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What to say to DS when he says he is going to see daddy soon?

(23 Posts)
JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 04-Jun-16 08:39:04

I'm breaking a little here. I used to have a clear idea of what to say but now he is older the old "daddy's just very busy", "maybe he will see you one day when you are older" etc lines are running thin. DS just turned 5 and is asking more questions as well as talking about it at school and in front of friends - which is fine but sometimes I get caught on the hop. Do you have stock phrases? I have tried initiating contact but ex not interested, although does pop up every couple of years pretending he will meet then tries to talk me out of claiming maintenance (not actually interested in DS, just wants to be free of ties). I don't want to ruin any hope but also not sure it is healthy to say he might see him if I don't think he will...but also can't tell the future...agh!

bananaballoo Sat 04-Jun-16 08:44:15

I'm not sure this is much help but I explain that some children have good Dads and some have Dads that are a bit rubbish at being Dads. It seems easier to process at a young age and sort of takes away the issue that it might be something the child has done wrong as a reason for their Dad being a no show. I'm sorry you are having to do this. You're heart must be breaking.

Fourormore Sat 04-Jun-16 08:47:04

I think I'd perhaps be being honest, like banana says. Explain that some daddy's are better at being daddy's than others. I think saying things like "maybe" and "soon" will just lead to heartbreak if it's been 5 years and he's never been interested.

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 04-Jun-16 08:50:52

Thanks. I'm wary of portraying him as a crap dad (despite what I think!) as I don't want him to get a negative view...probably sounds ridiculous!

RubixCubes Sat 04-Jun-16 08:53:57

I've always been honest with DD and honestly it raises it's head occasionally but not often.

As above I've also told her that some people can be good mummy's and daddy's and some people can't and that she's lucky as she's got a good mummy (nothing wrong with bigging up oneself 😁) but unfortunately she had a daddy who just wasn't able to be a good daddy and didn't really want to try.

She's almost 5 and it's not a big issue for her. I'm fully expecting more in depth questions as she gets older and I'll try and answer them as honestly as I can too.

As a rule I don't bad mouth him in front of her. We walk passed him probably once a week or so. As in stones throw away and she doesn't have a clue who he is. Best all round if you ask me.

bananaballoo Sat 04-Jun-16 08:58:15

I think you're right about not portraying him a bad father as I remember hating my mum for slagging of my dad. I then built him up in my head as a bit of a hero. God knows why as he is an utter arse. However I think you're right and lovely to not want to make him out to be crap. Your son will already be working it out for himself even at this age. All you can do is explain gently and then allow your son to talk about how he feels. It sounds like you are doing a great job already.

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 04-Jun-16 08:59:30

So would you say that in front of friends too? I usually say "we're a team!" and stuff but it feels like a fob off and talking about bad/good dads in front of his peers I don't want him to feel his friends are luckier or have better dads and he is missing out (although he sees that already) - it's competitive at 5!

bananaballoo Sat 04-Jun-16 09:04:13

I think you're right about talking about it in front of peers. But I wonder if he has a stock phrase of something like "I have a dad but he's a bit rubbish." He may feel a bit less awkward when talking to his friends. It may even get other children talking about their dads who may be absent etc. It is so tricky.

Lweji Sat 04-Jun-16 09:04:30

Honesty is better, but you don't want to slag him off either. You can say that you don't know and he has not been in contact and that when he does you will tell him when daddy does.

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 04-Jun-16 09:06:40

Thanks banana I just don't see the point in tying negativity to it but then it's the double edged sword of not being able to admit they aren't being treated fairly or nicely. We have a few friends with dad's who don't live with them but in a funny way that makes it worse as they get weekends with them, double the presents and fun days out etc.

SaveMeNoww Sat 04-Jun-16 09:06:45

I'm an adoptive mum. This is the kind of thing I have to do a lot regarding birth family.

There's a fine line to tread between telling them some age-appropriate truth whilst not ruling out that they may have a relationship in the future. (And not giving them either a rose-tinted picture or making them feel bad because they are the offspring of whatever you might call him. So no, you don't sound ridiculous.)

But, he's still young enough so if you're age appropriately matter of fact about it, he'll probably take it on board.

So something like, 'I'm sorry you can't see your dad right now because he's not able to be a daddy right now. It's not because of you though, because you're perfect. Would you like to see a photo?' And then show him the photo and say you're going to put it away but he can ask to see whenever he wants or ask any questions he has.

I never sit my DC down and say 'let's talk about birth family' but if something comes up I'll drip feed a little, particularly about other siblings. I'm hoping to achieve a situation where they've 'always known everything' IYSWIM.

Good luck. flowers

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 04-Jun-16 09:08:46

Lweji that's similar to what I do say. There's still that hint of expectation though, isn't there?

SaveMeNoww Sat 04-Jun-16 09:11:00

I say 'no, you can't see them soon. I'm sorry about that. I can see that makes you sad/angry/whatever' and then we talk about that.

