Absent father, toddler is struggling

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  • #30622 Report


    Hi all, first time posting here.

    My son’s father and I split up when he was  16 months old. He’ll be 3 soon.

    His dad moved away “for work” soon after we split up and has gradually been drifting away. He sees him approximately 2 nights a month but this is inconsistent. He doesn’t seem to understand the impact of being inconsistent ; I see it very clearly, my son plays up, becomes aggressive, frequently seems confused about when he will see his dad and at the moment says “I want my daddy” at most crisis points.


    i have repeatedly tried to explain things to my ex from my sons perspective, but he believes I am exaggerating, or trying to make him feel guilty.


    He picked him up from nursery once in the last 6 months, and now my son repeatedly asks if his daddy is going to Pick him up. For weeks afterwards, he told anyone that would listen that “my daddy picked me up”. I was heartbroken listening to him.

    I have tried my best to facilitate their relationship, and the most important thing to me is my sons happiness. I don’t know whether inconsistent contact is better than none, or whether to insist on more routine (which he is unlikely to be able to provide due to his job, and priorities).

    I am exhausted, rarely get a break and am constantly worrying about the damage this may be causing my son. I feel acutely aware that he is watching other children with their fathers very closely, and seems very drawn to men. My friends are telling me I read too much into this but I am convinced.

    does anyone have any advice? I feel very lost

    #30644 Report


    I don’t have quite the same situation but I definitely saw my son’s need for a male company from about 4.

    He would play up, challenge me in front of others and get upset when other children talked about their dads.

    My ex is indifferent, never picked him up from school or attended sports days etc so I’ve carefully built a network to support my son. He has a male swimming teacher, a male karate sensei, my brother, the man who cuts his hair.

    And I take him & his friends den-building,  tree-running and cycling. I’ve become an honorary boy. 🤔 It’s hard work but I won’t let son miss out just because his dad is selfish. And better than feeling helpless.

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