You are here

Get Answers

Sometimes it's nice to get advice from experts with a lot of letter degrees behind their names, but other times, you just need to hear what another parent (with a M.O.M. behind her name) has done that has worked. You've got questions? These moms have answers.

Husband Doesn't Know How to Be A Dad

2 answers
Hi there - hoping someone can assist me with some answers. My husband is an only child and his father was never in his life. His mother raised him and ended up marrying someone down the road the my husband despises. He married and has 3 girls with his now ex-wife. We married seven years ago. Here is my dillema. When the girls are over, he barely speaks to them or does anything with them. It's typically the same two questions: how is school and how is everything going. If I confront him, he lashes out and it ends up being "Well I never had a dad in my life." My answer to him is then you know how it feels and you should step up and be better to your own kids especially girls. I get upset because my husband is trying self employment. It's definitely a struggle. I have a full-time job and cover his children on my health and dental insurance. Their mother doesn't work. The girls are over every other weekend and I do realize based on their ages at the time of the divorce, he really never had a good chance to bond with them. However, I'm at the end of my rope to either step up or get out. Perhaps parenting classes or counseling may help. The girls are now in their teens and am not sure if that will help. I feel awful, because I do love him, but it's such a strain on our relationship with the blended family, the ex-wife and him not knowing what to do as a parent. I work full-time, take care of the kids, the house, the meals, etc. All I ask is for a little help - especially with his own children. I try to help him, but it typically ends up with us in an argument. I have to ask him to call and check on his mother from time to time. I'm thinking he never received any attention growing up and he doesn't know how to give it. Any advice?

answers (2)

