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Effects of Deadbeat Dads in a Child's Life

Updated on October 22, 2015
When a man decides not to participate in a child's life, the child loses much more than the father.
When a man decides not to participate in a child's life, the child loses much more than the father. | Source

What a Child Loses When He Has a Deadbeat Dad

Being a father is difficult. You have to learn so much about child development, and deal with the personalities of children who may not always want to do what you tell them to do.

Being a single father is even more difficult, because then you have the added issues of dealing with the mother. There may be unresolved feelings and the ongoing issues that caused you to break up in the first place. You may have different opinions about how the children should be raised and what rules they should follow.

It is difficult to give up your hard earned money to disobedient children and their ungrateful mother. Figuring out visitation schedules is difficult when you don't get along with their mother.

Sometimes it is just easier to walk away and not have to deal with all this conflict and drama and tension and emotion.

However, have you thought about how your absence may affect your child?


1. Reduction in Quality of Life

Let's talk about money since that is the first thing that most people think of when they think of Deadbeat Dads. When you don't help provide for the children's needs, their mother has to do it all herself. Since the income of women is smaller than the income of men, this leads to less than a 50% reduction of the income that is available for the household.

The children will have to do without many of the things they would have if you were in their lives. Their mother will have to find ways to cut corners to help make ends meet. The children may get lower quality food, fewer toys, and cheaper and/or used clothing. They may live in a neighborhood that is less safe or be limited in their options for education. They may have to participate in fewer activities and take fewer vacations.

If the child support is sporadic, then there is the additional issue of poverty and comfort. It is difficult to budget when their mother doesn't know if or when she will receive a payment.

Some fathers are aware of this issue and do provide regular child support, and decide not to deal with the children in person.

When a man decides not to participate in a child's life, the child loses much more than the father.
When a man decides not to participate in a child's life, the child loses much more than the father. | Source

2. Child Loses You When You are a Deadbeat Dad

There is more to being a father than providing money. Your children need your presence in their lives.

You can share your knowledge with them, and teach them the things they need to learn to get along in the world. They need to learn about morals and values.

They learn about the meaning of unconditional love, and learn how they should be treated. Nobody else can replace you when it comes to your love. Just as adopted children miss their biological parents no matter how much their adoptive parents loved them, so do children who know that their father abandoned them.


3. Deadbeat Dad's Child Loses Mother's Attention

When you aren't around to provide support for the mother, she has to fend for herself in raising the children. She has to make her own decisions without being able to consult with you, and hope that the decisions are the right one.

Her focus sometimes winds up being on making enough money to provide food and clothing for the children, so she may not have as much time to spend with them. She has to find a babysitter for every time she cannot be there with the children, since you aren't around to take care of them.

When she is sick, she has to get up and take care of the children, no matter how badly she feels herself.

As a result, the mother may become stressed and snap at the children. She cannot be the best mother she can be, because she is being pulled in so many directions at once.

4. Child Loses Your Deadbeat Dad's Family

The father generally serves as the gatekeeper for the rest of the family. When you aren't around for the children, your parents and siblings may feel awkward having to explain your absence to your children or their mother. Many times, your family will wind up being absentee family as well.

What this means is that your children have lost one half, that's 50%, of the support they would otherwise receive in their lives. That's half the people they can turn to when they need help. That's half the number of people that will participate in their events and watch them perform. That's half the number of presents they may get on a holiday.

By abandoning your children, you not only take away your presence in their lives, sometimes you also take away half of the loved ones in their lives. Your side of the family becomes lost to them.

5. Society's Treatment of Children With Deadbeat Dads

You may wonder what people will think of you if they find out that you are a Deadbeat Dad, but have you wondered about what people think of your children?

Your children will be wearing lower quality clothing, and may be considered second-class citizens. Their clothing may be ragged or dirty if their mother hasn't had a chance to mend or wash them. Even if they are properly groomed or clothed, they may be pitied because their father isn't around. It would be nice if these people stepped up to take their place, but if their biological parent can't find the time to help, what is the likelihood of unrelated people finding that kind of time in their busy schedules?

Fathers may feel awkward hugging their own kids around them, since they know that these kids don't have a Dad around to hug them.

6. Your Children's Well Being and Self Esteem

Your children, of course, will feel the biggest impact. They will not have the benefit of your wisdom or love. They will be living in the lower quality of life. They will lose half of their family. They will watch people around them who have fathers and a large extended family and know that they are missing out.

They may develop unhealthy relationships as adults because they have very low expectations about how people should treat them. After all, if their father abandoned them, how could they possibly deserve any more. They may desperately try to find a father figure and get manipulated.

