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dd has just asked why she doesnt have a dad. advice please

(24 Posts)
doodlebops Fri 29-Aug-08 20:07:23

dd who is 4.5 was with my mum last night- i was at a meeting at school. she was chatting with my mum then asked why she doeasnt have a dad, my mum explained how she had mummy and nana and papa and uncle etc. which she seemed to accept.
ive been dreading this for ages, what do i say to her? do i sit her down and talk to her or wait till she brings it up again? how do i put this nicely, he is an arsehole compulsive liar, denied she was his for the first three years then admitted to me that he knew she was his and would like a relationship with her then fucked us about yet again and now ive not heard from him in over a year, i took her to see him a few times and introduced him as mummys friend but it was after a few visited that they started getting cancelled cos he was going out, had a wedding to go to, was meeting a friend, didnt feel well etc. etc.
im so glad he isnt part of her life- he has a history of being violent to woman and spent time in jail after dd was born although he was never violent to me. i do have a partner but we dont live together, we have been together since dd was 1, he is fantastic (he is also a single parent) but dd must be aware that he isnt dad (she doesnt call him dad)
have you been in similar situation? what did you do? all ive thought about so far is explaining how every family is different etc.

beanieb Fri 29-Aug-08 20:09:46

erm - don't tell her all that!

Tell her that everyone has a dad but not every dad is there to look after them.

CuckooSplodgeandTubs Fri 29-Aug-08 20:14:04

Yes, an edited version of the truth.

"of course you have a daddy, but he doesn't live near us. We have uncle ? and step daddy and Granddad!"

Have you got a picture? You sound like you're well rid of him, but it might help your dd just to be able to visualise a face to go with the word "daddy".

I know that won't get rid of her longing for Pa Walton, but ..... it might help a little.

EachPeachPearMum Fri 29-Aug-08 20:20:39

Perhaps explain that there are many reasons why people don't have dads (or mums!), and maybe see if there's a book in your library that could halp explain in language she'll understand.

muggglewump Fri 29-Aug-08 20:23:22

Tell her she has a Dad who helped make her, but he felt unable to help look after her so she has you and X and Z etc.
I told my daughter similar, or along those lines anyway. She's never had a Dad either.

doodlebops Fri 29-Aug-08 20:27:27

thanks, i never thought about a book, i will have a look at the library.
i dont have any photos of him,
he doesnt live far away, he still lives in the same (very small) town as us.
we were planning on going to library next week so if they had a book that may be a good way to bring it up

FionaJT Fri 29-Aug-08 20:28:14

My dd is 3.5 and has never had any contact with her father. I've always told her that she has a dad but he didn't want to be a daddy or to help mummy look after her. And then go on to list all the relatives she has that other people don't have (fortunatly she has regular contact with great-grandparents, second cousins etc etc). She seems to accept this but still ask questions fairly regularly which I try to answer in a truthful but vague way.
hth - it's just stomach churning getting those questions isn't it?!

EachPeachPearMum Fri 29-Aug-08 20:36:05

Our library has a whole shelf entitled 'families like ours' or something, and there are books about almost every household situation you can imagine (and prob some I can't!).
I think at this age simple straightforward, non-judgemental answers are the best thing. Save the complicated stuff for when she is more able to process it- which may not be for 10 years or more tbh.

solo Fri 29-Aug-08 20:45:10

My heart shattered one night when I went to tuck Ds in and he was talking in his sleep...'I just want a dad...'
I simply answer all Ds's questions honestly, but without slating his father. If he asks something that is not going to have a pleasant answer I tell the truth as simply as possible or if it's just not a nice answer I kind of smooth it over. Ds has asked questions since he was around 4 years too and I have tried to give age appropriate answers(sometimes a toughie)but if it's neccesary, I delay the answers sometimes for several years. Now of course at age 10, he has his own ideas, thoughts and opinion of his father from what I've told him...

I'm not sure all that makes sense because I'm rushing, but lies aren't good and sometimes the truth needs avoiding to protect your child/ren. Pick your moment and good luck!

solo Fri 29-Aug-08 20:46:32

*necessary der...

CapricaSix Fri 29-Aug-08 21:01:11

The best advice I ever read in a book somewhere was, you should be matter of fact & as truthful as possible at a level they understand - and unemotional. Yes you have a dad, here's a photo, but he doesn't live near us, no I don't know if we will ever see him.

Don't be openly sad about it, and of course don't slate him. If you are obviously bothered/upset/sad about it she will take it on too - be matter of fact and she will be able to feel whatever she genuinely feels. If that makes sense.

