March 25, 2011,
M.E. asks from Deerfield, IL on March 17, 2011
Does Your Husband Enjoy Children's Events?
My 9 YO daughter had her school play last night and my husband met us there. In general, he dislikes most school-related activities. At the intermission of the performance he started getting antsy. He knew that my daughter's part was finished. For about 15 minutes he went on and on about how long the performance was and would it be wrong if he left early. I said that said that yes, I thought it would be wrong. After a while I told him to go home that I was tired of listening to him complain about being there. My daughter was disappointed to find out that he had left early. Today I find myself really angry at him for not being interested in this activity that happens once a year. I really find his behavior unusually self-centered. Does you and your partner enjoy attending school events that your child takes part in?
M.C. answers from Minneapolis on March 17, 2011
My hubby actually enjoys them more then me. I don't know why I am not as interested in them but he is always sad when he can't get off work to make events...
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M.J. answers from Sacramento on March 17, 2011
Depends on how busy my husband is with work. If he's swamped, he's in full countdown mode with school or sports events. When he went to a gym performance that wasn't as big of a deal as anticipated, he griped up to the starting time about why wasn't it set up for a big show. I told him to just leave if he wanted to and then he got angry at me for "making him look bad" in front of the kids (sheesh).
You're not alone. Some guys can be great dads but not so much when it comes to the obligatory activities.
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S.B. answers from Chicago on March 17, 2011
I think it was incredibly insensitive of your husband to skip out on the rest of the performance. Yes, your daughter's part was done, but he probably missed her coming out for the final bow, right? That's the moment when most kids will scan the crowd for their parents' proud faces, and he left her feeling disappointed. Shame on him. You have every right to be angry with him about it. He owes your daughter an apology; he should get her some pretty flowers to congratulate her on a job well done. Parents need to be there for their kids through it all, they don't get to pick and choose only the "good parts." Make sure he understands that. And as a side note, it is rude for parents to get up and leave a performance half way through just because their kid is done. Think of how that made all the other kids and their parents feel, like they were not worthy of his time and attention. Unless it was an emergency, he should have stayed to the end. Whether he was bored or not. I don't think a lot of people, men especially, really think through how their words and actions affect other people. Spell it out for him.
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R.K. answers from Appleton on March 17, 2011
My dad never attended any school events. He just said 'I ain't interesed', it hurt then and it still hurts today. In 6th grade I dropped out of Girl Scouts to join a rifle club, he was a big gun nut, hoping he would at least show an interest. He never came and never wanted to hear about it. I really wanted to stay in Scouts but I spent many years trying to get my dad's attention and it never worked.
School events are a chance for children to shine. Both parents should go and cheer on their children. Your child may become the next Mozart, or Picasso and your hubby is not interested in music or art, so what. Children will only become who they are supposed to be with loving support of their parents.
Your hubby needs an attitude adjustment. Before he loses his kids love. It's that kind of behavior that makes adult kids drop parents off at a nursing home and never return. Tell him to think about it.
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M.H. answers from Raleigh on March 17, 2011
You have every right to be upset. Not only is it rude to leave any sort of event like this before the end (think of how few parents would be left if everyone left when their kid's part was done), but it hurt your daughter. I think you need to have your daughter tell daddy how disappointed she was. Maybe this will get him to think about someone other than himself during this once a year ritual.
As a side note, my grandfather was a world-renowned musician and extremely particular about what he listened to. The man never missed a choral concert from 4th-12th grades. I'm sure he hated almost every minute of them, as his ear was so musically trained, but he stayed through them all, clapped at the end, and made us feel like we were the best one out there. If he could live through that, your husband can certainly be inconvenienced for an hour or so one night a year!
