Fatherhood is one of the most important jobs, next to motherhood. The presence of a father impacts a child well into adulthood. Ideally, fathers groom boys into men, and fathers teach girls how men should treat women with dignity and respect.
While some people are lucky enough to come from two parent homes with great fathers and mothers, many modern families are blended, divorced, or single parent households, which result in more situations where the father is outside the home on a regular basis.
In these cases, the courts may order a father to pay child support if he is the non-custodial parent. Thus, one of the most common acceptable ways of avoiding the deadbeat dad stigma involves paying child support payments on time.
Many states consider a variety of factors when calculating the child support obligations of a father, including weekly income, inheritance, other financial assets, and the earning potential of the father. For fathers who are unable to pay child support, there are ways to modify child support agreements, but these options should be discussed with an attorney.
Legally, making timely child support payments prevents a man from becoming a deadbeat father. However, a father can make timely child support payments and still be considered a deadbeat dad in the eyes of his child or his children.
Like motherhood, fatherhood, if done properly, is a full-time job. As children grow, they do not keep accounts on the amount of child support payments contributed to their household. But instead, kids make mental notes about all the time spent with their fathers.
They remember the missed basketball games and the overlooked dance recitals. They remember weekends spent waiting for a father who does not show up. Consequently, it is important for fathers to make as much effort as possible to make time a priority in their children’s lives well into adulthood.
Fathers can find this time through further sharing the responsibilities of child-rearing with the mothers of their children. These responsibilities include learning how to change diapers, attending doctor’s appointments with their children, and participating in the general care and discipline of children.
Additionally, fathers can individually work on behalf of their children through small tasks, such as establishing 529 savings accounts to begin contributing to their children’s education as early as possible. As their children grow, fathers can make attempts to try not to miss events that are important to children, like karate tournaments and basketball games, but most importantly, to make an effort to show they care about their children.
As many of us former children who are now adults know, while we are all capable for forgiving, we never truly forget, especially when we feel hurt by our fathers. If the old adages, “like father, like son” and “daddy’s little girls” are true, fathers would do well to fully devote their time to understanding and appreciating the impact they have on the quality of their relationships with their children.
U.S. Code, Sec. 228, “Failure to pay legal child support obligations.” Cornell University Law School.