My Husband is a Disappointing Father (7 Things You Can Do)

Every mother dreams of having a perfect, happy family. However, there are times when their husbands simply do not live up to those expectations. It’s easy to think to yourself, “My husband is a disappointing father”, but don’t let your train of thought stop with that. You aren’t helpless here – there are a few things you can do that might help him do better!

Understand that your husband means well – he might just need additional guidance. You can praise him when does well, and you can only do so when you let him lead and be a parent. Other times, you can show him how effective your way can be as well.

Communication is key. You can talk with your husband about how you feel. You can also set family talks to let him hear what the children have to say. Lastly, professional help can be highly beneficial, especially if your husband is going through something difficult in his life.

This article will detail the different signs of a disappointing father and the several things you can do as his partner to get him to be a better dad.

Signs That Your Husband is a Disappointing Father

  1. Unhealthily Masculine

man sitting on a couch

One of the most common signs of a disappointing father is when they are being too masculine. Being masculine in and of itself is not a problem. However, there is a degree of masculinity that can already be considered toxic and unhealthy.

Does your husband impose odd rules on your children (e.g., boys do not cry, boys will be boys, girls cannot be a family’s caretaker, only girls can be feminists, etc.)?

A common symptom of an unhealthy masculine father is failing to tell their children how much they love them and becoming angry when their child cries. These are men who think saying things like that shows vulnerability and weakness. The lack of such expression of love can have a negative effect on children.

While that kind of thinking may have been common in the past, it certainly needs to stay in the past. Much research has shown that toxic masculinity perpetuates gender inequalities. Thus, it is better to teach children equality and feminism instead of telling them how boys and girls are inherently different.

  1. Too Critical

Disciplining a child is never easy, but it is a necessary step to ensure that they learn what is right and wrong. However, it is too common to find some fathers being too critical of their children.

Does your husband criticize your kids too much? Are your kids being scolded for the right things or do you think they are being scolded for things that do not warrant punishments? Does your husband nitpick the children more than he encourages them?

Being critical is important as a parent as children have to grow up and learn to accept criticism. However, there is such a thing as being too critical.

If a parent is too critical of a child growing up, the child might perceive that as a lack of belief – therefore, they could grow up not believing in themselves as well. This can hamper your child’s full potential when they grow up.

  1. Non-Participative

man sitting on the bed in despair

Since it takes two individuals to make a child, it should stand to reason that there should be two individuals involved in raising a child. While there are some cases where children can be completely raised by a single parent, that does not mean you have to do so as well.

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It can be all too common to find mothers complaining about how little their husbands participate in their children’s lives. While missing one or two occasions can be understood, missing milestones regularly can be a problem.

While missing one or two occasions can be understood, regularly missing important milestones is cause for serious concern, especially if they try to downplay their absences.  It might be a sign that your husband is a disappointing father – and more importantly, that they have no intention of improving on their own!

When children observe their fathers missing from important moments in their lives, it can severely impact their self-esteem. It can send them the message that their milestones are not worth attending.

  1. Too Friendly

There is nothing wrong with being friendly with the kids. In fact, parents should have a healthy level of friendship with their children. However, parents have to mind the line between being friends and being responsible adults.

Some fathers can be too friendly with their children – always playing with them and always being the “fun parent.” Unfortunately, this can become a problem when the father begins to forget his role of being the father.

This can also put a strain between you and your kids because when your husband has taken the role of the fun parent, that leaves you to be the disciplinarian of the house. Both parents should be both fun and responsible.

Things You Can Do if Your Husband is a Disappointing Father

  1. Understand Your Husband

woman kissing man's head

If you think your husband is being a disappointing father, it is because you have expectations of him that he is apparently not living up to. However, the very first thing you can do to make him a better dad is to understand his situation.

Perhaps the most common reason why fathers are the way they are is because of how they were raised themselves. If your husband is too strict on your kids, try to remember if he grew up in an excessively strict house. If your husband is too critical, try to remember how his parents were with him.

Another possible reason is situational. Did he have a bad day at work? Is he having a bad week? Is he going through something? Life events can have a heavy toll on people and should be considered when it comes to their personalities and behaviors.

While your husband may not be the most stellar dad now, know that that is probably not his intention. It just so happens that that is the only way he knows how children are raised since that was his sole experience as well.

Understanding your husband may not immediately make him a better father. However, it will help you see his situation. Your husband surely wants the best for your children, but he may just need some guidance.

  1. Praise Your Husband

Even though your husband is a mature adult, there is no reason why techniques you use on your kids wouldn’t work on him as well. One of the best ways to help change your husband to become a better father is by positively reinforcing him when he does things you approve of.