Effects of Deadbeat Dads in Children

Most men don't want to abandon their children and don't want to be Deadbeat Dads. They want the best for their children, and do make some efforts to be there for their kids. However, it is difficult to be a single father, and sometimes it is just easier to not deal with it, especially if they have unresolved feelings for their mother or if they don't know how to handle children.

But if you think about the impact that you have when you give up, hopefully you will think twice or many times before you abandon your children. Try, try again, and keep trying.

Comments: "Impact of a Deadbeat Dad in a Child's Life"

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      AKP 2 months ago

      It seems that no good ever comes out of divorce. Dad beat dads. Abusive single moms. Incredible and irreparable damage to the abandoned spouse and the children. Even with both parents present in the children's lives, kids pay the price. They are shuffled like property back and forth between parents. They get side lined as the parents cope with the upheaval of their lives. They get abandoned over and over by the coming and going of new lovers. They get abused by step parents, single parents, boyfriends, girl friends. They lose their social status, their security. Their very identity as the fruit of the two is destroyed. If a parent is so selfish and abusive as to put their kids through the horrific experience of divorce, then they should lose their say. Maybe divorce rates would drop if the courts defaulted to the wishes of the other parent who most likely does not want their family to be ripped to shreds and truly does have the best interests of the children in mind. Divorce is never an upwards trade and it hurts the most vulnerable. Life is not better after divorce. People who stay married are happier. And so are their kids. Learn to love your own flesh.

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      Danah 15 months ago

      Great story! I am a single mom who's trying to raise a 16 yr old boy and am failing miserably. He moved in with his dad because I couldn't handle him. He got into trouble and was sent away for 4 months. I visited him every weekend and participated in every class they offered. His dad visited him once. When he completed his time he came home to my house. Soon after it all started again, not listening, deliberately disobeying he moved into his dad's. I don't think it would have mattered if his dad lived in a lean-to hut, he was just happy to be with his dad. But his dad had no time for him. Was never home and when he was there just sat watching TV or sleeping. Needless to say he is back living with me and things are even worse. I'm sitting here at home waiting to see if my son is even going to show up tonight after sneaking out last night. I'm at my wit's end and the stress is killing me but I won't give up. His dad lives in the same town as us, pays child support and all and I've never kept him from seeing him for any reason whatsoever but he blames me for my son not wanting to get ahold of him or visit him because I let him move back with me. I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this. Maybe I just need to vent or perhaps a little advice

    • Word Pools profile image

      Word Pools 18 months ago from United States of America

      Thank you for your comment Anonymous. I understand that it can be frustrating when a woman chooses to have a baby when you do not want that responsibility. But it does take two people to support a child and both parties are responsible. If you don't want a baby, make sure you take proper precautions to avoid one.

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      Anonymous 21 months ago

      Having a child should be like applying for a home. If you can't prove that you can afford that home on your own then you need to work harder until you are able to. Women are ridiculous they depend on men and think they are owed . I don't blame half these men for walking out on their kids because if they don't do exactly what the "mom" says then they are punished . People make mistakes and therefor I think if they make having children equivalent as owning a home then we can pretend all these losers from having children .

    • Word Pools profile image

      Word Pools 2 years ago from United States of America

      Sulabha, there are many Deadbeat Dads out there, but there are also good men who are great fathers. Unfortunately, I chose incorrectly.

    • Sulabha profile image

      Sulabha Dhavalikar 2 years ago from Indore, India

      Certainly one of the serious problems that we face in the society today! I wish you all success here.

      My own views are that men have very high egos as compared to women. And very rarely, they come close to accepting (even to their own selves) that their behavior is incorrect. And there lies my apprehension.

      Whatever my good wishes to you always.

    • Word Pools profile image

      Word Pools 2 years ago from United States of America

      You're right Lisa, I hadn't thought of the child predators, but abandoning a child does bring more of that type of risk into the equation. Plus a desperate single parent might do desperate things to get the money she needs for her kids, like prostitution or selling drugs, which is also not good for the kids.

    • Word Pools profile image

      Word Pools 2 years ago from United States of America

      You know ProfK, I haven't heard of any such groups, but I think it is an excellent idea! Children who have been abandoned by their parent certainly do need support and counseling to help them deal with the abandonment. The grief and anger are real.

