My husband is a disappointing father: 10 key signs

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Your husband is a terrific man. But if you notice that he’s struggling to be the best father your children need, it may cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety, pressure, and stress within the family.

Fortunately, things can improve with the right amount of encouragement and support. So we’re going to talk about 10 signs your husband is a disappointing father, and what you can do about it:

1) He doesn’t let your kids express their frustrations

As children get older, they develop their own way to express themselves when they feel frustrated.

Toddlers, for example, throw tantrums. Teenagers, considering the hormonal changes their bodies go through, sometimes resort to anger. Adults, when stressed, experience anxiety.

Think about it: these outbursts are not just a way of venting, but also an expression of the desperate need for help in managing their feelings.

Your husband is a disappointing father when he fails to recognize and validate the frustrations of your children. Even if he doesn’t agree with how your kids feel, not letting them vent can be hurtful because he discounts their feelings of distress.

You see, when he does this, he might also fail to realize that these may be cries for help.

2) He’s too critical

Your husband might believe that he’s being helpful by criticizing your children. This may be because he has certain expectations in his mind about how they should behave. Giving feedback, after all, is a normal thing to do.

When he’s being overly critical towards your kids, he tends to nit-pick and finds something wrong about everything, especially their mistakes. He may not be aware of it, but this constant criticizing can be very toxic.

Instead of applauding them for doing a job well done, he focuses on the minor things that could’ve been done better.

What’s disappointing about this is that, even if the intentions of your husband may be good, this negative behavior can make your children feel disheartened because they can never do anything right in his eyes. 

As if that’s not enough, they grow up to becoming self-critical about themselves and others, too.

This can be very hard to deal with and lead to you wanting to exit the relationship. 

3) He doesn’t participate in their milestones

Milestones are like rites of passage. They could be about physical development, like learning how to walk and talk. Or about personal success, such as getting a promotion, or completing an MBA. They could also be about life’s turning points, like getting married or, simply, one’s birthday.

In reality, life gets in the way. And you don’t get to participate in all of your children’s milestones. You may be grocery shopping as your firstborn takes the first steps. You could be on a business trip during the opening night of your child’s first starring role in a musical.

With today’s technology of live streaming and video calls, you can “be there” during these important events.

It’s true what they say — kids grow up in the blink of an eye.

And when your husband doesn’t make an effort to at least find the time or move his schedule around so he could be there when these milestones happen, he misses the opportunity to create memories and share in their success.

Your children want to make you proud. They want to see your faces light up. And when their father isn’t around for a lot of them, they end up feeling let down and insignificant.

4) He treats your kids as his friends without limits

Having a close, personal relationship with your children is always good. You keep communication lines open and form a sense of mutual respect and trust.

However, when your husband treats your children as his friends without filtering the information that’s shared, his role as a parent becomes confusing.

Here’s why:

When he openly confides in them and shares his frustrations and problems, he doesn’t realize that this parenting style blurs the lines of who’s in charge in the home.

This kind of relationship dynamic poses challenges in enforcing rules and limits because he treats them with equal status.

Another reason is that, when your husband treats them like his friends, your children may feel pressured to think about and respond to his personal issues, even if they aren’t emotionally and mentally prepared to deal with them.

In this situation, your husband is a disappointing father because there are no constraints. He forgets that he’s their father, first and foremost, and that he should protect them from information that may affect their overall well-being.

5) He does everything for your kids

As a dedicated and loving father, it’s natural for your husband to want to do things for your children. After all, he wants nothing more than to see them happy, healthy, successful, and thriving.

But is doing too much for your kids overkill?

When your husband feels stressed about the thought of your kids getting hurt, and seeing your kids struggle, he crosses the lines of being an overprotective parent.

It’s disappointing when your husband over-functions and does everything for your children, from making their beds to writing their school papers. He may send across a message that they aren’t reliable enough to accomplish even the easiest of tasks.

Also, when he makes decisions on your children’s behalf, he takes away their chance to build confidence, feed their curiosity, and discover things on their own. They lose the opportunity to become independent and self-reliant, which are traits that help them get through the throes of life.

6) He’s too strict with your kids

Parents are the known authority figures in the home, and they are responsible for raising their children to become kind-hearted human beings, and protecting them from harm and danger.

It’s a difficult task, and given the societal dangers and pressures of parenting in the 21st century, your husband may resort to being too strict.

When your husband displays an authoritative style of parenting, he leaves very little room for flexibility because he lays out a lot of rules – sometimes, too many — for your kids to follow to the tee. 

This “my way or the highway” approach can be disappointing because it doesn’t allow your children the freedom to discover and do things their way. It may also cause them to think that their father’s love is conditional because of the need to follow the rules imposed upon them.

7) He’s too lenient with your children

While being too strict with children falls on one end of the scale, the other end of it is being too lenient. It’s when parents rarely say no to their kids, and enforce the rules of the house.

Your husband may resort to being too liberal with your kids because may feel uncomfortable in dealing with conflict. Maybe he finds it easier to give in to their demands than having difficult conversations about following rules.

He may not be aware, but your husband is disappointing when he gives them limitless freedom to do whatever they want – whenever they want – because they grow up with no value for responsibility and no respect for structure, schedule, and boundaries.

8) He intentionally embarrasses your kids in public

When your children commit mistakes, it’s but normal for you, as parents, to correct them. At times, the feeling of embarrassment can’t be avoided, especially when the reprimand happens in a public setting.

