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Advice for what to tell 3yr old DS - OW is having baby

(11 Posts)
Lifeunexpected Fri 12-Oct-18 19:22:17

Hi everyone,

I have re-posted into this thread, because I was hoping for advice.

My ex H had a 2 yr affair and got the OW pregnant. I found out at the end of March. We have separated and my ex and the OW 'aren't together' but are 'working on things'......yes.....I know....the usual denial.

My ex H sees my DS once a week (sleeps over once a fortnight) and is beginning to be 'casually' introduced to the OW. They don't live together. Their baby is due at the end of November and having worked through (most of) my grief, I'm ready to do what's best for my DS. I need to tell my DS, in an age appropriate way, that he will have a half-sibling who will have a different Mummy. I'm wary, however, that my ex H and OW's relationship is likely to be on fragile ground, so it's difficult to know what to share. I'm desperate to get it right. I don't want to cause any confusion for my DS.

So, I'm looking for any recommendations for books, activities etc. that are appropriate for my 3 year old son to introduce him to the idea of 'different families', 'new baby' etc.

Any reflections from personal experiences would be really valuable to me. Thanks in advance!

OP’s posts: |
Firefliess Fri 12-Oct-18 20:02:18

You sound like you're dealing with it really well. And it is hard watching your ex have a child with someone else and your child acquire a sibling you're not related to.

But before you tell your 3 year old, are you sure your ex is happy for you to be the once who tells him? I would have thought it's really his job, though ideally you'd know when he was going to do this so you could be prepared to handle any questions.

Best thing is just to explain everything just as it is. If DS has met the new DP of his dad then you can start be saying she is going to have a baby and that his dad will be the baby's dad too. Personally I've always referred to my ex's child with his new wife as my DC's half brother, though if your ex goes for "brother or sister" and omits the half, I don't think I'd bother getting caught up on semantics. Just focus on him understanding that the baby will have the same father as him but a different mother and will live with its mother, but he will probably get to visit the baby. I'd leave it to your ex to do the reassuring stuff about how much he still loves DS, but be prepared to reinforce that as much as you can (which is not easy, I know, when you're actually feeling unsure yourself whether he'll be pushed out)

At 3 you may get questions about how babies are made, which you may find difficult (and upsetting) to answer, so have a think beforehand about what level of explanation you want to give.

I was quite upset and worried about my ex having a new baby at first, even though his new DW was not an OW. But once the baby was born I found those feelings subsided, and my DC have got a lot out of having a younger sibling, whilst I get to be the parent who can do more fun stuff with them as I'm not held back looking after a little one. Good luck with it

stuffedpeppers Fri 12-Oct-18 21:52:29

Me 4 yrs ago with a 5 and 3 yr old.

Dad told them - without telling me - but i had long suspected. Took them out and they both came back in, ran upstairs and I could har them crying. It was bloody awful.

I spent the intervening 6 months telling them it was great, if we went out, we talked about what their new brother was going to like. I let them buy rattles, toys etc.

Fortunately, it was a boy.

Ex and OW never ahd a conversation with them again, until they met their sibling.

It stuck in my gut and hurt beyond belief but roll on a few years, they love their sibling and as he has now split up with her - all my hard work has been worth it.

Sell the good bits and never lie to them. Include new sib in conversation as if they were coming to live with you and do not let then feel bad about mentioning new baby.

Being the EX and having to deal with cock sucking EX and his OW - is a reality no one understand unless they have walked the walk.

Lifeunexpected Sun 14-Oct-18 14:25:35

Thank you to you both. It's much appreciated x

OP’s posts: |
Lifeunexpected Sun 14-Oct-18 14:30:49

It stuck in my gut and hurt beyond belief but roll on a few years, they love their sibling and as he has now split up with her - all my hard work has been worth it.

God, I hope so. It hurts, but I know it's necessary for my DS.

Best thing is just to explain everything just as it is.

This is the advice I've got from most people. You're right. I'll keep it factual and focus only on what he needs to know at his age.

OP’s posts: |
NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 14:35:50

I would suggest let your ex talk to your son and then, be there to answe any questions your child may have.

To be honest, being 3, it is likely that he just takes it as it comes, no pressure, no drama.

TooSassy Sun 14-Oct-18 19:10:39

I second the above post. I think you should let your ex know that you are ready to support your DS with this addition. But let him deal with telling your DS and get some form of heads up about what your DS is going to be told.

I think you’re amazing for rising above all of this x

MeridianB Mon 15-Oct-18 12:59:29

Just wanted to add that you sound so wise and calm, despite what must have been a heartbreaking time.

If Ex and OW are not living together, will he actually see much of the baby in the first six or so months?

Do what feels best for your DS. He's still so little that he doesn't need lots of details.

Lifeunexpected Mon 15-Oct-18 20:58:36

Thank you @NotSureThisIsWhatIWant @TooSassy @MeridianB

If you read my posts from 6 months ago, you wouldn't be calling me wise and calm confused

It was my goal from counselling to start verbalising that my son will have a half sibling, so I'm starting to say it out loud more. I've told my eX H that we need to talk about it, and yes, it probably will be my ex that tells my DS. But I wanted to advise my ex H and be consistent, as I don't want my DS to be confused. Perhaps I just need to feel like I'm an active participant in this discussion, so I feel prepared and ready for whatever comes my way...

They're not living together, but my ex H has told me that there will be 'overlap' between his children because he only has every Sunday to see them (as he wants to keep every other Saturday he's not working to himself hmm).

Trying my best to just keep my DS as the focus! I can totally see how separated couples can get drawn into the detail/conflict though.

Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
stuffedpeppers Mon 15-Oct-18 21:56:39

OP- youa re actually right to talk to your child.

If you're EX is not able to address the issues with you, the chances are he will not with his child. YOu have your DS best interests in mind and talking about it in a cheerful, matter of fact way is the way to go.

My Ex told the dCS and the next time he mentioned it to them was to tell them they would lose "their bedroom" for the baby. RElgating them to a bed in the laundry room! And then when he drove them down to meet their brother.

Do not rely on your EX to prepare your DS- you will deal with the fall out and you know your chld best.

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Tue 16-Oct-18 08:58:18

I disagree, what you see and hear at home May be different to how things are in dad’s house. If you intervene by telling him yourself you may risk making the problem worse for your kid. They know how they interact with your child and what is the better way to tell him the news, if you do it yourself you may break that balance and create the drama you are trying to avoid.

Be there to answer any questions he may have, but do not break the news yourself. And remember, at three, telling him he is going to have a sibling may be as significative to him as telling him they are getting a new hamster.

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