When a father is lazy, not only does it negatively affect his spouse (who has to do everything), but it can also negatively affect his children’s development, mental health, and even their future as adults. It is vital to try and convince the father to be more involved in his children’s upbringing.
When your husband is a lazy father, it can be very exhausting, frustrating, and disheartening. It leaves you having to take care of your children’s physical and emotional needs, essentially by yourself. Not having help with the care of your children can be physically and mentally exhausting, especially if you are also working full-time outside of the home.
In the subheadings below, we will look at some examples of lazy fathers, how it affects their children, what we can do to convince our husbands to be more involved, and what to do if we cannot persuade them.
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The Long-Term Negative Effects of Lazy Fathers on Children
Having a lazy father is very painful for a child and can have dire consequences on their development, ultimately also negatively impacting their adult lives. One of a father’s key roles is to instill confidence in his children. When a father is lazy and uninvolved in his children’s lives, it can make the child feel unloved and not valued, which can lead to low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem often results in the adult child needing constant validation from friends, family members, and their own significant other. It can cause unnecessary tension in their relationships and may also drive people away, since providing this reassurance can be very draining for the people around them.
Not having their needs met by a lazy father can also cause depression in children. When a child is depressed, it increases their risk of becoming dependent on alcohol and drugs during their adolescent years. They are also at risk of becoming rebellious teenagers. Being rebellious and abusing substances are usually attempts at numbing the pain of having an uninvolved father.
Children with uninvolved fathers often also grow up to seek the love and attention they did not receive from their fathers from other men in unhealthy ways. It can make them vulnerable to unsafe situations, which can have dire consequences.
The abovementioned list only a few possible effects of a father’s laziness on his children. Therefore, convincing a lazy father to be more involved is crucial for the future success of your children.
Examples Of Things Lazy Fathers Don’t Do
One of the clearest examples of a lazy father is someone who does not help his spouse take care of his children’s basic physical needs. For instance, a lazy father usually expects his partner to do all of the work when changing diapers, giving baths, cooking, and taking care of the children when they are sick.
Lazy fathers also often expect their spouses to take care of them (as if they are also one of the children).
Many lazy fathers spend little to no quality alone time with their children. A lazy father will often spend all their free time participating in activities that they enjoy and which do not involve interaction with their children. For instance, he may sit on his phone, watching tv, or on his computer for hours, ignoring everything and everyone around him.
Lazy fathers are often emotionally distant from their children. Caring for a child’s emotional needs takes a lot of energy and time and lazy fathers usually do not wish to expend their energy and time on this. They would much rather spend their time doing something relaxing and leave the emotional needs of their children for their spouse to attend to.
Along with being emotionally distant from their children, lazy fathers can often be quite cold to their children. They usually only give their children love and attention when they feel like doing so. The love and affection they do provide are not nearly enough to have a sufficiently positive effect on their children’s mental well-being.
Lazy fathers are usually not involved in teaching their children basic life skills, such as brushing their teeth, reading, or potty training. A lazy father usually also expects his spouse to teach their children moral values. A lazy father is typically not very involved in helping his children with homework and will often not attend school events such as parent-teacher conferences.
Lazy fathers often refuse to supervise their children or will be willing to do so only for very short periods of time. They may even refer to being asked to care for their children as “babysitting” and consider it a favor to their spouse.
While the abovementioned can adversely affect the physical and mental health of the lazy father’s partner or co-parent, the adverse effects it can have on his children are even worse. Let’s look at some of the long-term effects a lazy father can have on his children.
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How to Convince a Lazy Father to Start Pulling His Weight
The lazy father is often unaware of how his lack of involvement affects his spouse and children, and making him aware of it is often all that is needed. Once he realizes how deeply his laziness affects his loved ones, it is likely (and hopeful) that he will feel remorse and that he will be more involved moving forward.
You can try having a calm and open conversation with your husband, explaining how his laziness impacts you and your children. It may be good to start the conversation by giving him credit for anything he may already be helping with, even if it is very little, as it will make him more open to listening to you.
To increase your chances of convincing your husband to be more involved, you could also research the matter beforehand and present him with the findings during your conversation. There is a lot of information available on the subject, and various studies have been conducted on how having uninvolved fathers impact children in the long run.
If having an honest, open conversation with him does not convince him to change, you can try challenging him to reverse roles with you for a few days. It will allow him to experience how much energy it takes to raise children and will also let him experience the joy and positive effects his involvement will have on his children.
What to Do If You Cannot Convince a Lazy Father to Change
While divorce is not ideal, leaving may be in both your and your children’s best interests if you cannot convince your husband to change his ways. Divorce proceedings usually include a custody arrangement to ensure the children can spend time with both parents. It will force the lazy father to be more involved since you will not be there when your children spend time with him.
Having their father be more involved in their lives will benefit your children’s physical and mental well-being. It could ultimately also lead to the father building a positive relationship with his children.
Divorcing the lazy father may also benefit you since you will now only have to take care of your children. You will no longer have to take care of your husband’s needs in addition to those of your children. You would hopefully also be able to get some rest during the time your children spend with their father.
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The lack of involvement from a lazy father is very tiring for his spouse, both physically and mentally. It is also detrimental for his children as they are at risk of developing depression, having low self-esteem, and becoming addicted to substances, to name only a few. The lazy father’s lack of involvement in his children’s lives will leave them with deep wounds that will also impact their adult lives.
It is, therefore, in our and our children’s best interests to convince our husbands to start pulling their weight. If we cannot persuade our husbands to be more involved in our children’s care, it may be time for us to consider a divorce.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.