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Why is that men abandoning/not supporting their children is not taboo?

(69 Posts)
CrapolaDeVille Thu 09-Jun-11 16:15:55

I was wondering this as I drove home today. When I was 19 I met a guy, at a mates house, who was in his early thirties with 5 children and three different mothers, he was single. Bleating on about how being a father wasn't for him, I did not hide my contempt and told him that if 'fatherhood' wasn't for him perhaps he should embrace 'condomhood' (I was very proud of this pun). He seemed to think it was okay to have kids and walk away as they were better off w/o him, as if that made him some sort of hero.

When did it become okay not to 'man up'? Is it just because women who have these children must all be slags and therefore these poor men haven't grown up and can't be responsible? (obviously not my opinion)

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 16:21:53

i had a similar scenario a few years ago. a friend was visiting and brough along another friend as tehy were going somewhere together afterwards. the second man, i had never met before but we were talking about my son and how his dad didn't see him. this guy then went on to say that he didn't see his DD either. i asked if she lived far away. he said no and named a street about half a mile from where he lived!!he said it was too much aggro with the motehr and not worth it!! i was shocked and i let him know how disgusted i was with his attitude. i told him i could never find a 'man' like him attractive. he left pretty damn quick after that.

to answer your question i really dont know why this happens so much and why it isn't a source of shame to be a crappy parent like this. like i sadi, my EX did the same and i just dont understand why.when he decided to join teh forces our son was about 18 months old and he was seeing him weekly (not paying any maintenance though). a mutual friend asked him why he was going away when he had a child and he said he wasn't seeing enough of him so might aswell see none of him hmm

i just dont get it at all.

dirgeinvegas Thu 09-Jun-11 17:02:06

Is it because society doesn't expect men to be interested in children? They're seen almost as big kids themselves.

I know a couple, he had a child from his first marriage that he didn't see, no reason given, his ex-wife used to contact his wife to arrange visits but they happened once or twice a year.

They had 4 children together (so he was now a father of 5) when she left him for another man, leaving the children with him. Everyone commented on how awful she was for leaving her kids. How could a woman leave her children etc. She says he was violent towards her and she was afraid. I still don't get why it's ok to leave your children then but that was her reason.

Eventually all the children went to live with her, he decided not to see them so now he has no contact with 5 children. People just say "hes not cut out to be a father". He's excused. She is still not forgiven.

Both of them were wrong probably but double standards.

CrapolaDeVille Thu 09-Jun-11 17:06:28

I do wonder if men seek to remain young by being irresponsible and women by botox.

I agree that if a woman walks away everyone shakes their heads as if she's a cold feeling monster, but men just aren't ready, aren't cut out, haven't grown up yet.

Bennifer Thu 09-Jun-11 17:09:57

I'm not sure I accept the premise of your question. From my experience, although there are clearly irresponsible men, it is looked upon badly by society, and thus is taboo

CrapolaDeVille Thu 09-Jun-11 17:11:49

Bennifer, we talk about single mothers having all those children but not the men that impregnate them. The only men we moan about are 'benefit scroungers' and we only know about them because they actually stick around. If it was taboo people wouldn't do it as they would be ostracised.

madwomanintheattic Thu 09-Jun-11 17:15:25

well, it's just women's work, isn't it. hmm why would any (real) man bother to get involved at all?

when parenting is recognised as something that is possible by people without breasts, by employers and everybody else, then the stigma of abandoning children should be shared out equally as well.

and i know this is really controversial, because it removes some of the 'power' of women, but when courts award more joint custody or sole custody to more men, that might help, too.

if the default setting is 'women get the children' then men can walk scot free. it's about sharing of responsibilities, before anyone starts with the MRA stuff, not rights.

Bennifer Thu 09-Jun-11 17:15:59

I disagree. We hear about feckless fathers in the media all the time. People do plenty of things that are taboo.

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 17:17:10

sorry bennifer, but i disagree. i dont think it is taboo at all. i think it is 'justified' by far too many people.

