The Empty Space: Absentee Parenting

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About Andrew Lawes

Having dealt with depression since childhood, Andrew Lawes writes passionately and honestly on the subject of mental health issues in the hopes that he can make a difference in the lives of others with similar struggles. Hailing from Northern England, he is currently a support worker for adults with learning difficulties. In addition to his social work, Andrew is pursuing a degree in English with the Open University of England. Find him on Facebook, Twitter @laweslaweslawes, and Or email him at [email protected].


  1. I am resentful to this. I think you don’t know what you are talking about and nether does anybody who so quickly wants to point the finger at a parent who is not present in their child’s life. I have a daughter not a son and I have nothing to do with her. That was my choice. I chose that because she has a family… her mother, step father, and is part of a religious cult (Mormonism) that has created a life for her that I was shut out of. Her mother made it virtually impossible for me to have any contact with her since she was born and she doesn’t even know who I am. And under the circumstances I can not do anything about it. My situation is complicated.

    So go F@#$ Yourself dude for preaching to me that I am not a real man and I am a bad person for making the choice to allow the mother to take her to raise her the way she wants her raised. Kiss me A$$.

    • Excuse me. You could have been a part of your daughter’s life. You chose not to be, you said so yourself. Therefore you ARE a bad father. In fact to that child you aren’t even a father. Look at you blaming the mother, the “religious cult”, the man who has been a father to that child. Everyone but yourself! You should have fought to be in your child’s life. Wild horses wouldn’t drag me from my children.

  2. I am a single mother. I am very happy that the father of my daughter didnt’t want to be a father for her. A bad example of father is not better that no example. My daughter has a male presence in her life, my father, a good presence, a balanced and loving man. Her father couldn’t ofer such love, education, morality, good examples of life.

    Refering to the fact that ”a child should know who his/her father is” …is uncertain. I mean when my daughter will ask about the father I will show her a photo and find the best explanation for her age, of course I will lie how precious and good man is her father……….A child should know only phisicaly how her father looks like, by couriosity, but it’s better not to know that from a ”soft way of rape” she was born.

    We live in a world with many possibilities of explanations, we have many other situations and even worse. We have to adapt the explanation for the age of the child in order not to suffer, but I dont believe it’s necesarily to meet her biological father. In fact, in my opinion, you must fight for getting the FATHER STATUS, you dont just have it because of a mistake.

    And for Philip : YOU COULD BE PART OF YOUR DAUGHTER;S LIFE! If you wanted it, you would have fight for her! No instance/justice in the world take your father’s rights if you prove you are a good father, you love her and you are responsible for your fact! I think the mather of the girl is pretty smart!

  3. the mother of the girl* and sorry for grammatical mistakes, I am not a native English

  4. Philip, you were doing so well. You were articulate, and you were explaining your situation coherently. Then you spoiled it by becoming needlessly abusive towards me.

    Quite frankly, your anger and resentment displays how guilty you feel for abandoning your daughter, as well you should. You made a lifelong commitment when you created life, and you are shirking it because your situation is difficult. You admit yourself that you have chosen to play no part in her life, then you tell me to go fuck myself?

    You make excuses for being an absent father, and it isn’t good enough. You are out of order slating the people that are actually there for her, and dismissing her beliefs as a cult is also wrong. You should praise the people that give enough of a shit about your daughter to actually be there for her, in a way you never have.

    I never said that you were a bad person or a real man; I clearly state “Sometimes, absence is unavoidable”. In your instance, however, it is entirely avoidable. You use these excuses but they cut no ice with me, and, when the day comes that your daughter asks about you, I can guarantee they will cut no ice with her either.

    You can fix this; pick up the phone. Get in your car and go and see her. Stop being such a coward.

  5. Andrew I totally agree with you, especially when you tell Philip this is just cowardice. I have a 7months old boy, separated with his dad 5months ago. We had many deep differences but one thing I remember, on the first day of our separation I told him he is open, anytime, anywhere, anyhow to be present in his son’s life. I even committed myself to take the baby personally to him so they could have father/son time. It’s a song I’ve sung weekly for the last 5 months. But he just said no. He says the only way he can be in his son’s life is if we go back to him. He may have one or two points, but why blackmail me using his son? As of yesterday he was blaming me for ‘dis-fathering’ him and taking away his child and his opportunity to be a dad. I asked him to sit with me and schedule equal time for him and his son, he said No; it can only work if we go back home. It’s confusing and depressing, because somewhere in my mind I know that it would be better to have scheduled dad/son time than to all live under one roof and watch your mother being clobbered to death by an insensitive father…I don’t know, haven’t done psychology. Still, it’s a choice most men make, a terrible choice, but they have only them to blame. So like Andrew said, pick up the phone, get into the car and go see your child. Stop making excuses and stop being a coward. If your wife and kid will never respect you for anything else in this life, trust me, they will definitely respect you for that move.

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