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What do I tell kids?!

(27 Posts)
M4MMY Sun 21-Aug-16 12:34:06


I used to be a very regular poster before and just after dc1 was born. When he was 1 and I was pregnant with dc2 & dc3, I left my emotionally abusive marriage. Fast forward another year and dh had stopped seeing the kids completely. His choice, I swear. One thing I'd never do is come between my babies and their dad - it's just not my place and anyway, awful husband doesn't necessarily mean awful dad, does it?

Well. Fast forward another 4 years to now. DC1 has begun to make comments. That I don't know how to respond to!! Ive been expecting questions for years and they never really came.

He knows he has a dad and that his dad helped to make him..This came about through a conversation where he seemed to think that because he's a boy, he'd never have his own children- like they always belong to the mum... I explained that no, they belong to both parents and most parents look after their children together. (Like Granny and Grandad who still look after their child - Mummy - even when shes all grown up). Some adults, however, are not so good at looking after their children and sometimes children have to find new families (adoption) or be looked after by other people in their families- like grannies or uncles or by just one parent - like him. And he's really lucky because not only has he got me to love him more than anything,he also has...and I named dozens of people- I have a very large family. I wasn't sure if I handled this right or not. I didn't want to run his dad down but also didn't want to lie. It didn't seem right to say he lives far away (he doesn't) or anything like that - or to say he loves him - does he? We've not even had a text or an Xmas cardor anything in all the years and I haven't moved or changed numbers or anything- neither has my family. It's so hard trying to explain something I can't really understand myself...

Anyway. Getting to the point at last. Did some snooping last night (mind racing) and eventually (there was real skill involved here!) I came across pictures of dh and his new family. Fiancee (not divorced yet!), 2.5yr old daughter and son born on 12.8.16. My kids' siblings...

I'm going to have to let them grow up with knowledge of their existence. I can't hide the and have it come as a shock. But how on this earth do I begin to explain that he can (apparently) be a good, decent, loving father to those kids and not them?! What's wrong with them?! Isn't that what I'm going to be asked? How do I answer? Have I been saying completely the wrong thing up till now? I just want to spare their feelings - can't bear to think of them being hurt. God,I hate him for this! They deserve so much better! sad

Cary2012 Sun 21-Aug-16 13:07:11

I didn't want to read and not reply. What an awful situation. Other posters will be along soon with great advice.

You sound like a brilliant mum. Be very proud of yourself. Sounds like ex has erased the past and started all over again. How any one can do this baffles me.

All I can say is keep your kids surrounded by lovely family and yourself.

12purpleapples Sun 21-Aug-16 13:13:00

It sounds like you are doing a brilliant job in really difficult circumstances. I think what you said to your son initially still holds - some people aren't able to look after anyone other than themselves.
There are other children now, but you don't know anything about that situation, of where the bulk of the parenting and responsibility comes from. Maybe give it a while before you decide what to say to your children? It doesn't seem like there is any urgency to introduce that knowledge?

RepentAtLeisure Sun 21-Aug-16 13:21:55

awful husband doesn't necessarily mean awful dad, does it? It's very rare that they don't go hand in hand in my experience.

If he falls out with the new woman, he'll probably walk away from his kids with her too. It's always been very easy for men to to, if they want to.

TBH, I wouldn't tell them he has a new family. It won't add anything to their lives. (But I would be very tempted to go after him for maintenance now you know where he is.)

Ifiwasabadger Sun 21-Aug-16 13:52:10

Jesus wept OP. I don't have any great advice but want to say you sound amazing. How anyone can completely ignore their own children and create new ones without a backward glance is beyond me.

Ifiwasabadger Sun 21-Aug-16 13:52:34

Jesus wept OP. I don't have any great advice but want to say you sound amazing. How anyone can completely ignore their own children and create new ones without a backward glance is beyond me.

tribpot Sun 21-Aug-16 14:14:02

Is there any need to tell them about the siblings? Their father has abandoned them and you can legitimately know nothing of his life, as he chooses to know nothing of theirs. They will have a million questions about these siblings that you won't be able to answer, and perhaps want to form relationships with them that you can't make happen.

