when to tell DD that her daddy is not her biological father!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello!!

No idea if I post this here or not but I need some opinions on how and when to tell my DD (6years) that her daddy isn't actually her biological father!!! Is she still too young or should I make it common knowledge now so she is exposed to it early, or should I wait....she is very smart and will understand what I am telling her but is she ready for it? are they ever ready for it? I don't know how to tell her or when to tell her!! I think it will crush her little heart but I am not sure!! Give me some advice people please!!!!!

Thanks
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#2 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 12:41 AM
 
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Does she see her biological father? Is there a reason you feel she needs to know this right away? I say if he's the only father she's known don't worry about it until she comes asking you questions.

Give more**Expect Less
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#3 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just love how fast people respond!!

She does not know her biological father...she has maybe seen him 4 times in her life and she was very little....he chooses not to be in her life!! Her daddy has been there for her since she was 6 months old (how lucky we are to have him, he is so amazing!!)

However her biological granparents are kinda involved in her life....they see her as often as possible which is maybe only once every two years but they always send pictures and cards and presents for her!!
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#4 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 01:02 AM
 
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I think she should know as soon as possible because later it will cause her to rethink her identity suddenly, when it comes as new unexpected information. I never knew my bio father, and my dd has never known hers FWIW we were both first daughters with early stepfathers and half-siblings...

The language should be honest but w/o any heavy moral undertones IMO. It can confirm that the stepfather is the "real" father and daddy, but that you were together with another man who helped make your dd. You and bio dad who helped make dd felt like you loved each other but then turned out not to like being together so much, so now you are with the "perfect" daddy and living happily ever after....

I'm exagerrating a bit, but I think this is the basic attitude to take. Keep it simple and maintain the ultimate validity of the family you are now. Don't make a big fuss about bio dad, and it seems best to answer questions about what he is like in the form of less personal and genetically relevant superficial details.

It was a relief to know I was not my stepdad's biological child--even though he was there before I was even born we never got along well or were close--he thought my mom favored me actually over his kids--and I pretty much ended up rejecting him completely by the time I was a teen and they divorced. I was glad to be so separate though of course I hope you do not ever have an ugly situation like mine was--still the truth always lets a person see themselves more clearly and to have valid reference points for whatever feelings she has that will not turn out later to be wrong.

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#5 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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deeporgarten - Thanks for the reply.....love getting advice from someone who has been in a similar situation!!! I always thought I should make it sort of common knowledge so it isn't such a blow later on in life!!! I just think it will be hard on me not to cry when I tell her because I just don't know how she will react!!! If she sees me crying then how will that make her feel!!! Maybe she will take it better then I think....I'm not sure but I think I should tell her very soon!!!

Should I tell her myself or should her daddy and I tell her together?
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#6 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 01:30 AM
 
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I think you should tell her soon, both you and your dh.

My stepfather married my mother when I was 4 and my brother was 2. I suppose that they could have tried to make it seem like he was our father by blood but they were always honest with us and stressed that he chose to be our dad. They never talked trash about our biological father but I heard a story or two as I was growing up. The other guy was not in the picture at all and my stepfather eventually adopted my brother and I. After I was out of the house I did contact my biological father and he really was a loser.

Good luck mama.
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#7 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 01:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Trishy!!!!

I think we will be telling her soon.....I just have to get the courage and be strong for her in case she takes it hard!!!! I will let you all know how it goes!!!

I just wonder if she will feel left out because her daddy and I have a 3 year old between the two of us and a baby on the way!!!!

Thanks for the all the great advice!!! Just confirmed what was in my heart for the best thing to do for DD!!! I love Mothering!!!!!!!! No idea what I would do without it!!!!

Thanks again everyone!!!
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#8 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 02:11 AM
 
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I don't feel that my oldest dd feels left out of anything and her stepdad and I have three younger children. She and her dad do so many special things together, and he is totally caring and loving to her. I am sure sometimes she does think about it in her "my life isn't picture-perfect" moments, and that it does affect her. Kids sometimes do get frustrated about not fitting the ideal image. Sure it is possible that tensions of some kinds will exist at some point. But they seem to be navigable--try not to feel too anxious.

