My older kids are 11 & 9. Their father has never been there for them. All ways in & out never constant. It seems every time he gets a girlfriend he's got something to prove to her so he'll talk to my kids on the phone for 2-3 weeks then he's gone again, then in a year or 2 he'll try to contact them again.

This has been going on for 8 years now. He's never once paid any amount of money towards them. Most years he doesn't even call for their birthday's or Christmas. The last 6 years I've been with my husband and had another baby with him, he treats my older kids as if they were his. He shows up for games and practices, school events and is there when they just need their daddy.

My son takes it especially hard. He's in therapy and after he talks to his bio father on the phone or whatever my son acts out starting the day after he speaks to him, he talks back, he's disrespectful & doesn't listen or follow the directions of his teachers or myself. He can't focus and has a difficult time staying on task. He has meltdowns threw out the day. By meltdown I mean crying so hard he can't catch his breath, he clings to & asks things (to daddy, the man that stepped up) like are you going to leave me like Albert, are you still going to be my daddy, are you still going to do stuff with me the stuff we do, are you still going to come to my games & practices?

My kids should not have to go through this but some how he makes me feel like the worse person in the whole wide world. I told him that if he truly wanted to be a consistent with them & be apart then he can find a family councilor and first appointment him & I will go to hash out whatever needs to be hashed out that the kids don't need to be a part of & if that goes well then him, I & the kids can go and the more progress him & my kids will determine the next step. He doesn't want that. What should I do, am I wrong? Help pleassssssseeeeeee!!!!

  • 1
    Would he ever be open to allowing your current husband to adopt them? It would give him an "out" to not feel like he is "supposed to" show up every once in a while.
    – threetimes
    Oct 5, 2017 at 17:28
  • Hi and welcome to the site. We're here to help, but this block of text is difficult to read. Can you please edit it and use paragraph breaks to make it more understandable? Which of your children (9 or 11) is having the hardest time? How does the other one act? What is the legal status (full custody? Never been to court?) Is the biological father trying to contact you, or are you just anticipating the next time? This is a Q&A site, and we need a specific question (more specific than, "what should I do?") Thanks, and, again, we're here to help. Oct 5, 2017 at 18:07
  • 2
    Are there any legal custody or visitation rulings in place?
    – Acire
    Oct 5, 2017 at 18:12
  • May or may not be useful, but the TV show Parenthood has a similar situation to yours (with Lauren Graham playing the mother)
    – Erin
    Oct 8, 2017 at 21:33

4 Answers 4


If your kids aren't interested in contacting their father, and their father isn't interested in contacting them, there's really no problem. They have a loving stepfather. You've done all you can to maintain the relationship between the kids and their dad, it's time to let it go.

If the problem is the dad calling every once in a blue moon and upsetting your kids, then next time just tell him: "I'm sorry, but it just upsets the kids when they hear from you like this," and ask him (gently) to stop calling if he's not going to be in their lives consistently. This is not being mean, this is just protecting your kids and putting their interests first.

If the problem is that the kids want a relationship, and their dad doesn't, tell them "it's nothing you did wrong, your bio-dad just wasn't ready to be a father. But luckily, you have a (step) dad who loves you and isn't going anywhere." If you stop trying to singlehandedly keep the bond alive, I think you and your kids will feel much better. And you aren't closing any permanent doors this way, either. If your kids or their dad feel (or act!) differently in future years, you can revisit it then.

  • I like this answer because it’s fair and impartial, leaving doors open to reconciliation, which I think is critical when dealing with difficult parents - biological or otherwise. This answer also stays focused on the kids’ health and perspective, which is most important as a parent and what this site is about. Oct 9, 2017 at 8:03

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

The person exhibited a sustained, consistent, pattern of bad behavior that has detrimental effect on the kids. Almost certainly, they will continue that.

Ergo, they should not be allowed to affect the kids negatively anymore, without clearly demonstrating and proving in a sustained matter that they changed. I like your idea of a family councelor as a start; and the refusal by the person seems 100% crystal clear indicator they have zero intention of putting in an honest faith effort. (my personal opinion is, the test should be that they offer financial support without asking anything in return for a while. That would prove they have kids' interest in heart and not their own).

Until and unless they prove that they changed, you should not let the biological donor back in kids' lives (and yes, i consciously use that term. "Father" is someone who went sleepless nights to take care of a sick kid. And otherwise sacrificed for the child's well-being).

Also, you mentioned that you feel bad about not letting him in. Sorry to be blunt, but that's your problem. Deal with it (ideally, by talking to your husband or councelor or mental health professional; or simply bearing it), instead of dumping that problem on your kids' head. He's a sociopath who's using and abusing your feelings of guilt; and it's up to you to let or not let him do that.


Forget about your current husband or what you think about your ex. (He is your ex for a reason)

Then think about what he adds to the life of your kids. (It can be something simple as taking a walk with them every other week) Then ask him if he willing to make a commitment till your kids are 18.

If not, then he has no business in the life of your kids.

If he does add positive value then for the sake of your kids you have to be positive about that part let your kids have their time with their dads. Even if he isn't the dad you wanted him to be he is their dad.

So ask him if he is willing to make that commitment and can you find something positive?



To you, and everyone else, he may be an f -up

But to your kids he's just their dad. They didn't have a choice. They still don't.

It's a relationship worth trying to save.

  • 1. "dad" has connotations of a father figure, not just biological genetic donor who chose to not be a father. 2. From the (admittedly, one-sided) description of the situation, there's either no "relationship" to save, or one that is a net negative to all involved and is not even close to worth saving.
    – user3143
    Oct 7, 2017 at 19:04
  • Obviously I disagree. In these situations, the mother is usually terribly jaded (and not without good reason!). Still, the kids only have one dad. Outside of frank abuse, they may need him, and there's always the chance he'll pull his shit together. It's a relationship worth saving; I'll take the downvotes from any who don't understand my point.
    – Stu W
    Oct 7, 2017 at 19:10
  • It might be helpful to examine how it could be saved, though. If the ex isn't intrinsically motivated to improve his behavior, does continued contact improve or degrade the relationship with the children? Should the OP shrug and let things continue, or intervene in some way?
    – Acire
    Oct 8, 2017 at 6:06

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