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To not want my dd (6) to know that some dads don't see their children?

(314 Posts)
megapixels Sun 14-Jun-09 10:52:55

My dd, in Year 2, has got a book of short stories - and one of them is a chapter from Anne Fine's Crummy Mummy and Me. It's the one where the girl goes looking for her biological dad, whom she has never met until then (she is around 9 I think). AIU to skip that story and ask that the teacher not give her books of the sort in future? Dd was distressed enough when she knew that one of her friends has a step mother when her real mother was alive . I did explain to her about seperated families and that step mothers are not like those portrayed in fairy tales. She seems to have forgotten though as she was recently puzzling over "I went to my dad's" that had been written by someone in the class teddybear diary.

At this age I really don't want her to know that some dads (and mums) don't want to see their children. How do you explain that anyway? It would be different if it had to be discussed with her because of a real situation (eg. a friend at school) but is it so wrong that she thinks that all children live with their mums and dads who love them very much? She has time to learn about the realities of the world in her own time through her own experiences without it being forced on her, isn't it? She's only 6, nearing 7. AIBU?

bigstripeytiger Sun 14-Jun-09 10:55:03

Do all her friends live with both their parents?

HuffwardlyRudge Sun 14-Jun-09 10:57:08

Yes, I think YABU. YABVVU.

A traditional family set up is not the only way to be happy.

I think it is very narrow minded of you to assume that families living without both parents under the same roof are in some way damaged or unhappy and something to shield your daughter from.

I'm struggling to believe this is a serious post, but I think I recognise your posting name.

MrsMattie Sun 14-Jun-09 10:57:12

yes. YABU and overly precious.

Does she not have any friends from single parent families? There are so many single parent families / step families these days, I find it hard to see how you're going to shelter her from those realities and, to be honest, it seems bizarre to even try.

Personally, I think it's really important to gently introduce children to the idea that there are all sorts of families in this world. I think you're very misguided if you think you are somehow protecting your child by lying to her.

SlartyBartFast Sun 14-Jun-09 10:57:33

perhaps 6 is a bit young for that story line, i agree.

GypsyMoth Sun 14-Jun-09 10:57:36

Yabu........ And a bit precious! Families come in all sorts of make ups.

MrsMattie Sun 14-Jun-09 11:00:19


My 4 yr old lives with me and his dad (a happily married) but he is perfectly able to understand that some children only live with their mummy/daddy.

Leslaki Sun 14-Jun-09 11:01:06

I don't know tbh!! Not being very helpful am I? I don't personally think it's a good idea to let her believe that every family has a mum and dad living at home and all is fine and lovely cos that isn't reality for a lot of children - she may stuggle to understand the home lives of some of her classmates if you bring her up with this idea that everyone has the traditional fmaily. Why not introduce the fact that she is very lucky to have her mum and dad living together with her as a happy fmaily but that not all fmailies are like that? It is the norm for so so many children nowadays and there are so many different types of family - in my street alone there are several single mums (me inc!) and the dad see their children in different ways - some weekly, some rarely, there is also a same sex couple with their 2 children and a single mum with no dad on the scene as she went to a clinic. There are also families with both mum and dad there (altho some of them are 2nd marriages!). I don't think it's wrong to let kids of that age realise that what's normal for her isn't normal for others andmay go a long way to help her understand in the future. She is old enought o realise that. Sorry - I've rambled and probably not made sense!

megapixels Sun 14-Jun-09 11:01:37

bst - No I don't think her whole class are children who live with both parents. But her close friends are.

"I think it is very narrow minded of you to assume that families living without both parents under the same roof are in some way damaged or unhappy and something to shield your daughter from."

Where did I say that? This is not about seperated families. I've already said that I've explained that to her. What I want to shield my daughter from is the knowledge that some dads and mums don't want to be a part of their children's lives. That must be hard for a child to take? Yes this is a serious post and I do think that I could BU, hence the post.

SlartyBartFast Sun 14-Jun-09 11:01:48

it was the Daddy not wanting to see the child that i took up on.
obviously not being in a 2.4 family is a different matter and should be seen as part of the norm,

jellybeans Sun 14-Jun-09 11:02:41

YABU Kids need to be exposed to diversity to become accepting.