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 04-Jun-16 09:11:53

So something like, 'I'm sorry you can't see your dad right now because he's not able to be a daddy right now. It's not because of you though, because you're perfect. Would you like to see a photo?' And then show him the photo and say you're going to put it away but he can ask to see whenever he wants or ask any questions he has.

Yes, this is good - I do show him pictures if he asks as they look alike and he likes that. I think perhaps I can hear the stock phrases and forget at 5 he probably doesn't realise it's exactly what I said last time grin

SaveMeNoww Sat 04-Jun-16 09:12:14

For what to say to peers, I agree he probably needs a stock answer, but I've no idea what it should be.

SaveMeNoww Sat 04-Jun-16 09:14:02

it's exactly what I said last time

I recognise this.

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 04-Jun-16 09:14:05

Yes - talking about the feelings is sometimes good but other times can turn into a big drama. DS is quite dramatic, esp if he can see something has touched a nerve with me (proper sobs about not having a grandma with half an eye open on me - usually just before bedtime!). I do want to talk emotions but worried it will dramatise it.
I'm such a worrier!

ecuse Sat 04-Jun-16 09:16:18

In terms of questions in front of his peers, is it possible they might happen less often once he has a firmer answer? If he's always thinking 'maybe tomorrow', that might be why he keeps asking.

Ineedmorelemonpledge Sat 04-Jun-16 09:19:40

Does he have another positive male in his life?

I'm wondering if you can say the beautifully worded phrase above, and then add, but you will always be able to do fun dad things with Grandad, Uncle X etc etc?

My cousin has a deadbeat ex who doesn't contact his DS but the DS always talks positively about his Grandad and Uncle who fill in the gaps

I think it's very important to have strong positive male role models in a boy's life in situations like these.

So to peers there's the option to say "nah my dad isn't great but my X is and does this and that with me...."

YounicorneNumbers Sat 04-Jun-16 09:31:25

Ah. You're doing great OP. I had a dramatic DS as well, so I feel your pain!

Firstly, your choices do not consist of two black and white options - "your dad is wonderful" versus "your dad is a raging cunt" (as much as he might be!), you can try a more nuanced approach. grin

I agree with PP that the way to deal with his questions is with honesty - you cannot predict the future, as you say, so you can certainly tell him that. So something like the shit sandwich approach is probably your best bet, with a lot of active listening. Stock replies probably won't help in this as he may feel that you're not actually responding to his questions/feelings. I do get how frustrating this can be BTW, BTDT.

Have you thought about joining a single parent group - such as gingerbread, - where DS will be mixing with other children from the same sort of background? I fdid this and that sort of support was invaluable and it definitely helped my children.

Wolpertinger Sat 04-Jun-16 09:37:21

If he tends to do it just before bedtime - is every question about Daddy and are some questions about getting out of bedtime and getting a big drama out of you?

It is OK to say it's bedtime now and we don't have time to talk about it but we can talk about it tomorrow when we have more time. It's possible he knows how to create a big drama especially if he has one eye on you and always does it at the worst possible times.

OneMagnumisneverenough Sat 04-Jun-16 09:47:32

Not in this situation but would something along the lines of saying that his dad is a bit silly because he hasn't taken the time to find out what a great boy he is but maybe one day in the future he might realise he has been silly and get in touch. In the meantime you and him and (other family and friends) just need to get on and enjoy ourselves without him.

starry0ne Sun 05-Jun-16 08:53:17

My DS hasn't seen his dad since he was 3..

I would say the high point of question asking was when he started school, He became aware of everyone else's family, read about biff ,chip and kipper and there lovely family and saw dads on the playground.

I have always been honest and I don't want him growing up hero worshiping someone who isn't worth it. I tell him in an age appropriate but so it can be built on any time he asks.

I tell him I don't know why his dad doesn't see him and then explain I caannot imagine not seeing him for a day. He knows it is his dad's decision not to see him and unless he gets in touch it is nothing we can sort out. Now he is 9 in the past year he knows more and knows if his dad did get in touch he would have to go to court to make sure he is safe and the right thing for him. He knows about some of my ex's behaviours that why we left but again none of that at 5.

I personally wouldn't say you may see him one day as it sounds like it is a false hope.. I do say I don't know where daddy lives, he does have ways of getting in touch with us.

I would say though. I told my DS over and over again it was nothing he had done over and over again until the point he would just roll his eyes.

The thing that seemed to satisfy my DS was I had to got called in after topic in school "happy families " DS had said all sorts of things like I don't know if my daddy loves me in topic..So we all had a chat..His teacher said when you last saw him , you were a baby, and nothing you did nothing wrong.. He seemed satisfied with that.

I also had the bedtime questions. I realised I felt compelled to answer and sometimes put more importance on any comment about his dad. I now will say at bedtime it is a conversation for morning.

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