Can a guy make a great husband but a lousy father? After all, there's not much of a way to tell if a man will make a great dad, unless he already has kids when you meet. Otherwise, you go by how he acts with you. What kind of a boyfriend he is. What kind of a husband. Maybe you get a feeling based on how he acts with his nephews, or random kids in the park. Maybe he's a great furdad, or he always waters his plants. So from there you make the leap -- he'll make a great dad too! So you go ahead and have kids. And then you suddenly realize, wait a second, he actually kind of sucks at this. That's the dilemma this mom of three has.
The mom wrote on Reddit about her husband who is "a good husband and a great provider for his family." She says he is "awesome" and adds:
He talks to me about these wonderful and interesting things that keep us talking to each other for hours. I love this man and I am happy I married him.
Unfortunately, his awesomeness doesn't translate into his parenting skills. He does nothing with the kids, leaving the mom to do "EVERYTHING" (her caps) for them. He's sarcastic with them, but they don't understand sarcasm and just think he's being mean. Examples: "Honey, can you make lunch for the kids?" Him: "F**k them." Child: "Dad can I ... (cant even finish sentence)?" "No. Nothing you have to do is important."
Don’t get me wrong, I know my husband loves his children and will gladly take a bullet for them but sometimes I don’t know if his love is unconditional. He has VERY high expectations of them. I often remind him that they aren’t born with knowing how to express their emotions without crying. Or knowing that things are dangerous. Its our jobs as parents to teach them. He yells at them (like getting up in their face yelling) when all he has to do is explain so they can understand. They do not know how to react around him. I am afraid to say that they might fear him. Actually, I know they do. Which is why they don’t like being around him.
Yikes! Lots of people responded, telling the mom that when her kids grow up, they will probably have as little to do with their father as possible. The amount of comments from readers saying this behavior was just like their father or mother, and the repercussions that's had, is heartbreaking.
This mom needs to get therapy for her and her husband. The good news is that since he seems to be genuinely in love with her, he'll probably agree to it. It sounds like he loves the kids (at least she seems to think so), but he just doesn't know how to show it. He probably grew up in a family where sarcasm and unrealistic expectations were the norm. This sounds like learned behavior, and that is something that can only be changed with a lot of work.
Maybe it would help if the children actually told the father how hurt they feel with his comments and attitude. He probably has no idea of the impact his words are having.
The wife should look at her husband's relationship with his parents, especially his father, as that should give her some clues as to where he learned this behavior. Ask her husband how he felt growing up with a dad like that.
The kids aren't going to just hold this behavior against their dad. They're going to hold it against their mom too -- for allowing it.
Do you have any advice for this mom?
Image via Little Miss Ladybug/Flickr