Why are there so many crappy fathers?

I know there are plenty of terrible mothers, but they seem to be greatly outnumbered by disinterested, disconnected, and absent fathers. You occasionally hear people speak about deadbeat dads, but rarely do you hear people talk about the overall quality of fathers. Most of the people I know have not had good fathers. It seems to have reached epidemic proportions. What is the root of this problem, and should this be considered a bigger issue than it is?

No agenda, huh?


I believe the root of this problem is the strange male culture that exists. It’s “cool” to drink and fight and fuck with no thoughts for the consequences. It’s “cool” to be disrespectful to others. It’s “cool” to be a big, strong, violent asskicker who takes no shit from nobody, but not “cool” to be intelligent, caring or sensitive. Not only that, but many women are attracted to these “cool” qualities. The end result is a lot of children with fathers who haven’t the emotional maturity to care for them. Sometimes they don’t even have the interest to do so.

Read “My Troubles With Women,” parts I and II, by comic and philosophical genius R. Crumb. You’ll get a pretty good idea of the attitudes described in the above post. And it’s just really good.

My theory is that it’s largely because they have more opportunities to “check out.” Moms are more physically tied to their kids, and there is tremendous cultural pressure on them to be their children’s primary parent.

Are you saying that if the social and physical connections between mother and child were equal to those between father and child, and if there was no greater cultural pressure on the mother to be the caretaker, we would see an equal amount of bad mothers and bad fathers? This isn’t meant to sound belligerent; I am not contradicting you, I merely want to know your viewpoint.

Just that the gap would be narrower.

As I understand things, mothers have a significantly higher rate of abusing/injuring/murdering their children than fathers. (I imagine this is because so many lame-ass dads bail on their kids, so they’re just not around to do any harm.)

But why do so many dads abandon their kids? My own feeling is that it’s “mixed reproductive strategy.” In many cultures, a father that flits from woman to woman without making a commitment has a big reproductive edge over one who is faithful. So it’s unsurprising that many men are pre-programmed to be cads.

Evolutionarily, the mother has far more of a genetic stake in the child’s success and commits far more resources to take care of them. You would expect in this case for the mother to be a better parent.

Because the guys that make good fathers aren’t “sexy” enough for most women, so they don’t get the opportunity to father children as often. It’s the attraction of women to “bad boys” that unfortunately also make bad fathers. The cycle goes something like this: young woman falls in love with a “bad boy”, maybe gets married and has a couple of kids before she realizes he’s a louse. So she dumps him and finds a “good provider” to raise the “bad boy’s” offspring. From an evolutionary perspective it confers an advantage; her offspring get the promiscuity gene, and will spread her genes efficiently, while they are also well provided for and get the advantages of a stable home and income.

This is a sociobiological theory. That field is looked on with skepticism by psychologists and evolutionary biologists, largely because the theories of sociobiologists are unfalsifiable.

Not to mention, this sounds like sour grapes.

Are you disputing that women are attracted to bad boys, or that bad boys make bad fathers?

Do you have a cite for this, or is this just anecdotal “hey, Dad’s today suck.” Do you believe (and have a cite for) they suck worse today than they did 10, 20, 30, 100 years ago? Do you have some measurement for “non-suck.” And what is the measurement of suckiness.

What he said. This theory may be “unfalsifiable,” but I think the connection that it depicts is pretty darned obvious. (How significant is the effect of bad boy fathers? Obviously, I can’t say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was mighty significant.)

I dispute the baasic premise. I know that “cite?” is friutless for something like this but will certainly counter your personal observations with my own, as son, father, freind, and as a pediatrician of 20 years experience.

Lots of involved Dads out there. Mine was a great Dad, for his era. Sure, he was sexist and out of the house working long hours, but we had great times just futzing around in the yard replanting the same bush in a different spot for the dozenth time and washing the cars. And I learned how the army taught him to polish his shoes real good. Most of my budddies had fine involved Dads. I am a very involved Dad with my four kids and my freinds and my kids freinds’ Dads are almost all involved. A few even stay at homes. Sure there are more than a few divorces but as a general rule the Dads have stayed involved. Dads often come to the appointments.

