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.
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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Comments: "Impact of a Deadbeat Dad in a Child's Life"
Richscumbaghammel on October 11, 2019:
I’m not a dad yet but I had the cheek to ask my ex who asked me to attend a scan appointment this month to prove she was pregnant. I’m not usually thick but if I’d of used my head, going the appt would prove that. Instead I told her I was working when I had actually already booked tickets to go to the boxing. Little did I know there are 4 people on my Twitter who see everything and tell and get the man who has been looking after her whilst pregnant because I’ve not so much as asked if she is ok, then I even have the cheek to say I will get access when my daughter is born. I’m not intelligent to work out that I denied my daughter exists, failed to agree to go appointments took no interest in the pregnancy and there has been scary moments and many appointments because I was too busy with some slapper at work who will sleep around knowing i was in bed with my ex less than 2 weeks before. My new girlfriend then gets some other slag to send her a picture through messenger of my new slag girlfriend in front of a mirror (she’s self absorbed) with a dress on and her snatch hanging out (classy bird, she tries, bless her). I think finally I might scrape some decency to move away from my ex and her son, stop letting my slag on the same estate as my ex and stick to my promise and move far away so my daughter never needs to know I existed or what a scum I am. I think I should back off and let a real man who has been around when it counts take over, whilst my slag girlfriend is happy to let me show no interest in my daughter because she is equally a cunt. Just to top things off, me and the slag rang the 101 cause I’m a grass. Couldn’t write this crap could you.....
Tammy on April 25, 2019:
My parents and I raise my son. I live in my own house with him. I'm college educated with a salary based job and benefits. We have a middle class life style and take trips frequently. He performs better in school than children in 2 parent homes. This article stigmatizes 1 parent children. Some things are ridiculously stated; i.e. other fathers feeling guilty for hugging their kids in from the child without a father.
My son has coaches, cousins, uncles, and a grandfather in addition to me. His father visits randomly 1-2 times a year and is inconsistent.
The only difficult part is in rare times where my son acknowledges pain of being neglected by his father. I redirect him to think about the positives in his life and moving forward with all the great things he does have. It's hard accepting that his father is inconsistent and unreliable but we do and we move forward with a blessed life.
Lynn578 on November 22, 2018:
Iam the child of a deadbeat dad and my mom works at a gass station and i do not have low quality clothes and it is a hurtfull ting to say that. Sure most of my friends in elementry school who's parents were not together still saw their dads and i was in a group for kids who parents werent together but that made it worse because all of those kids dads were still in their life and that hurt and it was not the schools place to put me in that situation
Ms. Kailua Kona on November 21, 2018:
My ex husband abandoned our six month old and five year old daughters just zipped up his pants then left to live his drugging lifestyle with his fav. Vicodin. Like other deadbeat fathers NEVER dads he chose drugs over his wife and kids then quit his post office job too upset he had to pay Child Support. I then put in for his Disability so he got SSD and was retired ony to lose it because he wanted to double dip. I then was ordered to pay thirty four grand back for both kids with his OVERAGE from working and collecting SSD. I filed FIVE waivers two in person in HI one in FL in person then sent Certified Mail so the debt would go back to him for the Child Support. This caused my oldest to have to pay back ten grand to Soc. Sec. once she was of age with her check for her disability. The youngest I filed before she was of age then Soc. Sec. flew us over to Oahu to see a team of doctors but screwed up the appt. I then called Chicago Soc. Sec. in IL where he was born in that state to tell 'em that these are CHILDREN not ADULTS when the Child Support was paid so finally after dozens of calls they gave up on collecting from my youngest her debt of Child Support age ten. Earlier, my ex then moved thirteen+ times with no permission further and further away closer to his parents seldom seeing the kids usually only on some birthdays and holidays. I was his Victim of Hatred with DV with only one arrest with forty phone calls to the Police during his drunker, drug fueled rages. My ex still lives with his parents and refuses to take responsibility for all the pain he inflicted on both daughters. This articles hits home with losing not only the father figure but the paternal side of his family who neglected their grandchildren/nieces to take his side. Before this happened during one of many separations I spoke ot his mother who I told her no matter what happens she would always be their grandmother along with the grandfather. Just then she said, "We have our OWN lives here." CLICK Fast forward, my oldest has a Make A Wish trip to Maui, Hawaii then my ex husband threatens to toss the Wish girl from the eleventh story balcony strung out in paradise. Security was called so both kids got sick as my ex went his way and we stayed closer to the Hotel then he took a separate flight back home to Florida. At this point, realizing I wasn't his only victim I waited.... then waited...... until my oldest her Medical Treatment were over then moved both teens by then with my oldest almost of age to the Big Island of HI after I got remarried now a widow and Moved, Left No Address. No regrets. If you asked my ex he'll say I RUINED his life, my life and our kids yet.. he lost out by not being there to help raise our kids with the youngest still suffering with "daddy" issues. You only get ONE chance to be a parent so too bad some deadbeats are more babies then their own kids. At Christmas my ex got more gifts from his parents then our kids did. By now, my oldest is not speaking to him tho' at times she breaks down while my youngest she speaks to him because he threatens to kill himself if she doesn't then he talks smack 'bout me. I moved over four thousand miles away to BE FREE of this terror never a "dad" who lost out on his daughters' lives. Kids do lose out so it's too bad some deadbeats didn't realize it's time to quit being a Perpetual Peter Pan and grow up.
