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Help please, what do I tell a 3 year old about his dad?

(7 Posts)
mushbrain Sun 12-Jun-05 23:55:06

I have 2 dss 3yrs and 15mths. Their dad and I split up when I was 3 weeks pregnant with our youngest and he has had no contact since then. I assumed that we would be all grown up about it and he would want contact. (He has other children from a previous marriage and sees them regularly). I don't know why he doesn't want contact with our sons, I suspect because he doesn't want to finacially support them, anyway, it's irrelvant, no reason is a good enough reason in my book. My problem now is what do I tell my boys. My 3 year old will start nursery soon and everyone tells me he will start asking where his daddy is. I don't want to make up a pack of lies about how much daddy loves him but can't come to visit because he lives in "cloud cuckoo land" as it will be never ending and will all come out one day. On the other hand I obviously can't tell him he has a dad but he is a S**T and doesn't want to know.
Has anyone else here had to deal with this, if not, any ideas on how you might deal with it? I really need some unbiased advice.

Fran1 Mon 13-Jun-05 00:04:50

Sorry havn't had to deal with this personally.

But - has your son seen pics of his dad? I would make a point of showing him and telling him thats his daddy. Tell him some people have daddy's living with them ( so he is prepared before he learns this at nursery) but his doesn't.
Matter of fact way is always best with little children. I wouldn't of thought a three year old would find this upsetting in anyway, cos he doesn't know any different. He may well go on to ask you why his daddy doesn't live with you and you could just say because he lives in another house and he has his own family etc etc.
When your son gets old enough to (may well be now i don't know) you can explain further about mummy and daddy don't love each other anymore and thats why.
Once your child is a teenager you can say its cos hes a S**T .

You are right not to want cloud cuckoo land to be invented, cos from personal experience this breaks hearts in the end. Honesty from day 1 is the only way to be with your children.

BTW i used to work in a nursery and we had several single parent families, the children didn't bat an eyelid. Communicate well with the staff about your situation and what your son knows etc and let them know how you want to deal with fathers day etc. some parents wanted us to make cards for grandfather instead or for other children we just made a special card for mummy. SO they didn't feel left out of the activity.

Caligula Mon 13-Jun-05 06:04:45

Dunno Mushbrain, I'm still trying to work it out.

My DS is 6 and DD is 3 and I refer to Daddy casually. For some reason, DS has got it into his head that Daddy lives in Italy (I have no idea why.) He just accepts it as normal.

So far, I haven't had to answer the "why doesn't he live with us" question. Don't know what I'll say when that one is asked.

honeypot01 Mon 13-Jun-05 09:32:35

hi my ds is 3 , his dad hasnt had much to do with him. He is very close to my family. He has never asked the question, i have a few times to see what he says and he says i dont need a daddy i've got my grandad, uncles, mummy , nana. thought that was sweet. But we do know a few single parent families so he knows that in some families daddy lives at home, in others he doesnt

HappyMumof2 Mon 13-Jun-05 12:44:48

Message withdrawn

Listmaker Mon 13-Jun-05 13:03:49

Yes Mushbrain I've been through/am going through this too. I try as others have said to be as honest as possible with them without slagging him off too much!! I made sure the staff at the pre-school knew about the situation and when it was father's day they made the things for grandpa and stuff.

My dd1 (now 7) has made up all kinds of stories to friends about her daddy being dead because she really hates being different to everybody else. There are lots of 'non-standard' family arrangements in her class but everyone seems to have a step-dad at least. She does get upset about it sometimes. dd2 (5) is totally different and seems very cool about the whole thing but she doesn't remember her dad at all and she is a different personality. She did say 'why did daddy leave?' the other day for the first time. I told her we didn't love each other anymore and he wanted to live somewhere else and that he's just not really made for being a good daddy. But emphasised that they have me and my parents and that we'd never leave them. She seemed happy with that.

I've now met a new dp and we hope to move in together soon and he's a wonderful dad so hopefully he will be a good father figure for them and dd1 will be happier that she can tell everyone she has a daddy!!

Good luck mushbrain!

mushbrain Mon 13-Jun-05 13:37:39

Thanks all, for the great advice. I think I will be following your examples, keep it simple, keep it casual and keep it as honest as possible without slagging off exp (doesn't it stick in your throat when you have to say stuff like that, I'd love to scream from the rooftops sometimes, how much of a wanker he really is). Y'know, it's great hearing from people in the same situation. When this happens, single parenthood, you know others are in the same boat but it doesn't really mean anything. I don't have any single parent friends, to be honest, I've been back in London a year now and have made no new friends at all, no time, no energy, no money, you all know the reasons. Now, for the first time since I became a sp I don't feel as though I am completely cut off and excluded from the real world and its great Thanks again

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