As a father who does not live with my two biological kids, I am very mindful of the effect that my abscence could have on them. I could be like one of those dead beat Dads who are nothing more than a sperm donor, or I can do my best to try to be as active as I can in their lives even though I am not always physically there, to try and support them in every way but at the same time still trying to show boundaries. I have chosen the latter but admittedly when the boundaries are different in different homes, it can be hard to enforce and if anything, can be confusing for the child because those boundaries are not clear and consistent. Its especially hard when one is a Christian and the other is not.
For example, when my relationship with their mum broke down, my goal was to still to make sure that the children didn’t receive two different messages from us so that they could play one against the other or that the child felt justified in their actions because ‘Mum or Dad said so’. Even if we disagreed, I wanted us to talk about things ‘behind the scenes’ so that their was a consistent message in front of them.
The reality is things did not work out like that and as much as I wanted us to be at least amicable for the sake of the kids, for various reasons, it was not possible. The end result is that over the past few years, as I have mentioned in posts such as The Pursuit of Happyness and When your children don’t want to follow God, my relationship with my daughter has been, let’s say, less than perfect.
I love my daughter to bits and have always wanted to be there for her. I remember when she was young and I used to make sure that I consciously went out of my way to spend quality time with her, taking her swimming, going to the park as well as other places. I miss that quality time that can so easily be taken for granted when you live with your child.
However, when a father refuses to be in their child’s life, the consequences can be disastrous. Don’t believe me? Watch this video of a girl who wrote a letter to the man who left her behind
When I watched this, it tore at my heartstrings because I never want my daughter to ever feel like that. I will always make sure that I do as much as I can and what is in my power, to keep in contact with her on my side so that when she grows older, she could never say that I have never tried to remain in contact and mantain a relationship with her
If you are a father who has deserted your child for whatever reason, or maybe you are not active in their life, you probably dont realise how much psycholgical damage you may have inflicted on your child and they may justifably be angry with you. It may not always show on the outside but inside, they are hurting. Make a conscious decision today to do something to ‘kick things off’. Depending on the situation what you do will vary and it will be hard for some and easier for others but try something. That may mean a phone call, it may mean sending them a card, it may mean giving them flowers, it may mean taking your child out for a one to one talk, but whatever you do, don’t give up on them. They may not always say so or express it outwardly, but inside, a lot of them WANT a meaningful relationship with you. Sometimes the mother may have filled their mind with negativity so that they cannot see the positive things that you are trying to do but do what YOU have to do and whatever is in YOUR control. Show them that you love them and care for them and that they are always on your mind. Children need their Daddys in their life.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Col 3:21)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)