How do I get him to be a parent?

Lauren - posted on 10/02/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I work full time in marketing and print communications, I go to school full time online, I take care of my child full time. Like many of you I have my days full. However....



When I am not in work I am with my son. We are attached at the hip, in a healthy way. We go on play dates, shopping, he helps me with general house work, we build tents. However, when I am at work my son's father stays with him during the day. Just to back track a little bit, I am 20 years old and when I got pregnant everyone said to my son's father that he needs to stay in school. Now its a little different, he does not work, go to school, have a car, live on his own. He lives with me.



My issue is that I am really concerned with what my son is doing during the day. My son's father says he plays and teaches our son new things every day, but I'm not seeing it. I know for a fact that he sits on the couch and plays poker on his phone while my son plays by himself or watches Mickey Mouse. I truly have no idea what to do. I would put my son in daycare except it is brutally expensive and they not giving out vouchers, and I make too much for financial aid but not enough to pay for it.



So my question is how do I get my son's father to be a parent!? How do I get him to teach our child new things? To take him out and do activities? I feel like I have tried everything under the son. If I asked him to leave I would have to quit my job and go on government help because I know he won't show up on time or even show up some days.

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Marian - posted on 11/06/2012

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You're in a tight spot. I applaud you for all the steps you are taking to continue to further your education, and provide for your son. It isn't easy to do what you are doing, so good for you.

In terms of your son's father...there isn't much you can do on that front. He is who he is right now. That may change as he grows up and matures, it may not. I think looking at it as a positive instead of a negative might help a bit. Your son's father is there, he's present. Now I know that might not feel like enough, but you yourself said it would be far more difficult if he weren't there. Maybe he's not the stay at home super dad you would like for your son, but he is there with him. As their relationship develops, and your son's father realizes that he has a responsibility to your child, you may find things start to change. As they start to find things in common that they like to do together, you may see more interest in getting out of the house and doing things together. This is something that you really can't control. I know this is hard to face, I went through something similar with my ex-husband. But once you stop stressing about it, realize it is out of your control, and give them the space and time to figure it out, you will likely start to see things change. Men don't like to be told what to do, and they get resentful very easily. To the point that your son's father could be not doing the things you are asking simply out of spite.

Use your time time with your son to enjoy fun things, if there is something you two want to do, go do it. Remember to appreciate that Dad is there, that could make all the different to him and your son. Dad will get on board when he is ready, or not.

Kristin - posted on 10/30/2012

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Men generally do not parent like women do, They need to be shown the way. You cant force him to be a better parent but maybe you could gently persuade him to take some parenting classes with you. I am not sure if you guys are in a relationship or not and are just living together, but you both need to come to some sort of compromise in raising your child. Maybe make a list of activities for him to do with child everyday. Is he helping out with meals, housework laundry etc?? Hopefully he is to help lessen your burdens. Honestly i think communication is key hear and guidance. On a positive note at least you dont have to worry about day care costs and worry about your son having a relationship with his father. My kids dont know their dad at all and he does not pay support. I live in Alberta Canada and daycare is always subsidized based on houselhold income and number of children and it is crazy the cost of it. Another thing you may try is putting your son into some pay groups that will force his father to take him to and spend quality learning time with him. But you could also look at the positives and maybe your sons father is teaching him things you just dont see it? My middle child was a slower learner than my other 2 and even though we worked with him you ldidnt see it until he was ready and one day he just got it. I wish you luck

User - posted on 10/20/2012

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I am a stay at home mom and my husband works fulltime. I was wanting to go back to work because I feel the need to get out and do something for myself but this is the reason I didnt not do it! My hubby, I love him, but he just doesnt quite step up to the plate. I think truly as a father they just do not do as much with children and dont feel a big of need as mothers do. Have you all thought about switching the positions? Or even getting him to find a job, then with the extra income yall could afford daycare and know that your son is being played with, taught things, etc.



