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When do you tell a child that her dad is not her biological father?

Another question got me thinking about this. Here's my situation: I got pregnant when I was 18. The father is a real piece of work, we dated on and off for 3.5 years, he left me when I wouldn't have an abortion. He hasn't been around at all since she was 2 months old. When she was 6 months, I started dating an old friend of mine. We got married when she was two. He will be adopting her this summer. Biological father was ordered to pay child support, and should hopefully start paying soon. He'll be paying back support for a looonnggg time. She doesn't know him at all. (She's only 3 now.) My hubby has always been her dad.

A part of me doesn't ever want to tell her, I mean he didn't want her, he wanted me to abort her. I'm sure I'll eventually need to tell her. But when? What do you think?

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Asked by toriandgrace at 3:52 AM on Mar. 31, 2009 in General Parenting

Level 16 (2,467 Credits)
Answers (37)
  • A dad is someone who loves and raises a child. Your DH not being her bio dad doesn't take anything away from their father-daughter relationship. I am sure you already know this though.
    For me personally, I would be open and honest with my child. Just let her know about it and not make a big deal about it. Just tell her that another man helped create her, but your DH is her dad. If it is something that she grows up always knowing it will save her from the shock she will experience if you told her when she was older. She also may be hurt thinking that you and DH had been "lying" to her, her whole life. Even though she will know it she will not fully comprehend what it means until she is older. That is probably when she will ask more questions about her "real" dad, and will probably appreciate and love DH all the more for what a good man he is.

    Answer by AnnaMac at 4:06 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • I agree with AnnaMac on everything she the "T"!

    Answer by MamaChamp at 4:11 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • My toddlers are adopted and we make it just a regular part of our lives so it will not be a big deal. The younger you introduce an idea to a child, the more they will accept it. If she knows from the age of three, she will accept it for what it is. Knowing it will never change the her relationship with her daddy (your husband), but not telling her and having her find out later will make her question every aspect of that relationship.

    Answer by MommyAddie at 5:23 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • I went through this too with my mother in reference to my father, and if i were you i would tell her when she becomes an adult. Even though i was mad at my mom for a while, she told me when i was 18 and now i know my father who raised me and my biological dad. I see both of them and now i have and extended family that are really cool. So i ended up forgiving my mom anyway.

    Answer by AKTMOTHER at 5:34 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • Definitely, as MommyAddie said, incorporating these facts (obviously not EVERYTHING) into your daughter's life from a young age will mean that she will grow up knowing the truth but still feeling loved and wanted. If you give her that big hit later on it's probably going a blow that may not be easy to deal with. I say, and this is just my opinion, that by being open about it from the start, you're not creating thin ice for her to skate on later on. Good luck :)

    Answer by AngieCate at 5:39 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • Tell her what is age appropriate. Right now, nothing really is. My mom dropped the bomb on me at around age 14 or 15. She had lied totally to me. I met my dad at age 36. I think my dad's first thing was--"get an abortion" at least that is what my mom said. He may very well have said that. Time, and forgiveness makes people different. You and your child are lucky she has your husband as a father figure. This other man may not be important to you, but in the future he may be to her. So be open, honest, and in the least have him pay support. What about her other family from that side? They may want to know her. You are the mom, you make the hard choices, but when she is old enough to begin making her own she will be much better off having known the truth. She does not need to know it all, but don't lie or keep it from her, because when it comes out-and it will-it won't be good for your relationship.


    Answer by Teachermom01 at 6:39 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • Do you have a wedding picture of the three of you? Put it up somewhere in the house. Just be truthful with her. As she grows up she will incorporate the concept into her thinking. You would be surprised at how often this happens.

    Answer by LoveMyDog at 7:37 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • Since he is going to be required to pay child support, is there any way he will fight for visitation? If so, she will need to know a little anyway. If he is not going for any visitation and she won't be seeing him, well, I still agree with the first poster. Good luck

    Answer by mdt709 at 7:48 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • my 15 yo calls her stepdad dad cause real bio dad hasn't been in the pictures since she was 2. You have to be honest with her as soon as she's able to understand. Cause you never know when and if he'll pop bacvk into her life and then what will you do? My daughter has know G is not her real father since about 4. She was contacted on her my space by B(bio dad). Because she has known about him, condensed version and it wasn't a major shock. Tell her before someone else tells her.

    Answer by pagirl71 at 8:01 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

  • My 9 yr old knows her step dad isn't her real Dad, but he is "The Dad". He's been in her life since she was 3. She calls him Dad and there is definitely a bond there that can't be broken. Him and I have actually been divorced for 2 yrs now and he is still around and still spends time with her often! She's never met her bio-father (only as a baby which she doesn't remember), and she is totally fine with her "Dad" she has. They are inseparable and I don't think she'd have it any other way.


    Answer by Anonymous at 8:14 AM on Mar. 31, 2009

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