Babydaddy red flags to look for

by Tsholo Maluleke
baby daddy, a man not ready to be a dad, wrestling with the doubts and fears surrounding fatherhood
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to parenting, it’s an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing. Tsholo Maluleke breaks down the glaring signs of how you know he’s not ready to be a father.

Many women find themselves disappointed by their partner when the baby is on the way or once its arrived. Unfortunately, there’s no inbuilt detector to tell you who might let you down in the parenting department, but some moms believe that there are some behaviours to watch out for in your baby daddy that may give you a heads up as to who just isn’t that committed to being a dad.

Read: Navigating pregnancy & childbirth alone

How do you know if your baby daddy is a red flag?

Every situation is unique and people are different, but these moms share similar sentiments on red flags to look out for in a potential baby daddy:

  • Melissa Sibaya believes that: “actions speak louder than words, so watch how they behave. If they’re not reliable or committed to you, it’s a sign they may not be a good partner in parenting.’’
  • “Someone still stuck in the party scene and finds every reason to change the kid topic when it arises is already showing signs of being not entirely committed to the way children will change your life,” says Jodie Falconer.
  • “If he disappears from time to time, then resurfaces and acts like it was nothing. That is a scarlet flag. If he struggles with communicating his needs. Red flag. If you have to mother him (remind him of his responsibilities, or even take over some of his responsibilities), reddest flag of all, “ advises Morongoa Masebe.
  • “A man who still acts like a child themselves, avoiding responsibility and not stepping up when needed is definitely not mature enough to be a dad. Being a parent is about patience, and the willingness to prioritise your child’s needs above your own, “ suggests Melisa Sibaya.
  • “If he never had a dad who was around, he didn’t get a role model for what a father is supposed to do. In this case, I would be extremely cautious,” says Nerine Oliver.
  • “Can they hold down a job? Are they responsible with their finances? This will tell you if they can contribute to the massive expenses of raising and looking after a child properly. If they live beyond their means and are always in debt… I wouldn’t procreate with them,” says Debbie Myers
  • “A man with many kids with different women is one thing but how he treats his other kids is how he will treat yours. Don’t think it will be different with your child together. If he’s absent in their lives, he’s not a man of integrity,” warns Norma Mabena.
  • “A man who puts himself, his ego and lifestyle first is a man who doesn’t know what compromise is and has no desire to learn. A man who has an excuse for everything he can’t do is a big warning bell, ” affirms Zanele Nhlapo.

Deadbeat dads

Although behaviour can occasionally be changed, the character of your partner before you fall pregnant will tell you all you need to know about what kind of father he may be. Too many women choose the wrong babydaddy and then find themselves with the difficult reality of raising their kids alone because of absent fathers – who intentionally avoid the task at hand and ending up as dead-beat parents.

Check out: A father’s way

a man not ready to be a dad, grappling with the complexities and uncertainties of parenthood

Morongoa Masebe, adds, “a dead beat parent is absent in all important areas of a child’s life. If a dad doesn’t have financial muscle, they must show up in other ways. To children, love and attention are essential.”

If, as many do, the romantic relationship doesn’t work out, two adults can navigate a healthy co-parenting  partnership where the child(ren) are at the centre. “Ideally in this situation, both parents have healed enough from their relationship trauma to be civil to each other with the  good of the child (ren) being paramount,” says single mom, Zanele Nhlapo.

For women who have been let down by their babydaddy, know that: “Your strength is what grows your child. Always keep grounded for the sake of your children, “shares Nthabiseng Mahlatsi.

How to avoid making a mistake

It’s crucial to communicate your expectations with your potential babydaddy before falling pregnant to make sure that you are both on the same page regarding roles and responsibilities so you don’t unexpectedly end up parenting alone. Knowing and understanding the red flags will hopefully help you to have a child with a loving, caring and mature team player who can tackle parenting with gusto.

Also read: The shocking impact of SA’s absent fathers

Find out about : Paternity leave in SA

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