I've been married to my ADHD spouse for about 15 years. I definitely have my own individual frustrations as a spouse but this is about my husband as a dad. We have a 10 year old daughter, and he is definitely present in terms of things like taking her to lessons after school, making dinner, helping with homework, etc. So I don't want to give the impression that he is totally checked out. But it feels like, as she gets older and develops her own personality and interests, he is simply bored and/or annoyed by her, unless they are doing something he likes. They spend time together doing HIS things - watching movies he likes, listening to music he likes, playing the sports he likes. She cannot share her interests with him. He will not spend time on her interests, and even subtly expresses that they are frivolous. This absolutely crushes me, and despite conversations, it's not getting better. Any time I convince him to do something like play a board game with us, he looks like he's in pain. We even went to Disney World without him, because he wasn't interested. I just don't know what to do. He seems to think that grudgingly spending time with us before going back to playing on his phone is enough. I don't want her to learn that this is what men are like. I need help.
ADHD spouse is an emotionally distant parent
Submitted by LuneVerte on 03/10/2021.
Actually that is the way men are... to a degree....
Submitted by c ur self on
Most men have little to no interest in the entertainment choices of 10 year old girls....I was very close w/ my two daughters until they hit a certain age (12-13)...Then it was...I need mother for this....I want to hang out w/ mother...What a loving Dad is concerned with, and responsible for is, the roof over his wife and children's head, their safety, the clothes on their back, are they eating healthy meals, are they growing properly on good mattress's, or they getting plenty of rest, education, what are they hearing and seeing (being subjected to in the world of TV and internet...their spiritual training and teaching....
Children's games and entertainment, the things they do w/ siblings, or friends their age, is way down the list of concerns for Dad's....
In this world of small families, (only child families) and the fact children do not play out side much w/ neighborhood friends...I see your concern, and a agree with you to a point....But just understand that you will never be your husband, (or any man) and you should not project on him what he should like, because you, or a 10 year old, might like it....I hope he will share in some of the things he would never consider, just to stay engaged with his little girl as she grows...Our children or a huge part of our lives and responsibilities, but they are not our life...They do not set our interests...We might give our life for them, if someone was trying to hurt them...But, it's OK for Dad's (Adult males) to see through different lens about his own interests, other than those of his wife, or his children....
Love and respect goes a long way!
My goodness....what a
Submitted by LuneVerte on
My goodness....what a horribly cynical and retrograde view of manhood. This is really sad.
All people should be able to emotionally engage with their families. Wow...I'm very glad this view of gender is becoming quickly obsolete.
Submitted by c ur self on
At least you can't say someone didn't care enough about me as a human being to speak truth me....No one said there shouldn't be emotional connections...
Have a blessed day!
Emotionally distant parent.
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
I think 1Melody1 would give you a good answer to your question...
That said, I will give my perspective on an emotionally distant Dad/Husband . My ex husband didn't have ADHD. He was a workaholic, and minimally involved in the raising of our two children. He finally took an interest after I filed for divorce. After I left, he didn't have a choice, he HAD to engage with them, as they lived with him half the time. ( We have a son and a daughter. ) He was there to reap the accolades of how well behaved the children were, etc, but did none of the work.
As far as c ur self's comment goes, I have to agree to some extent with what he said. My parents raised 3 girls. My Dad was super close to my sister. My sister learned quickly that the way to spend more time with Dad when he wasn't at work was to spend time with him and his first love--Horses. I wasn't into horses like my sister was and spent more time with my Mom.
You cannot change this
Submitted by adhd32 on
Your child's relationship with her father is not something you can manage. While it is often heartbreaking to watch your child be disappointed time and again by her father you cannot mandate what his reaction should be or dictate his actions. Pointing out his behaviors will not fix this. She will learn that he is unavailable and in time will stop seeking his help, support, assistance, companionship.
I have written often about this subject since I joined this forum some years ago, you can click on my name for some background. My H was uninterested in the day to day minutiae of school, homework, outside activities, carpools, summer plans, driving practice, college visits etc. It was too boring, too time consuming, too (insert excuse here). He was selfish and left all that up to me to manage. When he showed up at an event, he did it with a chip on his shoulder and one foot out the door. He made our kids feel like an imposition on his time, he was never able to put aside his personal desires for them. When the kids got to middle school, they realized he wasn't interested in their lives so they stopped asking him to come to the game, or for a ride to a friends house. The thing he didn't realize was that a relationship is built on hundreds of small moments. So while we were driving to practice or sitting watching a game or attending a girl scout event, the kids and I were conversing and sharing. Often both kids went to most activities and I spent the duration of the activity with the one not participating, just sharing alone time. We have many inside jokes be it a phase or word that can incite laughter and we will reminisce about memorable events even 20 years later. H feels left out because he doesn't have this connection and had accused me several times over the years of turning the kids against him. I told him he did that all by himself. He was devastated when our daughter asked him to stay home from college visits because he was unable to control his boredom and would disappear or rudely mutter under his breath when someone asked the college admissions leader a question. He didn't care that this was daughter's thing and he was embarrassing her in front of others, his big concern was his next meal and his comfort. He seems unable to come to terms with the fact that he never wanted to do the work necessary to have a meaningful connection with his children so he blames me.