Hi, I'll try to add my opinion as a new Dad, but there are quite a few issues going on. If the girls are over every other weekend and teens at that, I'd try to work on the issue of him helping around the house first. I'm in a similar situation, a new Dad of twins, stay at home struggling with self employment while my wife works. My wife has done most things around the house, and I have let her. Once that routine is established, it is easy to let continue and not realize how stressful it is for you to work and take care of chores and dinner. I'd try to have him take care of one chore per day to establish a routine. It isn't all that time consuming and can certainly be fit in. Dinner could be planned out and ready to make or eat as well depending on your schedule. I'm assuming that bringing up parenting classes/counseling is only going to result in more lashing out. When he is confronted, he is probably feeling attacked, challenged, and insulted as a man. As ridiculous as it sounds I know. He needs to feel supported and safe when being told how to interact differently then he has all his life. Explain how you are trying to help him have a fuller connection with his daughters, not a "you are doing it wrong" type of thing. I think the teenagers are already past the point of needing parenting and it is now more like supervision. Their values are set. I'd try to get him involved more with their schoolwork, activities, shopping, etc. You didn't mention if you were planning on having kids with him, or if you would want to as the pattern from him currently would just repeat itself. Sure, he had a difficult childhood, but everyone has something as they say, and it easier for him to continue having little interaction than it is to make the effort to learn new things that he isn't comfortable with. Hopefully I made some sense on here. Good luck! _B
OMG! Are you serious? New dad of twins, my eye! You sound more like an angry new mom of twins, than a dead-beat dad! I can tell you right now what you've got on your hands is a lazy bum. It's got nothing, absolutely nothing to do with his own upbringing. I assure you of that! Ever notice how some people come from broken homes, violence, drug addiction, alcoholism and still manage to do better in life than those who led comfortable lives? It's not your past; it's just who you are. I have a strange feeling your husband would not have been any different had his father been there for him, etc etc etc. It's no excuse; it's high time he grew up and accepted responsibility for his actions. Do you know what a good human being would do in his place? Despite his childhood... a good, caring, nurturing, patient, responsible MAN would NEVER allow his wife to take care of him, in ANY way. REAL MEN, even those who had it tough growing up, know what it means to raise a family of their own. Men are naturally born breadwinners, their one goal in life is to protect and provide; they'd feel awkward having to be supported both morally and finally by a woman, especially the woman they marry and promise to provide for! Why do I get the feeling he was no better with his own mother? Before he ever got married, provided you know what he was like pre-marriage to his first wife, did he depend on his mother or was he a go-getter? Did he let his mother take care of him, or was he always looking for a handout? Did she wash his shorts? And, did he let her? Did he ever have a job? A REAL honest to goodness (conventional) job? Steady? For a good length of time? In his first marriage, who worse the pants in the family? Hard to imagine anyone wearing the pants in his previous marriage either, because now YOU seem to be taking care of THAT family, too. I think his first wife did herself a tremendous favor by dumping his sorry butt; you should, too. I doubt there's much hope for him. You should NOT be responsible for raising his first family. And, please do NOT let him make another family he's not about to support with you, as well. If he had any self respect, he would never feel comfortable to stay home while you worked and supported him, his ex and his children. True, the children need SOMEONE and you (probably) provide a good role model, but they are NOT your responsibility. You are NOT a blended family. Seeing as you did not bring any children of your own to the "table," you are merely his kids' second mother AND father. The two of them are using you. Both your husband and his ex-wife. There's no justifying it. REAL MEN don't like to be told what to do or how to act, but then again, REAL MEN would never let it get to that/ Those men who kick and scream when their wives try to "improve" them are a LOST CAUSE! Do NOT even attempt to help him out. Did he EVER support you financially ... EVER ... in the course of your married life? I bet you took care of him while you were dating and now he suckered you into supporting him as well as his first family. Don't let this go on any further. You've done way too much as it is. Don't listen to anyone, not even a new dad of twins, who says otherwise. REAL MEN don't need to feel SAFE and SUPPORTED. REAL MEN get that feeling automatically when they do what is required of them; he is not doing anything to support you and make YOU feel safe and respected; how can he expect to get that feeling from YOU when you're faced with such a bitter reality? Are you trying to tell me, Mr. New Dad of Twins, that a woman SHOULD go out of her way to make a dead-beat dad feel safe and supported, when he hasn't done anything to deserve it? The more safe and supported he feels, the more she babies him, the more attention she gives to his children, the more money she spends, the more time and effort she puts into it, the LESS safe and supported he will feel; isn't that a hoot? That's because neither one is doing their rightful job. If he were a good moral supportive HUSBAND in the first place, she wouldn't have to be put in a situation where SHE feels compelled to support HIS SORRY BUTT, thereby adding smoke to the fire. It's a vicious cycle. The more she gives, the more threatened he feels. If he had ANY kind of decency, he would never try to start his own business during tough times. He would NEVER rely on his wife financially. He would feel ashamed and less of a man if he were to be put in that situation. It would hurt his pride. He would never put his wife in THAT situation, in the first place. True, not all men know how to interact with children, especially teenagers, so don't go expecting any miracles in THAT department. Even the best fathers can't relate to teenage daughters! But a GOOD MAN and GOOD FATHER doesn't need to be their morally as much as financially. REAL MEN make their families feel safe (from the elements)... REAL WOMEN nurture from the heart. There needs to be that balance in life, or everything falls apart, as in your case. Roles have been reversed. You are the breadwinner and you aren't allowed to say one word or else... He's a grown man, he had enough time to "play" house, it's high time he took the bull by the horns and made a real life for himself, his children and YOU. You shouldn't have to show him how, he either knows how or he doesn't. He's wither willing or he's not. Don't feel sorry for him. It's your own damn fault. He got comfortable, and that's a very dangerous place for a man to be. Comfortable. They get lazy pretty fast. Never let him get too comfortable, or he'll stop TRYING. I'd say it's too late to fix it. It is what it is, because you've made the mistake of carrying his sorry butt for much too long. He will NEVER respect you, not as a woman, not as a wife, not as his children's "mother" -- so don't even go there. Back off and back out. Your job is done. Don't let your "love" for him BLIND you. You know right from wrong. It may be lonely at the top, but at least the air is FRESH! You're better off without him. You might hurt for a little while because you THINK you love him (not that he's done anything to deserve it); but in time, and with a healthy new relationship, you'll come to understand. And let go. Best of luck.

*DISCLAIMER's Answers are provided by members of our community. While your fellow moms and our editors have plenty of great advice to offer based on their experience, it is not a substitute for professional medical help. Always consult a medical professional when seeking medical advice. All submitted answers are subject to the rules set forth in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use