Reaching epidemic proportions? Nah. Going the other way. More Dads are more involved now than the previous two generations at least. How this stacks up against historic norms I don’t know. More divorces are now most conflictual over Dads wanting to be more involved and have more say so and to have more of a relationship, than over how much they can bug out.

The better question is why is it so good and getting better. After all those evolutionary investment commments of Shalmanese are quite valid, and involved Dads are fighting against societal and often maternal expectations. (It is so amusing to see the parents come in where the Dad is the stay at home parent and the Mom is corporate executive breadwinner, but the Mom insists on running the show in regards to the child in the office, answering all the develomental and habit questions even if she has to ask the Dad for the info … who of course knows more about how the kid is doing than she does but is smart enought o let her feel she is putting on a proper maternal face.) True, when I return after hours calls Dads usually pass the phone onto the Mom but mainly because the Moms will berate them if they didn’t ask all the “right” questions and males do tend to fairly concrete. I’ve thought it quite unfair that Moms often berate the Dads for not being more involved but at the same time often prevent them from doing so since it threatens their fulfilling societies unrealistic expectation of them.

So bb I just do not see your premise as true.

Supporting what DSeid said.

Of course, it’s all in your own experience and environment.

If what the OP said is true, then I am extremely fortunate in folks I associate with. Most of the people I work with are male, and in the stage of life where they have young families. All of them are very, very involved with their children.

One, for example, is the primary caregiver despite working full-time. His wife has a job that pays better than his, and often requires long hours and travel. This guy routinely leaves work, picks up the 3 kids at daycare, goes home and cooks dinner, plays with the kids and tucks them into bed.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that guys now seem less afraid to be emotional about their children than men of my parents’ generation. I bet my father never changed a diaper in his life. I don’t remember him ever being the one to tuck me in at night. I’ve heard two men recently, one a new father, talking about how sweet it was to have a tiny baby fall asleep on your chest. You would never, ever have heard 2 guys talk like that 50 years ago. Never. And these are by no means “sissy” guys, whatever that means.

Which is like being told by Quasimodo to “sit up straight”.

The premise of the OP is largely BS. He has obviously provided no evidence that men make more or less crappy parents than women.

The man is more likely to be “absent” for a number of reasons:

  1. Because he can - women can’t have a kid they don’t know about…them being the ones who have to carry it for nine months and all

  2. IIRC, courts tend to favor the mother in custody disputes.

There may be others.
The reason there are so many crappy fathers is that there are so many crappy PEOPLE.

Well…yes…that stuff is actually cooler than staying home on the weekends, getting your ass kicked and being celibate. But women are attracted to guys who are also intelligent, funny and responsible. Those are the guys who generally marry a good woman and have a stable marriage. The idiots who attract women because they can put on a great show may get more women, but they also tend to be in more volatile relationships. The girl usually doesn’t stick around once the shows over.

I strongly believe in an almost Karma like effect where you basically attract the women you seek to attract. If you want a woman who is nothing but looks, that’s all you’ll get - no loyalty, no personality, nothing else. If you want women who put out, you’ll get that - but expect that she’ll put out with other guys too.
I also think too many people get married because that’s what they’re supposed to do. You meet someone, you get married. Problem is that it’s pretty freakin hard living with someone for the rest of your life. I really don’t know how people do it.

What’s amusing is that such women often have trouble meeting a “suitable man” because they refuse to date “below their station”.

I don’t think it’s so obvious, and a lot of people would agree with me. Among my acquaintance, I do not know any women who had children with “bad boys,” only to ditch them to find a “good guy” to support the child.

He makes a blanket statement that seemingly accuses every single woman out there is an opportunistic, thoughtless slut. Can we say misogynistic? As well as not supported by scientific evidence.

Another unwarranted and unsupported prejudice. Way to fight ignorance.