It is probably okay to tell her you are sad that things did not work out with bio dad, y'know, though yeah it would prabably get to her if you start crying... The less you are seeing it as a loss for her, the better. You don't want to be sending that her way. It has turned out great, so please try to think of it as just part of life's turnings rather than an avalanche. I guess all kids are different but with my kids this kind of conversation really has not really been stressful though I sometimes had difficulty finding the right words. We have had a few conversations over the course of several years and it does sometimes make me feel put on the spot that I need to explain to her things I am not 100% happy about.

Her stepdaddy is everything he needs to be for her. Her life is whole--the revelation need not be a shock and it isn't making her family less whole or less of anything. Can you get yourself thinking in those terms? It will definitely go better if you can and you may want to just give yourself some time if youneed it. Can you just talk about it naturally as part of the questions about birth and how babies are made since you are pregnant right now and it comes up? And say, well actually I didn't know daddy when I made you and... but then when you were a baby daddy and I loved each other and he loved you so much that we wanted to be a family with you and us and more children too..... and so on....

But I am probably making little sense now, please be aware that I should be in bed! My brain is sleepy. My advice could be rotten. Best wishes to you! Good night. :yawning:

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#9 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 02:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saskmom

I just wonder if she will feel left out because her daddy and I have a 3 year old between the two of us and a baby on the way!!!!
Her Daddy is her Daddy. I doubt she would feel left out unless she
was told later in life and started to question herself and her place
in the family. As long as the love between her and Daddy doesn't
change (and I doubt it would, just saying) then all should be fine.

Kids are so resilient when information is given geared to their age
group. My dd sees the world how it makes sense to her. Same
age as your dd. She has proudly explains to people that she
doesn't have a dad, she has a Pap-pap. My father has taken a
strong father role in my dd's life. So in her view of the world this
is perfectly normal. She calls my Dad and myself her parents.
She knows she has a "Daddy" but to her that is like his name rather
than his place in her life.
Once I laughed at something she did and I told her that she was
reminding me of her Daddy. We talk about him semi often, I want
her to remember what she can about him, and I want her to know
that he isn't off topic. She looked at me and said "I remind you
of Pap-pap?" I said "No your Daddy" and she replied "Oh that Daddy".

You know your dd best. You'll give her the information in the easiest
way that she can digest it. I fully believe that if a child is loved
by those around them they don't believe they are lacking anything.
Because they aren't lacking in anything. Biology isn't important to
a child, it's the love.

Your dd is blessed by the love your dh and you have for her. Blessings.

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#10 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 02:34 AM
 
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Hello

I haven't been in your situation, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I was just thinking that there is a lot of emotion in this subject for YOU.

I was also thinking that before I could attempt to communicate something like this, I would definitely need some time sitting down with my therapist (bless her!). I have found in my life that many times when I'm concerned about how someone else will react, it is because I myself need someone to help me unpack how I feel and to live with those feelings for a bit. Then I'm clear to do my communication.

If you have someone in your life like that, a therapist or a friend who asks good probing personal questions and helps you get to the bottom of your feelings, I'll bet it will give you a lot of relief and help you be ready for this conversation with your daughter. Maybe if you can unpack and unload this subject for yourself, it won't be so scary and huge to share it with her.

I wish you the best. You don't have to have a perfect conversation with your dd- you have the whole rest of your life to continue talking about it.
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#11 of 24 Old 05-15-2006, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WOW!!! everyone has such great advice and wisdom for me!!!! I appreciate everyone's posts, it makes this situation seem to be a lot easier to handle then when I first thought about it!!!
So thanks to everyone!!

We are going to talk to DD tonight in a very casual kinda way and ask if she has any questions....DH thinks she is going to take it well because she just learned that her two friends next door are adopted so we explained that to her and she thought it was great....she actually said it is just like her cabbage patch doll because it comes with adoption papers and she couldnt of picked a better doll!!! Anyway, I will post a reply on here to let you all know how it goes

FIDDLEFERN - I think you hit the nail on the head!!! I think I just need to appreciate what I have and forget about what I lost (although "losing" the bio dad was definetly not a bad thing) I need to accept the situation without any regrets and not worry about it!! Thanks very much!!
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#12 of 24 Old 05-16-2006, 11:33 AM
 
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I don't know if I'm too late, but here's my take on this.

