How to Talk to Your Child About Their Absent Father
I've wanted to get to the nitty gritty of single and solo parenting for a while now. Especially since this is a topic that hits home for a lot of single moms. Did you know that 15 million children are being raised without a father? Sheesh, just let that sink in for a second.
The topic of single parenting is something that many of us don't openly discuss because we're either too ashamed or just don't want our business floating around. Many women who I've come across are still struggling with learning how to single parent, especially the ones with children who have absent fathers.
Being a solo mom is exhausting, stressful, scary and because of him, full of sacrifice. You need his support the most, and now you're left raising your children on your own. Now you find yourself using too much energy trying to get him to visit them because he's missing it all.
Not only for the kids benefit, but for yours too. Because let's face it raising children is just a lot of work for one person. You regularly ask them what could be more important than spending more time with your children because you've had enough of the excuses. And now you're running out of things to say to your little ones about him. Here's some tips on how to talk to your child about their absent dad.
When He Doesn't show up
As mothers, we don't have the option to turn away from our duty as parents. Sometimes I feel like I'm in this nightmare that I can't wake up from. Like how could a parent be so content with not being active in their children's lives?
That's something as women (some of us anyway) will never understand. I personally couldn't imagine NOT being around my child. Whether you wanted them or not you made an adult decision to create them. One of my issues with solo parenting is that as kids get older they start asking more questions about where he is, why they don't see him. Over time you stop knowing what to tell your child.
No matter how bad things are NEVER speak ill of the other parent. Your child may hold on to those words and as they get older may think YOU were the reason they never seen their father. Also, let him know that he is NOT the reason for their dad not coming around. That there is nothing that they could have done to make their dad stick around.
When He Doesn't Call
At the beginning of my single parenting days, I went well out my way to make sure my children had a relationship with their dad. There lied the problem. I made all the effort. I would arrange phone calls, video chats, or give him our schedule to align with his so that we could be free when he wanted to see them.
It was when my therapist (yes my therapist lol) pointed out that I was the only one concerned with him having a relationship with our children. When I stopped making the extra effort, so did the calls.
My daughter was old enough to catch on to this and asked me why daddy has not called her today. I use to lie and tell her that daddy got stuck at work. After speaking with my therapist again, I put a stop to the lying and just told her, I don't know. Now the only time we reach out to him is if she or my son ask could they call him.
Don't spend too much time forcing a relationship between your child and their father. If their dad doesn't eant to be involved, he won't be. All the effort you are making also paves the way for him to tell everyone else how great of a dad he's being, when in truth it was you who just wanted your child to have a relationship with their dad. Let your child ask could they call him. If he doesn't answer, say "Well daddy didn't answer today and let him leave a voicemail.
One day your child will realize how his father has fallen short. When he realizes it and pulls away, his father will end up hurt in the end. Unfortunately, I've observed 3 situations where dads have shown up after all the hard work has been done and then wanting a relationship with their offspring. At the end of the day, your baby will always remember that mommy was ALWAYS there.
I'm Daisha Renee; single mama, foodie, and lover of yoga. Here on my blog I write about the challenges navigating life as a single mother while suffering with depression. I also provide tips to help with overwhelm and practical solutions for single parenting.