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 fedhill22
Joined: 11/27/2009
Msg: 1
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down SyndromePage 1 of 7    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
Just wondering what you single ladies would do if a guy told you early on that he had primary custody of a kid with Down Syndrome? My daughter is 9 years old, extremely mild mannered, and as cute as can be but as soon as I get into detail about her, things come to a grinding halt. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!
 LadyGodiva
Joined: 11/30/2005
Msg: 2
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/25/2010 7:13:33 PM
Some women don't have a lot of patience with a child who has special needs. Then again there are some women who have a lot of patience and wouldn't mind at all to date someone who has a child that is a special needs child. the best advice i know to give is to keep being honest about it.
I knew a girl in high school who has Down Syndrome, like your daughter, she had great manners and was adorable. Albeit, she was really shy.

Best of luck to you :)
 itsallinthesoul
Joined: 6/26/2009
Msg: 3
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/25/2010 7:18:06 PM
fedhill, considering the number of women who would not carry a child to term if the testing showed this type of disability, your pool will be decidingly smaller.

I would leave that part out of it completely...tell them later after you have dated a few times and feel they are the type that wouldn't turn tail and run. Then let them meet her when/if the relationship gets to that point. People often make decisions out of fear and ignorance...perhaps try to find out during the getting to know each other phase how comfortable they are with persons with disabilities and weed them out as necessary. If you make her down's an issue, so will everyone else.
 CommonSensible
Joined: 1/10/2010
Msg: 4
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/25/2010 8:12:28 PM
There are so many threads on here about dating single parents of either gender.

Dude, as a single father myself, who got them into adulthood withOUT killing them and starting over (just some humor folks).. I have to say.. I have a lot of empathy for you.

You are finding out how shallow they are right up front. Basically women (most women, not all) are so narcissistic they want to be your NUMBER ONE. Well too bad for them to pass up a great guy who SEEMS to have been abandoned by a MOTHER and left not only with a child, but a special one. They are too selfish and too self-centered to admire and respect your commitment and want SOME of it too.

Fascinating statement about womanhood, ya know?

I would say that your best bet in finding a TRUE nurturing and understanding woman would be at a support group for other parents with special needs kids. THEY will understand what's involved and since MOST TIMES the woman gets abandoned with a child, they will be climbing ALL over each other to connect with a wonderful guy like you.

While it will mean you'll BOTH have challenges to deal with, at least you'll be with a woman who understands.

Shame on the ones who dump you.. Kudos to you for stepping up. HUGE kudos.
 adjustereric
Joined: 1/5/2010
Msg: 5
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/25/2010 8:30:08 PM
I also have a daughter with down syndrome, and although I haven't really started dating yet, I would not be interested in dating anyone that would balk at the mention of her. There are plenty of people with a big enough mind, and a good heart that won't hesitate to date someone because of a special needs child, especially one as angelic as a downs child.
 kenny1979
Joined: 4/24/2008
Msg: 6
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/25/2010 8:42:04 PM
well I'm not a woman, but I applaud you for taking care of your daughter It takes alot of pateince and time away from a relationship, that maybe why it will be hard to find a woman that will accept you and the needs that yoour daughter has.....

Most women, I'm sure applaud you also for taking care of her, but they also realize that leaves little time for them, and sadly alot of woman (and some men), are too selfish, and that is why they won't date you.

But there are some very kind hearted souls out there also, that would admire you as a person for what you are doing, and would be glad to date you.....they are out there...Hope you find one..
 Greeneyed Misfit
Joined: 9/19/2009
Msg: 7
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/25/2010 9:29:21 PM
First off, I'm a mom to an adult (22) girl with cognitive delays and some physical disablities as well.

My experience has been that people who do not have a special needs child often don't understand what it takes and so they will accept the intrusion into their regular life for so long, then when it becomes burdensome, they tend to take a walk.

I haven't met many single fathers of children with disabilities.. although truthfully, the divorce rate amongst couples with a special needs child is three times the national average, it seems the moms end up with the child. I'm not sure if this is because the dad's want it this way, or because mom is usually the caregiver.

