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How to discuss why daddy isn't in your life?post #1 of 101/22/12 at 9:39pmThread StarterHello mamas,(and papas?) SMBHA here, and would love to hear some thoughts on discussing dad's chosen total uninvolvement with your child... DS is only one but I often wonder how I will approach this as biodad lives in the same city and parents his other child, so the "wasn't ready / able to be a dad/lives far away" don't really apply. Thanks mamas!post #2 of 101/22/12 at 11:13pmpost #3 of 101/22/12 at 11:30pmThread Starterpost #4 of 101/22/12 at 11:30pmThread Starterpost #5 of 101/23/12 at 5:40am
If you're both in the same area...does your son have your last name, would he need to know who the person is? You could say that his father wasn't capable of the responsibility but that you were overjoyed to have him. What a douche. I would try to avoid the kid knowing who he is and possibly having to watch him parent another child it's really hurtfulpost #6 of 101/23/12 at 2:50pm
Im in this situation too, and have found it rare to meet others who have zero contact with the biological father. Most single mom's kids seem to have visitation/ shared custody with the fathers. To be honest I think it's easier for us not having the stress of dealing with custody issues and everything that goes along with being in the other situation. However for our kids im not sure which is better. I would feel horrible about having to move them back and forth all the time between mom's house and dad's house/ mom's routine and lifestyle then to dad's routine and lifestyle etc. Also step parent drama etc etc.... On the other hand although I don't have the stress/guilt of being in that situation, I do have the stress and guilt of my child not knowing or having a relationship with her father.
She is older now, 9 years, and is curious and probably a bit confused. I have tried to say the right thing, that her dad wasn't ready to be a good dad and look after her, but he knew I would do a good job and so we decided I would take care of her....that kind of thing is how our conversations about it go. She also asked his first name and I told her it....she obviously needed to know his name, and I figured it wouldn't harm anyone if she knows it.
She asked why we arent all together like some of her friends parents are and I said because we didn't love eachother for very long and didn't get on well so we decided not to stay together.... and I'm quick to point out how lots of her friends' parents have also split up or got divorced, that it isn't uncommon to be in a single parent family these days. But unlike her, they still visit with their dad and talk about how they have done stuff with him etc.
But yes it is quite rare (at least i've found it to be) for a child to have no contact at all with their father, and I feel bad about it, but I can't change it. And I remind her that many children in the world don't have any parents at all, or even any grandparents and are living in orphanages. I explain how she's lucky to have her extended family as well, and compare that to how I didn't. And I say no one has every single family member, but we're lucky to have all the ones we do have.
That's covering it for now, but as she gets older I have no idea how to handle more advanced questions. I guess the main one being if one day she (understandably) might ask me for all the details of exactly what happened between her father and I, and asks me to help her find him.....
It's hard to make sure you always say things that come across positive towards the child. For example I don't want her to feel he just didn't care and abandoned her.
I have to say honestly, I do think she is starting to feel some resentment about it all. Another relative suggested this and I think they were right. But what can you do?
I try not to feel too guilty, as she has a good life and is very loved. There are much worse situations we could be faced with...post #7 of 101/24/12 at 2:09am
i dont know the details of you situation Samy, but IMO, at least for me, i can;t carry shame or guilt about my son not having a father in his life, because it wasn't my choice. He chose not to be a part of his life, I have chosen to give him the absolute best life that i can, which i'm sure you're doing for your daughter as well. I can't carry the burden for a choice someone else made. I do worry though about the effect it will have on my son.
I have planned so far to be fairly honest & logical about it. I plan to point out all the great things about DS's bio-dad, even if for me its hard to think of things! I think its important for him to know the other person who makes up his genetic code has good qualities. But as he gets older i will be honest about what happened between us and why he is not involved in his life.
its so damn complicated! meh. i hope with time i find answers for all of these questions.post #8 of 101/25/12 at 5:58am
Thanks for this thread! It's so nice to see that I'm not alone in my daddy-free situation. My son is 20 months old, but I've already given this topic a great deal of consideration. He was conceived by happy accident. His bio-dad is in a long-term open-relationship and encouraged me to terminate the pregnancy. Well, he knew I wasn't using any birth control and chose to make a surprise "deposit" anyway. As I see it, that would have been his time to offer input.
I've always adored children and would have made one all by myself if I could have. I've known bio-dad since we were just kids. Though I wasn't consciously looking for sperm, he would have been a fine choice. But, he's a big irresponsible kid who would resent being forced to be a father when he wasn't ready, so I left it to him to choose his level of involvement. So far, he's maintained a casual Facebook friendship and visited once for two hours when DS was 8 weeks old. He showed up an hour late and empty-handed. He made plans a few other times but always cancels.
