This is a true story.
Grandchild: “Grandma, I hate my daddy.”
Grandma: “What do you mean, you hate my son?”
Grandchild: “I hate him because he’s never done anything for me. He’s a deadbeat dad.”
Grandma: “Well, don’t I buy you clothes and give you money?”
Grandma: “Don’t I buy you birthday presents and Christmas gifts?”
Grandchild: “Yes, mam.”
Grandma: “Don’t we spend weekends together? Don’t we go shopping? Don’t we laugh, talk, and play together?”
Grandchild: “Yes, mam. We have a lot of fun together.”
Grandma: “And when you’re sick or when you have a problem, doesn’t grandma try to fix it?”
Grandchild: “You always do.”
Grandma: “Now tell me why you think Grandma does all of those things.”
Grandchild: “Because I’m your grandchild.”
Grandma: “No. I do it because your daddy is my child. And everything Grandma buys, every hug I give you, every loving and kind word I lift your spirits with, is co-signed by my son – your daddy.”
Several years ago, I overheard this conversation between a grandmother and one of her grandchildren and I never forgot it.
My mom was a single parent. My dad was never around, and he never offered any support. However, I never saw him as a deadbeat dad because my mother made sure I spent time with his mother and his sisters and brothers. My Grandma Thelma and then my Aunt Helen’s houses were my second home. And my grandmother, my uncles, and my aunts showered me with love and made me feel like I was just as much their child as I was my dad’s.
My point: I am not saying it is okay to neglect your kids. It’s not. However, sometimes we need to look at the underlying issues that may be preventing a child’s father from being the supportive parent he would like to be. This does not excuse his negligence. It simply means making the effort to understand why he isn’t an active part of your child’s life then helping and showing him how to become a better parent. It’s not always easy, but in the end, you’ll be glad you helped build a relationship between your children and their father.