5 Reasons Why Some Men Abandon Their Children

BY: - 26 Dec '11 | Parenting

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I was recently asked why some men abandon their children. As a man fully committed to the well-being of my family I don’t believe there is one single answer for why this happens. But I know for a fact that fear, if let unchecked, will send a man down a road of no return. If left unchecked fear will negatively impact anyone, male or female, and the people around them. As someone who has been there, hearing the news that you are about to be in charge of raising another human life can create a tightness in the throat, a quickening of the heartbeat, a sinking feeling in the abdomen and panic in the mind. This is a very human reaction to fear. Here are five reasons why.

  1. Oftentimes men are so caught up in their immediate selves (for better or worse) any addition to the equation translates as chaos in a man’s mind which is why you’ll hear “…but I’m working on this and that” or “Not now.”
  2. There are some men who have endured physically and emotionally abusive relationships as children and whether they received therapy for this or not, they don’t trust their ability to not do the same thing to a child of their own.
  3. They were never “men” to begin with. A man by no means is some mythological archetype of human strength and perfection but rather someone who accepts accountability for their actions and owns up to them, no matter what. This isn’t the easiest thing to do and accountability isn’t really being taught too many places these days except for maybe inside the home. There are plenty examples of not being accountable everywhere in the media across all formats. This includes everything from sham celebrity weddings, music so disrespectful no “hot beat” in the world can overpower the words, to professional athletes getting slaps on the wrist for real crimes that would put the average person under the jail.
  4. A man might want to be a father but there’s a strong possibility he may not want a particular woman (the one he’s impregnated) to be the mother of his child. The relationship might not be the one for him. There might not be a relationship at all. He might resent the idea of having wasted his “seed” on this particular woman and now being stuck with her. The scenarios are countless but whatever the situation, both parties should have THOUGHT and taken the proper precautions before creating a lifelong experience. Please note I used the word “experience” and not “mistake.”
  5. It is not my goal to give away any trade secrets here, but a man might simply think he’s not good enough. When being responsible for another you naturally think you should be able to give that child your all, especially if you don’t think it happened in your life. If you’re struggling to do right by yourself it certainly can cause you to doubt your prospective parenting skills. As fathers don’t have the luxury of bonding physiologically with a child in the womb we don’t have the connection that moms do during pregnancy. He might convince himself he’ll bring his child more harm than good and decide his unborn little one is better off without him.

Two Sides To Every Coin

When a man is in the right mental and/or spiritual place with himself, his love for what is about to happen will overpower “the equation,” “the right time” or “what makes sense.” The real problem is that once a man decides against raising his child no matter what the circumstances he has traveled beyond the boundaries of what makes sense, is acting selfishly and has no idea the damage he will inflict upon his unborn child. In some rare cases it might not be any, but why take that risk?

None of what is mentioned above should ever be considered excuses, but they combine to form my short answer as to why some men abandon their children without going down the traditional and rather non-explanatory path of “Men are dogs.” Fear is the mind killer. If allowed it will keep you from experiencing one of the most amazing experiences a man can have — being a father. And here’s the thing about fear. We all have them. A man is no less a man for having fears. But what separates the men from the boys is that men ultimately face their fears head-on with courage, hope and faith. Fear isn’t 100% a bad thing. Fear of what went wrong in your life, fear of what you might not currently have, fear of what you don’t think you can do for a child has driven many men to go above and beyond to do in their child’s life that which was never done in their own — be present and be loving.

There are plenty of reasons for why some men abandon their children, but do they matter when compared to the pains of a fatherless child?

About the author

Eric Payne wrote 83 articles on this blog.

Named a Top 50 Dad Blogger in 2011 by Cision Media & awarded Top 50 Dad Blog in 2011 and 2012 by Babble.com, Eric writes about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between on his blog MakesMeWannaHoller.com. He speaks around the country about social media and blogging. He is the author of "DAD: As Easy As A, B, C!" and is a regular on CNN's Headline News station and the Jennifer Keitt show on KISS 104.1 FM Atlanta.

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  2. Cathy Conner

    My father visited me one day a year. When I was eleven he asked me “How are you?! How are things?” I answered calmly “Things are bad.” (My mother had married a violent man who moved us to an isolated location.) He said nothing, changed the subject and did not call again for his annual visit..

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