DEAR ABBY: My husband works full-time, and when he gets home, and also on weekends, he's "exhausted" and needs to relax. He's in bed by 8 every night, and on the weekends, if we don't have something planned, he lies in bed all day napping and watching TV.
However, when he realizes he has a weekend day free (meaning I'm taking our 6-year-old daughter someplace he doesn't need to be), he all of a sudden "finds" the energy to make golf plans, go on outings with friends, etc. If I make plans to hire a baby sitter and it's just us going out, he has the energy and looks forward to it. It's as if he is happiest when he doesn't have to be with our child.
He does give her some attention, but it's just in spurts, and then he's off again to watch TV. I'm tired of asking him to make plans with her or spend time with her. I feel like a nag for something I feel he should want to do. Any advice? -- LIKE A SINGLE PARENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR SINGLE PARENT: You married a man who may have no clue how to be a parent and doesn't know how to relate to a little girl. Children aren't stupid. They know when someone enjoys them and when someone doesn't.
The effect of his lack of interest will have an impact on how your daughter feels about herself when she's older. She will ask herself why her father acts the way he does and blame herself for it. (Aren't I smart enough? Aren't I pretty enough?)
Consider going with your husband to a psychologist who can provide him with some insight -- as well as suggestions -- about how to better relate to his daughter, because it isn't too late to make some changes that could benefit both of them.