You had to do some real digging to find the info out, so it will be years before your dc have the ability (let alone inclination) to find out on their own. I'm sure Repent is right, it won't be long before he's out of these kids' lives as well, and then perhaps the mother will feel more inclined to get in touch (assuming she knows you exist, charitably one would like to imagine most people would not get engaged to someone who was still married).

M4MMY Sun 21-Aug-16 14:49:58

Sorry, missed two more posts there... I kept getting distracted mid reply and the screen didn't refresh.

I just keep wondering what I was thinking now, digging like I did. Stupid, stupid me. I wish I didn't know but I do know and now that I do, if the kids ask anything like "who does he live with"or whatever, I'm going to feel like a liar... I can't lie to them.

There's actually no answer to this, is there! Just need to wait and see... :-/

M4MMY Sun 21-Aug-16 14:51:25

(Thank you all x)

Cary2012 Sun 21-Aug-16 16:22:54

I doubt you will get any awkward questions yet OP. If they ask what he's doing further down the line you can honestly say you don't know, because by then he could have moved on. Don't worry about this, just focus on being the amazing mum you are.

Lilacpink40 Sun 21-Aug-16 16:32:42

If you have a good self-esteem and show them that it's possible to be strong and happy they are likely to be fine.

My dad is rubbish (no way to dress it up) and my STBXH is causing emotional stress to our eldest DC. My mum was strong and I'll be strong.

Whatever you choose to do and say, if you do it with conviction they'll trust you. I'd remind them that they're not the only ones in the situation, that you don't hold all the answers (can't explain why he is the way he is), but that you'll always love and support them.

mumofone1234 Sun 21-Aug-16 16:48:48

I thought your explanation was perfect

SandyY2K Sun 21-Aug-16 17:37:38

Does he pay child support?

wonderwoo Sun 21-Aug-16 17:45:30

Wow OP, you sound like a lovely mum. I think what you said to your son was perfect. As far as telling you them about siblings goes I think that there is no rush. You actually don't know what's what with their lives, and whether they all live together etc, so I would answer questions about who he lives with as an "I don't know". And maybe you can talk about the siblings when they are a bit older and the time seems right.

youngdumbnfullofcum Sun 21-Aug-16 17:50:40

if you need some perspective: I am an only child and I have never met my biological father, just always taken the man who raised me as my dad. I was happy with this until I was 15 and my cousin told me about my biological father and his son, my half brother. Now and then I think about it and why they want nothing to do with me when I haven't done anything to them. I'm still happy with my (step) dad and I've stolen my boyfriends brother so I'm not without siblings (even if he isn't remotely my brother) but I would have liked to have met my biological father and his son so that I could just think of them as people with lives and formed my own opinion of them. I'm not sure where I'm going with this but I hope it helps you somewhat.

hollyisalovelyname Sun 21-Aug-16 17:53:02

How can a man do that to his own flesh and blood?
OP I can add nothing but offer you this flowers

ImperialBlether Sun 21-Aug-16 17:53:20

I would just say you don't know. I'd get that divorce sorted though and a good Will where you say who'll look after your children if anything happens to you. I assume he doesn't pay maintenance (daft question.)

Goingtobeawesome Sun 21-Aug-16 17:53:52

Is it possible he might commit bigamy?

M4MMY Sun 21-Aug-16 20:00:43

Thank you all so much for the reassurance. I could be wrong but I really do get the feeling that everyone close to me would just tell me to tell "the truth" - he's a bad, horrible man, etc. But I can't see that as a wise move at all. If he decides to reenter their lives (say him and OW split), he's brilliant with kids (one of the reasons I fell in love with him) and very very charming. They will love him. And it'd be nice if they did and could, without him eventually showing his true colours and hurting them... I can't see it happening but still...Can't know what the future holds.

Youngdumb... Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can totally understand the desire to form your own opinion... And thats the thing, I can tell them plenty about their father but actually, the fiancee looks really nice. Her family seem lovely and very close. And the kids are just gorgeous, innocent kids. Half his, but that's not their fault and my kids are half him too and absolutely incredible. It's a complete mess.

Goingtobe...Nah, I really don't think he'd be that stupid and anyway, surely the weddings a while away if she's just had a baby?

