My Children Need their Father: What Should I Do?

Ask Cindy

I am so angry at my ex. He is choosing his new girlfriend and her children over my children. I feel like my children need their father in their life. What do I do? Melanie from Maine

A lot of women get caught up in this trap, believing that their child “needs” a father. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

          * Who says that your children “need” their father?
*What type of father do they need?
*What type of father do they want?
*What do you believe constitutes a good father?
*What type of father would/is your ex?

You ask what you can do. There is nothing that you can do to change their father. It is his choice whether or not he wants to be in his children’s life and to what extent. How much of the pain is really your pain? Possibly you didn’t have the best father, so you want more for your children. On the other hand, maybe your dad was the best and you could not imagine what life would have been like without him. These are your projections, based on your own life experiences.  Children do not necessarily need one or both biological parents in order to succeed in life.

As mothers, we sometimes think that growing up without a father damages the child for life. Is there pain involved, yes. Does it damage them for life? I think not. Consider that Barrack Obama only met his father once and Bill Clinton’s father passed away in a car accident three months before Clinton was born. Halle Berry, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Foxx, Demi Moore and Kanu Reevers were all abandoned by their father’s at various ages up to 13. John Lennon grew up with out a father and his mother passed away when he was 17.

Soon after one of my clients, Jane married her ex, the mother of his children dropped off the boys aged one and three and then disappeared for several years. Not being able to have children of her own, Jane fell in love with boys, loved them and nurtured them. She stayed in an abusive situation for years because she did not want to leave the boys. She had no legal rights to them. When the boys were 13 and 15, she could not take the abuse anymore and kicked her husband out. The boys refused to go with their father, as they wanted to live with Jane, whom they loved. The husband left and did not contact the boys for over a year. The courts gave custody of the boys to Jane, on the grounds that both parents had abandoned them. Both boys grew up with good grades and joined the military. They are fine young men, who really thrived after their father left their lives.

The belief that your children needs their father, is just a belief, but ask yourself is it REALLY true? Instead of using your energy, trying to make your ex act and be what you think he should be, change gears and start focusing on how you can be the best mother you can be and how you can be sure that they get the love and nurturing that they need. Assure them that you love them and will always be by their side.  If they ask you why their dad isn’t around, tell them that you honestly don’t know why he is making the choice to stay away.

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Filed Under: Ask Cindy, Children, Dealing with Ex Tagged With: , , ,

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