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How to tell my 4yr that I am not his real mom? Please Help me

So my 4yr old SS doesn't remember is BM at all she left when he was 9 months old and now she just got granted supervised visitation. How do I explain all this to him so he will understand? I just don't know what to say to him.

Please help me!


Asked by LiLJeni at 6:30 PM on Jul. 6, 2012 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 30 (44,491 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • First, I want you to understand that you most certainly ARE his mom! You have raised him, loved him, nurtured him. You.Are.His.MOM

    Second, how much time before the first visit? Is it enough time to see a family counselor for a visit to get some ideas and tips?

    If not, I think what I'd say (and believe me, this is out of my league. I can't even imagine) that some little boys are the LUCKIEST boys in the world because they have two mommies. One that stays with them for ever and ever (you) and one that likes to visit and check on him every now and then (her). Emphasize that you will always be with him and love him and take care of him but that she just wants to see him.

    God, I hope someone can give you better advice. But I will be thinking about you.

    Answer by BrawnwynII at 6:50 PM on Jul. 6, 2012

  • I actually think Brawnwynll gave you fabulous advice. That's exactly what I would say to you. Most important he needs to know that you are still his mom, and you still love him more than anything.

    Good luck mama. Hugs.

    Answer by ohwrite at 7:29 PM on Jul. 6, 2012

  • It's really hard to explain something like that to a child so young...they don't understand the full concept of everything like an older child would...If it was me I would basically start out with explaining that i love them but i wasnt their mommy to begin with....that they do have another mommy but she wasnt able to take care of them like i was able to, so now im their mommy. Idk, thats a hard situation, but just make sure that you stress how much you care for them/love them/and that they will still live with you, but one thing that will change is that this woman will be visiting them! i hope this helps....thats how id deal with the situation....sorry if i wasnt much help! all i know is that i would never tell my child that they werent wanted or whatever....i have a similar situation, my daughters bio father left me when i was 3 months pregnant and shes now almost 6....he hasnt been around since she was a newborn

    Answer by KayleesMommy89 at 6:39 PM on Jul. 6, 2012

  • Wow this is a hard one. $ is such a tender age. I think I would tell him thathis dad was married to another lady and they made a baby which ishim. They decided that they could not live together any more and she went away for a long time. His daddy married you and you love him so much and he is your little boy in your heart and always will be. But his other momy now wants to see him too.

    Answer by Dardenella at 6:46 PM on Jul. 6, 2012

  • As always Brawnwyn nails it.

    My only comment is that you and his father should sit down and talk to him about it.

    Answer by meooma at 8:04 PM on Jul. 6, 2012

  • I think I wouldn't focus on "one is this" & "one is that." To my perspective, the main things you & his dad need to convey are that 1) he has a mother he hasn't seen in a long time, and 2) he's going to visit her.

    He may say "But you're my mommy!" & you can affirm this, that you've been taking care of him since he was a baby, but that before he was born & before his daddy knew you (or whatever the situation is/was--I realize we don't know the details of how/when/what, whether or not they were "together" as a family, etc.), his daddy was with someone else & they had him.
    His "Why" (why did she go away, etc.) questions are something you should prepare to answer in a simple & direct way that doesn't convey judgment or your own strong emotion. Convey the fact that she was having a hard time, sick, scared (etc.)
    Validate whatever emotion HE expresses. Yes, it's sad/upsetting. It makes sense (if) he's worried.
    Address his concerns.

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:15 AM on Jul. 7, 2012

  • Primarily, make it about safety & emotional containment as well as responsiveness.

    Emotional containment is like being a big bowl that can hold everything that the child cannot hold (everything he's scared is true) -- can hold it & allow it, while staying regulated at the same time. You & his dad provide a safe container for whatever emotions he feels about this; his emotions aren't distressing to you or overwhelming (which translates as somehow unacceptable.) You can see & accept whatever he feels & expresses as making sense--even fears of his that might distress you are something you can hear & acknowledge without immediately rushing to smooth them over.

    When you're responsive, you convey the info you need him to know & then take your cues from HIM as he begins to metabolize it. That's what guides your further comments & input.

    Involving a family counselor certainly is a worthy suggestion, too.

    Best wishes to you all!

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:28 AM on Jul. 7, 2012

  • I recently had a similar discussion with my 3 and 6 year old children who noticed that their friend didn't have a dad. They know the basics of reproduction, though, so I said "sometimes the same person that makes the baby are not the same people that raise the baby." This led to the conversation about adoption and surrogacy where they were able to see that biology was separate from "family" I guess you could say. In this situation, I said that when their friend's mom got married, that person would be his dad even though he didn't actually "put him in her belly." He would be his dad because he would be the one that loved and cared for him, not just made him.

    In your case, I don't know the whole situation and what the future involvement would be, but if it were me, I would approach it similarly by saying that she is the one that actually made you, and I am your mother because I love and care for you every day.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 2:18 PM on Jul. 7, 2012

  • To me thats such a young age for him to understand what your going to tell him... I was 13y/o when my mom told me that she wasnt my real mother & that my bio mom gave me to my dad when i was 4mths old..Now i will be 24 in dec & never met my bio mom..But a yr ago i finally got to see wt she looks like,& the funny thing is that it was a mug shot..REALLY! So this subject is a touch one..My DH adopted my DD i march of last yr ,he has been in her life since she was 2mths old..& i told him when she is old enough to understand he will tell her that he is her adopted father,bc i dont want her to grow up not knowing her bio dad..

    If you do choice to tell him now ..GOODLUCK

    Answer by Chelhaidax at 10:14 PM on Jul. 10, 2012