I also think the earlier you talk about it all the better.

doodlebops Fri 29-Aug-08 21:05:50

thanks for your advice, i guess ive been worried that im going to have to go into great detail (i know im not- she normally excepts most of what i say)

CapricaSix Fri 29-Aug-08 21:14:57

It is terrifying isn't it. I made a decision to tell my dd just before her 2nd birthday, because it was the first year she would actually understand a present has to come from somebody! We're lucky here because her dad (who lives a LONG way away abroad) is in good contact and is a good guy, but even so it was still terrifying, it must be even tougher in your situation.
I don't know why I expected more curiosity from a 2 yr old! She doesn't even ask many questions about it now! grin

I'm dreading the "where do babies come from?" question followed by, "so you and my daddy....." .... "...Why?..." or more like, "Why didn't you stay together?"

(It was a one night stand! blush I have stubbornly refused to think about how to explain that one without telling a pack of lies!)

doodlebops Fri 29-Aug-08 21:24:45

it actually helps just knowing that so many other people are in the same situation, all the other parents in dd's class seem to be together, married or divorced and still in regular contact. i dont really want to discuss it with friends who have children (all married or engaged)or parents of dd's friends because id just get the look that says "poor doodlebops, shes just not as lucky as us with our perfect family" when in fact im perfectly happy with my life and have raised a happy healthy child with no problems- at least no more than anyone else married or otherwise

CapricaSix Fri 29-Aug-08 21:30:26

doodlebops - i feel the same way, i have sad comments/looks from friends & family about the father situation sometimes but in fact, we have one of the most secure, happy set ups i've come across!

ShyBaby Fri 29-Aug-08 21:33:14

"Yes you have a dad, here's a photo, but he doesn't live near us, no I don't know if we will ever see him".

Thats almost exactly what I told my dd in a matter of fact way (left off the bit about not knowing if we would ever see him).

"You have a daddy, his name is ** and this is his photo, but he doesn't live near us".

She's accepted that explanation for now although I dont know what i'll say when she's older. She 4 1/2 and knew this at about 3.

CapricaSix Fri 29-Aug-08 21:41:23

My dd has asked a few times over the past year if we can go and see her daddy, so you may get that question before long. Though, here, the question usually comes from dd after she's spoken to him on the phone or got an email or whatever, she may not have if he wasn't in touch.
(The answer is he lives too far away!)

I guess in your situation you would just have to reply that you're not in touch, you don't know where he is or how to contact him (if you don't).

solo Fri 29-Aug-08 21:47:04

I have a small photo of exp, Ds and me taken when Ds was a few months old permanently on a top shelf in the lounge. It's for Ds's benefit. I did find him with it in his hand once, looking at it, I think he was about 6. I think I leave it there out of respect for Ds. It has nothing to do with exp, we don't see/hear from him. I don't even like him. I just think Ds should have something iyswim.

I personally am totally envious of my friends that are married/engaged/properly partnered up etc. They so don't understand or even give a crap about me being 'outside their comfortable box'...I sound bitter don't I...hmm

solidgoldbrass Fri 29-Aug-08 21:55:09

Solo: out of respect for DS is the right reason to have that picture on display: your XP, however vile, is DS' dad ie half his genetics. I think there are some storybooks about unconventional families, which help too: especially if you live in a very mundane/nuclear family area. (And I keep meaning to write one...)
But do bear in mind that not all couples are happy. Far better to be single than to live an apparently perfect couply life but be getting beaten up or belittled behind closed dorrs...

CapricaSix Fri 29-Aug-08 21:56:52

Oh I'm envious all right, but of my childless coupled friends! grin

solo Fri 29-Aug-08 21:58:46

Agreed sgb, but the friends I'm referring to are all very happy in their boxes.

Do write that book though, I think that's a fabulous thing to do...

CapricaSix Fri 29-Aug-08 21:59:54

Just reread my post, that sounds awful! I didn't mean it the way it sounds!

solo Fri 29-Aug-08 22:03:09

I was once part of a childless couple(couldn't conceive), but I envied the friends and family all producing their babies...by the time I'd had my Ds in 98, their children had started secondary school. One of my school friends is a Grand mother to a child older than my Dd.hmm I guess we all have our boxes and envy what we sometimes see spilling from other peoples boxes...

CapricaSix Fri 29-Aug-08 22:24:46

oh dear i'm so sorry! I didn't mean childless as in unable to conceive.

It was a silly post! I only meant in the sense that i would love to have the freedom to go out, lie in, go on holiday, etc, with my boyfriend, that our friends all have. I am not, however, envious of the (only one or two) friends I have who do have children. I think I have it easier than them in fact, in lots of ways!

Ignore me!

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