to tell my dc's that their grandad is dead, when he isn't?(60 Posts)
ok,not their grandad (that name is reserved for someone special)although he is my father.
my parents divorced when i was 9 and my father fucked off to spain and never saw us again.
my mother then married an abusive alcoholic (she was on the rebound and he hid it well,had his own business,seemed handsome/charming etc)
we were all miserable until she finally divorced him.
so,all in all,my db and i had a pretty miserable childhood.
we both have our ishoos.
my mum met a lovely guy when i was in my late teens,and my kids call him grandad.
my eldest dd,who is a very perceptive 4 year old,asked me yesterday who my daddy was.
i have to say my heart dropped.i still find it hard to talk about.
people who know me know this and don't mention him.
i don't want to tell her that he went away.she is really sensitive and may worry that my dh could do this to her.
would it be better to tell her he was dead? (i wish he were,then i wouldn't have to lie)
Lying never really pays off... just delays the inevitable. Tell her as much of the truth in as age-appropriate a way as you can. e.g. He was a bad man & a bad daddy and he went to live somewhere else. But her Daddy is a good man and good daddies don't go away. Children are very good at dealing with things we find difficult if you play it with a straight bat and as few embellishments as possible.
She asked who he was not where he was - can you not start off by saying his name was x.
If she asks where he is I would tell her the truth. You can reassure her that her Daddy is much nicer and would never do that.
At school she is going to hear about a lot of Daddy's that don't live with their kids... you can't protect her forever and I don't think lying to her about this is a good idea.
tbh I think you'd be better off being honest, as she'll be upset if/when she finds out the truth later in life. "He wasn't a very nice person and we went to live abroad. I don't see him any more" would cover it fine for a 4yo. You don't even have to mention that it happened when you were young, unless she starts to ask more questions. If she does, you can stress that "nice people" like her daddy don't do things like that.
I think telling them that he is dead when he isn't will only lead to confusion, recrimination and their own ishoos when/if (and it probably really is when rather than if ) they find out.
Tell her a very sanitised version of the truth. Say that your daddy and Grandma were once married, but when you were 9 your daddy went to live in Spain but Grandma didn't go too. Now Grandma is married to Granddad and every one is happy.
I sympathise. My DS's "Grandpa" is my mum's partner, not my dad, but this is through death (dad died when I was 23) rather than divorce. When he wants to kno who my daddy was, I am goinbg to have to try and find a way of telling him that DH is not going to die.
DH doesn't speak to his dad (fir reasons I won't go into) and when DD (4) was asking about our parents I just said to her that Daddy doesn't speak to his daddy because they don't get on very well. She was perfectly happy with that explanation.
I think the concept of death, and fathers having died, opens up a whole load of other issues. Much better to explain that he went away with lots of reassurance that her daddy won't do that.
Is she not just as likely to worry that her daddy may die too, if you go with the dying story?
If I were you I would be honest. Tell her that he was not a nice person and you are much happier he is not around. Some people don't get nice daddies but she is very lucky that she has one. I don't think there is any benefit in going with the death angle. Won't you have ot get your mum and the rest of your family to lie as well? At what age will you tell her the truth or will you keep it up forever?
It is always best to be honest. If they find out later they won't trust you. Blue-Fergie puts it simple terms-no need for more than that.
I agree, lying always comes out in the end. I don't see any of my family, and I have had to explain to my dc that they didn't behave nicely towards mummy, and that wasn't ok. It's been difficult at times, but far better than lying to them - I'm pretty sure kids can tell on some level anyway.
My DH doesn't talk to his parents and my DCs didn't know their grandparents, until we bumped into them walking towards us 300 miles from either of our homes!! Try explaining that if they're supposed to be dead!!
My DH has just explained that they're not very nice people and we don't like to spend time with them. Not ideal, but better than lying I think.
My Daddy is called x. He lives in Spain. Show old photo if handy.
Children are quite good at accepting that this is the way things are. It is very (understandably) difficult for you to think/talk about but for her it's another how the world works question. Give her a simple answer and she'll probably move on to something else quickly.
have to say, it's so refreshing to hear that I am not the only person who has done such a taboo thing as cutting off their family. Aside from telling dc it's a really difficult thing to have to explain to people generally!
I wouldn't lie. Tell her the truth - his name and where he is. Answer questins simply and briefly. Children arepretty accepting at this age.
Lying may well store up more probles for the future.
I'm in similar position to you family wise - my eldest dc is 7 - when she asked this question (as EVERY dc does) I said that Grandad was like my dad. She's never really gone into too much detail after that first question.
Now it doesn't matter where my real father is but that Grandad is there for them. I'm pretty sure that they know that there is someone else floating about somewhere but are happy with what they've got.
Don't say that he's dead - that makes an issue out of something that really isn't to your dc.
I understand why you ave done it but YABU. I have a similar situation in that I have no contact with my father. I have told my curious DD aged 5 that I have a father but I don't see him much and will tell her more when she is older. I also have a stepdad who she calls granddad so I say he is like a dad to me. She's never enquired further. The trouble with lying about him being dead is that it will almost certainly come out at some point so a diluted version of the truth is better IMO.
I have been in a similar situation and had thought about telling my children my parents are dead but I felt it was wrong. Kids can take more than you realise and just because someone is sensitive it doesn't mean they can't handle saying "my daddy didn't want to live with us so went away. Your daddy loves living with us so would never go away."
You are lucky that you have a mother and your children have both parents and grandparents. Don't worry so much though I know how hard that is.
i tell everyone that asks thst he's dead,i always have done.i found it easier to deal with that way,and people never asked anymore questions after that.
you're probably right though,it would be worse if she thought dh could die
btw..he moved back to the area a few years ago.about 6 months ago i stopped at a pedestrian crossing,and he walked right infront of my car...i had to fight the urge to floor it!
I often wish mine were dead. shocking I know, but life would be simpler.
After a few howling mistakes when the DCs were small I have practised minimal but honest information sharing about tricky subjects (sex, family, race issues). Small kids are amazingly accepting. I'd start with " his name is x and he lives in Spain
" for now. That's what I did with my then-estranged father. We're now back on good terms andDC1has only now (9) asked why he doesn't live with granny. If you talk about your DP being nicer/ not leaving, you might put ideas into her head that she wouldn't have thought of.
AngryBeaver - I am suprised you still recognised him!
If she mixes with other children she will already realize that no everyone has a daddy at home. It's never a good idea to tell lies about things like this - they always come back to bite you at some stage.
angry, my mum told me that her mother was dead. whenever I asked about her family I was told that her mum had died when she was 14 and not to ask gramps about it because he was devestated.
gramps died 16 years ago when i was 16
2 years ago I found out that my mums mother had in fact died 6 months after my grandad and had in fact run off with another man when my mum was 14. I will never forgive my mum for that. she projected her own ishoos with her mum onto me and outright lied to me. she never thought i would find out.
i agree with hulababy.
I don't think it's ever OK to lie about stuff like this. What if your DCs should later discover that you've been dishonest?
Have very similar situation and have told my DD(3) who asked about my daddy, etc, that we don't see him because he's not very kind. She seemed ok with that once I'd divulged his name, shoe size, etc.
I really lying about this will just create more problems both now and later on...
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