I haven't found much success in groups either because I've never met a single dad at one of them.. LOL. It's always been mom's and dad's together or just mom's..

I think there are probably women out there that will date you of course, but will they have what it takes to stay? I'm not sure. For all the times I've been told by people, "I couldn't do what you do, or I wouldn't be able to handle a special needs child or adult", my thoughts are that the average person would flee.
 carolann0308
Joined: 12/9/2006
Msg: 8
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 8:06:49 AM
It will take a woman with a kind heart and loving demeanor. She is out there. My Mom was a Special Ed teacher for 20 years, my siblings and I grew up with her kids visiting us and us volunteering in the classroom and for Special Olympics. I would accept a child like your daughter with open arms. Have you tried becoming involved in Special Olympics? There are women/families there that will be understanding and give you a great support system. Be patient, the woman lucky enough to capture you and your little one's heart is looking for you too.
 bittersweetkiss
Joined: 12/10/2009
Msg: 9
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 8:15:36 AM
OP, like others have said, some women can handle it, but a good number of them cannot. People tend to overlook children with special needs and talk down about them. In my experience, children with special needs have been some of the most gifted people I have ever met.

When I was in High School I worked with the Special Needs Class and those children/young adults pulled at my heart strings. They were so kind and caring and very positive. They were always a joy to be around. Granted, some days are better then others, as it is when any child.

I really hope you find a wonderful woman who has the heart to accept not just you, but your very precious daughter. I think you both deserve it.
 freetime2bme
Joined: 1/16/2006
Msg: 10
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 9:25:58 AM
As a single parent I know if the woman I am dating has a special needs kid it can impact more then just the dating it can also impact my children's quality of life, the amount of free time or together time I could have with her as well as how much money she may have to do things with. I dated a women that had a son that was extremely hyper and we tried a beach date with the kids and he was just a pain for my kids to be around, it was not much fun for me too. This was the first time I had meet her son, but she had meet my kids a few times. Any way being the first try I gave it one more try with the same results; the kid brought the whole party down for me and my children. I told the women I liked her, but it was not fun for my kids to be around her son. I said we can date, but no more family dates; I had all ready told her I was not looking for long term any way. We never had a new date. I might have been willing to date this women more (date not marry) if I was not a single parent, but as a single parent I have to consider how it will effect my kids quality of life also. Will it have a positive effect, a negative effect or no real impact at all. I believe most of the time if you date a single parent with a special needs child it will have a negative effect on your kids if you do any type of family outings. May be some one that also had a special needs child might be more willing to deal with it. When I date I look for fit women that can do things that me and my kids like to do without slowing us down to much. I would want the kid(s) if any to have these same qualities. I date because it is fun, if it is not fun why do it.
 Liv luv laf
Joined: 8/19/2009
Msg: 11
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 10:11:45 AM
Here, Here! Great for you standing up for this guy. A woman worth being with would admire him not avoid him. Better to find out before breaking your heart. The challenge is looking for women who come from the ME generation. I know, there are men out there who are just as shallow. It just seems the responsible guys get overloooked for the Rico Suave's of the world.
 pitufina_77
Joined: 8/13/2009
Msg: 12
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 1:07:55 PM
Honestly, I've known children with special needs and all of them are adorable.

I don't see the child as a problem per se. The issue, for me, would be that I would get attached and endeared to that child and, usually, children with special needs, illnesses and certain syndromes have a limited lifespan. Like I know somebody whose daughter was given until the age of five to live, so now that she is seven, they are living each day in borrowed time.

So, what I don't know, especially without knowing the man and child involved, is whether I could set myself for it, if I knew that, in a few years, I would be facing an unbearable grief.
 anonymouslyme
Joined: 12/23/2008
Msg: 13
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 3:06:06 PM
Fedhill, I'm sorry you're experiencing this issue. I've known many people over the years who have special needs children, and unfortunately, it tends to be very limiting in many areas. I'm glad to see you getting some recognition and support for what you're doing. It can be hard enough as a single parent dealing with the day to day aspects of raising any child, so I'm sure all the additional things that come into play with a special needs child can be overwhelming.
It will require that you find a partner with an extraordinary amount of patience and understanding, just as it would if you were a single mother in the same position. The idea about getting involved in the special olympics or a similar organization is brilliant, simply because you are much more likely to find someone there who can truly relate and has genuine empathy for your situation. It's human nature really, that we don't really have a firm understanding of another's situation unless we ourselves have experienced it.

