How to raise a responsible son, when dad wasn't responsible (without making dad look bad)?

Jocelyn - posted on 09/20/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )




My husband and I have a four year old son; I told our son a few months ago that he has a half-sister (we spent two weeks covering different family dynamics, orphans and adoption, and why children are orphaned/adopted so he would understand). My husband would have been happy never telling him, but I didn't want him to be completely surprised if he finds out on his own someday. I didn't want to tell my little boy "Daddy didn't want to take care of a baby because he was too busy partying" so I told him "Daddy was not ready to take care of a baby so he let someone older take care of her" (even as I was saying it, I was already worrying that I was giving my son a loophole through which he could impregnate girls in his teens and feel free of responsibility). My husband was nineteen when she was born and signed away all his parental rights the day she was born. He has never seen her in person since, but last year accepted her Facebook friend request and sees photos of her (and she sees photos of our family too). To be clear, the mother signed away her rights too and the baby was given to an older relative of the mother who really wanted a baby (it was all arranged before she was born so she was never in an orphanage); the baby was provided for better with the older relative than she would have been if she stayed with two teenagers who were still too immature and self-centered to take care of a child. She is happy, healthy and loved.

I don't agree with my husband's past decisions, as many moms would say he could have been more responsible, been invoved, paid child support, or something. If my son were in the same position I would want him to take responsibility. He is a bit too young to talk about that now... but when he is older, what do I say? I could spend all my time raising a responsible, caring, young man and hope he makes better choices, or I could be perfectly blunt and say "I don't agree with your Dad's past decisions. You are responsible for any children you sire, so you need to be careful who you go to bed with," but does that make Dad sound like a bad person? If I say the latter, it might be an issue with my husband; it's something we don't agree on.

Are there other women who have had to discuss Dad's past misdoings with their sons? How do you handle it? I would imagine that it's easier to handle when Dad regrets his decisions and can also step in and tell your son it was a mistake, but it's something my husband does not talk about. (Even after I told our son about his half-sister my husband still would not talk to him about her.)

Also, please no bashing of my husband. Although he refuses to talk about her, he has grown a lot in the last ten years and is now a loving and devoted father to his son. He would go to the ends of the Earth just to make our son happy, and he will provide for him in every way for the rest of his life.


Michelle - posted on 09/20/2012




You need to look at this in a different way, though your husband was irresponsible in getting the young lady pregnant he was actually making a very responsible and loving decision by allowing someone else to adopt his child. He knew he was not mentally ready to be a parent and put the needs of the child first. His daughter was raised in a happy healthy environment by loving parents. The act of getting her pregnant was bad but giving a child up for adoption is not easy and they sacrificed there own feelings so that their baby could have a better life. My ex had a child when he was in high school and my son who is now 11 fully understands where babies come from and how hard it is to raise a child as his little sister is only 3 so he definitely remembers everything from her short childhood. They have had sex education at school and we talk very frankly at home and I have bluntly told him if he does not feel he is ready to step up and be a dad then he needs to keep it in his pants. I don't mince words I don't talk about his dads mistakes I have explained to him that with sex comes responsibility and until he is ready for that responsibility he doesn't need to have sex.

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