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What does a "normal" dad act like??

jct918's picture

This is a big one for me. My SO has 3 kids, 2 sons 22 and 20, and 1 daughter, 14. We've been together 3.5 years. His ex got remarried less than a year after she left him, but it is her goal in life to put him down at every opportunity and tell him what a POS father he is.

Here's what I see:
- his ex's mom got pregnant as a result of an affair with a married man, who was killed in war while she was pregnant. As a result, the ex did not grow up with a father figure - her mom met the man she would eventually marry when the ex was in middle school.

- my SO, who of course has his own flaws and demons like everyone else, is a good dad. He is very loving, ends every phone call with all of his telling them he loves them. Has spent countless hours supporting them in sports and all extra-curricular activities, cooks for them, etc.

- I was raised by both of my biological parents, who were married at age 18 and 20 and were together until my dad died just before their 50th anniversary. My dad was the "provider", my mom stayed home and took care of every thing and every one. I knew I was loved by my parents, and I never wanted for anything. Except my dad's time. He either worked his butt off, and when he wasn't working he was either at a meeting for one of the many civic organizations he belonged to or at a poker game. Saturday nights were always "date nights" for mom and dad - some event or out with friends. My dad, never... and I mean not even once said the words "I love you" to me. He was not the one that brought me to piano lessons and dance lessons - he would breeze in to recitals with seconds to spare.

- As a teenage girl, my dad was the last person I wanted to hang out with. It was all about my friends, or doing things with my mom.

So, he's basically stopped fighting it - his daughter is with her mom full time and he rarely sees her (especially now that softball is over until spring). He's actually enjoying life! I have disengaged, so I don't get involved when/if he sees his kids. We have the oldest over for dinner when he's in town and I thoroughly enjoy his company.

I know that I'm not the reason he doesn't see his kids, but I do still feel guilty for some reason.
I have no idea what kind of advice I'm looking for, but it sure did feel good putting that all down!!

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

There is no normal. What you described for your childhood could be considered normal for back then. Now though men are taking a more active roll.

The thing is what's normal is what is allowed. The kid is 14. Alot of people treat kids like little adults at this age and give them way too much freedom. It's his job to decide if he let's this happen or enforces his time with her.

Kids do better when they grow up in strong families but as a society we allow them to shift their attention to peer circles. Of course friends are important but even at 14 a child needs her father.

By letting her chose he's basicly saying "It's ok to ignore me. I'm not really that important."

skatermom's picture

Sounds like you had an awesome childhood and family life, not sure what you are getting at there.

Regarding your SO, those are his kids and he needs to figure out what is normal to him. Be glad you are being spared some of the drama

jct918's picture

I don't know what I'm getting at either, lol. It's just that his ex and her mom are always making him feel guilty and telling him to "be a father". One time the ex accused him of knowing nothing about SD14 and asked "I bet you don't even know what size clothes she wears". My initial thought was how ridiculous that was - there is no way in hell my dad ever knew what size clothes I wore!! He has spent more time with his daughter in the 3.5 years we've been together than I did with my dad my whole life. Maybe when parents are together and the whole family lives together, the time divide isn't as evident?? I guess it's things like that - how involved in a teenage daughter's life is typical for a dad? I know it varies family to family, but I think since the ex was raised without a father she has very unrealistic expectations, especially as we are about to enter the high school years.