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explaining things to my little one...?

Posted by on Sep. 18, 2007 at 9:46 PM
  • 6 Replies
first i want to say "hi". i just joined this group.

second, i know it's kind of soon to be thinking about this, but i can't help it.  my baby girl's dad just recently decided not to be a part of her life, or vice versa.  he will pay his child support, but he says it will be too difficult for him to find time for her [since he already has 2 kids from 2 different women to share his time with].  How will i explain this to her when she gets a little older and realizes she doesn't have a dad like all the other kids??

thank you for any advice!!

by on Sep. 18, 2007 at 9:46 PM
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by on Sep. 19, 2007 at 12:22 AM
Just the truth.  Daddy wasn't grown up enough to handle the responsibility of a child and you gladly took on the honor of being the one who loves her the mostest and wants to always be there for her.  It wasn't anything she did, but some people just aren't ready to act like grownups. 

I had the same talk with my daughter when she was old enough to hear it.  Looks like I will have the same talk again in a few years.  It sucks and it's unfair to you and your baby, but I personally think you should gently give her the truth.  Explain to her that this works out better for the both of you because you don't have to share time and be apart and she won't have to share toys with any other kids.  Explain to her how lucky she is to have such a wonderful, loving mommy who adores her and worships her every step.  With your love and guidance, you two will be just fine.  Just don't let him get away without paying child support.  If he doesn't see her or have contact with her for one year straight, you can petition to have his parental rights terminated.  He still, by law, has to pay child support and they will garnish it from his wages.  That will ease a little of the sting for you.  Trust me.
by on Sep. 19, 2007 at 8:38 AM
Oh my, I have the same worry.  I have three boys, the oldest two (13 and 11) are from my marriage.  My third, who is already 6 and this discussion still has not came up yet for some reason, has never nor will ever meet his "father". I was with him for a year when I learned some scary stuff about him, broke up with him immediately only to learn two weeks later I was pregnant.  But I broke up with him because I didn't want him near my two sons, just because the baby was his, I still did not want him around.  We haven't had any contact since I was 4 months pregnant.  Going on 7 years now.  What I don't understand is why I haven't been faced with these questions yet, my older two boys go with their dad at least once a week and my youngest has never asked, why he doesn't get to go, or where is his daddy.  Last night is the closest I've ever came.  It was back to school night, he is in the first grade.  The children wrote some things on drawings they had made for their parents, etc.  Well he wrote what his friend wrote and before I even saw it, he had told me it said, something to mom, DAD, and grandma.  My heart sunk.  He still hasn't asked anything about his father.  We live with my mother, and when he was born my grandfather also lived with us.  He was the man in his life.  Of course he also has his own grandfather who visited daily and now lives with us since my grandfather passed away over a year ago.  I know he knows his grandfather is not is father, but I swear there are times I think he thinks his great grandfather was his father.  Because he was there from day one and they had a close bond.  And maybe this is why he has never asked.  I know one day he's going to realize that was not the case and I want to cry when I think of what on earth I'm going to say to him when it finally comes up.  I want to say, well, your father couldn't even take care of himself, much less a child so mommy decided she could take care of you all on her own.  Which is true.  I'm just so worried about the "daddy not wanting me" thing.  Which again is true.  I'm sorry I'm no help, I guess I needed to vent about this very thing also.  I am lucky to have made it this far without having to address the issue but I know it can't be far off now and I just don't know how I'm going to handle it. 
by on Sep. 19, 2007 at 11:14 AM
I'm in the same boat.  My daughter is only 4 months old but I' m already starting to worry about how to handle it when the topic comes up.  But I've decided to tell her the truth.  Her dad and I were only together for a year, I got pregnant after being with him for 3 months.  I'm going to tell her that her dad wasn't very nice to mommy and mommy had to do what was right for both of us.  I probably won't tell her that he beat me up when I was 5 months pregnant with her until she is a lot older, but eventually I will let her know.  I've also decided to wrtie down some things that me and her dad use to do, the fun memories so she can see that our relationship did have love in it and that is where she came from.  Her dad is not involved at all, no child support, nothing, he hasn't even seen her before.  But when the time comes and if she wants to meet him I will help her find him, but I want to make sure that she is prepared for the type of person he is so I'm going to be honest with her.  I'm not going to lie because eventually the truth comes out in the end and I would rather her be angry about the truth than angry because I told her a lie.  Good luck with your little one! 
by on Sep. 19, 2007 at 11:54 AM

I think your reply was the absolute best!!  I told my 3.5 year old the same exact thing the other day!!  Not that your daddy doesn't love you it's just he's not grown up enough to take responsibility and I'm so happy that I have you for my very own.  Great answer!!

by on Sep. 19, 2007 at 9:39 PM

This is a great question - and something that I struggle with! I apologize, I know this will be long - I have a lot to say about the subject!!

I have been a single mom for 12 years.  My oldest daughter's sperm donor left me when I told him that I was pregnant.  He has only seen her 1 time, and his family forced him to do it.  She was 1 at the time.  Otherwise, he is completely out of her life. 

She didn't ask questions early on, she really went through a "I want my dad" phase when she was about 7 or so.  At the time, we had just moved in with my youngest daughter's dad, so I thought that probably had a lot to do with it.  It was more why is her dad around and mine isn't. 

Anyway, for her entire life, I have always used the line that "your dad wasn't ready to be a parent and he made choices that I don't agree with.  That doesn't make it right, but you are a lucky little girl, because you have a lot of people that love you." 

We would then go through a list of people she could think of that she loved.  This seemed to help her realize that she isn't missing anything by not having her dad around. I also always tell her what a great kid she is and all the great things her dad is missing because of his choices.  Of course, when she was kindergarten age or so, I didn't get that "deep" with her, we just talked about how all family's are made of different people.  Some kids live with foster parents, some live with grandparents etc.  I also gave her all the pictures I had of him and the ones his family took when he did see her, I think it helps her that I am ok with her having them and knowing she can come to me with her questions anytime.  At this point, she is old enough, and I sometimes tell her stories of when we were dating (places we went, where he lived etc.)

Under no circumstances do I ever bad mouth her father or say mean things.  Not that I don't think them - but I am a firm believer that when she gets old enough, she will be free to come to her own conclusions about her father.  I am very proud to take the high road and not bad mouth him - I don't do it for my now ex and my youngest daughter either. All hell breaks loose if a family member or even my ex says something negative about her dad. 

I hope this helps - it is a tough conversation to have!  Another thought I wanted to add is to let your daughter guide you.  I wouldn't offer any information unless my daughter specifically asked for it - which can be hard to do, sometimes I would feel guilty and want to tell her all about her awful father, but I am hoping that she is growing up well adjusted and not bitter about not having a father around. She is 12 now and rarely asks about him, so I think it has worked well.  It's not like she is moping around saying "I wish my dad was here".  Good luck!

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by on Sep. 20, 2007 at 12:28 AM
thanks for all the advice.  i'm sure i will figure things out with time.  it helps to remember i'm not the only one in this situation. 
the "you're daddy wasn't grown up enough" line seems ridiculous to my case because he is 14 years older than me [im 21] and he has 2 kids from 2 previous relationships that he does claim and see on a regular basis,  yet he is denying my daughter. 
I know i don't have to tell her about the other girls until she gets older, and maybe she'll try to find them.  but i just want to be as honest with her as possible. 
I guess my question is more How do you explain that "your daddy is a daddy to your half sisters but not you."

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