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      ProfK 2 years ago

      I am new to site and was researching the topic --there seem to be no support groups for teens to young adults who are battling with the scars of phantom dads who abandoned care of and any role in their children lives. IS there really no such peer group identify where kids and young adults going through this phantom grief and anger can be among others who identify? This site doesn't seem to publish authors' names but if someone can send resource or contact info to kellychristine61 at gmail I would appreciate. These two unrelated young adults are looking to maybe found a group in fullfillment of academic community service course, but the more I look, I am pretty shocked this may not exist in any region??? These kids are from NJ

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      lisa 2 years ago

      What I started to say, is I make just a few hundred dollars too much pee month, preventing any"extra" resources being available. It is really discouraging to work so hard to get ahead and to have to receive child support to keep me afloat on a place that is semi decent. My kids father works against me every step of the way a I try to raise my kids - from telling them what a terrible place they live in (on the other hand he tells everyone else I live in a fancy house), tells them t b ey shouldn't have chores, even put them down one day because the flip flops they were wearing were from Kmart - made my daughter take them off and said no child of his was wearing cheap cap like that. Mind you, there was nothing wrong with the shoes, it was simply a ploy to make her feel bad and try to make her feel like I did something wrong. He works sometimes and makes promises to be a better father, yet will up and move away (telling his kids over the phone two days earlier), quit paying child support, then want to visit or take kids out if town to vusit. My kids do not want to go with him anymore and it's all by his actions yet he will keep the drama rolling by telling people I keep then from him which is not true. They are human, they are smart, and if I voiced my true opinion, they are making healthy relationship choices by creating their own boundaries against someone who is no longer plays a positive role in their lives. My kids get As & Bs in school, sign up and work Hardin community service projects and have many goals. I hope the struggles they witness in n our lives as I try to provide for them while working full time and going to school full time myself, makes them stronger and more determined to continue to work hard. Their dad can keep trying to destroy our lives because he thinks he has so much control over us with whether or not he pays child support or not. But the truth is, he can't even bribe my kids with things they want or would love to have because "things" don't make them happy. That makes me very proud as their mother!

    • profile image

      lisa 2 years ago

      The mother doesn't always have all kinds of resources available to them. For example, I have worked hard to make more $--trying really hard to get to a place I don't need to rely on the father of my children for anything - because he is not reliable on his own and I only get child support when I know where he is working and when child support services catch up to him. He pushed himself out by always saying negative things toy kids about me - untrue things at thst. Since my kids can see without being told anything, that I am doing everything I can to not only provide for them but to be there for them, it made them angry to hear these things from their dad.

      The relationship problems mentioned for the future of children as adults... well also keep in mind the door you are opening for child predators to step through... you are making your children more vulnerable when you choose not to be a participant in their lives - financially or otherwise!

      As a single mother struggling here, I wouldn't call myself a victim - it's truly my kids who are the victims for all the reason specified in the wellnwritten article above. I am a grown up and can go without, my kids are very loved by me and I make it a point to show them day and night! I am a participant in their lives no matter how hard it is to be there physically, emotionslly, and/or financially! Bottom line is the kids truly do suffer in so many ways and a deadbeat father thinking he us pulling one over on the mother or other osrent--grow up! It's really not that hard to reslize! The least you can do is fulfill your financial obligations to give your children that much more of a chance if you are unreliable in being there in any other way! You owe it to your children to give them some peace if mind of being able to have a hot meal, shoes on their feet and a mom to tuck them in at night or a mom who diet have to decide to cut a bill short just so she can afford to make cupca I es fir her first graders class for a holiday because she is really excited to not only take a treat to school but because she loves to help her mom and get the attention while we bake together!

      I don't get dad's(or noncustodial parents) who think giving up all obligations to their children is only hurting the mother... is the math really that hard to compute there???

    • Word Pools profile image

      Word Pools 2 years ago from United States of America

      It is true that sometimes the father wants to play a bigger role in a child's life and is pushed out. I would be interested in hearing your opinion about how mother's cause the father's absence and why they would do such a thing.

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      Wicked Stepmother 2 years ago from My Living Room

      Good article. My only complaint would be the portrayal of mothers as the victim, struggling to get by. My experience and the data shows that mothers are often the reason that fathers are absent in children's lives. Sadly, people aren't willing to admit this or take it seriously. Mothers are given lots of resources to help them; fathers are often left out in the cold. Thanks for sharing.

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      Word Pools 3 years ago from United States of America

      RR, It's always good to see a situation from different angles to get the full picture.

    • rroberts1 profile image

      rroberts1 3 years ago from United States

      This is very interesting it reminds me of something I have written, but coming from the other side of things. From the opposite side of the fence sort of speak.

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      paxwill 4 years ago

      This is a very thoughtful piece. Thanks for writing it.