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Question
Posted by: Croxley | 2007/12/05

Father and Daughter...

Morning All...
I have a 3 year old daughter and I broke up with her father when I was 5 months pregnant- 2003. After the child was born in April 2004 I forced my BF to come see the baby and tried to sort things out with him. When the baby was 1 year old,we broke up again but I still insisted that he comes see the baby every now and again and evenly pay for his trip but he was never interested. he visited the child 3 times in two years and my baby doesn't know her father very well only his name, He doesn't maintain the child. The baby stays with my parents in MP and we both stay here in JHB. In 2005 dec I met someone and he saw my child Dec- 2006. He was nice to my child and still is and he does everything for. This year April she started calling my boyfriend daddy and my boyfriend was ok with it. My problem is How do I explain to her who her daddy is. and to tell her the truth???? At what age do we explain such things to kids? And why did she decide to call hm dady????My sister told me that her real father called her on Sunday and my daughter refused talking to him saying he is not her daddy and she cried.

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Our expert says:
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I know it sounds desirable for a child to be in contact with the biological father --- but only if this is a caring and genuine father, not someone who has no real interest in the child and is only doing it under pressure. In fact, it is probably less desirable for the child to have a now-and-again dad who turns up irregularly and insincerely, and patently doesn;'t care for or about her.
Its generally desirable to discuss such things with the child as soon as (a) they start asking about such things, and (b) as soon as they are capable of understanding it.
So rather than making this an issue of Telling versus Not Telling, make it something you talk about with her --p hear what she thinks and feels about these men in her life. She obviously has no concept at this age of a Biological Father, and considers as Dad the buy who acts like a daddy.
Maria's idea of the book , which indeed becomes a family heirloom, is an excellent one, and also enables the child to revisit the theme as she grows, and has different questions and increasing capacity to understand the situation. ANd children love stories, including a life story than includes them.
If you need to force the biodad to have ANY sort of relationship with him then that wouldn't be a relationship of value to her.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Hope* | 2007/12/05

What I was trying to say was that when she is capable of understanding. I dont think a three year old will be able to grasp all the intricacies of the situation, nor would I expect her to. What I'm suggesting is that if she starts asking, you could say something like "name of BF loves you as if you are his child, he is a good Daddy to you". Its just my opinion, but you sound like a wonderful Mom and I know that you will do the best for your little one. Good Luck and hope things go well with you.

Reply to Hope*
Posted by: Croxley | 2007/12/05

To be honest with you Maria I do not know, One day he wants to be the best daddy and the next thing he dissapears. He always says its about his family - he doesn't have a good relationship with his father and also his family has no communication/relationship with my daughter, I have given up on them and decided not to take my child to them anymore. I do not know whether its me or the baby that they do not want. I guess there are lot of issues in his family and I have offered my help to him but he threw it back.

Reply to Croxley
Posted by: Maria | 2007/12/05

At 3 years old you cannot really sit her down for one big explanation session. It will be too much for her to take in and besides she might not be in the mood! If you go the book route, perhaps you can get her bio father's agreement on what you put in there so that everybody tells her the same story.

Why does he not want to be involved in her life?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Croxley | 2007/12/05

Hope, I thoughht maybe she is too young to understand this things at least when she is 5, she can understnd bettr. Maria thank you for your response. My family knows my current bf as we are tying the knot next year May and I wanted her bio father to be present when I explain everything to the child or maybe write a book for her as well. I want them to have that relationship together, but why must i force him to his child.

Reply to Croxley
Posted by: Maria | 2007/12/05

Your daughter calls your bf daddy because that is the role he plays in her life. Children want and need two parents. Would your daughter's bio father be willing for your bf to adopt her, should you decide to get married?

I have an adopted daughter. We wrote the story of her life in book form, with pics, telling about her mommy C and daddy A. Daddy A lived far away and didn't see her (almost like your case). Mommy C fell in love with M and he became her new daddy. Mommy C became ill and died. M met a new lady (me) who became your new mommy. Etc.

My daughter was 4 when we wrote the book and she love dit. We laminated the pages and had them bound together. She put stickers all over it. She still doesn't really understand but the facts are all there for her, and understanding will come with time.

Kids are hurt by the decisions adults make, and we have to protect them as much as possible. Perhaps you can explain to your daughter that she has two different kinds of daddies? It's not really fair on her to expect her cooperation with regards to bio father if she doesn't know him.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Hope* | 2007/12/05

I truly think that children should know everything they need to know from as young as what they can understand. They should grow up knowing the truth. The truth shouldn't just suddenly hit them ate age 8 or whatever. The same applies ton the facts of life. Children should not have to walk around ignorant. They will soon learn who to ask when they need to know something. Naturally one can explain things to a child in a way a child will understand.

Reply to Hope*

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