To this day, I still remember the first time I recall meeting my dad. I guess I was about 5 years old and he brought me a life-size Mickey Mouse from Los Angeles. I absolutely cherished that Mickey Mouse (almost as much as my Bert and Ernie radio that my grandmother still has at her house to this day). The point is, my dad lived in L.A. with Mickey Mouse and we lived in Nashville. I didn’t care that he hadn’t sent many birthday or Christmas gifts for the first five years. I just knew that my dad brought me a Mickey Mouse from L.A. and that was the best thing ever!
We know that money doesn’t buy love, so don’t set your child up to believe that it does. Relationships require commitment and an investment of time to work and become fruitful. True, you can woo someone with gifts and money, but if there’s no substance behind the relationship, IT WILL FAIL.
Moms – How many of you have held your child ransom for visitation weekends and holidays over missed child support payments? Do you often speak negatively about your child’s father when he doesn’t live up to his promises to you and/or your child?
Consider this the next time you want to tell your girlfriends how you really feel about your child’s father and your child is present… children are always listening and understand grown up conversations whether we realize it or not. Hearing this could make your child think their dad doesn’t want to spend time with them. How hurtful would that be to a child? Although you are dealing with your own issues of pain, mistrust and abandonment thanks to your child’s father, you shouldn’t allow these emotions to shape your child’s future relationships.
Though times were really difficult for my mom financially, she rarely complained about child support to me though I’m sure she talked about the challenges with her friends and family. As a result, I was able to develop an amazing relationship with my dad over the years based on my own experiences with him and not the failures with my parents’ relationship.
Dads – You too can’t allow your pain to keep you from your child. Men make excuses to not spend time with their children when the fact is they just don’t want to be bothered with their child’s mom. Regardless of the issues that exist, remember that your child needs you. They need to see you face your challenges and live up to your responsibilities. Don’t wait until you get your money right to get your relationship right with your child! They need your love now!
How many of you don’t want to pay because you think your money is paying for her manicures and shopping sprees. If you were still with her, would you not give her money to do these things anyway? Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, she might be able to do these things because she knows that her child’s needs are being met by you? I know this is a tough pill to swallow for many men, but you have to get over it. Remember, that you must take on the responsibility as a man and be a father for your child. If you don’t step up, what message are you sending your child about being accountable for responsibilities? Are you telling your son it is okay to make babies and keep it moving? Are you telling your daughter not to expect to find a responsible man?
And frankly, your responsibilities go beyond that which the court mandates. Go the extra mile to invest in your child’s future with college savings plans and life insurance. Don’t wait until their birthday and Christmas to splurge on them. Make every occasion an opportunity to step up beyond child support.
What was your experience either as a child or even as a parent? I look forward to the conversation.