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What do you tell them??? DD is almost 3 and she's starting to realize that most kids have daddies and she doesn't! I don't know what to tell her now or later on. I don't want my girls to feel sad and hurt that their dad doesnt care enough about them to be in their life, but what do I tell them???

What do you tell your toddlers when they say stuff like "I don't have a daddy" or "Where is my daddy??"

And what do you tell them when they start hitting school age and wonder about their absent parent??

And I knwo it's a long way off, but it's going to come all too fast, what do I tell them as teenagers when they get the idea that they want to meet their father?? He is NOT a good person to be around and I know he will only hurt them. Do I let them figure that out on their own?? Or should I tell them exactly how he is when they get to that age??

This is just something that's on my mind constantly lately. I don't intend to have a DH in my life anytime in the near future, so they won't really have any males to stand in as a father figure in their life, am I wrong for choosing to remain a single mom and NOT have a father figure in their life at all???
 

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Just wanted to commiserate, but I have no answers. Owen is 3 years and 5 months. He sees his dad rarely, but I don't think he even puts 2 and 2 together and realizes that's his dad (I don't think he understands what "dad" is). He has a severe speech delay so he doesn't ask questions so he's never asked about a dad. He's never even said the word "dad". I have absolutely no idea what I'll do when he does bring it up.
 

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:

My SIL is in a similar situation, she's a single mom and her 3y.o. ds's dad is a total deadbeat dad (warrant out on him for nonpayment of cs and all that...), and she has finally started the process to change her ds's last name to hers and to tpr of the bio dad. I don't know what she tells her ds, if anything.
 

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I'm in this situation, too.

DS is 21 months and has never known his father. Of course, he's too young to really understand yet - but I want to be prepared when the time comes.

My plan is to be honest:

"Yes you have a father. No, I don't know where he is now. No, you can't see him.

We made the decision before you were born that we couldn't live together any more. I was lucky, I got to have you.

He was very young and had alot of growing up to do. He wasn't ready to have a family. I don't know what he was feeling - or how he feels now. All I do know is that I love you.

Yes - I'm all grown up and was ready to have a family the minute I knew you were going to be my baby. I will always be your mommy."

You know, that kind of thing. The one thing I'm going to try hard to avoid is offering any insight into what X was or is feeling or why he did what he did. I want it to be clear that I DON'T understand that behaviour because I could never do it.

Also, to paraphrase a thought from Anne LaMott's 'Operating Instructions':some kids don't have mommies that live with them, some kids don't have daddies that live with them, some kids are born without legs, some kids don't have houses to live in - but when you have lots of love, you often don't notice the things you don't have.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by emnjjsmom View Post
He is NOT a good person to be around and I know he will only hurt them. Do I let them figure that out on their own?? Or should I tell them exactly how he is when they get to that age??

This is just something that's on my mind constantly lately. I don't intend to have a DH in my life anytime in the near future, so they won't really have any males to stand in as a father figure in their life, am I wrong for choosing to remain a single mom and NOT have a father figure in their life at all???
Hi again,

Just wanted to give my opinion on your questions ~ my plan is keep an open dialogue with DS re: his father (as much as he wants to anyway). I hope to show him pictures, tell him happy stories of our time together, etc. I don't want him to think his father is a piece of shit, or that he's off limits. I think DS is going to have some kind of romantic ideas about his father no matter what I say and I just want to make sure he feels he can talk to me about them.

If as a teenager, he decides that he wants to find him - I hope I'll let him. That he'll know not to expect anything and be prepared for that, but also that if he needs to do it, I'll help him and stand by him.

I don't think it will ever be productive to 'give' your DD your impression of your ex as it relates to her. I think it's always best to let her form her own opinions and ideas and just be there for her.

Our instinct is to protect our kids from being hurt like we were - but that's not practical. All people get hurt and disappointed at one time or another. I think it's my job to help him work through it so it doesn't create bigger issues and to let him know I will always be there for him.

