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to think I should have said something before but now don't know what to do

(19 Posts)
Ithinkitsjustme Tue 25-Sep-12 11:18:16

My DS1 was born after a short, inadvised "relationship" with someone who didn't want to know. When he was 1 year old I met my DH and we got married when DS1 was 3. My DH adopted him and all was well. My DS1 has always known this and has no interest in finding his "natural" unnatural father, he is now nearly 20. However, since we married my DH and I have had 4 other children, as it has never been an issue for my DH or my DS1 we have never told the others that they have a different father to their oldest brother. It genuinely never occurred to me to do so. Last time I spoke to DS! about it, he said that "Dad is his Dad and the others are his brothers and sisters and that's the end of it", but having a chat with DS2 recently, he was talking about one of his friends who has 2 half brothers, my DS2 was adamant that they weren't "real" brothers just half brothers and now I'm worried about he and the other kids will react when they find out that DS1 is "only" a half brother. Has anyone else been in this situation? Just for information, DS1 also has other h

Ithinkitsjustme Tue 25-Sep-12 11:19:12

(don't know what happened there) DS1 has other half siblings (that he doesn't know about - but doesn't want to) and my other children are between 3 and 14.

sookiesookie Tue 25-Sep-12 11:25:24

I think you need to work on the younger Childs attitude to it tbh. Explain to him that siblings is not always about blood, its about the relationship and bond. Had ds1 been adopted by you and dh from outside the family, would he be less of a sibling?

Birdsgottafly Tue 25-Sep-12 11:26:45

What DS2 is going through is the typical teenage 'my opinion is law and i won't see anyother veiwpoint', by the sound of it.

Most teens have a fixed idea about one subject that an adult can identify as closed minded and ill thought out and because of their immaturity.

He will grow out of this.

I am supporting a blood relative of my husband (deceased) who has been brought up in foster care,she has full and foster siblings,my 'family' is complicated.

They are now all getting over the age of 16 and things are setting down, because they have all grown up a bit. It was a mess during the younger teen years.

TroublesomeEx Tue 25-Sep-12 11:29:41

Ooh I don't know.

I do think they should all be told though. We have a (very) similar situation but my DS is now 13 and DD 6. We did tell DD at the start of the summer. She's a bit shock that I had another boyfriend before my husband/her daddy and that we lived together and had a baby..!

But she was just really accepting of it. I don't necessarily think she understands really, but we wanted her to know because it isn't a secret and we didn't want her to find out at some point in the future and feel that there was a big part of her family knowledge that had been kept from her.

Like you, we don't consider it. DS's father isn't and has never been involved and my son's attitude towards his biological father and his family is the same as yours.

I would tell them though. And I think this recent conversation would be the perfect catalyst. The last thing you would want is for it to not have been addressed and for him to then find out at a later date.

It's not a dirty, shameful secret. It's just part of your son's life story that's as relevant and important as any other part of any of your other children's life story. smile

sookiesookie Tue 25-Sep-12 11:38:18

sorry forgot to say they do need to be told, imo, but I would challenge your ds2s perception first.

AMumInScotland Tue 25-Sep-12 11:40:26

I think you need to explain the situation to your other children, probably starting with the 14yo on his own. I seriously doubt it will affect how he feels about his older brother, 14yos are often the "world expert" on everything, specially things they have no direct experience of, but when he realises how this actually feels in reality, he'll adapt and realise his earlier certainty was simply wrong. But he might be annoyed at you for "keeping it secret", as he'll probably wonder how something that important didn't occur to you in passing in all that time, eg when talking about old photos or how people look like others in the family. It's obviously just a total "non-issue" for you and DH, which is great, but it does matter to the other children.

The younger ones will probably be less bothered when you explain it, as they are less likely to feel you "ought" to have mentioned it earlier.

oldraver Tue 25-Sep-12 11:49:09

Yes work on his attitude, I assume that as he doesnt know otherwise, he sees DS1 as a brother and has a decent relationship with him, so therefore the 'not a proper bother' thing is nonsence. Its about his feelings and relationship not birth.

honeytea Tue 25-Sep-12 12:29:44

With my sibling we have a mix of half siblings and adopted siblings, my parents were hallways very open about the ways we are biologically (or not) related to each other.