One thing that has bothered me in reading this thread are the disparaging remarks and apparent double standards being assigned to women who may not have interest in becoming involved in your situation. I have read hundreds of threads regarding single parents, particularly single mothers, who are being chastized and criticized for expecting someone else to get involved and help them raise other men's children. I would imagine that there are many women that feel the same way. I know I'm opening myself up for attack here, but I'll use myself as an example. I just had my 40th birthday, and you are in the age bracket that I would be looking in if I were single. I wouldn't have any interest though, because my youngest child just turned 19. I'm not interested in dating anyone with children as young as 9, regardless of special needs or not. It isn't because I'm selfish or narcissistic. No one that knows me would ever use those words to describe me. I spend much of my spare time working with victims of domestic violence, and raising money for our local homeless shelter. It's simply because I've already raised my family, and I'm ready to move into the next phase of my life.

My point is, you need to make sure the women you're trying to connect with are in a similar place in life as you are. That's why a group like special olympics or something similar would probably be the ideal place for you meet the best match for you. You'll not only be much more likely to find someone there who can truly relate to your situation, but your futures will likely be on similar paths as well.
 fedhill22
Joined: 11/27/2009
Msg: 14
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 6:39:11 PM
Thanks for the kind words every one! It's a little bit of everything that I figured could be the problem. Sometimes when you are trying to fit so many pieces of a puzzle together it can be complicated and this is one more piece of complication.
 redrandy
Joined: 1/13/2010
Msg: 15
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 7:11:10 PM
As a dad with a special needs son, i have a very simple thought on this. My kids are the best part of who I am, if they do not accept them, then its better to learn early on than later.
 Gypsyagain
Joined: 12/7/2009
Msg: 16
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 8:17:05 PM
My suggestion would be find a support group for parents of children with disabilities. Since the divorce rate is almost 100% there should be lots of women there who would not shun you for having a child with a disability. In fact you would be a hot commodity since you have custody. They will see it as a good thing that you didn't run away.

But personally, I wouldn't discount a guy simply for having a child with a disability. Of course I grew up with people who had disabilities, so it's no big deal for me.
Good luck.
 KarmicEvolution
Joined: 11/22/2008
Msg: 17
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 8:35:55 PM
At least they're being honest with you and not dragging you along.

Being completely honest with you, I dont know if I could do it. Being friends I could do no problem, I have absolutely no problem with people with mental or physical disabilities, but to be even partially responsible is a big deal. I have been known to become easily frustrated, Im not always the most patient of people and I have to work my butt off to be patient and calm with my own non-disabled child. I wouldnt feel like I was being fair to either of you if I was to try and then realized I wasnt capable of putting the same or more effort into your child who may need that little extra effort.

Maybe just a little insight into the heads of these women. Im sure most people wont straight out say "I wont date you because of your daughter" or if they do Im sure they dont get into detail.

I hope you find someone with that little extra to give :)
 faith2880
Joined: 11/16/2006
Msg: 18
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/26/2010 10:33:58 PM
Its extremely for a parent no matter if mother or father to date when they are parent. A special needs child makes it even harder. It is hard for someone to understand the time and extra care a special needs child needs as well the time consuming task of doctors appointments and what not. My son had a stroke before he was born so I feel for you but remember the wonderfulness of your daughter will help weed out those not worthy of either of you they see it as a burden but the right woman will see it as an extrodindary gift which it is.
 SweetnessInFlorida
Joined: 6/26/2008
Msg: 19
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/27/2010 8:08:00 AM
I would date a man with a down syndrome child.
Those kids are the precious little angels of our world.
If i loved a man, i would love his special needs child as well, and do my best to help him out in taking care of the child.
 himynameisSarah
Joined: 5/27/2009
Msg: 20
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/27/2010 8:29:33 AM
I've always been in to helping out with special needs children and adults, so I don't think a real woman would have a problem with it. Mind you, the blonde bikini babe with her nails all done and what not might reject the idea, but good women won't.