Also, I don't think it's selfish at all not to find another DP. I do think it would be helpful for your DD (and my DS) to have male influence in her life if possible. A grandfather, an uncle, 'big brother' kind of thing. If not, I wouldn't worry - there will be planty of opportunity as she gets older.
 

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My son is 14 now and hasn't seen his father since he was 2. When he was very young, I would answer his questions as best I could.

"Why doesn't my dad see me?"
" Because he has an illness that makes it hard for him to take care of anyone but himself right now" (this is true. His dad was/is a drug addict- which I consider an illness)

"Where is my daddy?"
"I don't know, honey, but even when he doesn't see you I'm sure he loves you."

"Am I like my daddy?"
"In some ways. Your dad's favorite ice cream was vanilla. Just the same as yours."

Now that he is older, I have told him some of the details he needs to know. About his father's drug addiction. That he made choices that did not enable him to be a parent. That it is his father's choice not to see ds. I don't speak badly of him, though. I don't discuss details. But I feel my teenaged son needs to know some of this info in order for him not to make the same mistakes. Some may feel it's wrong but in my case, I felt it was the right thing. If ds were a different person, I'm sure I'd have handled it another way but he does best when people are straight with him and don't try to dance around the truth with platitudes. He still asks questions about meeting his father in the future and I've let him know that I'll help any way I can when that time comes. right now ds is fine with the way things are- he's very busy growing up and still learning about himself. Adding something as emotional and scary as meeting his father is not in his plan until a few years from now.
 

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When dd was little, I simply told her that we don't have a daddy in our family- our family is a mama and a baby. I'd point out other "alternative" families in our lives- "Simon has two mamas" and "Sage's family is just like ours with a mama and a baby", etc.

As she got older I told her and started with more questions I told her that I had a friend who gave me some sperm, which is how I made her. That led to her asking me to stop for some sperm on the way home one day so she could have a baby brother.


The situation has changed recently with paternity stuff cropping up, but that's how I dealt with it for years. It worked okay for us.

Good luck mama!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by feminist~mama View Post
That led to her asking me to stop for some sperm on the way home one day so she could have a baby brother.

:

These are all very good, thoughtful responses.
 

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nak

DS is blessed to have a "daddy" (though I certainly don't think its necessary!!) so we haven't gotten to those questions yet, but it won't be forever before he notices that his last name is different, he is the only brown eyed one, etc. Our plan is to tell him similar things to sunflower such as bio dad was ill (drug addiction), he had to move away to get better, etc. I don't know if I'll ever tell him that his bio dad went through DNA and that I tried to contact pat. gparents and they never responded. In our case, I'll tell him that he was so special his daddy asked to be his daddy and someday when my father allows it *he's helping DH and I through school and is against adoption until we've been married a few more years*, we'll probably make it legal, but that won't change what I tell him. If he still wants to find his bio dad, I have a current address for his parents at least and I'll help him. He can come to his own conclusions. My one big "I don't know" issue at this point is what to do about his half sibs...I'm positive he has 1 sister and I believe there's a paternity action on at least one other child, and since I haven't seen him in almost 3 years, there may be more. That's going to be harder for me
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by feminist~mama View Post
When dd was little, I simply told her that we don't have a daddy in our family- our family is a mama and a baby. I'd point out other "alternative" families in our lives- "Simon has two mamas" and "Sage's family is just like ours with a mama and a baby", etc.

As she got older I told her and started with more questions I told her that I had a friend who gave me some sperm, which is how I made her. That led to her asking me to stop for some sperm on the way home one day so she could have a baby brother.


This is what I plan to do too - DD's father was a donor {local} so he will never be in the picture.
 

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nak

my mom always would say that i had a dad but he lived in greece (which was true.) as i got older, she'd point out different families to show i wasn't the only one in a "weird" family. as a teenager, i was allowed to call my dad whenever i wanted, but after the first time i no longer wished to. she was always open to me talking about my frustrations with my dad, which helped.
 

