A Call to Action to Fathers - Man Up, Be Dads and Our New Definition of a "Deadbeat Dad"

Is our definition of deadbeat dad all wrong? I say yes.

According to the U.S. census bureau, 24 million children, 1 out of 3, live without their biological father in the home. One out of every three. We should be ashamed of ourselves, guys. The problem is, it's not the deadbeat dads that are reading this post right now. It's the dads that are present or the moms that bear the brunt of responsibility for absent fathers.

Yes, fathers that are not present in their childrens' lives need to re-examine their priorities. But it's more than that. We need to evolve our definition of a "deadbeat dad" to include fathers that are physically present, but mentally and emotionally checked out.

deadbeat dad

/ˈdedˌbēt dad/
noun informal

1. A man or woman who has fathered or mothered a child and intentionally fails to pay child support ordered by a family law court or statutory agency such as the Child Support Agency

2. A father or mother that is physically present, but has checked out and only marginally participates in their child's life

"the deadbeat dad went to jail for failure to pay is child support"
synonym: deadbeat mom, deadbeat parent

Fathers, Man Up and Be Dads

This may come off as an angry post. That's good because I am a little torqued right now, I'll be honest.

I'm convinced that America (possibly the world?) is facing a parenting epidemic. More and more dads are bailing on their responsibilities of being a parent. Where do you guys get off thinking that you can bring a child into the world and not be involved in that child's life?

I'm convinced that America (possibly the world?) is facing a parenting epidemic. More and more dads are bailing on their responsibilities of being a parent. Where do you guys get off thinking that you can bring a child into the world and not be involved in that child's life?

Man up: Down with Deadbeat Dads - Dadtography.com

Now, I'm not just talking about the typical definition that most of us have of a deadbeat dad. You know, boy meets, girl, boy sleeps with girl, girl gets pregnant, boy bolts faster than my 9 year old on a sugar high. That's the "easy" definition of a deadbeat dad and one that everyone knows. Let me introduce you to my more accurate definition of exactly what it means to be a deadbeat.

[bctt tweet="To all #DeadbeatFathers: There's a man out there willing to clean up the mess you made and be a #RealDad to that beautiful child of yours." username="dadtography"]

How do you define "dad"?

Google says that "dad" and "father" are the same.

I respectfully disagree. Here's our new definition of dad and why we think the words are not the same.

Why we need to change our definition of a deadbeat dad to a "deadbeat father" and marginal involvement as a deadbeat, too.

By their very definition, at least according to us, dads are engaged parental figures. Fathers, on the other hand. Well, that's more of a biological term than an actual relationship.

Part of the epidemic that America's children are facing is certainly due to the fathers that simply disappear from their lives. It happens every day and, if I could grab them by the scruff and smack 'em, I would. But fathers bailing on their children isn't the only problem we face - nor is it the worst one, either.

A far worse problem, and one that we rarely talk about, is when a father is present around the child, but still chooses not to participate.

I'm talking about the parent that sticks around but isn't really 'present'.

I'm talking about the parent that sticks around but isn't really 'present'. My definition of a deadbeat dad (or, more accurately, "deadbeat father") would include the fathers that are the pretenders too, and not just the ones that jump ship and leave.

If you're spending more time at work, or on the golf course or washing your car, you may be a deadbeat father as well. If you're around, but not really involved, then you're a deadbeat. If you think it's your job to be the breadwinner and leave all that "parenting garbage" to your wife, guess what?

So what do you say guys? If you're marginally involved as parent, why not consider doing something different like manning up and being a real dad? There is a huge difference between being a dad and being a father and way too many guys are dropping the ball. It's up to each of us, as men, to stand up and help parent our children. If we don't, we have no one to blame when the value of a dad has been completely depleted.

Period.

The Few, The Proud, The Step (Up) Parents

Ok, since I'm pretty sure that this post won't be enough to change the minds of the majority of the douches out there that will decide (yes, it's most often a decision) to be deadbeat dads, I have to give some props to the steps out there.

The stepparents, that is.

[bctt tweet="A big THANKS to all the awesome #stepparents making a difference out there!"]

Most of us probably have some difficulty comprehending that someone could simply abandon a child, often without even looking back or thinking twice. But let's approach this from a man's perspective for just a moment. We're men, after all, right? Ok, so say you're a man and you're making the decision to be a deadbeat. Isn't there some (I'd argue quite a bit) incentive to stick around just at the notion that some other man is going to step up and be the man that you chose not to be?

Guys, you know it's going to happen. There's a man out there that's willing to clean up after the mess you made and be a real dad to that child of yours.

There is. I promise.

If the idea that some other (real) man is willing to step up and step in for you and be a parent to a child that's not even theirs isn't enough of an incentive to be involved then, honestly, what does that say about the type of man you are anyway?

It says a lot.

Stepparents rock every single day if you ask me. And they get a pretty bum rap in the process, too. If parenting is one of the toughest jobs anyone can ever have, then step parenting is one of the toughest most under-appreciated. I think a thank you is in order.

Thank you, Stepparents!

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What do you think? Do we need to re-think our definition of a Deadbeat Dad? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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