I agree with chalita, you cannot make him want to be a better parent. He is going to have to do that himself. I have worked with my husband on this. We are in a program called HANDS through the health dept. and they go over development, basic parenting skills, and games and other activities you can do with your child to help them learn the best ways, and for the parent to parent the best ways. Maybe you can see if there are any programs that you can make him take your child to or even parenting classes, to help him understand why it is crucial for his development to not let him play alone all day, and to actually have a bond with him.

Just hang in there and keep strong!

Patricia - posted on 10/15/2012

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I also got married at a young age and the father was just irresponsible. He went from his parents to your house without ever having to take on any responsibility. At this point, I think that the only way he will learn is the hard way by doing it. I had two kids was in college with a full-time job as well. Him staying home didn't work because he didn't take care of anything, my kids were not well attended and he made more mess for me to have to clean up after working and going to school all night. The solution for us was for him to get a job. I told him that since I wasn't happy with him staying home, the only way we would survive was with him getting a job and paying for daycare. His income was mostly to pay for daycare since he didn't make much. However, my kids were getting a good education, he was getting work experience, and as a result started understanding and appreciating how hard I worked. It was a difficult time with us barely making it financially but it helped to get him thinking about his future and what he was going to contribute to the family.

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I agree with those who have said you can't MAKE anyone be a parent, and I totally feel for you. But it is possible that something else is going on with him. I have depression and when I feel down, I have noticed that I tend to isolate myself, even from my child, in some sort of sub-conscious attempt to keep my ugly emotions away from her. Is it possible he is having similar issues due to not having a job, car, etc. I know that would make me feel down. Just a thought. Maybe look up a play group of fathers with toddlers for him? Print out a list of free things to do that he can walk to? It sounds like he needs to get out of the house, and your child would definitely benefit from it too.

Lisa - posted on 10/04/2012

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HI Lauren,

Being a parent is hard- especially when you're a single parent (or feel like one). I was one for years- working, going to school, doing the best I could. I didn't have any help from the dad- unfortunately we can't do anything about what others do or don't do. I wrote a blog recently about this. It's an ongoing blog about being a parent and the stuff mom's go though to support other moms. Check it out :) I hope it gives you some comfort.

All we can do is our best- regardless of what others do /don't do. There is always an answer and your son will have what he needs, even if dad isn't all he could/should be. You are doing the right thing and what's best for your family. By doing this you're providing a good example to your son. Keep up the good work, and just do your best. God is parenting him as well, and giving him what he needs, and you what you need.



http://lisasperspective.wordpress.com/

Chalita - posted on 10/02/2012

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Okay so in my mind and having to deal with a father that wouldn't even keep his child while I worked, I would say hang in there with the free child care right now. The bond between he and his dad is very important also. Unfortunately, when you have down time from work and school, you will have to teach him and you are doing that with having him help you with the chores, but also take some time out from the chores and go do some fun things with him that only revolve around him. Playground, nature walks, playing in the snow if you live in a seasonal climate, eating dinner together as frequently as possible. Kids are learning even when we don't think they are.

Lauren - posted on 10/02/2012

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Chalita,



Thank you. He is only 16 months old. He is just starting to be very vocal so I can't ask him what he did that day or anything along those lines just yet. I figured I should give up on making his father be a father. I just want to make sure my child is learning as much as possible as well as connecting with his father.

Chalita - posted on 10/02/2012

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Lauren you cannot make anyone be a parent. They have to want to be a parent. The saying goes just because you make a baby or give birth doesn't make you a good mother or father. There is a lot that we don't know until after this innocent child is born and we have to care for him/her. You don't say how old your child is but I am guessing that he is old enough to talk and you could ask him what his day was like when you get home. Just as if he were going to school and you worked. Just ask him what he did during the day or how was your day. That will give you a clue as to what he is doing on those days that you are not at home with him. As far as making his father a parent, give up on that. You cannot make anyone be who you want them to be. Stay strong and if you have pray, stay strong in Gods word. Give it to God.

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