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Never married mother confused about how to deal with father for baby's best interest

Your Question:
The father and I were never married and we had a wonderful son. We were arguing alot and so I left. We did not talk for awhile and now we are just starting to talk again. Our son just turned one and I want to know is it better for our child to see us do family things together or not to cause it might confuse him. His dad would like to get back together but so much has happen in our relationship and still is I just dont see it right now. We still argue when we get together not all the time but some. He wants to get back and in his eyes he is wasteing his time if I am not going to. I try to explain to him I want the best for the child and us to do family things together like on Holidays and some weekends. He does get his son every other weekend. I just dont want to hurt our son anymore so is it good for us to do things together or does it confuss the child and upset him when we argue....Please help I just want the best for my son.

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My Answer:

The best thing you can do for the child is to have a happy, healthy marriage to the child's father.

If that's not possible, the next best thing is to have a cooperative, civil co-parenting relationship with the father where the parents have joint custody and work together to raise the child.

According to a March 2002 article in the American Psychological Association journal, a meta-analysis of child custody outcomes concluded that children in low conflict joint custody arrangements were just as well-adjusted as children in homes where the parents were still married.

If the father only has time with the child on every other weekend, and the child is only a year old, it's my belief that you are harming your child.

A one-year-old child needs very frequent contact with each parent, in order to maintain and strengthen the parental bonds that are the foundation for the rest of childhood.

I suggest two things:

  • Go to couples counseling and see if a future is even possible. Such a process will help you answer that question. You should be with the father because you want to marry him. You should not be with the father for the sake of the child.

  • Immediately increase the frequency with which the father spends time with his son. Four days weekly, for four to six hours per day, is much better than an entire weekend twice a month.

If you want to have a positive, cooperative relationship with the father -- which is the most important thing you can do long-term for this child -- you can show him that his presence in this baby's life is valuable. His attitude towards you will likely change tremendously if he suddenly sees you supporting the father/child relationship.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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