My dad came into my life when I was about 2.5 and my brother was about a year or so. My brother and I both had different fathers, but our dad (technically stepdad) took us both in and raised us as though he was our bio father.

My mother did very little right in my childhood, but one thing she absolutely nailed with grace and finesse is the fact that our daddy wasn't our bio father. We always called him dad, daddy, whatever and it felt just like he was, but from the time we were little our bio fathers were talked about just like laundry, dinner or a school play. She'd say something like "Your hair is the exact color of Tom's" to me or to my brother "You're hair is curly like Buzz's". She and my dad always made themselves available to answer questions we may have about why the bios weren't involved.

Honestly, as I hit my teen years, I was confused about where I fit in my family. Mom married my brother's father, but not mine so my bro had his bios last name, I had my mom's maiden name and since at the time she wasn't married to my real dad (not bio) he was the only one with his last name. So in a family of 4 there were 3 different last names. But I never had a doubt in my mind that my dad was my dad...blood relation or not, and I also never felt betrayed or hurt because it was just a fact of our life.

Kind of a confusing story, but relevant, I think. I believe the longer you wait to tell dd, then the more likely it is she will feel hurt and betrayed. The sooner you have this converstation, the better, IMHO.

HTH
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#13 of 24 Old 05-16-2006, 11:58 AM
 
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My paternal grandfather is not my biological grandfather. He adopted my dad at the age of twelve. This was always presented to us kids as just a matter-of-fact kind of thing. I don't know when this was presented or how, I just have memories of being around 5 and being fully aware of the facts: 1) that my grandfather was not biologically related to my father, 2) that he was a great guy who raised my father and loved all of his children (biological and not) as his own.

Mom to Kira March 2009
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#14 of 24 Old 05-16-2006, 12:13 PM
 
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My daddy is not my biological father. My bio father left when I was three weeks old and I have seen him exactly 4 times my entire life - all instigated by my mother. Mom and Dad got married just before I turned 4 and he adopted me just before I turned 6. I have never not known that he was not my biological father. I have never not known that I was adopted. I have zero idea how mom told me, because I don't remember ever not knowing.

I do think that if you wait until she has begun to establish her identity, she will most likely feel betrayed. I know that if my mom had waited to tell me until I met my bio father at 12, I would have been crushed and devastated. I agree with PP that you should just be very matter-of-fact about it.
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#15 of 24 Old 05-16-2006, 01:24 PM
 
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Hello! I am in the same boat as the op! Only my situation is a bit different: I was engaged to my dd's biological father-we broke up just as I was pregnant with #2, and dd#1 was almost two. Bio-dad was there for #1 off and on during the pregnancy and was there when #2 was born, held her and cut the cord and so on, but lost interest and left when dh and I got together when #2 was four months old. Dh has raised them since, #2 as his own and #1 as a step-child, but he treats them both as if they were his own, and calls them his kids, and as far as they, he, and I are concerned, they are his.

Well, #2 is now three, and really has no unearthly idea that her dad is not her bio-dad. What I finally did do was show her a picture of bio-dad and tell her that he is her biological dad, and but that dh is her daddy. She doesn't understand it now, but I figure if I keep telling her, and letting her now, by the time she finally gets it, it won't be a shock. It's also good because dd#1 knows that he is her bio-dad, but recognizes that dh is her step-dad. Dd#2 looks up to and follows her big sis, so that makes the situation a bit easier for us.

I really think it's easier to just tell them when they are young, so they grow up "always knowing" per say. That way it won't be a huge shock when they get older, because they will have always heard it.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#16 of 24 Old 05-16-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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my Dh's dd started to figure out something was "wrong" around 6-7yrs. She took it really hard when she found out the truth. She privately thought she was adopted. Her bio-mom never wanted the dc to know that Dh wasn't her birth father (very religous family and Dh married her when she was pg with another man's child) but bio-mom was crushed when the dc thought that bio-mom wasn't her bio-mom.
Overall it but a big dent in Dh's relationship with her and for about 1yr the dc told her parents not to tell her other siblings.
All in all I think it's best to talk about it from an early age.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#17 of 24 Old 05-16-2006, 09:16 PM
 
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I think it is great that you are going to be honest with your dd. When I was 15 I found out that I wasn't my dad's bio-daughter and that my brothers were only my half bros. I was devastated. I went from being a straight A student to getting D's and F's. Needless to say I felt betrayed and alienated.