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I've talked to DS about the basics of reproduction, and told him that the man he knows as "Daddy" (his big sisters' bio dad) isn't his bio dad- a different man "helped make you." I explained that DS' bio dad isn't a safe person to be around right now so he's not part of our lives.
 

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My kids' dad hasn't lived here since 1997. They've spoken on the phone, and my oldest has gone to see him twice, but the other two don't remember him at all and aren't the least bit interested in pursuing a relationship with him. They don't even really want to talk to him on the phone when he does call. They quit asking about him ages ago.

When they were little I just answered their questions truthfully as they asked them. If they asked where he was I told them 'In Ontario'. If they asked if he loved them I told them yes he did, very much. If they asked why he was never there I told them that he decided to move back to Ontario where his mommy and daddy lived because he wasn't ready to live in Alberta right now. If they asked if they would ever see him I would say I didn't know. If they askedme if I loved him I said I used to, but not enough to live with him any more. If they asked if they could go live with him I told them they could but that I'd be sad if they did, and that they'd have to ask him if they even could go live with him. (I knew he'd never in a million years have them come to live with him - he basically didn't want anything to do with me or them once I moved out and then he lost his license for non payment of child support)

I have always encouraged them to talk to him, for him to call and email them, to send them gifts, for them to send him stuff on Fathers Day, but his lack of interest over the years has made them realize he's pretty much never going to want to be part of their lives. I am remarried, unfortunately my current husband hasn't turned out to be much of a father either. But he is there for them every day.
 

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Kids are so open-minded. I just concentrate on staying centered in our reality and making it the best that it can be.

I've never had any questions from my kids about our unique family setup. I think it is because it doesn't feel like anything's missing, YK? I also make sure to surround us with lots of other eclectic and self-realized people and families. When living like that, 'different' describes everyone around us in their own way.


As far as being 'different' goes - it's just another shade of terrific, AFAIC.
 

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I am not in the position you are in, but I wanted to comment to say that I think it is awesome you are thinking ahead and looking for advice before this happens. My biological father opted to stay with his wife when my mom got pregnant (it's such a long story, but in the end it was the best thing; my mom, although young, was a great single parent and eventually married a wonderful man who adopted me and is my Father in every way but biological), and my mother refused to answer any questions I had regarding the issue of "where is my father?". I learned very early on that mommy did not want to talk about it, and she was almost hostile if I did bring it up.

A dear friend of mine has a son and decided when he was born (since by that time his father had already decided he would have nothing to do with them) that she would never tell him about his father. I told her that, from the perspective of a child left by a parent, that she needs to be prepared for those questions and that she needs to be ready to answer them honestly, because if she does not he will most likely blame himself. Children are great at placing blame on themselves for these types of situations, especially when they feel the grown-ups are not being honest with them. I believed for a long time that I was deemed unworthy by my bio-father, especially once I found out he had more children, children he fought for the custody of when he and his wife finally split. It was not until I met him as an adult that I was finally able to see that this man would not have been a positive influence in my life and understood my mother's decision to sever ties with him. And I have always wondered if perhaps had my mom been more open with me about what happened, then I would not have blamed myself or resented her for driving him away.

I'm sharing this because I hope that it will encourage anyone who may feel the need to hide away what happened to be open with their children, and to say how wonderful I find it that Mamas here are willing to be open with their children, it really is a gift you can give them.
 

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I also want to add this -

Can you absolutely know that your child will never know their dad? Did their dad pass away? Because, if not, it is possible that he may be involved later.

My first child's dad appeared more-frequently years after she was born. Many other single mama's children have had that same experience. I've know at least 3 other IRL mamas whose baby-daddy showed up on the scene 5 or 10 years down the road. . .
 

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I don't have advice for you, exactly... I just thought I'd tell you about my experience.

