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#1 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Until last night I hadn't actually spoken with my dd's bio-dad since before she was born (she is 14 months) We had been talking via email for the past month or so. He & I have agreed that we can not be together but he now feels like dd is the most important thing, not our past (which is very long & full of drama)
I have made a point to have good solid loving male role models in our lives so she could see how men & women should interact. I am not dating nor do I want to, I absolutely love being a single mom and really don't want it any other way.
So that brings me back to the original question - do kids need dads? Should bio-dads always be involved? Her bio-dad is not a stable person - he can be very loving & kind but not always. What are your feelings?

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#2 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by windorabug View Post
Until last night I hadn't actually spoken with my dd's bio-dad since before she was born (she is 14 months) We had been talking via email for the past month or so. He & I have agreed that we can not be together but he now feels like dd is the most important thing, not our past (which is very long & full of drama)
I have made a point to have good solid loving male role models in our lives so she could see how men & women should interact. I am not dating nor do I want to, I absolutely love being a single mom and really don't want it any other way.
So that brings me back to the original question - do kids need dads? Should bio-dads always be involved? Her bio-dad is not a stable person - he can be very loving & kind but not always. What are your feelings?
Children need relationships with both parents, as long as it's a loving, stable relationship. I don't think there's a clear yes or no answer to your question, because so much depends on the individual situation.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#3 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:18 PM
 
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I think children need more than one adult in their life, for sure. I think children need a community of people many ages. I also think that, unless he might seriously injure your child, you should allow it. Emotional dissapointment and hurt are a part of life. You can not protect her from that by taking away her father. What might be better is to allow it, and teach her how to deal with hurt if and when that comes up. But, it is her father's right to see her, imo. I don't know though for sure, since I have it pretty good as a single mom with ds having a great father. He is unstable, for sure, but the benefits of him being with his dad far outweigh anything negative ex will teach ds. Plus, I am confident that I can help ds through anything that comes up with his dad.
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#4 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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The following statement should show my view on the topic:

Do kids need moms? How about when they are not very stable, kind and loving but not always? Should they always be involved?...


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#5 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:28 PM
 
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Just wanted to add...

I don't think that dads should have a say in whether or not a mom is involved in raising a child. Does she want to? Yes. Does she have to be an ideal parent to be allowed in her child's life? No.

Same courtesy should be extended to the other parent - dad.

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#6 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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Kids need loving parent(s) of whatever gender or biological (or not) releationship to them -- you can never have too many people to love you!

Megan Davidson, Labor & Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Anthropologist, Mom to August (9) and Clay (4), Partner to Shawn.

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#7 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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If at all possible kids should have both parents in their lives. Dads are no more expendable than moms are.
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#8 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:46 PM
 
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No, kids do not need dads. I know lots of kids with two mamas and they ar not lacking anything.

Losing a parent who is or should be present is another thing though. However, children must be protected from abusive or otherwise dangerous parents.
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#9 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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I don't think they necessarily need dads, but they need stable loving relationships with adults of both genders and strong male roles models particularily our sons. My younger 2 children do but don't have bio-dads, I used sperm donors but conceived the old fashioned way. My older 2 have seen their dad maybe 12 times in 6.5 years. That said if he was a stable person and would not be flitting in and out of your child's life as he feels it convient I would say encourage the relationship. After 14 months he may have grown up enough to realize what he is missing and should have a chance to get to know his dd. YOur dd may not *need* him but she deserves to know where she comes from kwim

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#10 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 06:56 PM
 
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I know that MY son needs his Dad. My ex is a great dad, and mostly a great co-parent. That's not the case in some situations.
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#11 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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Depends on the father.
The bio-dad to my first 2 DD's? NO. Very unhealthy choices. Very unstable, and my DD's lifes are at risk if peolpe knew who their father was. (Gang Member.)
But my children have a huge support system. They have a few different "grandma's". My bestfriend is their "uncle", which I love because he is a very independant, stable, smart mexican man. (my kids are half mexican).
My SO is mexican, but my children see him and I are more than friends, he is is/will be fathering my next child.
And their Godfather is a successful African-American man.
They have enough good male role models!
They don't need their dead-beat dad.
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#12 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your insight.

