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"I don't have a family mummy, because I don't have a daddy"

(26 Posts)
champagnecyclist Sat 06-May-17 13:22:50

Was cuddling my 3.5 year old in bed last night, we had just been at someone's house also wit their extended family. I was reading a cookbook that showed a happy smiling family, you know skipping through the park all shiny sort of thing. She looked at the picture, then went quiet, then said "I don't have a family mummy, because I don't have a daddy".

It kind of took me aback, but cut me like a knife at the same time. I've been a LP since early in my pregnancy, she has never met her dad but I have actively encouraged them meeting so it's his decision.

I knew this would start to come up at some point, she will have lots of questions as she grows. I tried explaining 'you have a mummy, we are family together, I love you very much, families come in all shapes and sizes, some have xxx and some have yyy, I do all the things that some other mummies AND daddies do' etc - but she was having none of it, just replied with 'no mummy, I don't have a family, because I don't have a daddy'.

She sounded very confident in her opinion (as all 3 year olds do), is quite contemplative in general and has obviously given the matter some thought (in as far as a 3 year old can). I don't know what messags she gets from her nursery, she is there most of the week - I know they have done family pictures and things, but would hope they would clearly articulate that families do come in all shapes and sizes, for children like my daughter, and be sensitive to that.

I could talk to the nursery.

And other thoughts on what I can say in response to this, other than what I did say?

Thank you x

Wolfiefan Sat 06-May-17 13:26:50

Oh bless. Families are about love. You have enough love to make yours the biggest and bestest family in the world.

Guitargirl Sat 06-May-17 13:28:25

Yes, I would speak with the nursery. I would also look for some age appropriate books which model different kinds of family. It's a pity that the whole 'marketing' of 'family' is the whole 2.4 children, mum, dad model.

I remember at primary school being told by a kid in my class that my mum couldn't be a doctor, she must be a nurse cos 'ladies are nurses and men are doctors'. I remember then aged 5 thinking how fucked up that was grin.

Lostmyemailaddress Sat 06-May-17 13:35:22

I remember the feeling when 1 of my dcs made a similar comment to me so flowers .
When it's come up here I have had a conversation that a family can be made up lots of different ways and no 1 way is right.
That a family can be a mummy or a daddy and dc, a mummy and a daddy and dc, step parents etc. The main point I always make is each family is different apart from the fact that it includes people who live together and love and care for each other.

Shootingstar2289 Sat 06-May-17 18:45:08

Hi, I'm 25 and I've never met my dad. He left my mum for another woman when my mum was expecting me. I've never felt like I missed out. I admit, I was curious as a child, asked questions etc but like me, your daughter will have her Mum and that's all that matters.

I would definitely speak to the nursery. I've recently filled in my daughters pre-school forms and they ask questions like: who do they live with etc. So assume you've filled in something similar? Because of this, a nursery should be aware of every child's family life and cover all aspects.

I remember in my primary school class there was a few of us with non existent dads and one poor girl who's dad sadly died. We never made Father's Day cards but we always made Mother's Day cards.

The nursery should be covering all types of families because we know families come in all shapes and sizes! ❤️

Writerwannabe83 Sat 06-May-17 21:14:12

Oh OP flowers

My friend has a boy who is 18 months old and his dad has never met him and has absolutely no interest in doing so.

My friend is very upset over it, feels such guilt and is always worrying about what she is going to say and do when he hits an age where he realises he doesn't have a daddy. It's really upsetting to talk about with her as it weighs on her mind constantly.

I don't know what the answer is but you gave my sympathies because it must be a difficult situation for you flowers

Writerwannabe83 Sat 06-May-17 21:15:31

I remember in my primary school class there was a few of us with non existent dads and one poor girl who's dad sadly died. We never made Father's Day cards but we always made Mother's Day card

My sisters children are 7 and 9 and this is still what happens in their schools.

outabout Sat 06-May-17 21:20:44

We never made Father's Day cards but we always made Mother's Day card.

What a nasty sexist thing to be doing against dads as single parents.

Presstheresetbutton Sat 06-May-17 21:23:28

Our DC don't make Father's Day cards either.

Mother's Day cards yes. They can make a Father's Day card but it's an optional extra

Solasum Sat 06-May-17 21:25:14

When my very small DS made a Father's Day card at nursery and I was given it to take home for him, although he had buggered off, I was upset to say the least outabout. I think it is great that these issues are taken into consideration. Single dads are a lot rarer than single mums, and I bet had that been the case in those schools they would have not made Mother's Day cards either.

Orlandointhewilderness Sat 06-May-17 21:48:01

Feel for you OP.

My DD is nearly 6. She has never seen her dad but is now just getting to the age where she is asking questions. It is so difficult, I feel that whatever I say I can never change the fact that her dad didn't want to be here. All I do is tell her what I can and as unbiased as I possibly can. I've told her that she can ask anything she wants to and I want her to feel like she can talk about him. We've talked about the fact that all families are different and that she has so many people who love her.
It is very difficult thought. It breaks my heart to think he didn't want such an amazing, clever, strong and funny daughter. All we can do is be there for them as they make sense of it themselves. Xx

Backingvocals Sat 06-May-17 21:53:10

DCs are donor conceived so they also don't have a daddy and DS feels that strongly sometimes although he doesn't say that we are not a family - he says he wishes he had a daddy. Todd Parr's the Family Book is a nice picture book about different kinds of families that my children enjoyed for years. It normalises everything in a cute way. Your DD might like it.

