Am I a bad Father?
05/22/2008 at 11:15 AM

I started a string earlier in the General Family discussion; however, I'm still quite confused about my predicament.  My ex-wife and I have been getting worse with our relationship which in turn has had adverse effects on our son.  I had an incident with my son and dishonesty (which has been getting worse over time), which has created great animosity with his mother (and him).  Because of the way that incident has been handled by his mother, things have gotten worse along with my son getting worse.  She dislikes discipline because she does not want to 'hurt' him; yet, in the long run he will be hurt because he is not learning right from wrong.  Over time, these situations have been getting worse and even harder for me to deal with because I am not in a position to teach him.  Because of the relationship, there is no consistency in my son's life.  I will never have the desired influence on him that would produce a capable and righteous young man.  My visitation has dwindled from a 50/50 custody to less than 24 hrs a week.  There seems to be no desire from either my son nor his mother to try and spend more time together (my son and I).  His step-father is willing to adopt him, should I allow him to do so and drop rights?  This will alleviate all tensions between the houses and offer my son structure in his life without the fighting.  He'll be in a better situation, even though he may hate me for doing it.  Even though it's better for him "Does this make me bad Father?"

You are your son's father and unless you want to give your child the message that you no longer want to be his father, DO NOT DO THIS!!!!! It has the possibility of causing your son great long term harm. I work with children with emotional issues and have seen many cases where the child seems to be fine with the adoption, but is devastated inside. This may seem to be a solution, but keep in mind that you knew what the possibilities were when the decision to divorce was made. You and your ex made this decision and it was thrust upon your son. Divorce and trying to parent well after divorce is very difficult. Please seek out parenting help!!!!You and your ex are divorced, PLEASE DO NOT divorce your son. He may have abandonment issues for the rest of his life as a result.


You sound like a very caring father to me. I'm sure all parties are looking out for your son's best interest. It's just unfortunate that you can't work together to find consistency. Is it possible for you all to attend family counciling so you can address these issues? After all, you want what's best for your son. If you can come to a compromise so that you're all on the same page, that wld be best for everyone. Look beyond the friction, and concentrate on helping your son. If, after making attempts to do this, you still have problems, do whatever it takes to be the best father to your son that you can be. When you do see him, make sure he knows how much he is loved and cared for. Also, always leave the lines of communication open between you, and let your son know that you will always be there for him no matter what. Be understanding, and listen. Try not to dwell on the negative. The divorce has to be really tough on him. Hopefully in time, the feelings of hostility will subside, and you and your son will have a close meaningful relationship. Stay in his life. He needs you!


No matter what, do not allow your son to be adopted by the step father. YOU are his father. I have been through what you are going through with 4 children. They are now grown with children of their own, and doing fine. We had ups and downs, but the most important thing was the constant message to them that I loved them,they were the joy of my life, and I would always be there. Of course there were times when "no-rules-Dad and stepMom" were more popular. Be persistent. You will not regret it. Be firm and be a father. No one ever said it would be easy - - sometimes we just have to show up. Keep showing up!!



I wonder how old your son is. My step father adopted me when I was a baby (too young to remember my bio father)... things worked out well and my parents gave a good life. I always wondered why my dad was not brave enough to stick around and fight for the right to see me, but all in all i did not have TOO much emotional trauma from it. It would be easier to allow the man to adopt YOUR son wouldn't it?


Like all the questions and dilemmas on this thread, it can be very one-sided and we are only hearing one side of the story. People can only give advice and help on this basis. Like Gail, I think I am about ready to give up on these message boards because it can be very frustrating.
Since this is your second thread, we know that this is really bad for you. When it comes to deeper issues like yours, perhaps counselling or professional advice is the way to go.
Does this make you a bad father? Only if you let it.


Only allow it if the step-father allows equal rights and the like.

You're the boy's father, and you will end up causing long-term harm should you stay out of your son's life.


To junieg,
(hopefully you'll read this)
Although I'm fairly new to these boards, I have to say that I've learned a lot from different people's points of view here. I do know what you mean about this getting frustrating at times, though, especially if there's too many opinions or if the situation is one-sided.
I just wanted to say that I feel these message boards are a great place for people to come, socialize, learn, debate, vent, and give advice. We can't expect everyone to have all the right answers or for us to give the perfect solutions. We can only base our responses on our own experiences and knowledge. I think most people come here w/ good intentions, although I've read some heated debates. But, all in all, that's what makes us unique and interesting. I came to these boards w/ a problem, and I found a lot of people, who I don't even know, willing to share their advice. Although this advice can't perminently fix my situation, it has helped me to better cope w/ it. Knowing that there are people out there that share similar experiences and understand what you're going through, helps a great deal. I, in turn, get satisfaction from being able to reach out to others.
From my experience w/ you, I feel you are a well-intentioned person who is open to helping others as well. In my case, you offered me some really good advice that I truly appreciate. I hope that I can reciprocate that kindness someday. Hopefully, you, and many others, will stick around for a while. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best always.


junieg, Please don't give up! We would miss you as we miss Gail! You give really sound advice and are needed here!!!!!