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T.B. answers from Washington DC on March 17, 2011
My oldest is four and has been in preschool full time this year, part time (2 days per week) since she was 2. Hubby has never missed one performance or activity. There was one class trip I missed, coworkers were on vacation that day so I couldn't take off :( I was so very sad but they had a wonderful time. He really enjoys everything with our girls so I'm not at all surprised that he is so involved in their every day life as well as special events. I too would be really angry if my hubby bailed on a once a year performance. It's not about him, it's FOR her. He needs to DADDY UP ;)
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S.T. answers from New York on March 17, 2011
Le's face it, you'd have to be pretty simple-minded to enjoy elementary school events. Thje music is bad, the drama isn't good, you want to starngle some of the kids (and parents). BUT we go to them because we love our kids - and we want to see our kids' part of it. My husabnd works odd hours so there have been many times that he wasn't able to get to the performance. There wer other times when he'd go the rehearsal during school hours. And yes, there were times that he's leave early when it got too painfully boring. And yes the kids were disappointed if not prepared in advance. It's tough for the kids to see all these other parents waiting for their kid (some with bouquets of flowers!) - I think it's all about managing expectations.
Is it selfish for your husband to leave early and not be an adult about sitting through another 20 minutes of mind-numbingly boring stuff done by other kids - yeah. But measure it against his other behaviors - does he work hard towards supporting his family? Does he show the kids he cares about them most other times, is he unselfish on the other 364 days of the year for the most part? If he's otherwise a good guy give him a pass on this and next time explain to the kids BEFORE the performance that since daddy gets up so realy in the morning he has a really tough time staying alert once he's seen his darling child do her thing - BUT - he'll be waiting at home eager to make celebratory ice cream sundaes - or something along those lines.
Then, mama, help him out. Guys are not, by nature, as intuitive as we are. Get the ice cream ahead of time, tell him what to get ready - or suggest he stop and buy some flowers to give to his little girl. Even suggest that he goes and naps in the car then buzz him when it's about to end so he can re-appear at the finale.
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L.R. answers from Washington DC on March 17, 2011
My husband gets to every school event and other event (our daughter dances and has recitals and shows) that he can, and that's most all of them, including stuff like bingo night at school, Girl Scout events, etc. Nope, he's not some perfect dad, and some events just don't work out if he is at work, but he just likes to know what she's doing and who her friends are. His interest is in his child, not necessarily in the event. Your husband didn't have to find your daughter's play interesting, but he did have to find his daughter interesting, and he did have to think her feelings were important. Sounds like neither happened in this instance.
Just a thought: I wonder if the dads who cut out on kids' plays, instrumental or choral concerts, poetry recitals, art shows, ballet recitals, talent shows....are the same dads who are there every single second of every single kids' baseball game, football game, basketball game, soccer game...? Sorry, I know the issue wasn't sports-versus-other-activities, but I do see a lot of that every day.
A dad may love baseball and loathe ballet, but he owes it to the kid whose chosen interest is ballet, or drama, or music, to be as present -- in the flesh and in his heart -- for that child as for the child who does sports. And if the kid does both sports and other activities, and he only shows an interest in the sports, that sends the message that "Other things aren't really valuable to me, and what you value is of no interest to me." The same would be true if the dad only attended drama and didn't ever go to the kid's sports game. We need to support THEIR interests and activities and not send them the silent signal that their choices are boring to us. I truly loathe soccer but if my child loved it I would be there at the games.
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C.O. answers from Minneapolis on March 17, 2011
My husband hates school events but he goes to them because it makes our child happy to have us both go. He knows not to complain about it in front of my son. Oh and we stay for a whole performance even if our child's part is done. It's not fair for the other kids that have also worked hard.
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K.Y. answers from Dallas on March 17, 2011
My husband goes to every event and enjoys it. Sometimes the event in and of itself isn't enjoyable but knowing that your child is so happy that you are there and proud of them and interested makes it more enjoyable. My dad didn't go to much when I was growing up and it was hurtful. Surely an adult father can fake an hour or two of enjoyment at a school play for the sake of his child. I agree with you that it is being self-centered.
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