I have a lovely friend who is a single mum -my ds (3.9) has asked me why he hasn't got a dad. What is the best way to explain it to him - ds is quite sensitive and generally has a good understanding of things, but i don't want him to start questioning his friend (who is about the same age), and thereby causing upset. How should i word it?
Maybe you should mention it to your friend, if that's possible without being tactless. Presumably she has had a similar conversation with her own DS, or at least considered her responses for when it arises, and might be willing to offer some guidance.
Thanks everyone, i will try and ask my friend what to say next time i see her - problem is i don't see her all that often atm and my son keeps asking me! I've managed to avoid the question so far, but can't hold him off for ever. I think I may go for the "some people have mummies and daddies and some just have mummies (or daddies)" option. Just hope he doesn't say "why?" He has started asking me about death too but thats a whole other thread!
Straightforward answers usually work best, and most children will then move on and ask you about something completely different. It's the mystery that's intriguing (ie the more you equivocate the more he will ask). In some ways it is perhaps surprising that he hasn't come across any other children with non-standard families at almost 4, and he almost certainly will do when he goes to school. Do you know the facts of the situation - if you do I'd give him a paired down version of the truth, along with the general families come in all shapes and sizes message. Unless it is a recent situation for your ds's friend I wouldn't necessarily assume that it will upset him to be asked questions. My two (admittedly older at 6 and 7) are fairly blase about having separated parents, and don't find it upsetting if their friends ask about it (which they very rarely do).
I would definitely find out what your friend has told her ds so you don't contradict her "story" - but usually something like "he has a daddy but he lives far away" will do.
When someone in our family was about to become a single mum we agonised over what to say to our dd - relations between the woman and her XP were strained and we didn't know how involved he would be with the baby.... As it turned out, none of my kids have ever questioned why child X doesn't have a dad around.... very odd!