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What do I tell my daughter about her dad?

My daughters dad has never seen her, never showed interest and has made a threat that he would take my daughter to his homeland....I fear and hate his actions and I find it hard to tell my 4 yr old why she doesnt have a dad like everyone else in her class....she is beginning to notice her family is a bit different to others and she is asking things like.....is my dad at work? and is my dad dead? she asked me once if her dad hurt me and is that why he is not with us........how do I answer? how do I justify....it seems like the usual answer (it didnt work out with dad and I)
doesnt wash with her....I dont ever want to tell her what he was or is...no matter how old she becomes...she doesnt need to know the cruel things he said and did....but will she think I'm the baddie...who deprived her of a father? I'm really lost

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repenter86

Asked by repenter86 at 7:48 AM on Oct. 31, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (15)
  • I know that it will be hard and that she probably wont completely understand everything but i would just be honest with her but not to harsh. I have a 3 year old and her father has been around but only because his dad makes him. She sees him but she will tell you that that is one of her dads but that she doesnt really care for him. I didnt tell her all the abusive things. I didnt want her to know how he was either. So i told her that him and mommy just didnt get along so i started staying somewhere else. It will be harder for you because she cant see it for herself but i wouldnt lie to her. Later on she will want to meet him and if you cover too much or say too much it may be worse. She may be mad for you hiding to much or even for saying things because he may change and then she might think u lied. good luck this is a tricky situation.
    tiffany0317

    Answer by tiffany0317 at 8:07 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • My ex did some horrible things, too, so I know how you feel. First, as to how to address it right now: I always just tell my kids that yes, they have a father, but that he has some problems to deal with and that I don't know when/if he'll come see them. I figure it's not really a lie, b/c I think not wanting to see your kids and not loving your kids is a major problem.

    As to not ever telling her what he did, again, I sympathize. My ex was convicted of a sex crime, and my instinct was to say I would never tell my kids. But, my father pointed out to me that he will never confess it to them, and do I really want them to go looking for him as an adult and thinking he's a wonderful guy? No. So, when they are old enough I will tell them, much as I don't want to. Don't get too detailed, but I do think you should tell her when she's old enough, so she can make an informed decision on getting to know him. Good luck!
    tropicalmama

    Answer by tropicalmama at 8:28 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • My son started asking more questions about the same age. His father had undiagnosed bipolar disorder and became violent. That was the end of our marriage. He saw my son once when he was a premature newborn in the hospital.

    When he was 4 my 14 year old got tired of him asking questions and told him that his father is a bad man, that her hurt mom so bad mom had to be in the hospital (he understood hospitals), that he destroyed our house, and that we hope we never see him again. I would not have done that but it worked.

    My son would tell people when they asked that he didn't have a dad. All 3 of my sons look like me so people would often just assume they had the same father. Neither my son or I talk about his father.
    Gailll

    Answer by Gailll at 8:56 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • Cont.

    My son is now 21. He has bipolar disorder. I diagnosed is when he was 11. He has had great psychiatric care and made it through the teen years with no problems. Very rare for a boy with bipolar disorder diagnosed so young.

    Bipolar disorder is genetic. He resents that he got it from his father. When his father hurt me when I was pregnant I had problems the rest of the pregnancy and was hospitalized off and on. He was born premature and only has an IQ of 80. His father is probably responsible for that. His brothers have high IQs. Its good he didn't have to see his father.

    My older sons remember him trying to kill us. I think its best that we have never known where he lives. He won't take meds for his bipolar disorder and lives in the woods like a hermit and kills animas to eat.

    Gailll

    Answer by Gailll at 9:06 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • This is very true: she doesnt need to know the cruel things he said and did

    Just tell her that things between him and I didn't work out. He went his way as did both of us. That everything will be okay sweetie and just hug her.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:31 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • First off take a deep breathe.. now you are going to want to sit her down calmly and nicely....Explain to her the truth about her father...As far as ur concern all you do with that threat is either get a protection order on him... or you just take him to court cause you have the upper hand in the situtation... you will get custody of ur daughter b/c he walked away... and you have been a wonderful mother....
    lovelost1989

    Answer by lovelost1989 at 9:35 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • I would keep it simple and at this point tell her that her Dad lives very far away and can't keep in touch. Leave it at that. At some point you are going to have to tell her at least the basics of what happened. But only answer the questions she asks and don't elaborate, unless she ask. Kids will ask what they want to know.

    DevilInPigtails

    Answer by DevilInPigtails at 9:56 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • I know it will be hard, but when she gets older, a lot older you should probably tell her the whole truth. Until she got old enough to understand I would go with the "it just didn't work out" line.
    My mom left whenever I was really small, and I was raised by my dad. He always told me that she just needed time to herself, and that she loved me. Later on in life I found out that she was a horrible drug addict who chose sleezy men over me. I am glad I know the truth. It makes me want to be a better mother to my son. She tried to contact me once I grew up and I chose to have nothing to do with her, which could have been different had I not known the truth. I'm glad she isn't in my life. And your daughter will probably feel the same way once she grows up and knows the truth.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:13 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • If I were in your shoes. I would say yes, to work, no to dead, and him and u didn't work out is enough for her. Seriously your personal business is your personal business and no one elses. The deeper answers I would give my daughter would be the answers I would like for her future life. For instance, as u say, when u want to "justify" which u don't have to, but I would go into the future mindframe mode, see her w/ a young man happy, content and answer that way. It might not be her case when she finally does mate but u will make it a good experience for her if it happens. Good luck.
    milmiracle

    Answer by milmiracle at 10:56 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

  • She has to know the truth. You have to keep her safe from her dad. Age appropriate.
    Do not lie.
    My niece did not her boys about their father and they started to hate her and wanted to go live with him. He does meth and other drugs. And will beat the kids.
    SO TELL THE TRUTH.
    gammie

    Answer by gammie at 11:32 AM on Oct. 31, 2009

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