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Hey dads. My name is Courtney, and I thought I'd drop in here to get a man's perspective on things. But before I ask my question, I want to just say that I think it's wonderful that there's a spot on JM for fathers, and that there are fathers willing to participate! I'm going to mention this board to my husband tonight, and maybe he'll give it a shot.
OK, a little background - we had our first child, Julia, in September. It turns out she has a genetic disorder called Netherton's syndrome. It's pretty rare, and just to scratch the surface, is a type of ichthyosis, contributes to really bad failure to thrive, and can make her skin itchy and painful.
My husband has been not-so-willing to take care of her. It's a continuous fight to get him to spend alone time with her, when I ask him to hold her while I shower or something, he's really reluctant. He claims he doesn't know how to get her to stop crying when she's upset, and I say that practice will help him out in that area! He's not very involved at all in childrearing, claiming that it's "my job" as his job is in the Army. It's really upsetting to me, b/c I don't think Julia understands that he's a parent - she spends 99.9% of her time with me. On top of that, since he's in the military, we're 3000 miles away from friends and family so I don't have much help. Never get a break.
I've talked to him before, numerous times, about my feelings, and nothing seems to make a difference, and I haven't seen (much) change.
I'm just curious if you guys could give me perspective on maybe how he might be feeling (not that I expect you to read his mind or anything lol), or a better way to approach this to get him involved. I think...really a lot of this has to do with her disorder. I asked him how he might feel about making friends with other men who have children, and he said it's "different" b/c Julia's different.
Thanks in advance, I really appreciate any replies!
I'm so sorry your Julia has this problem. It must be hard on all of you.
My children didn't have any physical or mental issues. Don't know how I would have reacted to that. But I can tell you that I felt something similar. I enjoyed being with my kids, but after their mother and I divorced, I just drifted away physically and emotionally. And did a LOT of damage.
The worst thing a dad can do is be distant and uninvolved. Not all "Absentee Dads" are physically removed from the kids. (By the way that link is to a free report I have on the effects of an Absentee Dad not a pitch, just good info.) The damage is the same.
And the damage is scary. The stats (from the report) on that are amazing:
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes
80% of rapists come from fatherless homes
71% of the students dropping out at high school come from fatherless homes
75% of all teenage patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes
85% of all the young people sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home
Wow! Numbers dont lie children raised without a father are at significantly higher
risk. Children from a fatherless home are:
Five times more likely to commit suicide
Thirty-two times more likely to run away
Twenty times more likely to have behavioral disorders
Fourteen times more likely to commit rape (this applies to boys)
Nine times more likely to drop out of high school
Ten times more likely to abuse chemical substances
Nine times more likely to end up in a state-operated or charitable institution
Twenty times more like to end up in prison for a long period of time
"Fatherless homes" is not necessarily a home without a father, but can also be a home where the father is extremely uninvolved.
I know this is not a warm and fuzzy response. And I'm not offering a solution, but certainly a perspective from experience.
Good luck. You're doing the right thing trying to get him to adapt.
Courtney, I may be coming right out of the blue on this but maybe he might thinsk it's his fault? Is the condition Treatable? Us guys are weird sometimes and He might just be feeling distant because He's blaming his self.
I have the same problem except my daughter is perfectly healthy..
Her dad just doesnt want to do anything with her or feed her or anything and i dunno what to do.. I have also talked to him numeruos times..
ugh.. i wish he would just help me and show some intrest in her..
I'm a mommy but I sort of had this problem. Is it his first child? He might just be too scared to hold her. You said her skin was itchy and painful. He may also be scared of being a father and scared of failing her as a father. I'm a teen mom so I thought that my hubby didn't want to do all that because he was young and just couldn't handle that much responsibility yet (even though I was the baby of the family and I coped) But now that our son is 10 months, he plays with him more than I do sometimes! They play, they laugh, the cuddle. He even changes his diapers (sometimes with a little push and nagging from me) and he does most of his feedings. Try to encourage him a little, have him start little, teach him how to do things while your there so when he starts freaking out, be there to help. Gradually, he'll feel more confident and hopefully you'll be where I am one day. Do keep me updated!