Now, 12 years later I have deep regrets that I wasn't given the opportunity to get to know my bio-dad and his wonderful family when I was younger.

My son is being raised by a man who is not his bio-father (he died when our son was a year old) I have and will continue to be open and honest with him about who his bio-father was so as to avoid him ever having to go through the shock I did as a teen.

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~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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#18 of 24 Old 05-17-2006, 01:22 PM
 
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I haven't read all replies but I think you should tell her ASAP. Just reassure her that it does not mean he loves her any less.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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#19 of 24 Old 05-17-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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I grew up knowing I was adopted.

I'm sort of torn on this. I had all these problems as a teenager that I think are related to my feelings about being adopted: acceptance, peer pressure, self-esteem were all magnified for me. A part of me wonders what my life would have been like if I had not been told until I was mature enough to handle that knowledge.

Then again, I have a friend who did not find out until he was 24. And it wasn't even his parents who told him. They were never going to tell him. I think it was kind of a slap in the face at that age, but he accepted it quickly.

I think sometimes if you have all of childhood to think about these things, you can go through your teenage years saying and feeling, "You're not my dad!" But at a later age, it's more like, "Thank you for being my dad." You know what I mean?

So I guess, go with your gut, but it might be a lot for a kid to handle.
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#20 of 24 Old 05-18-2006, 01:43 AM
 
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Saskmom is my sister

She told Madi - her daughter and it went well... they had a dress rehearsal for a dance recital that is tomorrow so she is going to post more details when she gets a chance.

Thank you all for being so supportive, offering advice and telling the 'been there done that's' - I know it's helped her out a lot.

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#21 of 24 Old 05-19-2006, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello everyone!!!!

Thanks again for all your replies and like my wonderful seester said we did tell our dd!!! It went amazingly well.....we basically told her the story and at first I think I was being a little serious about it and she got tears in her eyes and then I put a smile on my face and asked if she was ok and she started to laugh so I think she felt my tension so I loosened it up a bit. I told her that her mommy and a different guy made and created her. So just like her firends who lived next door,(who are adopted) she is kinda adopted. We explained that DH was not actually her "real" father but her step father. To make a long story short because I feel like this is babbling a little bit....she basically understood everything....we showed her pictures of her bio dad and asked if she thought she looked like him or remembered him at all...which she didn't....the only question she asked was where does he live....We told her that if she ever had any other questions about him to always ask us whenever and to never hesitate...it was great and I feel a tremendous weight lifted off of my shoulders...the best part about the whole thing was when we were explaining to her that her "daddy" picked her and my DH said he was so glad that he picked such a great daughter and she replied saying she is glad she got such a great daddy!!! Definetly put tears in my eyes!!

So once again, I appreciate everyone's posts and hope that those going through it can get through it and learn from everyone else because I sure feel much better about it!! I almost felt like I was lying to her and now I feel closer to her!! Thanks everyone!!!
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#22 of 24 Old 05-19-2006, 02:34 AM
 
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saskmom I am so glad this went well. Thanks so much for
the update I had been thinking heavy on your dd.
to you,

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#23 of 24 Old 05-19-2006, 02:41 AM
 
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I'm glad to hear it went well with your DD. I've already had a similar conversation with my 4yo! He didn't quite understand what I was talking about, but once he's old enough to learn the basics of human reproduction, this factoid isn't going to surprise or upset him.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#24 of 24 Old 05-21-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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I think it should always be told from the beginning. It's never to early to start teaching her the right from the wrong. Teach her that he is not the real daddy of hers but that he is the one who is raising her and playing the father role and that she may choose to call him daddy if she'd like or see him as daddy but know she has a real one.

I have two sons from a previous marriage. We split up when I was about 2 months pregnant with my 2nd child and the oldest was 2. The oldest knew all along that he had a dad even though he was in the navy and pretty much never around. Now the baby didnt start doing visits with him till he was a year old. At this time my now husband was alreayd playing a dad role in his life. I make sure to always tell him that it's daddy to teach him but I know they will choose who is being a dad
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