Telling small children about estranged half-brother(10 Posts)
Have name changed for this but am a regular (poo cube & Angela Hernandez my personal faves).
DH was married before when he was 20, they had a little boy, then a godawful breakup and never spoke again apart from through the CSA. He never saw his son again.
Cue me entering his life 10 years later, we now have 2 DDs aged 5 and 3. He is having counselling about contacting his estranged son who will be 18 next year.
So far we haven't told the girls about their half brother, but would like to very soon. Just wondering if any of you had experience of telling your DCs about half siblings, or equally important, have you been on receiving end of this news and found out about previously unknown family members.
Still trying to decide whether we tell the girls now and be honest that we don't know whether estranged son will want to meet us all, or wait until we have tried to contact him and then tell girls when we have something more concrete to tell them about him. (As likely questions will include Is he coming to live here, does he like Rice Krispies, will he watch Dora with me, etc etc).
Any advice/experience to share? Thanks.
I would wait until there is something to tell them.
They are very young and telling them that they have a brother who they might never meet may be too much for them to take in.
I agree with flurp, I'd let your DH pave the way with his son and see if there's a relationship to be had with him first then when you know there is i'd then tell them.
Thanks for the replies!
I suppose I would like to get the information in 'under the radar' a little, so they grow up always knowing he exists, even if they never meet him.
Certainty about whether they will ever meet him might take a long time. I want to avoid the 'why didn't you tell us before' conversation which might come if they were say 8 or 10.
But don't want to freak them out either! I Just don't know, hence wanting to know other people's experiences....
I don't think you will freak them out whatever you tell them. In fact I suspect you will be astonished by how uninterested they are if you tell them about a half brother that they have not met, and if they then don't go on to meet him soon after you tell him they may well not even remember hearing about him. For that reason I'd wait a while to see whether anything comes of it, or until they are a little older, before you bring it up, but I don't think telling them now would be bad or difficult, just potentially pointless.
I had this happen to myself. Never has it bothered me. I ask about him and my half sister sees him, and has a good relationship with him. For the first time in my life I met him at half sisters wedding. I was bridesmaid, she sat me on the same table as him, opposite seated from one another and he didn't even acknowledge me or say hi. To this day I don't care if I have a relationship with him. He's in his thirties and you would think he would've taken lead and introduces himself with me being at least 10 years younger but no, nothing.
Watching with interest, though in slightly different circumstances. DH hasn't seen his 15yo D for nearly 2 years (her choice, not his) and we have a 2.5 yo DS together. We also regularly see my other DSD who is 13 and has a great relationship with her little brother. I love her to bits. We still have photos of SD around the house, though feel slightly hypocritical about that, and i'll never discourage DSD2 from talking about her sister. But i feel quite strongly that SD1 should not just be able to walk back into DS's life like nothin ever happened at some unknown point in the future. He doesn't know her and i don't care much for her. But i guess it's my responsibility to try to establish her as a sister in my DS's conscious thinking at some point. He'll have to decide if he wants to get in touch with her if she doesn't re-enter our lives of her own volition in due course. I feel really quite resentful about the whole situation having witnessed the distress she has caused to my DH.
I'm guessing your DH decided not to have contact with his son, OP, all those years ago? In which case, your DDs are too young to get their hopes up too soon. There's probably quite a lot of angst and resentment involved in the situation that would need resolving first.
Yup, angst and resentment pretty much covers it. There's also the added complication of DH father who persuaded him that stepping out of the situation was the 'right and noble' thing to do. He's a bit all or nothing in his approach to parenting.... I can see how they thought it was best at the time as it was all so painful, but in honesty I think it was a little irresponsible of FiL to be so opinionated. A letter every so often might have bridged a gap. Anyway I wasn't there so I can't really judge anyone, I just want my children to know the truth from a young age, can't bear the thought of family secrets....
Think we will try and establish some sort of contact in the next year or so, meanwhile drip feeding bits of basic info to the girls. Like people say, they will probably be "yeah right, can I watch octonauts now?" But I was interested in others experiences.
No right answer for these things, is there? Thanks for the replies y'all...
do you have any photos up of him?
as this what friend of mine have done
they have his photo out and and they talk about him
the dad always says he has 5 children and names him and adds his birthday to the family list
his youngest son has never met him but knows who he is
My ex found out age 18 that he had 3 half brothers from his dad's first marriage. It shook his trust in his parents that something like that had been kept a secret from him. In your situation I would definitely introduce the information now, without making a big deal of it, so that your DDs have always known, even if there is no relationship there. But my experience is very much second hand.
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