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Originally Posted by swellmomma View Post
That said if he was a stable person and would not be flitting in and out of your child's life as he feels it convient I would say encourage the relationship. After 14 months he may have grown up enough to realize what he is missing and should have a chance to get to know his dd. YOur dd may not *need* him but she deserves to know where she comes from kwim
I wanted to add that this is exactly what would be happening - "flitting" in & out of her life at his convience. Which I feel would be a really hard thing for both my dd & myself to deal with. Probably more me but...

And as far as him growing up he is 41 years old - I think we might be beyond that

I agree that she deserves to know where she comes from & I am prepared for that - I will say nothing bad about him. And I will answer any & all questions she may have as (age-appropriately) truthfully as I can.

I guess I was really wondering if substituting a community of kind loving adults (both male & female) could make up for him not being in her life?

Thanks,

mama to the most awesome 3! year old ever!
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#13 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by windorabug View Post
I guess I was really wondering if substituting a community of kind loving adults (both male & female) could make up for him not being in her life?

Thanks,
YES!!! I mean, a missing parent cannot be made up entirely. And it is not your responsibility to do so, b/c it is not possible. But a loving supportive community can make a huge difference.
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#14 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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For me, it's way bettter that my first son's biological father is no longer in the picture. I think it is for him as well. It sounds like our situations are similar in some ways. My ex (we were never married) was never around even when we were together. When we had our son, it just got worse. It would be weeks, and then months, he would pop by when he got too guilty, or too lonely, or too self-righteous. He would claim he was coming and then never come. This went on for about 5 years. Then he stopped coming. He came once a year for two years and for the last 3 years or so--nothing. It happened naturally enough, but I still worry about what it's done to my son.

The reality is that I don't know if it did anything to him. I would love to say that it hasn't, that he seems well-adjusted, caring, loving, attached to his dad (my husband), and all these things are true. He never asks about his bio dad, except to understand a thought he was having better. He calls Curtis "dad" and to my knowledge doesn't pine for his bio dad.

I guess in some ways, then, my son does need a dad. But, that's because he ended up with one. Had it just been him and me--alone together making a go of it, then he would have had all the other adults in our life to help him out in the way he needed.

I do know how hard all this decision making is. For me, I was comfortable making the choices that made my son healthier, and for us, that was stability in the absence of his bio dad.
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#15 of 49 Old 01-05-2008, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I AM really concerned about the long term stability of having someone going in & out of her life saying that she is the most important thing in the world but not acting that way.
I had felt like I made the right choice - but now I am questioning myself.

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#16 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 01:57 AM
 
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I agree that she deserves to know where she comes from & I am prepared for that - I will say nothing bad about him. And I will answer any & all questions she may have as (age-appropriately) truthfully as I can.
This is exactly what your DD needs. But you cannot predict the future. I have heard people who were deliberately kept from their fathers "for their own good" bemoan that fact. They would rather have learned the truth for themselves or been allowed to develop their own relationship with him. Others are glad that they never had to deal with their fathers. Some had deadbeat jerk fathers who they did see and are glad they did. Others saw their sucky fathers and wish they hadn't. Consider keeping that door open at least just a hair - you never know what can happen.
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#17 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 03:01 AM
 
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I think I have told this story several times here, but it fits, so I'm telling it again. When my dd was younger (infant age) I was always questioning my best friend (my closest gal pal since first grade) for advice on how I could raise my dd the best I could without much help from her dad. My dd's dad at the time was sporadic at best, and my best friend had grown up without her father in her life so she was who I asked for advice.

