Posted by: Honey | 2009-03-17

How to tell my son one day

I have a month old son that I love more than anything else in the world. His father is refusing to acknowledge him which is fine by me. What I want to know is as he grows up, what is the best way to explain the situation about his father in a way that will do the least psychological damage? To me the father is dead but I can' t really tell that to my child. The chances of this man returning are zero. How do I best protect my child frm heart ache?

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Our expert says:
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There's no easy answer here, and I respect your wisdom in recognizing the potential problems. Fortunately, the chances of psychological damage are low. Secondly, it's not mostly up to you as to WHEN you will need to talk about this. Obviously the child is very young now, but before long when he grows up and mixes with other kids, and watches TV, he will understand that most kids have a father, and will ask about his own. And you will need to respond to his questions, as no response leaves him with his imaginings, which are often worse than the truth.
As Phew says, in the meantime, you may have formed a stable relationship with another man, who, if he is the right guy and shares the raising of the boy, will in most ways be his genuine father, even if not his biological father. He will be likely to assume that this is his dad.
In the meantime, you should go to the Maintenance Court and ensure that this creep, the biodad, has to pay proper maintenance for his child. That will ease some of the financial burden on you, and will perhaps reduce his ability to carry on irresponsibly fathering otjher children with other women. This need not involve the child directly.
In time, and the child's questions will help you judge when he has concerns about parenthood issues, the aim shouldn't be focussed on telling versus not telling, but on talking about it ; asking him what he thinks, and telling him the truth, emphasizing that sadly this guy was weak and unable to be a proper father to him, and so missed the marvellous opportunity to enjoy him as a child ; that it was in no way his fault that the biodad left, and that he is and always will be, loved. That he is lucky that he is such a fine boy, and that sadly, he has lost nothing by the absence of a man who was not worth being his father.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2009-03-20

To: The same? ABSOLUTELY NOT. My only daughter is 6 years old so I' m hopefully years away from having a son-in-law. I' ve been posting here for about 3 years now as " Maria" .

Reply to Maria
Posted by: The same ? | 2009-03-19

To Maria. Are you the same Maria that was in love with her son-in-law ? If you are where do you come from having the gall to comment on what others have to say in connection with this matter ?. You have NO credibility whatsoever. If you are not the same person, carry on.

Reply to The same ?
Posted by: Soul | 2009-03-18

Hi Honey

I know exactly how you feel I' m in the same situation. My l/o is 5 and I know the time is coming where he' ll ask me these questions. I have no idea what to say to him cause the fact of the matter is that the truth is damaging and that is the last thing I want, at the same time I won' t lie to him. I just wish i knew the appropriate age for him to know everything.

Good luck I know how you feel.

Reply to Soul
Posted by: Was in the same boat | 2009-03-18

I had that same problem. But I met a wonderful guy when my child was 2 and he has been with us since. We eventually had another child, so was feeling real guilty etc... and knew I had to say something - so when my child was 7 years old read him this book about " Where do babies come from"  it is for children - and explained that his real dad and I are not together anymore - and left it at that - his real dad dissappeared and I did not know where - never called etc.....but his grandparents were always in contact. I have never hidden anything and always been open and honest. My child has a wonderful man in his life that he calls Dad.

Reply to Was in the same boat
Posted by: Maria | 2009-03-18

Also meant to add, you must give information on an age appropriate level. It is ok to tell the child that you will discuss something with him when he is older if you feel he cannot handle the information yet. He won' t like it but tough. My daughter' s evil bio granny decided earlier this year to tell her that her bio male parent was married to someone other than her bio mom at the time that she was conceived. This caused a lot of anguish and it' s too much information for a six year old to deal with. Make sure that your extended family knows what you want your child to know at what age, or ask them to just refer questions back to you.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: I can relate | 2009-03-18

Hi Honey,

I' m find myself in the same predicament (I' m 37 weeks pregnant) and I have often wondered what the best way is to handle this. I will raise my girl as lovingly and stable as possible and one day when she starts asking questions I will tell her the truth (no ugly or intimate details of course!), but will also add that I love her more than anything and that I' m not going anywhere. AND then pray to God to protect her precious heart from emotional damage. I will also make sure to explain it to her as many times as she needs to hear it and to explain it exactly the same way.

All the best to you!

Reply to I can relate
Posted by: Maria | 2009-03-18

I don' t agree with Phew. If you lie to your child that will do a lot more damage when he finds out than if he knows the truth. My (adopted) daughter' s birth father also abandoned her and her birth mom died when she was two. We made a book for her with the story of her life. It starts like this: " One day there was a daddy called A and a mommy called B. A lived far away and didn' t see M. Mommy B raised M by herself until she met D."  And so on. She has had this book since the age of three and at each new developmental level she reaches she gains a bit of understanding about her background. Yes it' s painful to answer her questions and sometimes she doesn' t understand, but it' s much better this way than having a big talk when she is a teenager and revealing all then. Don' t lie to your child.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Tsholo | 2009-03-18

I couldn' t have put it better than Phew! My, Phew! You do have a way with words! :)

Reply to Tsholo
Posted by: Phew ! | 2009-03-18

That' s a tricky one. Hopefully, by the time he gets to understand you will have met someone and hopefully for many years the new man will be accepted as his Dad until he is old enough to be told that his biological father is all he ever was, just a spurt of nature, and is nothing more. Hopefully he will have bonded with the " new"  Dad by then and the impact will be negligible. If however this does not happen and the time arrives when you have to explain, I would have absolutely no hesitation to tell him that Mr Bio is in fact dead, a fitting end to the louse. When the boy is much older, you can tell him the truth and explain what a shit Mr Bio was to desert you both. Good on you for doing your own thing, but its a pity you did not suss Mr Bio out more carefully before you got pregnant. In my book, there is nothing quite a low, cowardly and disgusting as a so called man ,and I use the term man loosely, to shy away from his responsibilities of maintenancde and support for the result of his actions. But anywaqy you are far better off without the creep. Good luck

Reply to Phew !

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