Keep hunting, or fishing, or whatever we're supposed to be doing.
 KarmicEvolution
Joined: 11/22/2008
Msg: 21
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/27/2010 8:36:18 AM

I've always been in to helping out with special needs children and adults, so I don't think a real woman would have a problem with it. Mind you, the blonde bikini babe with her nails all done and what not might reject the idea, but good women won't.


I resent that. Im both a real and good woman. My concern would be for the child and my ability to be a good role model and fair to them.
 Annielikeslyrics
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 22
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/27/2010 12:00:02 PM
I've been thinking about this thread since yesterday...

I think I might flesh out something on your profile...about raising your daughter on your own, what she is like, and how you manage to get out and date (ie you hire a sitter, or you have helpful parents, or your daughter's mother has her part time - you get the picture). I think a casual mention that she has downs can go here, no big deal, just that she does.

You are going to find that many women with older children don't want to date you because she is younger and she is going to stay developmentally "younger" for some time even if she is high functioning. As someone above said, she has raised her family and doesn't want to start over. I went out with someone last year who had custody of two younger children and he mentioned to me that a lot of the women he contacted in our age range did not want to get involved with him because they didn't want to raise another family or start over. So I think you are going to see a lot of that.

But, you really only need to find one great fish, not a school of fish. So keep fishin.

Annie
 ForumPhantom
Joined: 10/31/2008
Msg: 23
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Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/27/2010 1:24:11 PM

You are finding out how shallow they are right up front. Basically women (most women, not all) are so narcissistic they want to be your NUMBER ONE. Well too bad for them to pass up a great guy who SEEMS to have been abandoned by a MOTHER and left not only with a child, but a special one. They are too selfish and too self-centered to admire and respect your commitment and want SOME of it too.

Fascinating statement about womanhood, ya know?

Fascinating yes...that you'd post such tripe. People, including women, are all unique. With different needs, wants, limits, etc... When one is not interested in what you're offering, they are not 'selfish' (it IS fascinating how much that word is bandied about by the bitter isn't it?), they are not interested. This is their right. Just because a woman isn't buying what you're selling, it doesn't make them selfish - it makes them uninterested in you.

As for you OP - try to keep optimistic. There are so many kinds of people out there, all unique, some better suited for you - some not at all. Maybe find a group of parents with similar situations and you never know who you might meet. Many people meet wonderful new friends/girlfriends/what have you doing something they enjoy and love. Ms. KarmicEvolution above me has it right - you don't need a school of fish, it only takes that special one. Good luck OP and best wishes to your little girl!
 imalitltpot
Joined: 6/9/2009
Msg: 24
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/27/2010 2:35:16 PM
I would have no problem dating a man with a child with special-needs. ESPECIALLY Down Syndrome -- what delightful individuals!

Get your daughter involved in Special Olympics and other activities in which you will be around other parents of kids with disabilities. You'll probably meet lots of caring single moms -- and volunteers!
 missme2much
Joined: 1/2/2010
Msg: 25
Single Dad w/Special Needs Child - Down Syndrome
Posted: 1/28/2010 5:14:45 PM
I would be tickled pink. My youngest two (boys) are special needs children, one with broad spectrum autism disorder, PDD, and verbal dyspraxia and the other with Down syndrome. After I had my youngest, I began the adoption process to adopt a little girl with Downs. I had to put it on hold temporarily due to some health issues that came up, but still plan to adopt sometime in the future. Children with Downs are simply blessings (as all kids are). I have never met a child more loving, or more joyous than my son with Downs. I can not imagine a life without him.

What I do, is I bring it up early in the conversations (emails). I let them know that I won't think less of them if they do not choose to continue "getting to know" me. I would think higher of them if they came clean from the start and said it was too much for them, than I would if they waited and told me later, after things became more serious. If things come to a screeching hault when they find out, count your blessings that it happened sooner than later. Be up front with them from the beginning.
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