Try and try and try some more.
And if you choose not to try....don't complain that your child doesn't want anything to do with you. Or that your child won't return your calls.
And don't ever tell the child's mom that you are having a hard time---because whatever you are going through is nothing compared to what it's like to be a single mom. A hard time is having to take your 5 yr old to a food bank and asking for grants for gas to get to work, and having to tell your son that his dad isn't coming after he's been looking forward to a visit for weeks. A hard time is dressing your child in hand-me-downs and hearing about what a fabulous vacation your ex-husband had with his family in another country. A hard time involves your heart breaking over your child's heart breaking.
And don't assume that the child's mother is telling your child negative things about you. Some single moms just sit back and let you dig your own grave...and then you have no reason to be surprised when your child doesn't think highly of you-because we all make our own footprint in the sand.
Oh--and if you miss your child's birthday, or multiple xmas's, don't expect the child to send you a birthday card. Ever.
And just because you have one fun weekend in four years with your child, like, say a fishing trip, don't expect that child to just dismiss and forget all the hateful words you've spewed out to him in the past. Because he won't forget words that a child should never hear a parent say.
And if you happen to marry someone and that new spouse soon thereafter spews mean things to that child-I can assure you that it will take a lot for the child to forgive your new spouse, especially when your new beloved pretends nothing happened.
And while you have your child visiting for a rare weekend, and you let him know you are having to struggle to buy dinner, but then ask your child if you can borrow money from him for beer - mark that down as a time when you have lost a bit of respect.
I could go on...but if there were an absent parent (mothers can be assholes too) reading this - I suspect they will not acknowledge that they have done anything like this, and would never, of course.
I have no words to express how frustrating it is to have to deal with someone who is so selfish.
As a mom who is devoted to her child, I just can not grasp the concept of a parent who doesn't try their hardest to show their child they love them more than anything in the world. I would give up my last breath for my son, and it's difficult to believe that his father can't take the time to mail even a card, much less a present, for his 18th birthday.