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Absent father. Should I wait until DD asks, or sit her down and tell her?

(6 Posts)
bellbottom Tue 24-May-11 21:23:11

My dd is 3.5. Very switched on girl. Very advanced, very aware.
She has never asked why she has no dad, but other people often ask about her father, in her presence. I always freeze up and then give an answer that I regret later, as it always comes across as a closed topic by me, but that's just because i dread those questions as I'm so aware of dd and feel so sensitive on her behalf. I know soon she'll ask me herself. I just wonder how much of it is already turning in her mind. Should I just sit her down and talk about it?
I always thought i'd wait her for her to ask, but sometimes I wonder if she's ready, but feels she can't approach me about it.
Her dad and I never made a go of it, because he's alcoholic and wasn't able to be responsible, even occasionally, which I tried to invite when she was young, but he messed it up.
I have no bad feelings towards him. I made a choice to enter pregnancy alone without him and to embrace motherhood. So I have no need to express bad feeings about him to her. I hardly even ever think about him. Because it's just been her and I on this journey. Crazy really as he lives in the same small city.
Can anyone share experiences?
Better to wait for the question to come, or to open a discussion now?

suburbophobe Tue 24-May-11 21:32:41


Just give her age-appropiate reasons why you are not together anymore, and ignore the stupid people (out and about) snooping into your private life - really, it's none of their business!

I'm a single mum of an almost 20-year-old, he's going to university soon, there's only you and him you are accountable for! It's hard long slog but worth it!

People are interested in your story and that is great, they may be open to it, open yourself up to friendship (you will need it!) but don't let toxic people get in your way!

DorisDoesntDance Tue 24-May-11 21:35:32

I'm really torn on what i'll do when the question is asked by my DS, who is only a few months old.

his father isn't around and won't be and no idea how to even begin to explain. i'll probably wait til he asks me, but feel like i need a child-friendly version of events prepared for when that happens. As he is my first child, I'm not sure what will be the most child-friendly or age-appropriate story to tell.

I'm thinking it will be something along the lines of: "All families are different. Some have a mummy and a daddy, some two mummies or two daddies and some have just one parent and that's me and I love you very much." I hope that will work for awhile at least.

Mutt Tue 24-May-11 21:40:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bellbottom Fri 27-May-11 20:21:20

thank you so much everyone for your input! I just love mumsnet, it's a god send!
All valid points and I think I will defiantely go with Mutt's advice as it;s a great compromise between waiting to be asked and putting some info her way, as i do detect on some levels that she is trying to prompt that and is very aware of the differences already but just needs to share a conversation with me, in some harmless way.
Much appreciated and love to all X

gillybean2 Sat 28-May-11 12:54:11

Maybe use an opener to a conversation and if she takes it then talk to her and if she doesn't t hen make sure she knows she can talk to you at any time if she thinks of any questions or wants to ask you later.

So something like 'xyz was asking about your dad today, do you ever think about him or have any questions you want to ask me?'
And take it from there.

She will pick up on you being reluctant, so just answer honestly but appropriately. If you don't feel you can answer a question right away say something like 'I'll have to think about that one. Can I get back to you with an answer once I've thought a bit more about it?'

I did realise quite early on too that while he may have appeared not to be listening when his school friend asked where his dad was he actually was listening very intently and picking up everything I ever said on the subject to anyone.

The thing my ds was most concerned with was that he hadn't ever seen a photo. So I found one for him. I think it made him more 'real' to him, in that this non existant person in his life did actually exist and here was the proof.

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