Sandra on October 06, 2018:
my daughter has a dead beat dad and i hate him he made me a single mom and my daughter a fatherless child he left to australia remarried and sends out bday cards saying from my aus family to yours but when he was here in LA nothing and nobody was able to seperate him from his other kids here with from another mom besides me and now that we seperated hes not there for my daughyer and his two sons he remarried an ex from australia and had another child with her which he also abandoned when their son was little i need a bat to beat him becsuse hes a dead beat dad
Michele on August 16, 2018:
Well, I do not care for my ex-live in boyfriend at all. I could write a book on the things he has done to me and our almost 2 year old. Bottom line, he is a dead beat. I should of listen to friends and family when they told me what a LOSER he really is. I had him forcefully put out by cops. He is a 43 year old loser. He has NO JOB, No place to live, Lives in a half-way house and his now 28 year old stripper girlfriend he met in REHAB helps pay his bills. I go to court. And I say to the Judges??? He does NOT deserve to be in a 2 year olds life. I am now working, paying all of my own bills, with NO HELP. Thank God for my faith, my girlfriends and family that has stuck by me. I am done! I am moving on! He will never hurt us again!
jamie on August 02, 2018:
@John- this article is talking about Dads who are not in their kids lives much. Sounds like it does not apply to you. No need to bash the article as it does apply to some dads and moms.
John on July 05, 2018:
All this is, is man bashing! Your assuming the wife, poor thing, doesn't make more money. Your assuming the child wants to see the dad. Your assuming the dad talks bad about the mom. I'm here to tell you all these assumptions can be completely wrong. When my daughter leaves me after agreeing to meet me for dinner, it about kills me. Writing the mom a check after she took my house, and makes just as much money as I do, plus comes from a very wealthy family, is just a kick in the gut. I have to live in a 1 bedroom apartment and drive a 10 year old truck while she has everything she wants or needs. You people need to see things from both sides. I'm not even going to say anymore because its so unfair its beyond words.
Anonymous on June 07, 2018:
My ex is a deadbeat. He just stopped showing up and never paid child support. Didn't even show up at the custody hearing so I was awarded sole custody and reasonable child support based on his income. Then he literally disappeared. Evicted from his apartment (because he was arrested and the landlord said no illegal activity in the place), he quit his job, disconnected his phone and apparently went into hiding. Just started calling in January wanting back in her life. When she was ready to see him, I made it happen. He's seen he 4 times in that time (often going weeks without a message) and when I ask about child support he flips out. I have a good job and have supported her for her whole life. I pay for additional programs for her and she is always clean and dressed nicely. He came to the house once and commented it was so messy (of course it's messy, I clean daily and have a 5 year old, and I work full time and go to university part time and still make sure my child is taken care of and is my number one priority). He got into drugs and said that's why he went away - because of the people he was around. so he chose a life of drugs over his child. I gave him a second chance, and he hurt her again by not showing up and not doing what he promised. I've told him I won't prevent him from seeing her, but I'm not going to pretend he's a friend and he's no longer welcome in my home. And if he doesn't start paying the child support that is court mandated, I will be calling enforcement. I am going to give him a few more months, then no more. This money is for her, not for me. And literally it would be to go towards her activities, childcare and saving for future education (in additional to the never ending supplies of clothes and shoes that I am replacing). So now, I spend no money on myself. I wear clothes until they can no longer be worn. I have my clothes mended. I colour my own hair and am growing it long because it's too expensive for me. But I never let her suffer.
