cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
Lucy ([personal profile] cereta) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-07-16 03:09 am
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Dear Abby:Hard-Working Dad Needs Help Relating to His Young Daughter

DEAR ABBY: My husband works full-time, and when he gets home, and also on weekends, he's "exhausted" and needs to relax. He's in bed by 8 every night, and on the weekends, if we don't have something planned, he lies in bed all day napping and watching TV.

However, when he realizes he has a weekend day free (meaning I'm taking our 6-year-old daughter someplace he doesn't need to be), he all of a sudden "finds" the energy to make golf plans, go on outings with friends, etc. If I make plans to hire a baby sitter and it's just us going out, he has the energy and looks forward to it. It's as if he is happiest when he doesn't have to be with our child.

He does give her some attention, but it's just in spurts, and then he's off again to watch TV. I'm tired of asking him to make plans with her or spend time with her. I feel like a nag for something I feel he should want to do. Any advice? -- LIKE A SINGLE PARENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR SINGLE PARENT: You married a man who may have no clue how to be a parent and doesn't know how to relate to a little girl. Children aren't stupid. They know when someone enjoys them and when someone doesn't.

The effect of his lack of interest will have an impact on how your daughter feels about herself when she's older. She will ask herself why her father acts the way he does and blame herself for it. (Aren't I smart enough? Aren't I pretty enough?)

Consider going with your husband to a psychologist who can provide him with some insight -- as well as suggestions -- about how to better relate to his daughter, because it isn't too late to make some changes that could benefit both of them.
shirou: (cloud)

[personal profile] shirou 2017-07-17 02:05 am (UTC)(link)
I'm a father and have two children, ages 5 and almost 2. I will readily admit that sitting on the floor and playing with toys is incredibly hard for me, and although I do it some, I usually find that when my kids are playing is a good time for me to wash dishes or start making dinner.

However, there are so many other things I do with my kids that are far less annoying that playing with toys: reading, dancing, running outside, going to the park, giving them rides on my back, coloring, letting them "help" me in the kitchen, playing (banging on) the piano together, and so forth.

It also stands out to me that a man who lies in bed all day watching television is not only failing to spend time with his daughter and spouse, he's also failing to cook, clean, mow the grass, or do anything else toward the upkeep of the household. I understand being tired -- I also have a demanding, full time plus job -- but these things need doing, and he needs to do his part.
minoanmiss: Girl holding a rainbow-colored oval, because one needs a rainbow icon (Rainbow)

[personal profile] minoanmiss 2017-07-17 05:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Have I mentioned that I really adore how you talk about your kids? Your love for them shines off the screen.
xenacryst: Peanuts charactor looking ... (Peanuts: quizzical me)

[personal profile] xenacryst 2017-07-18 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm with both of the above. I find it intriguing that Abby's response focuses entirely on not knowing how to relate to a kid, and completely misses whether there's any not wanting to relate to the kid. I'm not going to try to read a whole lot into the letter, but it certainly has an undercurrent of that - he's very happy going out with his friends or having a child-free night out. I guess I'd ask LW a few things (or have them think about them): how does he talk about their child - to the child and to other people? Is he avoiding or actively resentful? What were his thoughts about children before the child was born? What was his reaction when the child was born? Does he now, and has he ever, done other things around the house to pull his weight (has he ever felt like an equal partner in other areas)? What was his own childhood like, and what kind of relationship does he have with his parents? These might not have THE answer, but they might help pointing the way.