I can't wrap my mind around what he's feeling or thinking, nor can I predict how my son will feel as he gets older. In the best interests of everyone involved, I asked bio-dad to approach the pregnancy like I had requested the sperm instead of just receiving it. I'm happy with how it feels to say, "Well, I wanted to have a baby and your Uncle J. helped me to make that happen." His relationship with my son can develop organically if either of them wants it to with no pressures or obligations. My name is the only one on the birth certificate. For now, I'll just keep surrounding my son with so much love that he will never suspect that he's missing anyone in his life.post #9 of 101/26/12 at 11:18am
bebestar, my situation is somewhat similar to yours in that my DD's biodad has 3 other kids (though he lost custody of 2 of them), but is too dangerous/unhealthy to be part of our lives. It was a situation of abuse that I had to put an end to, for the sake of our safety. I've come to believe that my XH wouldn't choose to be part of his daughter's life now because it would simply be too much work for him. Aside from being an abusive alcoholic and drug user, he is also incredibly selfish and lazy, not to mention dangerously delusional. There was really no way for him to be part of DD's life in a healthy way.
When she asks about him now (she's 3.5 yrs old), I just tell her straight: "I don't know where your daddy is exactly"...same response regarding her 3 half-brothers. She seems satisfied with knowing their names and knowing that they're out there. I assume other questions will come later on as she grows up, but I have no intention of hiding anything from her. I have piles of pictures, letters and documents my ex-MIL sent me, so if DD is curious, she can have a look at those. One of things I learned by going to Al-Anon is that I simply cannot control the actions and emotions of other people, no matter how much I try. I've done my best to reinforce that with DD because I know it's a tool that'll come in handy when trying to understand the behaviour of a person like her biodad.post #10 of 101/26/12 at 3:47pm
WELL......*sigh* It's not easy. I have 3 children, ages 11, 7, and 4. The 11 year old hasn't seen her father by his own choice since she was 21months old. We were never married. I got married when she was 4 and her sisters were born of that marriage. I am now divorced and my exhusband takes all 3 girls several days a week and is a wonderful father. So, in our situation, it's a little different because the younger girls have a biodad that is very involved in all their lives. And the 11 year old is blessed to have him and she knows it but still I'm sure she will wish for her biodad some day.
That said, here's what I've learned over the 11 years I've been at this:
-only give as much info as they are asking for.
-no negative talk
-if you have a picture, hang onto it for them. visuals help.
-don't' ever close the door to a relationship with biodad. don't make that decision for your child.
As a preschooler, your child will start thinking about families and comparing his to his peers'. Expect the question, usually phrased as "X has a daddy. Do I have a daddy?" Your response: "Of course you do. Everyone has a daddy." That might be okay for a while. Don't elaborate. If we watch their signals, kids are really really good at communicating what they are ready to hear and not ready to hear. Wait for the questions to lead you to the answers if that makes sense. Don't offer where did is if your son didn't ask. He WILL ask some day. Your response should already be crafted and ready. Personally I chose to say "Well we live here in XYZ near Auntie and Papa and Uma(grandma) and your father lives in ABC near his family." That was okay for a LONG time. Just giving a place to it lasted a LONG time. Years in fact. When I married and she was 4, she wanted to know more. Thankfully my exhusband is a child of divorce and his biological father isn't in our lives for many reasons. So he could relate. We chose to tell her that she has two daddies. She has the daddy who made her and the daddy who takes care of her. And wow, isn't she lucky to have TWO! And we related it to my ex's life in that X wasn't in his life at all but Y had taken care of him and raised him since he was 10 and is in his life. She's 11 and she has just started questioning it all. She's ready. And I'll be sitting her down for THE TALK in a few days. I'm not sure yet what I plan to say but it's always been my stance that I'll let her choose how to feel and I'll give her the simple facts of the situation; something like was said above about him not being ready to be a good dad because we were 18 and 19 years old at the time she was born and so I decided I could be ready and I raised her. I have a picture of him tucked away in her baby book for her to look at if she wants to see it. Over the years I've always kept him aware of our locations so the door isn't completely closed to him. And it was completely for her, not for his benefit because he surely doesn't deserve it. But our daughter does. I don't think she's ready to see him but hopefully a picture and an explanation holds her off another few years before maybe an email or a card or something. I'm just not ready for her heart to be broken yet.
ETA: My name is the only name on her birth certificate and I maintain sole custody of her. He was given visitation which he chose not to exercise beyond 21 months old if any of this information matters.
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