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Telling dc's that their father had a previous wife

(15 Posts)
Expatexpat Sat 16-Feb-13 16:50:49


What re everyone's experiences of this?! I'd really appreciate your advice.

Our dc are 5, 4 and 3, dss's are 16 and 19. When is best to explain the history? How do we explain it ( daddy made a mistake etc is just wrong to tell them, but...)

We'd love to hear form people with similar experiences....?


morethanpotatoprints Sat 16-Feb-13 16:58:06

You need to tell them the truth now whilst they are little. They have half siblings. Daddy could explain why the relationship broke down as in they weren't friends anymore etc.
I don't think it is hard for dc to get their heads round something like this, they understand more than we give them credit for. They may ask lots of questions and maybe one of those might be to meet their half siblings. I don't know your dhs previous relationship details so this is something only you and he knows the answer to.
Completely different but myself and sisters were all adopted from different families from a few months old. I knew about it long before I really understood. I could never have forgiven them if they'd kept it from me for any length of time.

ThePortlyPinUp Sat 16-Feb-13 17:03:13

My dp has been married twice before we got together but had no dc's. we quite matter of factly told our dc's when it came up that he had been married to two other ladies but sometimes marriages break up and that was that. I personally wouldn't say to your dc's that daddy made a mistake if that is the relationship that your dss's came from as that sounds wrong to me.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 17:29:39

'Daddy made a mistake'? Are you feeling alright?

Please don't say anything along those lines. It would be awful for them to see their half siblings as a product of a mistake. Don't project your insecurities about being Part 2 on them confused

Just tell them something along the lines of that Daddy loved and had babies with another lady, but they stopped being friends- so we got together and had you- but you have brothers/sisters who Daddy loves just as much as you, ect.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 16-Feb-13 17:36:16


In fairness the OP said that saying daddy made a mistake didn't sound right.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 16-Feb-13 17:45:06

Is there any contact between DCs and dss? Im presuming not because of the question.
And is there any contact between DH and you dss?

turkeyboots Sat 16-Feb-13 18:02:44

Telling them anything will improve of MiL's approach of ignoring it. She ignored little sil asking why her brother and sisters books had a different name in, refused to deal with questions from the then 9 year old who introduced to FiL by my DM at my wedding (which she did to cause trouble) and still refuses to speak about it now. Older SiL explained to little sil one day, was no big deal, except to my deranged MiL.

CokeFan Sat 16-Feb-13 18:04:32

My dad was married before and I have (well had, one died) 2 much older half sisters. It's something I've always known and I don't ever remember being "told" in some big conversation.

I do remember asking my mum about it when I was little. I'd grasped the idea of half sisters but I think I wanted to know how my dad's exW was related to me.

Just tell them - doesn't have to be a big deal.

Expatexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 00:26:26

Thanks for all the responses.

Yes, dss's and dc's spend all the school holidays together but it's just never arisen yet, but I'm sure it will.

I think we will get on with it, without making it a big deal... My concern is that they might think if sometimes mummy's and daddy's don't stay together that our rock solid life isn't as rock solid as they thought. We don't really know anyone who is in our situation.

I wonder if there's a children's book out there somewhere about this? Like the book about telling children about death...(can't remember the name)

I'm sure we're making a mountain out of a molehill!

DebbieLovesDallas Sun 17-Feb-13 00:46:05

We never really actively sat the dds down and told them about it. There's 10 years between DSD and dd1 and 14 years between DSD and dd2. DD1 just kind of always knew that I wasn't DSD's mum, probably because she calls me by my name. About 2-3 years ago dd1 asked why DSD didn't live with her mum. I told her that DSD's mum wasn't very nice to her so she came to live with me and her dad. (True btw). They just accept it as part of their reality. They already know that married couples don't always stay together. They know that nanny and grandad (my mum and dad) used to be married "in the olden days", as they call them. grin I think when children are that young things don't need to be complicated, they just accept things in their lives as they are. Just answer their questions when they ask.

N0tinmylife Sun 17-Feb-13 09:05:53

We are in a similar situation. DS is 5, and to be honest it had never really occurred to me to tell him the history as such. He obviously knows his step siblings share a dad with him but have a different mum, but I don't think I would go into it beyond that unless he asked.

If he asked I would tell him the truth. Like you though I don't want to point out that relationships can end until I have to. It is something he will learn eventually, but right now it is nice to see him so secure, and sure of our little family.

squiddle Sun 17-Feb-13 20:46:18

We've never had to tell dds. They have met dss's mum a few times and we mention her - and that I am not dss's mum - when it comes up naturally. I will wait til they ask before mentioning that dh has been married before. But they know people get divorced and that relationships don't always last so i don't anticipate a major conversation.

NotMostPeople Sun 17-Feb-13 20:54:01

I've been married before with no dc's, as has DH. Our dc's have always known we've just made it a part of conversation in a matter of fact way.
One of my close male friends found out his father had been previously married fairly recently and was devistated. Not by the fact, but the cover up.

AlwaysHoldingOnToStarbug Sun 17-Feb-13 22:59:23

I have 5 children and DH has 2 from his previous marriage. I don't think I ever really explained to my lot till they asked questions. I told them that DSD and DSS have a different mum as Dad was married before he met me. I haven't gone into the ins and outs of why they divorced etc.

I have had to explain half-siblings, step-parents etc loads of time. We don't refer to DSD or DSS as their half-sister/brother we just call them brother and sister, but my 8 yo twins like to know the details of everything, so we have this conversation every so often!

flurp Mon 18-Feb-13 11:25:02

No need to make an issue of it. Telling them won't make your family any less 'solid'.
I have an opposite problem. My dc don't know any couples who have been married to each other only. My parents divorced and so did their Dad's.
DP and I are in my mind solid but the dc see it as temporary as all relationships are to them so I constantly get "when you and X split up, where will we live?" questions, which actually breaks my heart.
DD swears she will never get married as there is no point as she has not seen one long term marriage work (except my Mum and stepdad but as she says that is still a second marriage so it doesn't count!)

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