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Absent Father
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Absent Father

My son is 8 years old and he lives in the same town as his father.  Recently, my son has started asking questions about his father and their lack of a relationship.  I have never kept my son from visiting with his father when he called but in the past year and a half, his father has come less and less apart of my child's life.  We were never married before my son was born.  It was an ugly sceen but all that is over now and life has moved on.  I have married and now my son has somewhat of a father figure in his life along with my father, my brother and my grandfather.  But what he lacks is a relationship with his father.  What do I say to the question, "Mama, why don't I have a Daddy like all my friends?"  "Mama, why doesn't my Daddy want to spend time with me?"  "Mama, why doesn't Daddy ever take me hunting?"  "Mama, why do all my friends ask me why I didn't come to the mud races with your Daddy Sunday?" I have got to the point that out of sight is out of mind.  The only problem I see with this is his half sister, soon to turn 13.  They are close, I have known her since she was 2 years old. He has remarried his ex-wife and let's just say she has not dealt well with his father having another child with another woman.  In the past 3 years my son's father and his step mother have been taking her prescription medication, step mom is not handling this well and abuses her meds.  The daughter stayed with us 80% of the time up until a month ago when I put my foot down and may have upset the entire situation but it had started to affect all of us and the daughter was screaming at her mother for her lack of ability to talk and stand.  I just wanted to jolt someone to take action before the situation got too ugly for my son's sister.  Now she never calls (the sister) I feel that now I have caused my son to lose the only person out of his family on his father's side that did have a relationship with him.  But when my son voiced his opinion not to want to speak to his father ever again, that was the straw that broke the camels back.  His father has NEVER taken an active role in my son's life and we have always lived in the same town, now that he is getting older he realized that isn't right.  Something is terribly wrong, I don't know how to help him deal with his feelings because mine are so hurt as well.  I hurt to see my son feel so much neglect and know he would love nothing more than to have his father be apart of his life.  His step father does do things with him, he goes to all the ball games that "Daddy" doesn't go too.  He goes to practice even if it is watching from the back of his work across the railroad track.  He takes my son fishing, riding on the 3 wheeler, we take him on trips, to races....What can I do to make up for his father?  What do I do to make sure this doesn't effect him for the rest of his life.  All I ever heard is, it will be better when the baby grows up.  Well, it is getting worse not better...
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All you can really do is be the best parent you can be - you can't make up for what your son does not have. The reality is that his father, for whatever reason(s), has chosen not to involve himself with your son. When your son asks about this, ask him what he thinks about it. That is really the focus you can adopt. You don't know what's going on in his father's head or his father's heart, so all you can do in response to some questions is to say you don't know. So don't try to make up for anything - just raise him as normally as you can. Most children survive the absence of a parent well, provided they are receiving sensible, attentive, capable parenting in the home. Check with your local or regional library and you will find children's books that deal with the topic of an absent parent. The books are usually in the form of stories, and children can receive great benefits from such literature. He might read the book(s) himself, or you might read them to him. Also, a brief course of therapy might useful for your son, particularly if he's very occupied with this concern and if it seems to be a source of conflict or unhappiness for him.
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