Life Advice



My Son Is Neglecting Responsibilities as a Father

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: Recently, my 25-year-old son, "Bill," decided to no longer be a dad to his 4-year-old son, "Greg." We had taken Bill back into our home after he and his ex-girlfriend, "Andrea," broke up. Greg was 2 at the time when Bill broke up with Andrea. Bill moved up to the mountains with us, and we allowed him to pay the bare minimum for his portion of the rent and basics for him and his son.

Fast forward 18 months. After our last weekend with him and the baby, he texted his ex and told her that he needed to focus on himself and his new relationship.

He blames his dad and me for making him too financially responsible, and he's mad at me for insisting that he have a relationship with his little boy. His ex, Andrea, is a good person and tries really hard. She works full-time and is going to college and trying to spend as much time with Greg as she can. My husband and I take Greg four days a week to help out because my own child dropped the ball.

Bill told Andrea that he'll let her know when he can spend more time with Greg. She's left paying for everything on her own. He moved in with his girlfriend in an RV. We have a three-bedroom house that was set up for Bill and Greg. Bill now resents me for making him be an adult, even though he is one in terms of age. He wants to only spend time with his girlfriend and focus on himself. He's seen Greg for two hours in the last three months, and Greg keeps asking where Daddy is.

I texted my son and told him I hated him for the choices he's made. He's abandoned his only child for a woman who's closer to my age than his. Counseling isn't helping. I won't talk to him because I'm so angry. I never thought I'd hate my own child, yet here I am. How do I fix this? -- Hate My Son


Dear Hate: Hate is a very strong word and puts a lot of guilt on yourself. You don't hate your son, but you hate the way he is behaving. You are rightfully disappointed and angry with the choices he is making in his life. The saddest part is that he is too blind to see that he is throwing away some of the most precious years he could have with his son.

You can't control your adult son, but you can control how you respond to him and your wonderful grandson and ex-daughter-in-law. Continue to support them emotionally and, if you can, financially. One step you could take would be to not allow your son in your house if he is going to treat his son so poorly. The saddest part of this story is that Bill will regret his behavior when he is older.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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