I would keep repeating though that you are a family. Because you are. You have to be proud and own the family you have created (as I'm sure you do) and in the end she will follow your lead and be proud of the family she has. She may have sadness about the absence of a daddy she can feel proud of the unit she does belong to.

Passthebiscuit Sat 06-May-17 21:56:56

Has she seen the CBeebies program about families - think it's called my family? If you look on you tube their might be one with no dad. I've seen episodes about mum and step dad, so they might have a suitable one? If you haven't seen it it's features a child talking about their family and the theme tune is about all families being different

TrickyTreeLou Sat 06-May-17 21:59:37

Am in the same position OP. flowers My DS is 4, husband cleared off when I was pregnant and has never seen or shown any interest in seeing DS.

This question has arisen a few times over the last year. I always say 'We are family, you have me, the cats, grandparents' etc, and stress that everyone is different.

I'm wary about him starting school though, as I expect more difficult questions will come.

wherethewildthingis Sat 06-May-17 21:59:47

I was just coming on to suggest the C beebies programme it is brilliant. Really shows families in all shapes and sizes. Also, brilliant books by Todd parr, if you have a look on Amazon.

OlennasWimple Sat 06-May-17 22:00:17

How about buying Todd Parr's family Book to read together? (You might suggest that nursery get a copy too)

NoSquirrels Sat 06-May-17 22:04:20

YY to books showing different families - you might not at first realise it, but there are loads of children's books that don't feature the "traditional" family. Todd Parr Family Book is a great starting place for 3.5 age.

maryelizabeth71 Sat 06-May-17 22:12:04

I can also vouch for the family book, my daughter is almost four and we live with her older siblings who at 21 and 18 are like additional parents. She sees her Dad infrequently and when she refers to her family she counts myself and her siblings.

I would keep telling her that all families are different and reassure her that you are a family together. My hearts hurts for my little girl as she does notice the difference between our set up and the majority of her cousins and nursery friends. But I just do the best I can to ensure that our unique family is strong and that she feels safe in it.

That's all you can do too....... I agree with the poster above who said ahe will follow your lead. Be proud and confident in your family set up.

MrTumblesbitch Sat 06-May-17 22:18:43

Oh love, I've been there (well, still am I guess - ds is 5) we went through a really confused phase where he desperately wanted me to have another baby so he could be the daddy in our house so we were a 'proper family'. We ended up getting a cat so that he was the daddy of our kitten and thereby ticked the "daddy" box.

That sounds a bit fucked up typed like that, it just seemed to appease what he needed (he knows his real dad but sees him infrequently!)

outabout Sat 06-May-17 22:24:01

Sorry I was a bit blunt (feeling delicate tonight) but I was a SAHD for 16 years to DD. DW (?) told me to go recently as I was 'superfluous'.
A friends wife died making him a SAHD.

Solasum Sat 06-May-17 22:34:32

No worries outabout. Sorry to hear about your situation, you must be gutted.

MeredithShepherd Sun 07-May-17 18:45:13

I feel for you op. My DS is also 3 and has never met his dad. He left when I was pregnant and pretends DS doesn't exist. I've tried to make him see him but he doesn't want too and I'd prefer him to be completely absent than pick and choose when he wants to be a parent.
My DS has only once asked so far about why he doesn't have a daddy but his friends do. I said he does have a daddy and he was very shocked. I just explained that he doesn't live with us and that DS has a mummy who loves him very much and a grandma and grandad who do too.
He does occasionally ask if grandad is his daddy and I just laugh and say no he is mummy's daddy.
He has accepted this so far but I'm expecting more questions as he gets older.
It's shit it really is. How a parent can decide they don't want to see their beautiful children is completely beyond me sad

whattheactualfudge Sun 07-May-17 18:57:50

I'm going through that already with my 2yr Old DD. Having to avoid Peppa Pig as it's all "Daddy Pig this, Daddy Pig that"

Breaks my heart when I see my DD looking over at Daddies playing with their kids. She looks longingly at them. 😢

I recently found a picture in my Camera Roll of her Daddy before DD was born and she'd somehow figured out how to scribble on it and had scribbled over her Daddy's face... 😢

champagnecyclist Mon 08-May-17 20:23:08

Thank you everyone.

Talked to the nursery manager today, she didn't seem to see it as a big deal, said they always talk about all kinds of different families, and if they ever heard DD say something like this, or other children tell her something like this, would give a response right then and there. Suggested bringing in families of wider family and pets, but due to our circumstances we are very limited on these.

Will try the family book, that sounds good.

originalbiglymavis Mon 08-May-17 20:25:16

There's the bit in Mrs doubtfire when he talks about all the different types of families. It's quite sweet.

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