A nony mouse on March 19, 2018:
In the UK, it is single mums who suffer societies opprobrium. I was with my ex-husband for nine and a half years, he walked out on us when his son was 10 months old. He hid £250k in a trust fund and I had to pay him £80k. He pays maintenance at the minimum level he is legally obliged to pay.
Our son has an autism diagnosis, so I do not work to enable me to provide appropriate care. During the time that my son was in the process of being diagnosed, he insisted that I take him to some private practitioners for a second opinion, saying that if the reports concurred then he would pay for all his son's needs. They did concur, but he refused to pay. The house we lived in needed work doing to it that I could not afford, we were forced to move away.
He behaved so badly over contact that the courts issued a section 7 order banning him from contact until he passes a social services assessment. He has not. He is never going to change, but what breaks my heart most is that it is my son who suffers the most.
My son used to have a statement of special educational needs, the local education authority put a stop to it. I appealed to tribunal under a cease to maintain rule, however, the local authority frustrated the legal proceedings by issuing an empty EHCP plan. Now my son is in secondary education it does not cover his needs. My son is really good at maths and science theory, but no good at practicals. At GCSE level there is no practical exam, but they have dumped him in the middle set stating that there is not enough supervision in the top set to put him where he belongs and that their decision is based on health and safety.
I can not afford to take it back to tribunal, as it cost over £2,000 in reports last time. I have offered to pay the costs of a teaching assistant which I reckon would pan out at £15 for 2 hours per week over 40 weeks, amounting to no more than £600 per year. Apparently, schools in the UK are not allowed to have any sort of arrangement like this, so I am completely stuffed. We are poor enough to receive school dinners, the problem is that this rule will trap us in a cycle of poverty as this is the only resolution that I can afford.
If only my child had a father who would be decent enough to pay for his realistic needs, he might have a decent opportunity to have a career as an adult to enable him to claw his way out of poverty.
anon on January 16, 2018:
Mother's can be deadbeats as well. Mothers can also intentionally push good fathers out of the lives of their children. Some mother's abuse their children. Many of "those" moms hide behind the law, which still favor women in court.
Word Pools (author) from United States of America on January 08, 2018:
If the mother is not taking proper care of the children, it seems to me that the children need you even more to make sure they are protected.
A father that tries on December 29, 2017:
She calls me a dead beat but yet I see both my daughters on weekends we had a son that she put up 4 adoption I fought for him and lost 2 years ago still in my daughters life pay half 4 expenses fieldtrips etc. Yet she uses my childsupport 4 drugs and alcohol she lives with her mother that takes care of my daughters more she dated a child molester 4 six months and sees him from time to time. . .but yet I'm a dead beat I want 2 leave but I love my girls and want my kids 2 be safe but if she continues 2 put my kids in harm's way y even be around?
AKP on August 06, 2017:
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.
Danah on July 07, 2016:
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 etc...so 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 (author) from United States of America on April 14, 2016:
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.
Anonymous on January 16, 2016:
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 (author) from United States of America on May 16, 2015:
Sulabha, there are many Deadbeat Dads out there, but there are also good men who are great fathers. Unfortunately, I chose incorrectly.
Sulabha Dhavalikar from Indore, India on March 30, 2015:
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 (author) from United States of America on March 27, 2015:
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 (author) from United States of America on March 27, 2015:
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.
ProfK on March 13, 2015:
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
lisa on March 03, 2015:
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!
lisa on March 03, 2015:
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 (author) from United States of America on February 06, 2015:
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.
Wicked Stepmother from My Living Room on January 30, 2015:
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.
Word Pools (author) from United States of America on March 12, 2014:
RR, It's always good to see a situation from different angles to get the full picture.
rroberts1 from United States on March 06, 2014:
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.
paxwill on January 16, 2013:
This is a very thoughtful piece. Thanks for writing it.