Your Kids Care About Their Dad More Than Child Support

8166792259_593ee0f4d5_zIf your children had a choice–to receive child support or spend lots of quality time with daddy and building a relationship with him–I’m pretty certain, in most cases, Dad is the winner.

Children don’t care about child support. In fact, unless their parents sit them down and explain it to them, most children don’t even know what child support is.  Many children, in their independent mind frame (especially younger children), believe that the money is used to provide their wants and needs:

  • Grows on trees
  • Can be picked up at leisure from the bank
  • Is unlimited on “those cards you swipe at the store.”
  • Flows freely out of money making machines (i.e. ATMs).
  • Is unlimited as long as you go to work. 

So although child support is often our top concern as parents, children could care less.

Being a parent requires much more than “having/paying money.”

Over the years, I’ve interviewed numerous children in connection with my child custody law and mediation practice. When asked about their feelings and wishes, NOT ONE child responded that they wanted more child support from daddy. Similarly, not one wished daddy made more money or anything else related to money, except, I have had a few children request that their dad didn’t have to work so much so they could spend more time with them. Out of all of my interviews, the only time the words “child support” were mentioned, was when one child said, “I wish mommy wasn’t so mad at my dad about child support so that I can see him.”

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What children consistently seem to care about the most when dad, child custody and or/support is at issue, is being able to spend time with their dad, and without worry.

Being a parent requires much more than “having/paying money.” In my line of work, I’ve realized that society has so many people so wrapped up in riches and material things that the things that are most important are often disregarded for things that don’t compare. Children indeed need both money and quality time with both parents–one is not at the mercy of the other. I would suggest that moms who are using child support to interfere with the child’s relationship with their father look at how that behavior can be harmful to their children. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, in no way am I implying that dads don’t need to financially provide for their children; that’s an obligation that pertains to both parents. Money is relevant to child-rearing. Children need food, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities. However, a child with the basic necessities that doesn’t have a connection with one of the only people who can show them how to utilize these necessities can easily become a broken child. For children to thrive and develop into the wonderful human beings, they have the potential to become, they need positive, supportive, influential people in their lives to give them direction and teach them cores and values. And who better to contribute these powerful lessons to their lives than their dad?

Regardless of a father’s ability to go over and beyond financially, what children care about the most, and what’s equally (if not more) important, is the type of support they can get from their father that isn’t financial.

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Being involved with their schooling. Sharing the importance of getting good grades and working hard, helping with homework and school projects, attending parent-teacher conferences, and volunteering to chaperone school field trips.

Supporting their extracurricular activities. Attending music recitals, coaching their football, basketball, or other sports teams, cheering them on whether they win or lose, teaching them about sportsmanship, perseverance, and being a team player.

Everyday living.  Teaching basic things like proper hygiene, manners, how to socially interact, how to deal with adversity, the importance of self-love, self-respect, respecting others, and self-esteem.

Quality Time. Spending quality time doing fun things with them such as family game/movie night, city outings (such as the museum), parks, amusement parks, swimming, and silly horseplay.

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In the midst of all of the fuss about and dealing with the issue, don’t forget about the most important thing.

All of these things are not only priceless when it comes to a child’s long-term development into adults, but also much more valuable in their eyes than “child support.”

The child support issue can be dealt with via the proper legal channels as necessary, but in the midst of all of the fuss about and dealing with the issue, don’t forget about the most important thing… your child having a positive and prosperous relationship with BOTH parents. 

If your kids had a choice–to receive child support or spend lots of quality time with daddy and building a relationship with him–I’m pretty certain, in most cases, Dad is the winner.

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Photo: Flickr/ Lotus Carroll

About Merissa V. Grayson

I’m known as "America’s Blended Family Expert", a role that I didn’t seek, but one that I’m honored to serve in.

Part of becoming an expert stems from my professional experience as a Child Custody & Family Law Attorney, Mediator, and Co-Parent Coach. The flip side comes from my personal experience as a Wife and Stepmother who has personally disentangled the difficult challenges that often come with the territory of divided/blended family living.

Understanding the importance of having a cohesive family unit, through my law practice, mediation, and coaching services, I have dedicated my life to helping families around the country tackle similar challenges by truly walking them through positive transformations to help them gain the lifestyle and peace of mind they deserve.

Although much of my work is centered around Fathers' Rights and Advocacy for shared parenting, I write and speak on topics related to all facets of blended family living, the art of co-parenting, and navigating the legal system in child custody and family law cases. Join me at www.americasblendedfamilyexpert.com.

Comments

  1. This is very true. I grew up with a Dad that rarely paid child support. My parents divorced when I was 14 my brother was 9. My Dad had a horrible work ethic and would jump from job to job when he did get money he’d spend it on is but frivolous things he just had bad money skills! My Mom was the stable and reliable one. She never kept us from him she let us see him whenever he or we wanted and never let on what was going on. I knew I was old enough and my brother caught on. Look it sucks and men and women should pay what they owe but if they can’t then the time need not suffer!’

  2. We’re in a society where men are forced to follow the mothers decision. He has no abortion rights, she does. She can choose whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy. Of course he should not be able to force her to terminate, but he should be allowed to forgo his rights and “responsibilities” with a financial abortion.

    So we have some men who didn’t want to have a baby, but their partner forced that decision on them after conception. Before the critics say how he is responsible, both parties are responsible for conception but only the one who is pregnant is 100% responsible for choosing whether that pregnancy continues in areas where abortion is legal. Women that don’t want to be parents but still have sex can choose to not be a parent, men however cannot. Even with safe sex, pregnancy can still occur.

    How many of these “deadbeat” dads were forced to be dads when they didn’t want to be a father? We don’t think of women who have abortions as deadbeat mums, they are simply exercising their rights. Can some women really be surprised by a man not wanting to pay child support after saying they did not want to be a father?

    The major solution is to create a society with a cost of living significantly reduced so that it doesn’t matter if he or she doesn’t pay child support, where a single parent can be well off and happy and less focus on $$$ and more on quality time together.

    • You have a point about some deadbeat dads not wanting to become fathers in the first place. I guess that probably happens, but what I often see is divorced men who are fine with paying child support for the first two or three kids until he remarries and chooses to have children with the second wife. Then, his finances are stretched too thin and he somehow thinks it’s okay to not pay child support on his first family. Guys in that situation need to consider their finances before choosing to have a second family.

      • That’s the trouble of modern society. Here in Australia 2 people on the median income working full-time struggle to afford to have a house, so having to support your new family and the other kids would be really difficult.

        My dream in the world is to see life being so cheap that it is easily affordable. That a person can work 20 hours or less a week and afford to have 4 kids (overpopulation worries aside) so that we don’t have financial stress, our future in our children will have amazing opportunities and see their parents a lot more because they aren’t slaves to work. Child support wouldn’t be an issue because it’d be so cheap to raise a kid that it wouldn’t be a major financial strain. In a world like this without major financial strains, children and adults alike would thrive to their fullest potentials and MANY divorces, fights, etc would not happen.

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