of article only serves to further the concept that one parent families aren’t “whole.” Using your logic, a child from a two parent family who is an only child must be spoken to about the pain and loss they feel because they see that other kids have siblings, while they do not. This line of argument does not hold water and only serves to hold old outdated stereotypes in place. What about kids of single moms by choice? Or adopted kids? Should these kids be forced to mourn for absent family members? Also this again places the blame and onus on the mother who was not the one to do the abandoning. Surprised and saddened to see something like this on this type of site.

Just except it for what it is.
Kids need both a mother and father in a household.
“Out dated” stereotypes is the fundamental reason our youth is so troubled. Except it.
Numbers and statistics don’t lie.
I’m a single mom I get. That it’s hard to admit it. We are suppose to be strong and be both parents I have far exceeeded that but my children without a doubt needed and man of the house, father figure that they see everyday.
My son needed a role model to aspire to be.

“Kids need both a mother and father in a household”.

Wrong: kids need stability which has nothing to do with the parents’ sexual orientation.

Just let you know: the parents’ sexual orientation does NOT determine the quality of the kids’ education or of his future life.

I had a father and a mother (=white, heterosexual couple) who failed 10000% in their job and role. They both failed me as a child, but not as a human or a man.

I’ll stress it again: kids need stability regardless of your skin colour or sexual orientation/preference.

I agree with you. I don’t understand why people think just because a child has a mother and a father that things are automatically better. Like Mark said, balance is what is needed. I’m sorry but my real dad is in jail. I don’t feel no loss at all. I don’t have any kind of attachment issues or anything. I also think that single mothers can still have their children witnessing positive male role models, the same way with single dads. It’s weird that we pay so much attention to statistics as well. They look at a small amount of people (in America by the way. We are so small minded) and think that it must be true. Think for yourself and for your life. I think that all children are different. Some pay need both parents while others may be perfectly fine. So should their be an absent parent or one that is emotionally/physically abusive?

Educate yourself (maybe you can start by learning the difference between “accept” and “except”) and enter the 21st century already. If single, WEALTHY women have enough time and finances to adopt or have a child with a sperm donor and then parent that child, then they should be all means do whatever they feel comfortable with. Or are you one of those super conservative Christians who think orphans are better off alone and starving unless they can be adopted by straight, married people? Plenty of married couples who are neither financially responsible or emotionally capable of parenting choose to have children to “save the marriage” and it never works out. My mom’s dad was killed before she was born and she and her siblings went on to become successful, emotionally stable individuals, and never felt like they “missed out”. She became a nurse, bought her own house, and her brother became a neurosurgeon. Meanwhile, school shooters are frequently the product of married couples. So much for creating stability in the home…

In my situation my son has a father… a father who reads bedtime stories and taught him to ride his bike and dribble a basketball.. he is present in every moment.. he treats our son we have together and my oldest son who is 8 100% as his own flesh and blood. They are so connected. We have been married since my son was 4. His biological father sees him once a month or so supervised by me. Usually at a park. There is hardly any effort by my ex to connect to play with him and we literally have to spend a month recovering from these 2 hour visits or so. My son hates them. A year ago he had moved across country for a year and it was pure magic.. my son was so happy no emotional outbursts. So how would you handle this? My son isn’t without a father he has the most amazing father. But doesn’t want anything to to do the bio dad

to “b”:

Sorry, but all the research indicates that children who’ve had a parent abandon them do have more problems developing relationships in their future, and develop trust problems. Many have lifelong attachment disorders.

I’ve seen it and experienced it – the kids frequently blame themselves for their missing parent not being part of their lives. This may seem nonsensical to an adult, but that’s how a child frequently takes it.

Divorced parents have a lifelong obligation to their children, and should stay involved, even if they are not living under the same roof.

Emma is telling us how best to mitigate the situation if one parent simply stays away from the child.

– From a singe father whose wife abandoned their two surviving children after our youngest child died.

The person who wrote to Emma said her child’s father abandoned them when her daughter was only 6 months old and has hardly ever returned to visit since. I can’t remember anything that happened to me at 6 months old, and if I see someone once a year or once every three years or even less frequently, then I definitely don’t get close enough to them to miss them or even care if I see them ever again. They might as well be a sixth cousin, twelve times removed. This is the father’s loss, not the daughter’s. People seem to WANT this child to be sad; that’s pretty sick. You can’t miss someone you can’t remember; I don’t care what the right-wing Christian propaganda says. If your child’s mother WAS a constant at some point in their lives (when they were old enough to REMEMBER her) and suddenly that changed, then you are comparing apples to oranges here.

I agree with you. This was disturbing to reach and very much biased to Father’s and how the mother somehow failed bc the father chose not be around. Sounds like your daughter is a happy kid and I wouldn’t talk about a man who chose to leave. I wouldn’t have the conversation until she asked.

Do you advocate that a child who shows no emotional loss for a parent that passed away that nothing should be done? Just go about daily life as if nothing happened?

A child without one or more biological parent in their life is dealing with a loss. As a parent to that child, you must allow the child to freely express their feelings about why someone is not in their life and as a parent be able to deal with those questions or bring them out yourself.

A family is whole to a child as long as the child feels love. If a child feels some rejection, the family to that child is not whole even if you want to see it as being whole.

People hide emotions all the time and only those that are very loving will see that emotions exist.

