Why Do So Many Fathers Abandon Their Children?

Dad said he was going to the store but never returned. The common trope highlights a societal problem with parents: fathers abandon their kids with no remorse, leaving single mothers who live in poverty and bear the brunt of society’s ire. 

Why Do Fathers Abandon Their Kids?

Dad ignoring his son and watching tv while son tries to play with a toy truck on dad's arm.
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One user came to Reddit seeking answers from real people on why the trope is so common in real life. Why do so many fathers abandon their children?

The responses mainly came from people who lived it. Their father left, and although many were never given a reason, some were. And some figured it out for themselves. 

Not Useful

Young boy dressed as an office working playing office work.
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Some parents only care about their kids if they’re useful. If the kid boosts Dad’s ego or helps him keep a job or relationship, sure, Dad will stick around. These fathers leave the second the kid no longer serves a purpose but often show up when they’re financially stable enough to give dad some cash. 

It’s Easier

Man shrugging as if to say "oh well"
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Many dads don’t want to do the work of parenting. They leave because things are too hard and often show up when the kids are teenagers or young adults and no longer require a ton of work. 


A slefish looking man arrogantly pointing at himself.
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Sometimes, the dad is too selfish to prioritize the kid’s needs. He leaves so he doesn’t have to sacrifice his wants for the child’s needs. 

King of the Castle

Proud looking selfish man wearing a crown looking down on others.
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Many men can’t handle competition for “their woman’s” affection. When the baby comes, and they’re no longer the most important thing in the house, they flip out and leave, finding someone who will put them first. 

Not Ready To Parent

An overwhelmed father holding his daughter next to a giant pile of laundry.
Photo Credit: Cast Of Thousands via Shutterstock.com.

Fathers run because they aren’t ready for the intense responsibility of parenting. Young mothers typically aren’t prepared either, but they don’t have the option to run, and with more and more laws restricting access to reproductive care, we’re likely to see an increase in single mothers. 

Terrible Person

mad looking young man
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Some men are just terrible people. They have no qualms about impregnating someone and ditching after getting what they want. The kids are probably better off without these awful folks in their lives. 

New Wife

Close up of man holding a woman's head in an intimate embrace but something is slighlty off about it like's it more aggressive than it should be.
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Fathers often abandon their children the second a new wife enters the picture. These dads only care about making the new woman happy; they don’t care about their already existing children. 

Society Lets It Happen

Man shrugging his shoulders like he doesn't care at all.
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There are few repercussions for dads who abandon their families. While some have to pay a small portion of their income for child support, many get away scot-free. In many jurisdictions, mothers get jailed for reckless abandonment for running away while no one cares if dad does it. 

Men as Providers

A business man in a suit holding up a large stack of money.
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Society also pigeonholes men into provider roles rather than caretaking roles. Even men who stay don’t help much with the kids; they think providing money is enough. Dads who leave take it just a tiny step forward by providing money (sometimes) from a distance. 

Mom’s Fault

Two women standing next to each other wearing white shirts on a pink background. One has grey hair, representing a mother, and the other has dark hair, representng a daughter.
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Many men who leave will blame their actions on the mother. They’ll claim she broke his heart by breaking up even though the breakup was mostly his fault. He either cheated, wouldn’t work, got into legal trouble, or struggled with addiction, but it was all her fault for not standing by his side while he brought them both down. 

Others will claim the mom is mean and wouldn’t let them have custody. However, these men never even attempt to get custody. They sign it over because they don’t actually want to parent; they want to get sympathy points by pretending their kids were stolen from them. 


A bored man sits on the couch turning way from his partner.
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The routine of parenthood is boring. Mom’s too worried about caring for the kids to keep the excitement alive in the marriage, and Dad can’t be bothered to help. So, he seeks excitement elsewhere, and when he finds it, he abandons his stable, predictable family for something new and exciting. 

Reasons Not To Have Kids

Woman crossing her arms in a refusal gesture.
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Despite all the pressure to procreate, it’s perfectly valid not to want kids. Millennials and younger generations are opting out of parenthood at record rates. 

Here are their top reasons for not wanting kids

Will You Change Your Mind About a Baby?

Sleeping infant wrapped in light blue bear blanket on a blue grey background.
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Everyone tells childfree people they will change their minds. But is that true? Here’s what to consider if you’re on the fence about parenthood

Talking About a Baby

parents doing their own thing ignoring their small child that's sitting between them
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Don’t have kids on a whim. Have these crucial conversations without your partner before deciding you’re ready for a baby

Are You Ready for a Baby?

baby crying with smashed cake all over it at their birthday party.
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Think you’re ready for a baby? Consider these 15 points first 

Source: Reddit

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