She said to me one day "You know, I never wondered why my dad wasn't around, or if he loved me. I wondered why nobody loved me". That stuck with me. She couldn't depend on her mom, or any adults in her life. So it wasn't a question of that one person, her dad, not being around. It was a question of why doesn't anybody care about me.

I wish my dd could have a loving and dependable relationship with her dad. That wasn't how the cards in her life played. I can't change that, BUT I can be the best Mama I can, I can support her healthy relationships with male friends who have been there since she was born, my brother, my dad. I believe that I have supplied several really strong adult role models, both male and female in her life.

So do I believe that "kids need dads". No, because I believe that children need bonding relationships in their life, and biology doesn't always bring that. Do I wish that all kids in the world with dads could have them in their lives, yes even in less than perfect conditions (not abusive) I think dad's can play a huge role in a child's life. Will I force that to happen for my dd? No, her dad is a grown up and can make his own choices in his life. Will I stand in the way of them creating a relationship in the future? No.

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#18 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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I think he deserves a chance. it is his dd. he is her father. it is up to them weather or not she needs/wants him in her life but she can't make that descision withough being given the chance to form a relationship with him.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#19 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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For me, it is the dad's choice. If he wants to be involved, whatever that looks like (except for abuse), he would be involved. If he chose to walk away completely, then that is his choice and I would do what I could to have as many positive role models in my child's life as possible.
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#20 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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Well, legally its the dad's choice too, which is why I'm not understanding some of these responses, which assume the OP can include or not include the father. If he wants to be included, and he is not abusive, he will include himself. I interpreted her post more as asking how to mitigate any damage to the child from his non involvement. If she is actually able to choose if he is involved or not... well to me, that says he is not involved, because he is giving up his power here which means he doesnt want it very much.
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#21 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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I think, all we can do is give our children the tools they need to get through any tough situations. Let them know they have a network of loving and supportive people. Being open and honest with them so they know you are a safe and consistent person in their life. Modelling behavior that is healthy, empowered and loving. Giving them a safe place to fall, teaching them about accountability and making sure they know it's all about the other person (in this case, the dad) and not about them.
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#22 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, legally its the dad's choice too, which is why I'm not understanding some of these responses, which assume the OP can include or not include the father. If he wants to be included, and he is not abusive, he will include himself. I interpreted her post more as asking how to mitigate any damage to the child from his non involvement. If she is actually able to choose if he is involved or not... well to me, that says he is not involved, because he is giving up his power here which means he doesnt want it very much.
I guess some background would be good here. Dd bio-dad & I met when I was 13 (I am now 36) & he was 18 (he is 41). We have always had a VERY rocky relationship, including yelling, cheating, & violence. Along with a lot of crazy love. We hadn't seen each other in 10 years or so - I had moved on & was in a stable(er boring) relationship. Starting about 3 years ago we started talking on the phone - he lived across the country. He was going through some very bad times (drugs, jail, bi-polar disorder) I thought I would help him & brought him out to where I lived, gave him a job, rented him a house. And tried to get him cleaned up. To some degree it worked.
My then boyfriend & I split up (big surprise there) And a couple months later I got pregnant.
Bio-dad & I continued to fight daily. Things like this: I am a baker & worked very early mornings & then I would come back & pick him up for work, I would be throwing up & he would just stay lying on the couch pretending to sleep & I would have to force him to get up & go to work while running back into the bathroom to puke.
And I was given the book "what to expect when you expecting" I read to him that the reason I was so tired was (quoting from the book) growing a baby was like climbing a mountain every day. He told me to put away my book of excuses.
And he also told me about this same time that my body disgusted him. Really I felt awful enough.

So I just couldn't take the fighting & unsupportiveness & I bought him a one-way ticket to HI. He took it, I was 3 months pregnant.
Around 5 or 6 months pregnant & for a variety of reasons we stopped speaking. Until just before she was born & by that point I wanted nothing to do with him.

