Our expert says:
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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