Anyway. Thank you all so much for replying and also for being so nice. I can't tell you what it's meant. :-)

M4MMY Sun 21-Aug-16 20:09:12

Imperial - sorry, surely I can't say in a will what I want to happen? Would it matter? I've thought about it loads but surely if I'm dead, what I want doesn't matter?

Maintenance- yes, he does actually pay some. I involved the CSA from day 1 cause I depended on that money, off sick with hyperemesis and then onto mat leave, with all the expenses of newborn twins (car seats, cots, maternity gear cause I got too massive to even fit into the stuff from first time round...) He initially promised he'd always pay (even more than the minimum) but even with the CSA, he withheld info - hes a good few hundred still in arrears and has never declared all his income... they say it's his word against mine. Still. I'm very grateful to them. I'd never get a penny without them.

Poshsausage Sun 21-Aug-16 20:14:35

Hi sorry I've not read all the replies
I've been here I was dumped when I was pregnant my son is now 21 and never seen his biological donor
I said ... You can't influence other people's choices . That was his choice and I don't know why he chose to go and live with his parents , leave never get in touch etc . There was nothing that we did or said that was wrong , that was his decision . And we have to make the bestie or lives . I said we should celebrate Father's Day and have mother and sons day and we always did something nice together . My son wisely said I wasn't mum and dad but I was just mum . The other space was just vacant . That was his decision . Sadly my son did ask if it was because he was naughty but they go through this watershed it's important to keep communication open so he can ask questions
Now my son just says he is a bad word and isn't interested . Quick check on Facebook he has three children and is divorced blah blah

averylongtimeago Sun 21-Aug-16 20:23:43

My dad pissed off with another woman when I was a baby, I don't remember him ever being at home. This was over 50 years ago am ancient . Mum brought me up on her own.
When I asked where my dad was, she just said he had to work away, not much explanation. He eventually turned up when he wanted a divorce ( much harder then you needed "proof" of adultery ) and I first remember seeing him age 5. She never bad mouthed him to me, but never tried to explain away his behaviour either.
I think what you have said sounds really good. I wouldn't tell them about the new family, you don't officially know iyswim. If he gets in touch, he can tell them. If not, and they want to, they can find him when they are older. They won't be the only ones whose father isn't around.
You sound a lovely mum, btw.

wonderwoo Sun 21-Aug-16 20:28:16

M4MMY - my understanding is that you can express an opinion about what you want to happen to your kids in your will. The courts won't necessarily agree and may place your children somewhere else, but your wishes will be taken into consideration. I may be wrong, but that is what I think happens. Definitely worth thinking about.

wonderwoo Sun 21-Aug-16 20:31:10

PS Forget what people close to you will say. You sound like you really have your head screwed on and you know what is right for your kids. I don't think by not saying anything right now, you are not telling the truth anyway - what's the point of bringing it up right now, at this young age? You will find the right words when the time is right.

M4MMY Tue 23-Aug-16 11:40:45

Sorry about the delay in replying- I forgot my password!! But did read the posts and thank you. They're very helpful.

I've decided my course of action (been going over and over it non stop in my head!) and I think I'm pretty set on what to do now...

I think at an appropriate time, if/when DC bring it up, I'll let it slip into the conversation that I know their father has found a new wife (they don't understand fiancee/divorce/whatever so keeping it simple!) I'll let them know he's "replaced" me. Not using those words obviously buthe maybe bring up some of the feelings - I don't understand why he didn't love me as much, I get lots of love from other people, I know it's not my fault, if he and the new wife are happy I'm glad for them, I don't know if he'll leave her too (although actually I left him). Basically just make it all about me, not so personal. Give it lots of time to sink in. If I'm asked will they have more children, answer "probably" and leave it at that. Then over time, "yeh, I think he has had" and then when they start to really want answers (when they're older) I can tell them all I know. But I don't want any shocks for them and I think this way they can grow up either knowing they have siblings or knowing that it's likely. But hopefully get their heads round it at their own pace and identify with and talk to me - know how I've dealt with it...

What do you reckon? If you can be bothered! Don't worry if you can't. Like I say, I think I'm quite happy with that now. Unless someone thinks of something I've totally missed!

Thanks again. X

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