Truth be told, embarrassment is not trivial for kids, especially for teenagers. They feel conscious of who’s watching when their attention is called out in front of other people. 

Your husband is a disappointing father when he chooses to scold your children in public because he fails to realize that teaching your kids right from wrong should be the primary reason for a scolding.

And instead of focusing on the lesson to be learned, your children fixate on the feeling of embarrassment.

9) He compares your children to other kids

Imagine this: you and your husband are walking inside a mall and you come across a young child playing on a piano that’s on display. Your husband suddenly turns to you and says, “Why can’t our kid play like that?”

The next thing you know, you run into your new neighbors who notice you watching the kid on the piano. They ask about who among your children plays, and your husband goes, “Yeah, that’s my youngest, the smart one. My eldest daughter’s the beautiful one.”

Because of the parental pressures of society today, it’s hard not to compare your children to other kids, more so with each other. It can get stressful because of dictated expectations you, as parents, need to ensure your kids meet.

You see, your children feel the same way.

So when your husband consciously compares your children with each other and other kids, they feel pressured to compete and beat the rest of the pack, which leads to sibling rivalry, self-esteem issues, and resentment.

What makes your husband disappointing here is that he fails to see that your children are their own person. They have their own talents, strengths, and abilities, as well as opportunity areas for improvement. 

Your children are beautiful, smart… and more. They are perfect just the way they are.

10) He doesn’t tell your kids he loves them

There are so many ways to show your children you love them. You hug them when they make their beds. Or take them to Disneyland on their birthday. Or even bake their favorite chocolate cake on a random Sunday afternoon.

But don’t you think it means so much more when you say it, too?

Children need to hear you say it: I love you.

They feel acknowledged and noticed by hearing those three words. Saying it builds their trust and confidence, and also takes away their fear when they make mistakes. 

When your husband doesn’t explicitly tell your children he loves them, they end up only assuming that he does. This can lead to them questioning their value and thinking that they’re not enough.

And even if he shows your kids he loves them, the impact is different when he says it.

What can you do?

Your husband may or may not be aware that he’s a disappointing father. He also may or may not think that he needs to disappoint your children for them to develop psychologically and mentally.

This attitude, however, can negatively affect your children’s mindset and behavior as they get older. 

As a wife and mother, here’s a list of things you can do to help improve their relationship:

1) Commend the other things he does for your kids

Your husband isn’t the perfect father by any stretch. And when it comes to behavior, it’s easier to pay more attention to the mistakes.

Sometimes, your husband needs affirmation as a father even when it comes to the little things, like taking your children to school in time for class. He feels good when he’s commended for doing a good job, especially when it’s done in front of your children.

That can get him inspired and motivated to do more for your kids.

2) Share best practices

Your parenting style may be different from your husband’s, but when your parenting goals are aligned, you come together as partners in raising your children.

How do you do this? By sharing best practices.

It’s a good way to open the communication lines to get a new perspective to approach different situations with your children. 

By sharing best practices, you allow time to reflect on the how’s and why’s as parents. It also allows time to talk about what works and what doesn’t. 

3) Talk with your children

You are your children’s connection to their father. And a lot of times, they run to you as an outlet and support system when they are disappointed with their dad.

It can be challenging not to sound like you’re justifying your husband’s disappointing behavior because you want them to see and understand the bigger picture. But steering the conversation to focus on the good things about him rather than the bad can help diffuse the disappointment.

You can also help manage their feelings by praising them for being strong when they openly discuss their frustrations. It also helps to display patience if they don’t seem to be ready to share. 

What’s important is that your children know they can run to you for anything.

4) Set up family talks

When you set regular talks, it can ease the tension and promote better communication in your family. Understand that you have to play the neutral party in the conversation so they don’t feel like you’re taking sides. 

As their mother and wife, you get to encourage your husband and children to express their gratitude and appreciation, and to speak more openly and constructively together about their disappointments.

Remind them to be honest, to listen, and to forgive. It can be a challenge, both as a parent and a child, but it will be the only way for them to get to the root of the problem, talk about solutions and move on.

5) Suggest seeking professional help

There is no shame in seeking professional help if only to improve one’s self. And if you feel that your husband may need additional support by meeting with a therapist, why not talk to him about it?

This kind of intervention doesn’t happen every day. But it won’t be helpful to you nor your kids if you allow him to carry on and continue being a disappointment to them.

When you talk to him, do your best to make him understand the reasons for suggesting this course of action. It may help to maintain a loving speaking tone and body language during the conversation.

Love changes everything

Being a good husband doesn’t equate to being a good father. But he can definitely be both. 

Your husband’s parenting style may be different, but if it causes a lot of disappointment with your children, you need to take action to avoid any rift that can be created in their relationship.

Remember: everything about your family should begin and end with love. It doesn’t matter if you have the smallest struggles or the biggest of problems. 

Having a loving family means you’re there for the good times and the bad. With that, comes respect, honesty, and compromise. 

Your role as a wife and mother is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. But you’re the glue that keeps your family together.

Learn how to strike a balance between being a true partner to your husband and a support system to your kids. 

Rest assured, it won’t be a walk in the park. 

There will be days on end when you’ll want to tear your hair out and scream at the top of your lungs out of frustration.

Have faith. Believe that you can do it.

If you can get your whole family to talk it out and focus on the good things rather than the bad, you can turn things around to build a better and stronger relationship that can withstand the hurdles life throws at you.

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

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