NervousNutty Sun 14-Jun-09 11:02:55

My Ds has know about this since he was 3 as he is a child in a single parent family.

I think YABU, not all families are the same and I don't think children need shielding from that fact.

curiositykilled Sun 14-Jun-09 11:03:59

I think you're not unreasonable to feel that way but you are unreasonable to expect that you can censor that part of life completely. I would say you need to keep lines of communication open about all things that are likely to upset or interest your child. If she talks about it in school and you don't want to talk about it at home this will just teach her not to talk to you when she's worried or wondering about something.

I hate the NSPCC adverts for similar reasons but you are much better to pre-empt it or at least talk honestly with your children about these things. I'd allow her to ask the things she wants to know about these things, give her honest (age appropriate) answers and get her to examine her own family relationships and see for herself they are secure and she is lucky. It is complicated but you can explain these things without compromising her security. Often knowing that bad things happen in life can be useful because bad things will inevitably happen to her at some point and it can help her to cope.

megapixels Sun 14-Jun-09 11:04:32

Slarty - That is exactly my only point of concern. Not being part of a seperated family.

ILiveinhope Sun 14-Jun-09 11:05:52

totally unreasonable!!!!

take this as a good opportunity to explain that families all have different dynamics now, and when the situation arises within your circle, you will have already set some ground work!

you come accross as a bit precious and it may come back and bite you if you are not careful!!

Quattrocento Sun 14-Jun-09 11:07:23

<Quatt mounts weary hobby horse>

Think we overprotect our children, both emotionally and practically. There are many children in the world and in the UK who live their lives differently.

SlartyBartFast Sun 14-Jun-09 11:08:42

dare i say it, but it is sad that either parent would not want to see their child, which is op's point - jacqueline wilson deals with matters like this for her older readers,
older than 6.
an 8 year old for eg would face this reality better, imo

Chandra Sun 14-Jun-09 11:09:49

At this age, I think that she is more than old enough to cope with certain realities of life.

If you protect her so much from those realities you are not allowing her to learn to cope with real life. Life is not pink you know? perhaps allowing her to see that people can be happy even when they are not living the stereotypical perfect life will enable her (and you) to have a more balanced perspective of life.

Yes, some children don't see their parents but it is not because their parents hate them. Nothing is black and white, there are an infinite number of circumstances that could be making that impossible. You don't need to get into the gory details with her, but perhaps a simply "we don't know why these things happen but I can tell you that every parent loves their children deeply" will suffice.

I personally would be horrified for DS to meet a girl who gets distressed at a child having a stepmum when his mum is alive. Does she still believe in fairies? It sounds like the kind of child that could make a child that is part of a blended family feel miserable about his circumstances even when there is nothing to be pitied about.

GypsyMoth Sun 14-Jun-09 11:10:01

How would you explain fostering/adoption then? Or is that dismissed?

megapixels Sun 14-Jun-09 11:10:22

But my dd hasn't brought it up at home curiositykilled. If it is her bringing it up because of an observation or incident that is fine, and of course I'll talk about it to her. But it'll have to be brought up now because of the book the teacher has sent home. I feel it's too much for a child her age to take. What on earth do I tell her, a 6 year old, when she asks me how come the girl hasn't seen her father until the age of 9? Genuine question if anyone would like to answer please.

curiositykilled Sun 14-Jun-09 11:10:58

slarty - completely disagree! I think the younger the child when they have these realisations, the easier they cope! Even very young children can have excellent understanding of complicated subjects. Children are not idiots.

BradfordMum Sun 14-Jun-09 11:11:03

I'm a childminder and have alsorts of families
Should I refuse a single parent a place so that I don't offend other families like you?!
Get real!!

SlartyBartFast Sun 14-Jun-09 11:11:56

fostering/adoption is a good point tiffany.

parent couldnt cope or words to that effect would be my pat answer.

megapixels Sun 14-Jun-09 11:12:15

Fostering/adoption is not the same thing at all ILoveTIFFANY, and no that is not dismissed. She does not know about fostering (it has never come up) but she does about adoption.

Lucia39 Sun 14-Jun-09 11:13:45

What about books that deal with children living in homosexual relationships? Should these be kept from away from Primary pupils as well?

The fact is that that only a tiny percentage of kids in the UK today live in families with both biological parents. This website is clear evidence of that!

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