Need Advice about Bio Dad in Jail - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 09-18-2013, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been thinking about this for 2 months now and I am still not sure what to do. My 8 and 12 year old daughter's father, who left us and moved 2000 miles away in 2006, is in jail and will probably be going to federal prison for a few years on drug related charges. He has been minimally involved with their lives since he left. For the first 4 years there was no contact at all. When he was faced with jail time for not paying child support in 2010 he started paying monthly and, much to my dismay, calling about once a month. Since then he has come to vist three times, last visit was in 2011. He hasn't been reliable with child support payments or about calling, but he was planning to come visit for my 12 year old's bday in July. The day before he was supposed to drive out here he and his fiance were arrested and had their baby taken away. I told my girls that he is having financial problems and wouldn't be coming to visit. They haven't asked me about him since then, and they never have really. When he would call they frequently would not want to talk to him and I wouldn't make them. The only thing he does for them really is pay CS, which helps our family out a lot and which we have been struggling without.
The only reasons I am considering telling them what happened is because 1) we have been struggling so much financially without child support, 2) I don't want them to feel like he just dropped off the face of the earth and forgot about them (though they don't really seem to care either way), and 3) he wants to write to them and/ or call them. I am really concerned he will say something inappropriate over the phone or in his letters, I am planning to read the letters first before giving them to my girls, but I am hoping he will have a good explanation or cover story and I can let the chips fall where they may. However, I am worried that knowing their father is in jail will be very damaging for my girls and and since he is not really involved with their lives and they never even ask me about him, do I really need to tell them? I have created a nice family life for my girls, I am married to a very nice man who they call Daddy (well, mostly the 8 year old calls him that), they have a very regular routine, an adorable baby brother (mine, not the ex's), and I am a stay at home mom. I have worked hard to make things nice for them because they didn't really have a Dad for so long and i just want them to have the chance to grow and have normal lives. The last thing I want is for this news of their irresponsible f-up "father" going to jail to give them issues or upset them. Mostly, I think they would be concerned about his new son, their half brother, and what has happened with him. It's such a messy situation and I really don't know what the best thing to do is. I know honesty is the best policy, but I have my doubts in this instance, and really don't want to do the wrong thing. If i continue to "lie" by just not bringing it up, other than letters from him, there is no way they would find out (we don't know anyone who knows him). But if I don't tell them SOMETHING, they may feel like he doesn't care and stopped calling bc of that (but him not calling is sort of old news so I doubt they will think much of it). Has anyone been in a similar situation and have any advice?

Deirdre partners.gif partner to Josiah , mama of jumpers.gif, and.... it's a BOY!!!! babyf.gif4/23/2011
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#2 of 2 Old 09-18-2013, 12:54 PM
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They are old enough to hear the truth.  I think you do a disservice by coming up with a cover story.  

Your dad made some bad choices, and broke the law.  He is in jail, and you can choose whether you want to speak with him on the phone or write letters to him.  We are here for you, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them. 

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