Mamas of toddlers and older, I need to know - - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 06-23-2002, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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How to deal with explaining to my DD why she doesn't have a daddy.

She's not talking yet - but I am puttng her on the list for a preschool program and I know once she goes there there will be kids with daddies and the story time will probably talk of daddies - also - a few of the little board books I already have for her talk about daddies - it is the mainstream way after all.

I am wondering if there are nay resources out there where I can learn how to positively talk to her about the absence of a daddy in her life. Her father was just a donor and has never even seen her. If he did come around it would be a disaster because he's an abusive, terrifying person. He campaigned the whole preganancy to make me abort and then switched to threatening kidnapping and taking custody away from me until she was born - then dropped out of sight.

I don't want my DD to know all the terrible things about him - but I do want to tell her as honestly as possible why she doesn't have a dad - without making her too sad.

Any suggestions?
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#2 of 8 Old 06-24-2002, 12:51 AM
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Wow! I can completely understand your concern/apprehension. My dd is 18 mo but really aware and it's obvious that she understands that her friends have dads, so I'm just waiting for her to start wondering where hers is. Hopefully that is a ways away. Still, I've asked a few people about this (my therapist, friends raised w/o dads, friends who raised their kids alone...) and they have shed some good light on the matter.

One friend who's father left when she was 2 mo said that it never really bothered her and she didn't spend much time thinking about it until she was about 19 or 20. Her mom remarried and the "stepdad" is still the man she calls "Poppa". At 20 she met with her bio dad's family (he had died) and said the experience was important to her, but that she didn't feel connected to them and she doesn't visit them anymore. I pray that dd will be this lucky.

The therapist I saw during my pregnancy suggested that I be honest, but not to supply too many details. After all, your babe is half him (at least genetically) and kids will often assume that if dad is bad, I must be too. The other thing she really stressed is to make sure that you let your daughter know that you and the father aren't together because the two of you couldn't get along. In other words, it's not the baby's fault. Here again, kids will blame themselves for lots of stuff (it's the down side of ego-centric thinking).

For our situation I think I'm going to say something like, "Your dad and I tried really hard to get along, but we just couldn't. So you and I moved here to live." If she asks why he didn't move too I can honestly say that I don't know.

Oddly, just yesterday I had posted a question asking for responses from uninvolved fathers, or people who know uninvolved fathers, under the Dads forum. I'm hoping that the responses can help me see this more clearly. (I don't think that dds father is a bad person, just scared, immature, and totally unprepared for fatherhood. Still, I have a hard time understanding how he could not want to know her.)

I hope this helped, or at least gives you a starting place. Good luck, and remember that your family of two is strong enough, and big enough, to fill her life with love.

Take care,
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#3 of 8 Old 06-24-2002, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks Brenda. Your post is really helpful.

The twist for us is that the dad is someone who is potentially dangerous to her. If she ends up being gungho to go find him and ,meet him I will somehow have to convey that it isn't a good idea. For reasons related to his family's
belief system I truly believe he would be damaging to her life. It was scary getting calls from people I didn't know in the middle of the night threatening me if I didn't abort.

Perhaps she will have a good daddy who comes along. If not it is good to try and remember that our family of two is good enough. I hope she has it as easy as your friend's daughter too.

Thanks again...
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#4 of 8 Old 06-28-2002, 03:34 PM
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My situation is very similar to Brenda's in the fact that bd is not a bad person, just a bad father (hes never seen her) My dd is 2 yrs 2 months and has not asked anything, though she does sometimes call me daddy (actually often calls me daddy) not that she doesn't know that I am the Mommy but because she hears this word and doesn't quite know how to apply it, but I know these question aren't too far away.

I think I will just tell her that her Dad was not ready to be a daddy, but I love you and alway will and feel free to ask questions about your dad anytime. I think the hard thing for her maybe that her dad lives in the same town as us and now has another daughter only 18 months younger than Julianna. Its likely one day we could be shopping and just run into them. So I have to be prepared for that too.

I also used to be just like you in the fact that I was always thinking worst case scenario. My bd also threatened to take my baby away, and begged begged me to give her up, but nothing has ever come of that, and in order to keep me sane I gave up the worrying about it. I am prepared that one day bd will do the things he threatens, but I don't worry about it daily anymore. And honestly if your ex was going to do anything, he propably would have done it by now, so try to relax about that stuff, because you don't want your little one to pick up on that. When shes older (like a teenager) and wants to met her dad thats her choice, but you can protect her until then.
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#5 of 8 Old 06-28-2002, 05:17 PM
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Hello loggedout!
My DD doesn't have a father nor donor. When questions arose I told her that she didn't wait for me to find her a father, she wanted to come live on earth so badly. I also told her that maybe someday I would get married and then she would have a father who loved her with all his heart.
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#6 of 8 Old 07-01-2002, 01:34 PM
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Well, I have a slightly different perspective on this. My son and I attended a birthday party last weekend with about a dozen kids. As happens frequently in groups like this (at his daycare, etc.) a few kids were fascinated by my presence. Inevitably, I find, these are kids whose fathers are largely absent in their lives. How their mothers deal with this I have no idea, but it would seem to me that acknowledging the absence and offering some substitute or explanation (as you all have) is the first step in ensuring your child's social maturity. Cheers!
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#7 of 8 Old 07-08-2002, 04:19 PM
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My son's dad was out of the picture until he was around 10. My explanation was that he wasn't quite ready to be a dad yet, and that he knew ds was getting great parenting and lots of love. I made sure ds knew it was his dad's issue, and that it was better for dad's to be involved with their kids when they are ready and ABLE. I knew the dad would become involved eventually; we were so young. Now, at 14, ds is w/his dad 50% of the time, because the dad worked up to it.

Now, my sister's ex is a wretched and demented human, and she is tempted to tell her girls, when they're old enough, that he died. Lying is rarely the best solution; the repercussions usually really suck. I told sis to tell her kids what I told my boys when my ex-bf finally left the picture; he was sick in his heart and his head, just like some people have a sickness in their bodies or limbs. That he either a) couldn't help himself due to his illness so rather than hurt me/us, he went away so we could be happy and move on or b) he is ill and is working with special doctors to try to get better, and we don't know what will happen. It's important to state that the illness he has is not contagious to us, as we are living in a way that keeps our hearts and minds healthy.
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#8 of 8 Old 08-06-2002, 05:55 AM
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I'm not even sure you need to get into "why" for a while, if you daughter isn't even talking yet. When my daughter was really little, it was enough than Becky had a dad and a mom, but she had a mom and a dog *and* a cat. We focused more on their being all kinds of families - some kids have a mom and a dad, some have two moms or two dads, some have aunts and grandpas, some have just a mom (and a dog and a cat) and some have just a dad... the important part was having someone (or some people) who loved you.

The "why" curiosity happened later, maybe 4ish, after she got the whole sperm and ova part down.

I also think it's important for your kids to know other kids of single parents, or other non-traditional families. Actually, Rain was always fine with her dad being out of the picture when she was little, but a lot of other little kids had a really hard time grasping the idea. It would help if parents in traditional families talked more with their kids about the difefrent kinds of families that are out there...


fambedsingle1.gifSingle mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler earth.gif


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