I never put him on her birth certificate & he has never been named anywhere as her biological father. He has never tried to claim her as his. (I don't know if that is the right way to put that) My thought is because he doesn't want to have to pay child-support & I am fine with that.
So yes I think he has a choice to be included (following my rules - no drugs no drinking - no smoking - follow up on what you say you are going to do - stay on the medication) & has chosen not to because??
So in the back of my mind I feel like she is not as important to him as his lifestyle is. YKWIM. And I would rather she not even know him than sometimes be number 1 & sometimes not depending on his current mood swing. Because that can break a little girls heart.
And maybe once he met her things would radically change for him - but really do I risk that?
Thanks again,

ETA: In a perfect world he & I would live blissfully together with a whole flock of children as I do love him & have always wanted to have children with him. But it is just not that way in real life and it makes me very sad.

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#23 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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The thing to remember is that, legally, he has until she is 18 to request a paternity test. If he's found to be the father, he can legally file for custody, visitation, etc. And will likely be awarded it - and it may not be according to your "rules".
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#24 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The thing to remember is that, legally, he has until she is 18 to request a paternity test. If he's found to be the father, he can legally file for custody, visitation, etc. And will likely be awarded it - and it may not be according to your "rules".
I am OK with that & have thought about it quite a bit. I am OK with it because it would show he is making an effort.

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#25 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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No, kids do not need dads. I know lots of kids with two mamas and they ar not lacking anything.
Then the same can be said for two fathers raising a child together- a mother might not be needed in that case.

In answer to the OP, I do think the option should be there for the child to get their know their parent- if the parent is willing (whether for good or bad reasons.) I myself never knew my father and always thought about him, what he was like, etc. This hits home especially as you get older and have children of your own.

Keep the option open for your daughter, especially as she gets older.
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#26 of 49 Old 01-06-2008, 09:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
The following statement should show my view on the topic:

Do kids need moms? How about when they are not very stable, kind and loving but not always? Should they always be involved?...

In this case and in MANY MANY cases it is the dad who is absent, can we please stop acting like moms and dads are the same? They are not, look at the statistics, there are many more children being raised by their mothers alone with little or more involvement from the father. There are not nearly as many children being raised by single dads with no mother involved.

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Just wanted to add...

I don't think that dads should have a say in whether or not a mom is involved in raising a child. Does she want to? Yes. Does she have to be an ideal parent to be allowed in her child's life? No.

Same courtesy should be extended to the other parent - dad.
In this case and many cases the father has already been absent, should he have a chance to be involved, yes, but not on his terms and not under any conditions that he wants. He is a stranger to this baby and he at this point should not and does not have the same rights as the mother does.

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Originally Posted by BrooklynDoula View Post
Kids need loving parent(s) of whatever gender or biological (or not) releationship to them -- you can never have too many people to love you!
Yes, I totally agree!

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Originally Posted by Marcee View Post
If at all possible kids should have both parents in their lives. Dads are no more expendable than moms are.
Again, can we please stop saying that moms and dads are equal - they are not - they may become equal as the child's life goes on but a mother's attachment to her baby and they baby's attachment to its mother is much greater at birth than with her father. Its biology, that is why in most cases its absent "fathers" not mothers.

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Well, legally its the dad's choice too, which is why I'm not understanding some of these responses, which assume the OP can include or not include the father. If he wants to be included, and he is not abusive, he will include himself. I interpreted her post more as asking how to mitigate any damage to the child from his non involvement. If she is actually able to choose if he is involved or not... well to me, that says he is not involved, because he is giving up his power here which means he doesnt want it very much.
This is how I read it too Thismama.

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Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
The thing to remember is that, legally, he has until she is 18 to request a paternity test. If he's found to be the father, he can legally file for custody, visitation, etc. And will likely be awarded it - and it may not be according to your "rules".
Seriously, why always with the negative tone? Yes he can request paternity but at some point by being absent he is giving up some control and will not (hopefully) be able to waltz back in 10 years from now and "claim" his child with no serious thought on how to transition the relationship into the child's life. The OP is not setting rules, the baby is 14 months old, the father hasn't seen the baby, from what I am reading the OP hasn't made any rules or kept him from seeing his child, he has chosen not to.

