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Just really unsure how to handle all this. Really appreciate your advice.

My dd will be 7 at the end of Oct. Her bio dad has been in her life for only about the last 2 years and then only rarely. Tonight his mom , my ex mil told me that he is dying of Pancreatic Cancer. He, his mom, and I are the only only ones that know. He has not told her and doesn't want her to be told. She has already been seeing a therapist because of all the problems he caused coming back into her life. My dh has been her dad since she was around a year old and that was by her choice not ours. What if anything can I do for her?

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Asked by treynlisa at 10:21 PM on Sep. 10, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 20 (9,618 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • When the time does come to where the question... is he sick and or is he going to die. Tell her the truth, either way you go, it is going to hurt in some way but her finding out that you lied about this will only hurt more. In her heart she knows who her daddy is... the one that has been in apart of her life since she was around a year old. Tell her to love the time they do get to spend together.

    I would wait for her to ask you, that is what I am trying to say. God bless all of you

    Answer by MomlovesRed at 10:29 PM on Sep. 10, 2010

  • Honestly think about what it would do to her... she is 6 years old and he has been in her life for the last 2. She is in therapy because of all the issues it has been brought to her not knowing that the man she believed to be her daddy isn't really her daddy. I think you need to let her know that he is sick, but not that he is dying. That is to much for her to undersand. My husband just passed and my daughter is 6 and she gets it, but has a hard time with it. I say deal with his death when it happens not make her constantly wonder if he is going to and when.

    Answer by Bellamomma2 at 10:56 PM on Sep. 10, 2010

  • It will affect her life but there is no sense feeding her fears, worries and insecurities when it won't change what she will go through. She is too young to understand it all and depending on how bad he is he could have quite awhile before he starts feeling real bad and that is when I would suggest you tell her he is sick. She doesn't need the details. When she does ask things, just answer the questions and don't add more to them. She will naturally handle this. You might want to try and find a good childrens book that actually deals with death. ( or read from passages dealing with it in the bible) It might help her when she has to face this in the future.

    Answer by LeJane at 11:59 PM on Sep. 10, 2010

  • I feel so sorry knowing that you are going to lose someone in your life. Maybe he needed this to get some type of closure with your daughter. She on the other hand, he came back into her life again, and she will lose him again. This is going to be a lot for her to handle. All I can say is be there for her when she needs you, and remind her often that you do love her. These two things are the best you can do for both of you.

    Answer by amessageofhope at 12:34 AM on Sep. 11, 2010

  • She is absolutely not too young to understand, providing it is explained to her at a level she can understand. My husband died when our son was 5. I now work with families experiencing grief and loss.
    She absolutely must be told - and must be told gently and with total honesty, using words she understands. Concrete terms. No abstracts. To rob her of this is to rob her of the opportunity of dealing with the loss in a healthy way.
    She will lose him either way. He will die. He will be absent, whether you are honest with the child or not. The question is: do you want to allow her to do this in a way that can benefit her now and for the rest of her life, or do you want to have her experience the trauma of his suddenly being just "gone" again, without her ever learning to deal with loss in a healthy way?
    Because either way, she will have to deal with this.

    Answer by kateandjona at 9:56 AM on Sep. 11, 2010

  • I think you need to be upfront and honest with her. Life is hard enough, children need to be able to count on someone to tell them the truth about what is happening around them.

    Answer by 3boysandmekmcd at 9:58 AM on Sep. 11, 2010

  • When my husband died a few years ago, and it was a really hard time for my girls. Losing their dad was - and still is - a really tough thing. I totally agree with Kate.

    Answer by caseyandkids at 10:01 AM on Sep. 11, 2010

  • Honesty is the best policy.

    I'm sorry that your daughter is going through this. It's good that she will have you and her "dad" to help her through the loss of her father.

    Answer by snivic at 10:03 AM on Sep. 11, 2010

  • I agree, she is not too young to understand. And I also agree that you should be honest with her. Why leave a child watching a person deteriorate and needing to ask questions like "is he sick?" That is a very scary thing. She should be told. It's unfair to her not to tell her the truth.

    Answer by yoliplus6 at 10:06 AM on Sep. 11, 2010

  • I think that honesty is the best policy. Not telling her can cause even more issues and resentment later on. Therapists can help her through this and it will be better for her to know that you are being honest with her in the long run.

    Answer by KTMOM at 10:13 AM on Sep. 11, 2010

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