The only thing I can say is this is his choice. You can talk to him until you run out of breath but he will turn it into an argument every time. You cannot make someone show love, concern, or interest in another person's live. His life will always be about him first. It is heartbreaking that this is even a thing that needs to be discussed. I'm sorry this is happening.
My Ex did this, too....
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
H feels left out because he doesn't have this connection and had accused me several times over the years of turning the kids against him.
My ex said the same thing. Because he was abusive, I said nothing. He could have spent time with the children at any time, I didn't stop him. I didn't criticize their Father or speak badly about him....EVER. My son, daughter and I had inside jokes too, and I am sure he felt left out...that was his problem.
This is really helpful, and I
Submitted by LuneVerte on
This is really helpful, and I honestly probably needed to hear it. I just feel so terrible on my daughter's behalf, but I can at least try to make sure that she and I have a strong connection.
Emotionally stable children....
Submitted by c ur self on
The thing that makes for healthy emotions in our children, is to see and hear Mother and Dad being kind, and respectful to each other, loving and preferring one another....If we speck down to our children (or in front of our children) about our spouses...Or, if we selfishly argue and fight in front of our children, then the mirror is the place to identify the problem...
I understand completely what adhd32 said about a parent, or spouse who checks out when life isn't about them...I've lived with that reality for over 12 years....It's better to ignore, not include, or do what ever it takes to not allow selfishness, negativity, control, and manipulation to impact important aspects of the rest of the families lives....
I disagree that this is a sex
Submitted by PoisonIvy on
I disagree that this is a sex- or gender-based behavior. Men can be emotionally connected to their children, spouse, parents, siblings, etc., etc. If they're not, it's because they choose not to be. My ex began withdrawing from our children (both female) when they were preteens. I think his behavior would have been similar with male children. He was and is afraid to have emotional connections. He was a good dad when our children were very young and their needs were mostly physical. Much less so when, as almost all children do, they entered the emotionally tempestuous years. He also withdrew from me when it became clear that I wanted a husband who would support me emotionally.
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
I am so sorry for what you're going through. I have been exactly where you are. Eerily so, even, as my first post to this site almost 3 years ago reads very much like yours. My daughter was also 10 at the time.
My husband and I have recently separated and I can tell you that I never did solve the issues you described. I tried. I appealed to my husband and tried to explain how it made our daughter feel when she was simply seeking connection with her dad. He just didn't understand. "I love her - she should know that," he'd say and then change nothing. He couldn't understand that he wasn't showing his love through actions and the begrudging time he would spend was probably even harder on her. He would actually say, "I don't want to do it, but FINE... I will..." to our daughter in response to simple requests like "Will you watch this video with me, Dad?". Awful. It killed me that I couldn't protect my daughter from this. She had to learn just as I did that he will always prioritize his own interests and give us as little as possible. Watching her go through this with him was worse than going through it myself.
That's the long-winded way of saying that unless your husband sees an issue with how he is behaving and treating your daughter, it isn't likely to change. If he can see it and is willing to try, you could try scheduling time for the two of them with NO ELECTRONICS to distract. Daily, weekly... whatever works. Maybe they can take turns choosing what to do. This plan is only good if your husband is willing, of course, but I think scheduling time can work well for some with ADHD.
I can tell you the fallout of my similar situation has been that my husband and daughter have a surface relationship. She is a young teen now. She has given up as I have. When he was living here, he'd say "hi" as she walked by and she'd say "hi" back. She stopped trying and since he never had tried, their relationship failed. I can also tell you that my daughter has been hurt deeply by what she perceives as rejection by a parent. All I can do is spend as much time with her as possible and be enthusiastic about her interests and accept her exactly as she is. I hope that having one parent who treats her that way is enough. I am very afraid that her relationship with her dad will have lifelong consequences. I am honest with her about ADHD and try to explain that his behaviour isn't personal, but it is hard for her not to take it personally. I still feel it's important to be tactful but honest about this because she should know it is not her... it really is him.