Ask Dad: How Can I Get My Husband to Spend More Time With Our Son?

Cary McNeal

dad son oceanWelcome back to Ask Dad. I will forgo the lame jokes this week and cut to the chase, since my child is patiently waiting to school me yet again at Wii ping pong. Seems like she would be nice and let her old man win once in a while, but nooooooooo. Kids are so ruthless anymore.

Anyhoo, here's this week's question:

How do I get my husband to spend more time with our son? I practically have to twist his arm to get him to do anything at all with the kid.

My first reaction when I read this question was, "You can't." It's all but impossible to talk anyone into doing something he doesn't want to do. Yes, occasionally you can hound and harangue and threaten a person so much that he finally capitulates, but, as you've probably noticed, he usually does such a piss-poor job that you end up wishing you hadn't even bothered.

So the real question isn't how you can make him spend time with the boy, but how can you make him want to? And I'm not sure I have an answer to that.

I've known plenty of dads who seem to think that raising a child is primarily the mother's work, and they just step in when she needs a break. I always want to ask them what it was like before fire was discovered or if they knew anyone who was eaten by a dinosaur. Other dads want nothing to do with their kids until they can walk and talk and go to the bathroom on their own.

Then you have the workaholic dads who think that providing for the family is their number one job and forget that providing face time with their kids is even more important. I will cop to this behavior sometimes. More than once my wife has pulled me aside and said, "One day soon she'll be packing her car for college and you'll say, 'Wow, when did she grow up?'" She's right, and I don't want that to happen. Then I spend more time with my kid and love it and think, Yes, this is what I should be doing. Work can wait.

You don't say how much time your husband already spends with your son or what he's doing instead, so, again, it's a tough question to answer. I'd like to hand this one over to the experts: the other CafeMoms and Stir readers. Who here has dealt with this issue, and how did you address it? What works? What doesn't?

Thanks in advance for your input.


Image via kainr/Flickr

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