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For example, if your husband is too lenient and friendly with the kids, praise him when he actually puts on the fatherly hat and disciplines the kids. On the other hand, if your husband is too strict, let him know how appreciative you are when he tones down his strictness with the children.

It might feel like your husband is a disappointing father some days, but trust that they don’t want to be. Sometimes, all they need to improve is a firm nudge in the right direction first.

Communication is extremely important in relationships. When you find something your partner does that bothers you, you cannot expect them to change for the better without you telling them about it.

Praising your partner when they do something you want is one of the easiest ways to tell them how you feel about something. It actively lets them know that there are some things they do that get you to praise them while there are some things that do not.

Furthermore, praising is a much nicer form of communication compared to criticizing them. On the other side of the spectrum, many wives would openly criticize their husbands when they do something they do not approve of. While that may work, that could potentially put a strain on some relationships.

  1. Let Him Lead

dad carrying two little girls

Oftentimes when mothers do not like how fathers act, the mothers would often override or veto the father’s wishes. For example, a too-friendly father might allow the kids to play in an afternoon. If the mother does not want to allow it, they would go over the father’s head and tell the kids otherwise.

Sometimes, mothers have to do what they need to do to ensure that the children are parented the way they want them to. Unfortunately, taking away the father’s authority is not the right move. Done enough, this sends the wrong signal to the father. It tells him he does not have authority in the house.

Even if you do not agree with how your husband is fathering your children, you have to let him lead. Just because you do not like his parenting style, that does not mean he is not your children’s father anymore. You both have roles to play in parenting, regardless of how you feel about it.

The most important reason why you should not take away his power to lead parenting moments is that those are moments where he can prove to be better. Letting him lead those moments gives you the opportunity to praise him when he leads those moments how you want him to.

  1. Talk to Him

Speaking of communication, it should be obvious that one of the best things to do when your husband is a disappointing father is to talk to him. It may be difficult for some but talking things through is one of the best ways to maintain relationships.

If you decide to talk to your husband, there are some things you need to think about. When will you talk to him? Where will you talk to him? What will you talk to him about? What will you do if he takes it negatively? These are some questions you need to ask yourself before talking to your husband.

It is recommended to talk to him privately. One of the worst things you can do is talk to him about his shortcomings in front of other people – even worse if you talk about it in front of your children. Even if you have strong emotions about it, do not undermine or openly criticize his parenting in public.

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Think of it this way: even if your husband is a disappointing father, sharing these sentiments won’t improve his motivation or capabilities. You’ll just demotivate them in a role that they’re already struggling with. Venting your frustrations might feel nice, but there’s always a time and place to do it healthily.

When you begin talking to your husband, be mindful of your tone. Remember that you want him to be a better father. This talk is not about how disappointing of a father he is not, it is more about how you want him to be better.

  1. Show Him Your Way

mom and her children dancing in the kitchen

Since both of you are responsible for parenting, there will be occasions where each of you gets to lead parenting moments. A great way to help your husband to improve as a father is to show him your way.

Showing him your way lets him know that things can be done in a different way – not only his own. You can show him that you can effectively parent without being too strict, without being too lenient, while being sensitive, and so on.

It is important to carry yourself properly when showing him your way. You do not want to seem like a show-off. You do not necessarily want him to feel that his way is bad, you just want him to see that your way might be a good alternative.

  1. Have Family Talks

Some would consider the mother to have the role of the family manager. As such, you can take it upon yourself to do what you think is best for the relationships within your family. A great way to help your husband become a better father is to set up family talks.

While it may not be common for many families, family talks can confer several benefits. It can help improve communication skills, it can build confidence, and it can even improve emotional bonds between family members.

For the children, these are events that can significantly help them develop socially. It will teach them the importance of talking with the people they love for relationship maintenance.

More importantly, it will be good for your husband to listen to what the children have to say. While criticisms and suggestions from you can be enough, it can have a different effect when your husband hears things straight from the children.

One thing to remember is that these family talks can only be effective if your husband actively listens to what everyone has to say. It can be helpful to preemptively prepare your husband before the talk by reminding him to be open-minded in the conversation.

  1. Seek Professional Help

muscular man sitting on a couch

Sometimes you might feel that your husband is a disappointing father, but they might be struggling with things that affect their headspace and capabilities. Sad as it is to say, what they’re doing here now might be the best they can manage. Professional help may be needed to turn this difficult situation around – especially when your husband’s problems are dire. 

If your husband is going through some difficulty in his life, you might want to politely suggest professional help. You have to remember to be sensitive and supportive as some people can take the suggestion negatively.

Let him know that you simply want what is best for him and that speaking with a professional might help him with whatever he is going through. Make sure to make him understand why the suggestion was warranted to begin with. Let him understand what his healing can mean for the family as a whole.