This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
My 4yo asked my partner if he can be his dad(45 Posts)
Hi I'm after any advice/experience anyone can offer me please.
I've been in a relationship for a couple of years and my son and partner get on really well together.
My son is 4 years old, he has never known his biological father because we split when he was 7 months old due to DV. His father has a 'new' family and never bothered to have contact or any form of relationship with him.
I have received the odd email 'threat' that he will take me to court etc but I think he just does this out of continued attempts of emotional abuse as so far nothing has materialised from it.
A few weeks ago my son asked my partner 'will you be my dad' my partner tactfully told him politely and nicely that he would think about it and talk to him again about it.
Now we are both stuck with what to do?
My opinion is basically as long as they are both happy and comfortable I don't mind either way.
So questions are:
1) does he know what a father is?
2) he's never asked about his biological father should this be addressed? And if so how?
3) would it confuse him later on?
4) we thought about other names apart from dad but couldn't come up with anything that felt natural?
Just for context we live together and my partner has taken on the father role really well. He doesn't have any children himself and it's just the one child I have. We are both in our 30's.
Is biological dad on the burth cert and does he gave have any pr.
What threats are you getting. What are the custody and visitation arrangement. Would you and your dp like him to adopt your ds.
It's not entirely clear what you're asking -- are you asking whether you should pretend to your child that your partner is his biological father?
I think you need a chat with your son about his biological father before considering his request. As he hasn't asked, i would be worried that he may have created his own explanation like his father is dead. The hardest bit will be to explain that he doesn't want contact and you'll need a gentle explanation why. Obviously leave out the threats bit- that's unnecessary.
How long has your partner known your son?
Would he consider adoption to make it official?
He wants a daddy. I suppose you can explain in kid terms that he has a father - but your partner is he’s dad (if you are both comfortable with him calling him ‘dad’).
He is filling the ‘father’ role and to a small child that’s an most important thing - who takes him to school, buys him and ice cream, makes him laugh, cheers him up when he is sad, buys him toys, spends time with him? To a child, that’s ‘dad’, not a man who is not in his life and issues threats (get that sorted). Children just want consistency and stability and maybe him having a Dad rather than uncle Pete is important to him.
Well, if he’s asking your DP if he’ll be his dad then clearly he knows that he’s currently not.
I disagree with those who say that it will just confuse him,as long as the OP isn’t telling him her DP is his father,if the man is a father figure to this child then why can’t he be seen by the child as a dad.
Plenty of people have a ‘dad’ and a father. It’s really not unusual these days is it?
Thank you for the replies just to clarify some points.
Biological father is on the birth certificate.
I have a prohibited steps and residency order in place. Bio father did not show up to any court hearings.
I changed my sons surname at 2 yrs old, bio father turned up to court to testify after multiple times telling me he didn't care/ didn't want anything to do with him. Consequently he now has a double barrelled surname. Bio father said he was perusing routes for contact. I heard nothing until...
Bio father got in contact in aug/sept last year, this is around the time I suspect he found out about me being in a relationship.
He wanted contact, I told him from advice of my solicitor to initiate mediation...in February he got back to me telling me he was taking me straight to court...I'm still waiting
I basically don't know what to do, I don't want him to get the wrong idea that my partner is his biological father but equally he clearly wants that family unit so why shouldn't he have that.
I'm a firm believer in that he has a right to know about his bio father, I won't hide/ lie to him but he's 4 and hasn't actually ever asked about his dad!
When me and dh got married my dc started calling him dad. They have never known their df. He isn't on their bc.
They asked previously but we agreed once we were married.
Would that be a time you would wait until?
I read the title and went "Awwww".
As the saying goes: "Anyone can be a father but not everyone can be a 'Dad'."
If they're both comfortable, go for it but I would give him a little explanation about his biological father and the difference between this dad and his father. Just something neutral.
Then whenever it comes up, I'd always remind him he has a biological father and DP is his other Dad/second dad or whatever....just so it wouldn't be that you've been lying to him when he's old enough to really get it.
All in a casual way and it won't be a big deal for him if you don't make it one (atleast for now). Only adults make these things a big deal.
I refer to my biological 'dad' only as my father, because that's the fact of the matter and I think 'dad' is something you earn by showing up and being loving and supportive. I would have loved to have a dad!
See how you and your partner feel, OP, but I think it's fine to have a dad who isn't biologically related to you, and I think kids are more than capable of understanding the concept of a chosen dad and a biological father when explained in age appropriate language. It sounds like your son is really lucky to have you and your partner thinking about this in such terms
Why on earth did you put the bio dad on the birth certificate and give your son his name when he was abusive?
Why would he get the idea that your partner is his biological father when he's had to ask if he can call him Dad? He's clearly one step ahead of you, op, having spent the past couple of years knowing full well he didn't have a father in his life
I think you need to be honest, in words he understands
Your son wants a dad and doesn’t understand why he doesn’t have one.
Do you have plans to marry, have other kids?
I suppose it’s just a case of ‘what’s a dad?’. Sounds like your other half is a dad to this little boy. He knows that he isn’t his ‘real’ dad - but he I’m in the dad role and the child considers him as his dad. There is no harm that I can think of.
In his 4 year old he’s she knows that he has a dad out there somewhere - but this man is here and parenting him.
My nephews asked my brother this at around the same age. They are now 9 & 10 and my brother split from the mum over 3 years ago but he still has them every weekend and in the holidays with their sister (my brother's bio daughter) they still call my brother Dad and all of our family have all the family terms attached too. There are plenty of children who end up with mums/dads who arent biologically related. It's all about what you are all comfortable with at the end of the day
Lots of people have step-dads. It's hardly a new concept.
The bigger question behind this is whether this man is here for the long haul and whether you want him to be. The last thing your son needs is another 'dad' jumping ship in a few months/ years.
How permanant is the this prtner. Is it a case of he is my current boyfriend? or a case of this is a long term relationship and if we split partner wuld still want to be invovled with child? If former dont encourage child calling him dad if latter then do. I know Chris the wildlife guy has a step daughter who he doesn,t live with but maintains that father relationship. (But she still calls him chris.)
Imo . It’s fine but it is a time you need to tell him he does have a father but ..... want to raise you as a parent.
Thank you for all of your perspectives on this. Our main concern is we don't want my son to not know the truth that my partner isn't his real dad for obviously reasons.
My partner made a point to me that I couldn't really answer, does he actually know that it takes a mummy and daddy to have a baby that mummies don't just have babies then chose a daddy..or something to that idea?
He's 4 he's a bright intelligent well rounded boy but this is huge and I want to get it right so now I'm questioning what does he know/understand...we both have his best interests and don't want to rush into anything without fully considering the implications as I'm sure anyone would.
As for our relationship, we are committed and have talked about marriage. We're not sure if we want any more children.
You are over thinking it! From a 4 year olds point of view he just wants to be able to - when asked ‘where’s your dad?’ to be able to point at the man who tells him a bedtime story and hells him make his Mother’s Day cards - point and day ‘there he is!’.
What about the ‘grandma’ issue? Will his parents be grandma and grandpa? Aunts and uncles?
I probably am overthinking it!! You're right from his perspective it's very simple.
It's very sweet and I love the fact that he's so close to my partner that he sees him as a father.
Our main concern is we don't want my son to not know the truth that my partner isn't his real dad for obviously reasons
I'm still confused... Did the fact that he asked "Will you be my Dad?" not clue you in to the fact that he knows your partner is not his Dad?
Honestly, your 4 year old sounds brighter than the adults around him.
Thanks for your opinion This. It's quite short sighted though, I was looking for a bit more substance like PP have addressed.
Please login first.