I'm still. here. Thanks for your support. Just had a rough day. There are times though when you really have to rein your thoughts and comments in at what someone has posted. I am learning to ignore certain threads when they make me want to scream at the ignorance of the poster though. No doubt we all feel the same from time to time.
[I am not making this comment in reference to this thread]


There is more to this story than is being presented. Why did dad have such a drastic reduction in his parenting time? Was this court ordered? Is this the example we want to set for children? When the going gets tough, give up. I do not have enough information to answer the question of whether you are a bad dad or not, but I will say that you seem to lack some parental instinct. I hope I am wrong here. As a single father, I trust no one to take care of my children as well as I can, and do. They are a part of me, and I can see their expressions, and know what they are thinking, feeling. When signing over rights to your child you are considered a “Legal Stranger” all rights are taken away. Do not listen to the poster who said to only do it if the step father agrees to allow equal rights. Step father can say whatever he wants to you, the court order is what the law will enforce. If your not willing to fight for your children, what are you willing to fight for? I would gladly lay down my life for my children, surely I would be willing to trade some comfort for time with them. The only “advantage” would be no more child support payments. The best interest of the child is not served by being abandoned. I hope you were having a bad day when you wrote this, and that you have reconsidered.

I have been called harsh, bitter, angry, and many other things on here, but never a bad father. Dad you need to stick this out and fight for your child. Let them tell him whatever they want. I always say that what we see as a child we will someday judge as an adult. In time your son will be able to see through all that has happened. He will know how hard it was on you, and he will know that you loved him enough to endure everything just to spend a small amount of time with him. If your time has been reduced due to a mistake, or bad decision on your part, then jump through every hoop the court sets out and fight for 50/50 parenting time again. It’s hard, but not impossible. Good luck to you.


Thank you SnglDad!!!! I hope your sound advice will help this man do the right thing!!!!!


Good point, Single Dad. I think we do need more info here to give the best advice. It sounds to me like this father really doesn't want to give up custody of his son. He just wants advice on what wld be best for his son.
I still believe that all parties involved need to AGREE (w/ all anger aside) on a way to best handle this situation. The son needs to be top priority here. There also needs to be some form of intervention for the son and the families involved. This kid needs stability or the situation will only get worse.
Off the subject, I wld just like to say, if anyone at any time gets offended by anything I write on these boards, or if anyone has a problem w/ any topic, opinion, etc. that I post here, please let me know. I'm sure no one wants to be offensive. Some people just feel more strongly about certain topics than others, and they come across sounding more aggressive. That's the way I see it. I hope this will help relieve some frustration, and also open the lines of communication for everyone. 8-) I


Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and opinions. In all honesty, I know that I am not a bad Father, nor is my house a bad place. I have 5 children with my current wife and all of the children are stable and over-achievers. My ex and I will never get along as evidenced by the past several years. My children are my first priority, always have. My ex is more concerned about herself rather than our son. In her eyes, I'm considered to be too strict, too disciplined, too structured (as if these are bad things); however, with her involvement, I cannot give this to my son, because of her hatred for me. She finds ways to disrupt things that work positively for our son just because they are things that I strive to provide for him. As for discipline, at her house there is none. At my house, discipline has increasingly become harsher in an effort to offset the two house. My son tells me, "Dad, I don't know how to tell right from wrong because your opinion and mom's opinion differ so much." His mother has found ways to justify bad behavior in an effort to not have to inflict a punishment upon him and I cannot teach him differently when he likes the fact that he's not being punished at her house for doing things that he would get in trouble for at my house. I have one basic rule at my house which encompasses several different ideals, and that rule is "You will respect everyone." This encompasses *no lying, no cheating, no stealing, use your manners, do as your told, etc. These are all values that his mother does not share, hence the reason that we're not together anymore. These are all of the issues that I battle with my son every time he comes over. I'm just wearing down fighting this battle day-in and day-out, both with him and his mother. Counciling has not helped over the years, either. Well, thanks to eveyone, again as I will continue to try and do both what's right as well as what's best for my situation.


Do not battle with your son. My ex and I tried that with his 3 daughters causing heartache for all and they were all 3 still a mess. (One has straightened out in the past few years though.) Your job is to love and nurture your son in the time you have together. He will gain more by your love and positive support than any amount of harsh discipline you try to compress into your limited time. As difficult as it may seem, realize that the only tool you have to offset whatever goes on at the other house is LOVE!!!!