Unfortunately, too many single parents only see their hate for their ex-partner and do not see the pain a child is going through and the child cannot express their feelings because the parent brings out that hate when the subject comes up.

Also, a child with no siblings does deal with emotional loss. They want to do something and if the parent is not available, they will feel the parent is never there for them. They will wish they can have a sibling they can talk to or play with. A child with other siblings also feels a loss if they feel they are competing for love from their parents with other siblings. Good parents understand that children do not always perceive things the same way as adults do and learn to deal with it before the issue becomes out of hand.

I am surprised and saddened that I can only find an article like this on a blog and not on mainstream media that has a wider reach. It’s clear that too many parents out there do not understand how kids feel.

I bet you are female right? I am willing to bet that. Sometimes many women feel that they can raise a child without a father but research shows that this children are not happy. It is a fact of life.

Totally agree, I don’t think it’s healthy to mourn someone who abandoned you and clearly thrives on drama. Move on with your life your daughter will be better off without someone like that in her life. Stability, love and consistency is what is required.

I completely agree. Very well said regarding different scenarios relating to single mom parenting. In my own experience, I separated from my first husband who lived in the UK, just 2-3 weeks after getting pregnant(unplanned). After getting back to the states, temporarily moving in with my sister, getting a nursing job(within 2 weeks after my arrival), i discovered i was pregnant. My x husband and I had very good reasons for separating, being in the states was 100% healthier for me(not to mention where all my opportunity was), and we agreed we would not get back together due to the baby. My first husband, as with all other issues, only saw his own perspective and did not see or care about anything i felt or thought. He honestly felt it should be his decision whether i had the baby. He didnt want to be a father again(he had a 12 yr old son with his 1st wife), it was not convenient for him or in “his” life plan. He very clearly told me that i would be doing the “wrong” thing by having this child because, as he said, “no child should be raised without a father”, and as he clearly stated, he was not willing to take any part in this child’s life. My feelings? I was a 34 year old RN with a previous psychology degree. One of the topics that separated this marriage was that i wanted a child, and my 1st husband initially wanted one too when marrying me, but changed his mind after we were married. I wanted very much to have the baby, i loved her the moment i knew about her, so i had her. I went back to work when she was 6 weeks, breastfed and pumped, and was lucky to have a good friend i paid to be her nanny/babysitter until she was 6 months, when she went to a good daycare. My 1st husband made a point of never coming to meet her despite being financially able to. I always sent pictures to try to keep him connected any way i could, hopeful that he would take some role, until our daughter was 2 and a half years old. He stayed firm in his stubborn position, but welcoming any pictures. When my daughter was 18 months to 2 yrs old, i finally finalized our divorce, and as a full time RN/single mom, came to a peace that we really had gotten along FINE without her dad. I can say with much confidence that my daughter was much better off being raised by me alone, rather than having her birth father in her life. He was/is not mentally healthy to father a child. His unstable influence could have only eventually harmed her.
So, is this article saying that i made the wrong choice? Or rather, is it saying my daughter was doomed because her birth father did not accept her?
To conclude our story, i found my best friend/partner just 6 months after our divorce was finalized, and i remarried. Soon after marrying, my current husband adopted my daughter at 3 years old. She embraced him in her life the first they met, asking me, “when are we gonna see him again?” She has 2 younger brothers now, and a truely wonderful life. I thank God for my wisdom when making past decisions. My daughter did not have a father in her life for the first few years, she does not suffer psychological trauma as a result. She is a very passionate, happy child. I can even say, she has had a good childhood.
To the writers of this article…i think you need to have more open, flexible thinking. This perspective you share is very limited and actually very hurtful to many mothers out there who have juggled single parenting without a father, and deserve a huge amount of credit. Mothers who are trapped in scenarios where fathers abandon, and even mothers who choose single parenthood(i fit into both categories), should not have others impose that their futures for their children are dim and doomed with mournful sadness. Many single moms are heros to our children, and despite the struggles we faced, our children actually do not have SAD childhoods due to absent fathers. I certainly hope that i have offered some enlightenment to the writers of this article.

Thanks for your comment Kristen. I found inspiration in your words and I went through a similar situation…

The article is very good, but it keeps mentioning the father who abandoned the child. Many men have not abandoned their kids, but are locked out of their kids’ lives by the mother. In my case, the mother is hiding a child from me that she never told me she had. Some women get pregnant, leave their partners, and years later the man is in for a surprise. We are denied the chance to love our xhildren while they are young, all because of the selfish desire of a woman to have a child as though it were a little subject to worship her. Btw, since someone will no doubt comment, let me just say now that i am employed, have nevee done drugs, don’t drink, and am not abusive. Sometimes it is just the woman who uses a man to get pregnant and then separates the father from the child. She gets what she needs (a child all to herself) to the devastation of both father and child.

The person who wrote the Answer is such an Idiot that I have not seen ever in my life. Who gave you permission to judge single moms and tell this load of rubishes. That this child suffers and is ashamed because some asshole abandoned her. Award for the most stupid answer on internet. Some people should not have access to internet. Especially not to “help”.

I am unhappy to ever reach such stupid Article. So, it turns out that child cannot happily enjoy in his or hers childhood because they have emotionally disturbed father. So better that child be abused by father who doesn’t love her or him then to live happily in peace with mother only. Why Internet exists my God!!??? So it would give us more crap into our homes.

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