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Question
Posted by: Radia Maharaj | 2010/07/19

How to tell my daughter she is born from a first marriage

had divorced 1st husband when daughters were three years and 8 months in 2000. The younger has no memory of 1st husband. Not sure if if older remembers. Divorce was easy but ex should no interest in my girls. Recently my olderst and I bumped into him and he wanted to say something. I asked her to excuse herself and politely asked if he could say nothing and that I would approach the situation at a better time. He agreed. Also must mention its a case of " out of sight out of mind"  for him regarding the girls. How and when should I tell them? As I do not want them to find out elsewhere.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It may well be that neither of them remember him - we don't really form memories before the age or around 4, not having reached the level of brain development to be able to form and recollect effective memories.
What is happening with your ex - was he merely curious, or does he have any real interest in entering their lives on a long-term basis ? There's no point in specially entering into deep discussions with your daughters if this would be merely a one-off meeting.
Beyond that, you're right to want to be honest with the girls, and not to have them find out accidentally.
But you don't mention their current ages, which would be highly relevant to deciding when and how to discuss this with them. Doing calculations from what you do say, are the girls now around 13 and 11 years old ? And, when you refer to your "first husband" that implies you re-married ?
Then they are old enough to understand. Are there others who know about this and might accidentally open the topic unpredictably ? If so, you'd need to think about this discussion fairly soon ; if not, while there's no point in delaying it, at least you could more easily choose the time.
Choose a calm occasion when you all have plenty of time, and talk about how much you and your husband love them, and raise the fact that ( do they know of this at all ? ) you were married before your present husband, and explain that there was a divorce. Then you can mention that this happened when they were very young, and what while your current husband is their real and present and loving dad, this first husband was heir biological father, though he left and until recently showed no interest in them at all - something that was in no way their fault, but just how he was. Discuss how they feel abouti, and whether they would have any interest in meeting him now that he has become visible again. Respect their view. If they don't want to see him, they shouldn't have to. If they do, plan an event, letting them discuss beforehand how they'd like this to happen, and what they might want to talk about.
What do other readers and experienced moms think, here ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/07/19

It may well be that neither of them remember him - we don't really form memories before the age or around 4, not having reached the level of brain development to be able to form and recollect effective memories.
What is happening with your ex - was he merely curious, or does he have any real interest in entering their lives on a long-term basis ? There's no point in specially entering into deep discussions with your daughters if this would be merely a one-off meeting.
Beyond that, you're right to want to be honest with the girls, and not to have them find out accidentally.
But you don't mention their current ages, which would be highly relevant to deciding when and how to discuss this with them. Doing calculations from what you do say, are the girls now around 13 and 11 years old ? And, when you refer to your "first husband" that implies you re-married ?
Then they are old enough to understand. Are there others who know about this and might accidentally open the topic unpredictably ? If so, you'd need to think about this discussion fairly soon ; if not, while there's no point in delaying it, at least you could more easily choose the time.
Choose a calm occasion when you all have plenty of time, and talk about how much you and your husband love them, and raise the fact that ( do they know of this at all ? ) you were married before your present husband, and explain that there was a divorce. Then you can mention that this happened when they were very young, and what while your current husband is their real and present and loving dad, this first husband was heir biological father, though he left and until recently showed no interest in them at all - something that was in no way their fault, but just how he was. Discuss how they feel abouti, and whether they would have any interest in meeting him now that he has become visible again. Respect their view. If they don't want to see him, they shouldn't have to. If they do, plan an event, letting them discuss beforehand how they'd like this to happen, and what they might want to talk about.
What do other readers and experienced moms think, here ?

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