It could help to explain the science behind family genetics, on average full siblings will share 50% of their DNA with each other, but it is possible (statistically very unlikely) that they would share 100% or 0% of their DNA. So they could in theory be more related to a half sibling than a full sibling. I am sure this has happened in my family I am much more alike my half sister than my full brother.

theredhen Tue 25-Sep-12 13:08:09

I agree that you need to work on attitudes and then think you need to tell all the children. The longer you leave it, the harder it will become, and then it becomes a family "secret" that might come back to bite you.

Ithinkitsjustme Tue 25-Sep-12 15:01:04

I feel like it's already a family secret even though that was never the intention and I'm not sure how to address it without it being a big issue - you know, the whole "sit down we have something to tell you" kind of drama which actually isn't what my DS1 wants at all.

theredhen Tue 25-Sep-12 15:42:17

I was told a big family secret in my late twenties. It was just told to me in passing while I was helping empty the dishwasher, it was made to sound really casual and I responded as such to not show my shock. I came to terms with it in my own time and am actually grateful it was mentioned in such a casual manner as if it wasn't really important and not something to get upright about.

Ithinkitsjustme Tue 25-Sep-12 15:44:23

I think I need to speak to my DS1 and my DH and decide together what they want to do about it.

AMumInScotland Tue 25-Sep-12 15:45:34

Assuming DS1 and DS2 get on well, perhaps it would be an idea if he told him himself? I think the 14yo needs to hear it before the others, since he's brought up the whole subject of half-siblings, and he'll have to adjust his thinking which would be harder with everyone around.

Do you have any photos which would start the conversation rolling? Maybe your wedding photos with DS1 in them?

Has there really never been any conversation about how DS1 was born before you were married, or about how your DC look like each other, or other family members? I know you say you never intended for it to be a secret, but I can't help thinking there must have been opportunities to mention it if you hadn't wanted it to stay in the dark. Perhaps you preferred to imagine things were different and avoided the chances to just mention it in a "no big thing" kind of way because this version of reality was preferable?

Ithinkitsjustme Tue 25-Sep-12 15:50:47

I don't think I have just ignored it, no comments have ever been made about wedding photos, or anything and my DS3 is the image of my DS1 whereas my DS2 is nothing like either of them. I think that if my DS1 wanted to talk about it then it wouldn't feel so awkward, but he's SO not interested that it feels like an invasion of his privacy to bring it up.

AMumInScotland Tue 25-Sep-12 15:56:33

The thing is, if you don't bring it up when the topic has been opened, then you definitely are keeping it a secret. I can see that it's different if the whole subject just never came up, but now that DS2 has spoken about half-brothers your choices are to either explain he's got one, or vow never to mention the fact again for the rest of any of your lives (and swear DH to permanent secrecy). You could give DS1 that choice I suppose, but if it's not a big deal then why keep it secret? It makes it more important than it ought to be, by not mentioning it when the opportunity is right there.

Blatherskite Tue 25-Sep-12 16:04:19

I was told that I had a half sister (adopted at birth and at that point never met) while in the back of the car driving to see a relative.

While I do think theredhens suggestion of mentioning the situation in a casual manner is a good idea, make sure it's somewhere you can stop and have a chat if your DS2 wants. I had the last 5 minutes of a car journey which didn't give me time to ask questions and process it properly before the conversation had to end which was very frustrating at the time.

Ithinkitsjustme Tue 25-Sep-12 16:05:35

Like I said, it just wasn't an issue and then this comment about half brothers and real brothers came out of nowhere, and I didn't know what to say, or even whether I had the right to say anything, it feels like it's up to my DS1 which it shouldn't be I know. It's certainly not his fault. I don't think I'm making sense anymore.

Blatherskite Tue 25-Sep-12 16:08:58

I think it's obviously important to your DS2 and he might feel very upset if he were to find out at a later date.

I think I would mention to DS1 that I felt DS2 needed to know and then have a chat with DS2. I don't think it's necessarily information that 'belongs' to DS1, it's something that belongs to your whole family

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