I am so sick of hearing that just because there is a biological connection (sperm donor basically) that no matter how much time goes by he should be able to waltz back into the child's life and demand custody and visitation without any consideration to the child. The person raising the child knows that child best, she should have a say and control over how a relationship is established should the "father" decide to be absent for years and have a change of heart. These guys should be held accountable and they are not. A mother being absent from her child's life for a couple of years and then waltzing back in would not be treated as openly and fairly - the court and society allow fathers to get away with this crap and it needs to stop.
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#27 of 49 Old 01-07-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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Until last night I hadn't actually spoken with my dd's bio-dad since before she was born (she is 14 months) We had been talking via email for the past month or so. He & I have agreed that we can not be together but he now feels like dd is the most important thing, not our past (which is very long & full of drama)
I have made a point to have good solid loving male role models in our lives so she could see how men & women should interact. I am not dating nor do I want to, I absolutely love being a single mom and really don't want it any other way.
So that brings me back to the original question - do kids need dads? Should bio-dads always be involved? Her bio-dad is not a stable person - he can be very loving & kind but not always. What are your feelings?
As one of two children raised by a single mother, and one who is now a single mother. No, a child doesn't NEED a dad, as long as they have at least one loving parent (biological or not). That being said, its also nice for kids to have two parents, even if one is unstable. The stable parent just has to make up for the unstable parent. I personally loved having just my mom, myself and my little sister growing up. We were very stable, and both very happy. I am glad that I wasn't tossed back and forth from parent to parent like kids I know today. I still think that its more fair to the child though to at least know who their other parent is, and make their own judgement on how he/she feels about that other parent.

Brandy; Mother to Aspen (7/1996) and Ky (5/2006) and partner to Ryan

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#28 of 49 Old 01-07-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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No, kids do not need dads. I know lots of kids with two mamas and they ar not lacking anything.

Losing a parent who is or should be present is another thing though. However, children must be protected from abusive or otherwise dangerous parents.
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#29 of 49 Old 01-07-2008, 12:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MsChatsAlot View Post
For me, it is the dad's choice. If he wants to be involved, whatever that looks like (except for abuse), he would be involved. If he chose to walk away completely, then that is his choice and I would do what I could to have as many positive role models in my child's life as possible.
: If a dad wants to be involved he will jump through hoops (court system) to do so. If he doesn't, he won't.

DS has a bio-father who chooses to flit in and out of his life. For right now we're on a long "out" (he saw ds 2 times last year- once in February for less than 5 minutes as I strapped him into his carseat (accidental meeting) and once in April (I think... maybe it was May?) for less than 5 minutes while standing outside on the deck at my fathers house). 10 minutes in a year does not make a person a parent. He has had chances to see ds since then, but has chosen not to. Right now we're at the point where I no longer offer visits (I did in 2007 and he blew off every single one). If he wants to see ds or know how ds is doing- he knows my phone number.

DS and I have a wonderful man in our lives who Owen is doing great with.

To answer the question.... no. I do not believe kids need "dad's". I do believe they need strong, positive role models of both genders. Sharing any genetics has nothing to do with that. My DP and his family are better to ds than ex and his family ever were. They actually care about him and treat him with respect (and spoil the poop out of him ).

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#30 of 49 Old 01-07-2008, 03:32 PM
 
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My XH is like many described here. He chooses not to see DS. I used to work hard to keep that relationship going, but I realized that I cared and he did not. I think in an ideal world, children need both parents. But, life is much more messy and imperfect. For my DS, he does not need his father in his life. His financial support would be helpful, but he is a very angry, hostile, destructive and mentally unwell man. My DS does not NEED any of those things in his life. I am remarried and DS has a father, but even if he didn't, I would feel the same way.
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