CrapolaDeVille Thu 09-Jun-11 17:18:26

Sorry when I say 'we' I do mean the tabloid/general public.

madwomanintheattic Thu 09-Jun-11 17:21:10

my bil sees his sons from a previous relationship every other w/e and (supposedly) for two weeks in the summer, and alternating christmases.

i have lost count of the number of times he has taken them back to him ex or her mother early (sometimes three or four days early) because he just can't be arsed and needs a 'rest'. ffs.

dsis has a child with him now. why, i can't imagine. he is exactly the epitome of a man looking for a shag and an easy life, with no responsibility at all.

Bennifer Thu 09-Jun-11 17:21:34

When I say we, I'm talking about the general public and media. I just get an entirely different impression. If you asked people is it a bad thing for a man to have a child and not support it in anyway (financially, etc), I would have thought the overwhelming response would be yes

CrapolaDeVille Thu 09-Jun-11 17:23:38

But the same men that bugger off don;t lose friends, shunned by family etc. They are not looked at down the pub like a mother would be, in fact they're not judged as much as the single mother they leave behind who is looking after his children.

Bennifer Thu 09-Jun-11 17:24:30

I'll pick the Daily Mail as a good barometer of public opinion (and because their website is easily searchable), but

etc, etc

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 17:26:17

yes bennifer if you ask that direct question, people will say "yes it is bad, of course it is" but i have found that when you ask about individual circumstances, people either justify their own actions with flimsy weak excuses or other people justify for them with similar excuses. when it comes to their own circumstances the general rule taht it is bad doesn't apply.

<disclaimer> i am fully aware that not all NRPs are like this nor are all reasons for absence flimsy weak excuses.

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 17:27:47

the daily mail? really?

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 17:30:49

for example, when i go out for a rare night out, anyone that knows me will ask "who has the boys?"

no-one asks my EX where his children are when he goes out. why? because he is a man, it isn't expected for him to have his children at such an inconvenient social time. no-one checks with him if he can find a babysitter before asking him to come out for a drink.

Bennifer Thu 09-Jun-11 17:34:57

Daily Mail, don't diss it, if you want a judge of middle england's social attitudes, there's not much of a better place to go.

Anyway, BooyHoo, you're moving on from the premise. I'm assuming your children live with you, therefore if you go out it makes sense to ask who has the boys?

The question that was posed was "why is not a taboo for men to abandon or not supporting their children?". I don't doubt single mum's have it rough and it's tougher for them than the men, but I just don't agree with the original premise. Still, I must be the odd one out

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 17:37:44

that's the point i am making bennifer. my children live with me 100% of the time and their father none of the time but no-one i know thinks that is strange. no-one questions why that is? no-one asks if that bothers me or the dcs. yet if my dcs were to live with my ex then i no doubt would be facing a firing line for abandoning my dcs.

<also aware i am veering off track>

AyeRobot Thu 09-Jun-11 17:39:20

Chuckling at the idea that men who abandon their children are routinely shunned. All such a man needs to say it their ex is "mental" and lots of people shrug (and perhaps mutter their sympathies) and move on to the next topic.

Bennifer Thu 09-Jun-11 17:40:45

Does your ex pay maintenance?

Bennifer Thu 09-Jun-11 17:41:30

That was to BooyHoo

SardineQueen Thu 09-Jun-11 17:41:47

I know men who have children and don't see them and no-one really turns a hair.

I think the premise in the OP is accurate - men who do not see their children are not treated in the same manner as single mothers. Meanwhile single fathers (ones with residence) are lauded as remarkable heroes.

Even men who look after their children when they are in the family are often hailed as something remarkable. "Oh he does nappies! That's amazing" "So he takes them out by himself does he? How good he is" and conversely "Well of course you can't expect a man of his generation / culture to ever lift a finger ever" etc etc

It's all wrapped up in the same thing.

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 17:43:01


CrapolaDeVille Thu 09-Jun-11 17:44:08

People still say that my DH is 'babysitting' if I go out, and when asked out I am also asked 'can you get a babysitter?' Even if it's just me, DH never unless it's both of us.

Noone ever asks if a mother is 'hands on' either. My MIL thinks DH is put upon because he sometimes cooks the children food, ffs.

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