Roger Button is the first person to be directly affected by Benjamin’s condition, but his rigidity and ambition cause him to handle the challenge poorly. It is revealing when the narrator describes Roger Button and his wife having a baby as a “charming old custom” because it indicates that the couple is not prepared for the seriousness of child-rearing. They feel that it’s just one of those things everyone does and so they decide to do it too. As a member of the Baltimore elite, Roger Button is desperate to keep up appearances, and having a child is what is expected of him. However, Benjamin’s condition could not be more difficult for a man like Roger who is trying to fit in. In addition, Roger Button is a man who believes things ought to proceed a certain way, a notion that the existence of his new son challenges. 

The combination of his personality traits and social status prompts Roger to react to Benjamin from a place of shame, with rigidity and conventionality. The approach fails miserably. Rather than accept the fact that his newborn has the body and mind of a seventy-year-old, Roger dresses Benjamin up in age-inappropriate outfits and gives him baby toys. The effect is ridiculous and bound to draw attention, the opposite of Roger’s intention. Roger eventually, reluctantly adapts to the reality of Benjamin’s condition but persists in treating him as a much younger man in some ways. Only when Benjamin causes the family business to become wildly successful is Roger finally able to feel proud of Benjamin. In other words, only when Benjamin’s existence serves Roger’s ambition does Roger come to accept Benjamin as his son.