Dad Says His Biggest Life Regret Was Having Kids — ‘It’s Been 9 Years Since I’ve Heard From Them, I Was Just An ATM’

He's not alone. Parenthood can be difficult, lonely, and not at all like you imagined.

man, father, sad fizkes / Shutterstock

A father got candid about one of his biggest regrets in life — becoming a father.

He admitted that parenthood was not what he anticipated and that his relationships with his children were entirely transactional.

The father claimed that one of his biggest life regrets was having children.

In a vulnerable social media post, Alan Dyson explained why he regrets having children. According to him, he gave them everything while they gave him nothing.


“I gave my life to my kids, they got everything, the best clothes, the best food, the finest schools and I stayed in a loveless marriage for 25 years to make sure they got a good education,” he shared.

worried man with hand to his forehead Syda Productions / Canva Pro

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However, no matter what Dyson did for his children, he claimed that it was never enough for them to be appreciative.

“They complained every day of my life, the clothes weren’t expensive enough, the food wasn’t good enough, they never went to class.” 

Dyson confesses that becoming a father was a “waste” of his entire life and that he has not heard from any of his children in nearly a decade.

“My oldest is 33 and my youngest is 31. It’s been 9 years since I’ve seen or heard from them, they don’t answer emails, I don’t know where they are,” he wrote.

“I feel like to them I was just an ATM.”

Some parents empathized with the father’s feelings, claiming that parenthood is not for the weak.

“I understand. We gave them everything. That was our first mistake,” one TikTok user commented.

@drpanichamcguire I’m not going to fight people in the comments. Hopefully the algorithm brings this to the right crowd. #regrethavingkids #mentalhealthmatters #therapytiktok ♬ original sound - Dr. Panicha McGuire, LMFT, RPT

“You are not alone, dude. Lots of parents feel this way,” another user shared.

“Being a teacher, I see this daily. No matter what parents do or give, it is never enough,” another user wrote.

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However, others speculated that the father was leaving out crucial information regarding his treatment of his children.

They believed that there may be an undisclosed reason the man’s children went no contact with him.

“Adult children will treat their parents how they felt as children,” one TikTok user noted.

“Maybe he didn’t do dad stuff, just ATM stuff,” another user suggested.

Of course, the only people who will truly know the nature of the man’s relationship with his children are his children, who have yet to reveal their side of the story.

While it is possible that the man only viewed the relationship with his children as a transactional one, being a parent is not a breeze. 

He is certainly not alone in his feelings. A 2021 study conducted by YouGov revealed that about 1 in 12 parents say that they regret their decision to have children.


We often hear about the love, pride, and joy we will feel as a parent toward our children, and while that is certainly true, there will be many days when it is difficult, lonely, and overwhelming.

However, they are not allowed to vent their frustrations without being labeled as bad parents. It is important to remember that, outside of being mom and dad, our parents are humans who are bound to make mistakes.

Even though their mistakes can hurt our feelings and impact our relationships with them, many parents are simply doing their very best to give us the best lives possible. 


parents, daughter Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Parenting is filled with unexpected hurdles, and not everyone is cut out for it. Admitting it does not make parents love their children any less. A parent can love their child unconditionally and still find parenthood overwhelming and difficult.

What makes parenting even more taxing is the fact that when your children become adults, they may not even want to continue a relationship with you despite what you provided for them growing up.


So before diving into parenthood, it is important to keep in mind that it will not all be sunshine and rainbows. There will be days when you wonder why you even did it in the first place. You may even regret it, and that’s not something that is easy to admit.

Sometimes, parenthood does not live up to your expectations — and sometimes, it becomes far more difficult than you could ever imagine.

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.