Telling DS about step-dad

(12 Posts)
ChildOfWoe Sun 10-Dec-17 23:11:07

I'm looking for advice on talking to DS aged 6 about his step dad...

Background info - step dad & I have been together since DS1 was 20 months old, so he can't remember any different, he always called him by his first name, until we got married in 2016, when we asked him if he'd like to start calling him Daddy, which he did & has done ever since.
We also now have a second child together.

DS1's biological father hasn't been on the scene since the day I told him I was pregnant. With it being 6 years on, I can't see him suddenly showing up, but obviously there is always the possibility (he's not on the birth certificate ).

Any advice on how to deal with this sort of situation regarding DS & explaining about bio-dad / step dad?

I just worry that as he gets older I don't want it to be a shock to him that step dad isn't his bio dad.

Also does anyone know what happens, if something were to happen to me would it be safe to assume my husband would keep both children? Despite him having no official parental rights / adoption of DS1?

OP’s posts: |
user1493413286 Mon 11-Dec-17 14:33:06

I think you need to speak to a solicitor or citizens advice as technically if something happened to you there would be no one with parental responsibility for your son so while I can’t imagine anyone stopping him living with his step dad it’d be safer if you checked what you could do.
If your son only started calling him daddy last year then doesn’t he already know that he isn’t his biological dad? If he doesn’t then I think the sooner you talk about it the better; there’s lots of books which are really useful for talking to children about these things. You can also explain it to him in really simple terms that he has two daddies etc, one who helped make him but lives somewhere else or whatever you want to say and another daddy who looks after him. When children grow up knowing these things it’s much easier than one day finding it out.
Also make sure your younger child also knows this as she/he gets older and can be explained in the same way as otherwise it can be a shock for them too

NC4now Wed 13-Dec-17 22:23:21

Would DH consider adopting him? I think that would give him parental responsibility. I’d make the adoption a time to celebrate with DS and explain to him that Mummy was with another man who wasn’t ready to be a daddy, so at first it was just you two, but then <first name> case along and loved you both and wanted to be his daddy. Now you’re making it official by adopting him.

I think a solicitor could advise on the legal side, but that would be my approach.

NC4now Wed 13-Dec-17 22:24:02

*came along

thatwhichwecallarose Thu 14-Dec-17 06:34:51

I also like the idea of adoption to give him PR but also as a celebration moment too. What surname do you/DS have? Just thinking if you changed yours on marriage could you change DS too?

WashingMatilda Fri 15-Dec-17 20:05:08

Adoption is alot harder than people seem to think. Your ex sounds like an absolute deadbeat but unfortunately he's still his biological father and you can't just read history, even if he isn't on the birth certificate.

I'm a bit confused as to why your DS doesn't already know he's not his biological dad, if he only started calling him dad last year?

ChildOfWoe Fri 15-Dec-17 20:33:29

I agree, I actually got some legal advice & the solicitor didn't seem to think it was worth the hassle to adopt & would be better to just get parental responsibility order.
I also phoned the local council about adoption, but they said despite the Father not being on the BC I'd need to essentially get his permission for it, which would be difficult as I have no contact details for him.

When we got married DS would have been just over 4, we haven't mentioned it since then, but I think because 'daddy' has always been around since he can remember he'll just assume that's his dad, if that makes sense? If he'd been older at the time of the wedding he may have more understanding.

OP’s posts: |


WashingMatilda Sat 16-Dec-17 19:33:27

I see what you're saying OP, that makes sense.
I think in this case it should just be a case of saying to DS something along the lines of 'DH loves you very much, even though he isn't your daddy in your blood he is your daddy in his heart, and as soon as he met you he wanted to love and protect you forever'

Something along those lines, I don't think it should be a 'big reveal', the sooner the better.
Just keep dropping it into conversation, maybe there are some kids books about different kinds of families you can read him at night?

Hope it goes well, sounds like you got a lovely family despite your deadbeat ex.

Koala2018 Sun 17-Dec-17 03:08:07

I'm really sorry to say this. But I don't think it was fair or correct of you to encourage your child to call his step-dad anything but his name. There is nothing wrong with being a step dad as long as he treats the child equally. Normally I hear people wanting their child to call the step-dad 'daddy or dad' so when they're out in public it looks like bio Dad and no one knows it's a blended family.

there is no shame in being a step dad, a step dad should be able to be a step dad without needing or getting the title of 'daddy'

Explain to the child as soon as possible that step dad loves him and is his step dad, he has a bio dad!

ChildOfWoe Mon 18-Dec-17 18:49:21

@Koala2018 Sorry but I don't agree at all.. if a child has a bio dad who has been in the child's life then I would agree, however in this case the bio dad hasn't wanted anything to do with the child & even told me I should "get rid".
My husband has spend the past 4+ years now teaching DS to ride a bike, comforting him, playing with him , helping him with homework, the list goes on... so I completely think he has a total right to be known as Daddy!
If DS were to call him by his first name, do you not think he would then feel out of place since our other child will call him daddy, yet we'd have to tell him he can only call him by his name because he's "step dad".

In other people's circumstances I may agree with you, but in ours I don't.

OP’s posts: |
bakingcupcakes Mon 18-Dec-17 19:04:55

My cousin married a woman who already had a 2 year old who had no contact with his biological dad. The 2 year old called my cousin by his first name. This was fine until my cousin and his wife had a daughter who called him daddy. In the end his stepson (who was about 6 at this point) asked to call him daddy as it was unfair his sister had a daddy and he didn't. I don't think you've done anything wrong in asking your DS if he wants to call your DH dad. He had the option not too.

Chocolate254 Mon 18-Dec-17 19:06:05

I told my daughter at 6 its very difficult even at that age to get them to understand as they dont understand biology and because they cant physically see their biological father its hard for them to be able to imagine I think.
I started off talking about different kinds of family for example people she knew who had a nanny bringing them up or two mummys or that some children are adopted.
We would talk about how different families were and it didnt matter who you had as long as you had a family.
I told her that a mummy and a daddy are used to make a baby but sometimes a daddy cant always be a daddy and thats what happened in her case, So her Daddy *husbands name* came along and CHOSE to be her Daddy and isnt she so special because he CHOSE her.
I kept having to remind her every couple of months as she kept on forgetting, It can be hard for them to process as they cant see this biological dad and biology isnt something they think about. They see who is in front of them.
I think 6 is the perfect age. She doesnt remember being told and it isnt a big deal in her life.
Good luck op

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