When I was young I asked about my biological father a lot, and wanted to meet him. My mother was honest about how her relationship with him had basically been a one week affair. She was still in contact with him even though he lived in another state, because she felt he should know about his child, but he didn't want to meet me. I had all kinds of fantasies about how wonderful he would be, how happy I would be to meet him, and how our lives would have been so much better if my parents had stayed together. I wrote letters to him asking him to come see us. I think it is probably normal for kids to wonder and fantasize like this about the absent parent.

Then he suddenly wanted to meet us, and came to visit us. I think I was 11 at the time. Of course, he was a total stranger to me. He came up to me and suddenly grabbed me and hugged me (while I was trying to escape) and told me he loved me. Imagine, a strange older man doing that. It was horrible and creepy!!

Anyway, it is now 30 years later and I still don't feel any connection with this man. I think by the time we finally met, it was just too late for me to feel as though he were part of the family. We have nothing in common except genetics. I think of him as "the sperm donor." Unfortunately, as I have gotten older, he has wanted to play a "father" role more and more. He came to my college graduation and my wedding even though he wasn't welcome. He calls me at odd hours, wants to know about my life and then tells me if he "approves" of my choices in life (as though it matters to me). He insists on visiting from time to time, and whenever he visits, he always grabs me against my will and hugs me (he is really tall and I am very small) and it is SO creepy for me. In the past I have tried to cut him out of my life entirely, but other relatives always make me feel guilty about doing that because he is my "father."

It's easy for me to wish I had never met him and he had just remained an abstract "sperm donor"... On the other hand, if my mother had hidden him from me, I probably would have continued to fantasize about how wonderful it would have been to meet him, I would have been angry at my mother for hiding the information, and it would have been a big issue for me. So I guess it is better that she was honest and open, even though it means that I have to put up with an extremely irritating relationship with him as an adult.

Edited to add: We didn't have another father figure around when I was a kid, either. But my mother had several close female friends, who were a big part of my life, and are all still very close to this day. I'm very happy about that. One's family doesn't have to consist of "father" and "mother" to be close and loving and supportive.
 

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Honestly I think some mothers and fathers are over-rated, just cos they biologically concieved a person doesn't make them a real parent, I mean I know people with 2nd or 3rd partners who are far more caring than the biological parent. My eldest dd went through a bad phase of feeling hurt by her 'fathers' absence of interest or care towards her, he's always known where she is but just doesn't bother. How hurtful! I went through similar as a child, my 'mother' ran off when I was a baby, she also abandoned my 3 half-sisters who I am just finding out about, to get drunk and sleep around. I was left with my 'father' and taken into care age 5.
I always yearned for my biological parents to love me, I demanded to meet my mother at age 12, what a letdown but it was needed as i was a wreck. I think I'd put her up on a pedestal cos she was like some sort of untouchable. It made her more human to me to actually meet her. I met her the once. I was the one who made the effort to keep in touch with my father over the years but really it's just been a big letdown. Thing is as a child I really needed some sort of closure over the whole parent thing but social services and foster parents just expected me to forget they existed, it doesnt work like that tho. I've had major rejection issues my whole life but am ok now. Being a single mom can make it hard sometimes as I feel very alone with no family support/care from what could have been extended family for us through expartners family, but there is nothing. But my dc are my family and they have me. I will never live with a guy again either. If your ex is someone you do not wish to be around your dc then imo you should keep it that way, I was fooled into letting ex see my dd when she was little, a mistake.
I reckon children will always want to know who their biological parents are but that doesn't mean that those parent(s) will be a positive influence in their lives. I agree with being truthful about things to your dc, and protecting them from involvement with people who don't care about them, including absent parents. I don't know what you can say to your wee one but your honesty and integrity will be appreciated now and later in life, I'm sure. I can relate to tamagotchi's post as I too have been made to feel that I should care about my father just cos he's my 'father' and have also had him attempting to tell me what to do. Like I care. Some crazy guiltripping, I'm way beyond that!
 
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