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Is telling my son he doesn't have a father the right thing to do?

38 replies

SuzyBee · 15/05/2008 11:19

I became pregnant with a man I was seeing casually, who, when I told him I was pregnant, showed little interest in me or the baby. He agreed to see his son when he was born, but didn't turn up for further visits. He has three children from his marriage, whom he is very hands on with, so he knows how to be an active parent. When my son ws six months I went back to work and asked the father to contribute towards his son, to help pay childcare fees etc. Until then he had provided nothing. He paid me maintenance and started to pay fortnightly visits to see his son. This continued for a year, then he stopped his maintenance, without saying anything to me. His reason was that as a self-employed painter and decorator, he wasn''t earning enough money. He then began cancelling his fortnightly visits at the last minute. I began to get increasingly frustrated with him, which he used as an excuse as to why he didn't visit. My bad feeling towards him was too difficult, as he put he. He then said he would not come to see his son again or pay me any money, unless I agreed to go to mediation with him. I said there was no need for mediation - all he had to do was to resume his payments and visits and I wouldn't feel so angry towards him. I refused to go to mediation and have had no contaact with him since. Now my son is nearly three aand wants to know where his daddy is. I've told him he has no daddy, but he is confused by this. Other children have daddies, why not him.
I would dearly love some advice fom other mums. I could go to mediation with the father, but I believe this is a stalling process. If he wanted relations to be good between us, why doesn't he simply pay me money and visit his son? And is telling my son that he has no father the right course of action?

OP posts:
cazboldy · 15/05/2008 11:24

No it definitely isn't.

It is lying to him.

My sister is doing the exact same thing to her little boy

She found out her bf was having an affair while she was pg and he hasn't seen my nephew since he was 2 wks old. he is 6 now, and understandably asking questions.

I understand how difficult this must be for you, but strongly feel we should never lie to our children.

DiscoDizzy · 15/05/2008 11:26

it could have serious repercussions if you were to do that

elesbells · 15/05/2008 11:26

I'm sad for you and your son that its ended up like this

However, telling your son that he doesn't have a daddy is unkind and simply not true - he does have a daddy but its a daddy he just doesn't see at the moment.

Whatever you do, or however you tell him his daddy is not around, be as honest as you can be with a young child, in words he can understand. Lying to him is not the answer.

Can you contact his dad to ask him to visit?

lostdad · 15/05/2008 11:28

Sounds like an entrance fee to me. I'd bet on the fact that he feels blackmailed.

Maintenance and contact have no link in law.

Tinkerbel6 · 15/05/2008 11:30

Suzy tell your son he does have a daddy but he doesn't see him now but he has done in the past, maybe think again about mediation cause if your ex has shown interest in it then there means there are underlying issues he has and it might not just be about money and access visits.

zippitippitoes · 15/05/2008 11:33

sorry you have felt like this definitely wrong to say he doesnt have a father

mediation sounds like a very good idea

fanjolina · 15/05/2008 11:41

If you tell him he doesn't have a father it will only confuse him and make him feel "odd" when he learns that it takes mums and dads to make babies.

You can say that you have so much love for him that he only needs you to bring him up. But he has to be aware that he does have a dad who was responsible for creating him.

minorityrules · 15/05/2008 11:45

why not just go to mediation? The most important thing is your son here, mediation could help in getting everything sorted (visits and money)

Money and visits shouldn't be lumped together, the relationship is the most important part

lostdad · 15/05/2008 11:46

From a father's point of view - and from one who has been denied contact (whilst paying maintenance from day one), I'd say go to mediation.

You and your ex will both be asked which issues you want to discuss. You can mention maintenance, he can mention contact. The mediator will come up with a compromise that both of you live with.

At least I'd ex refuses any kind of discussion, compromise or anything like that.

SuzyBee · 15/05/2008 12:49

Thank you for your your replies. In my heart I know it is the wrong thing, however I don't know how to explain his father doesn't want to see him. When he stopped maintenance I still asked for him to see his son, but he kept cancelling visits. I could only see it getting worse, with at some point in the future my son being old enough to understand that his father is letting him down.
I am not opposed to mediation in itself, but with him I am. The solution to me seems so simple. How could he not want to try the route of seeing his son and paying me money first, as a way of healing the rift?

OP posts:
laidbackinengland · 15/05/2008 12:52

But Suzy it sounds like his dad does want to see him - hence asking for mediation ? As others have said contact should not be dependant on maintenance.

mankymummy · 15/05/2008 12:54

Why are you so opposed to mediation with him?

At the moment you are only seeing things from your own perspective and you have no idea how he is feeling or what his situation is.

Surely if thats what it takes to get back to a position where your son will have a father in his life again it is something that you should give a go?

In your position I would say to your son that he does have a daddy but that its very difficult for daddy to come and see him at the moment.

notjustmom · 15/05/2008 12:56

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zippitippitoes · 15/05/2008 12:58

i dont understand why you are against mediation it seems the perfect situation for it to work tbh

and there is certainly not going to be anything lost but lots to gain from it

the situation is unfortunate especially as you werent in a relationship with his dad to start with but mediation would put the childs intyerests first and thrash out the difficulties

there isnt any point having mediation with anyone except the childs father so that is abit irrelevant

CombustibleLemon · 15/05/2008 13:01

I would suggest that you go to mediation, and do everything you can to make it easier for your son to have a relationship with his father. Definitely don't lie to him.

If you lie or don't do everything you can to help the relationship, in the future it could well create a lot of resentment and anger towards you from your son. If you do all you can, and this 'man' still doesn't support his son financially or emotionally, your son will come to see his father for the person he is.

This man really is not worth risking your future relationship with your son over.

MascaraOHara · 15/05/2008 13:05

I think there are underlying issues and it sounds very much like a 'one-sided' account.

he wouldn't suggest mediation unless there was a reason for it AND he actually wanted to see his dad.

to tell your DS he doesn't have a dad is just plain wrong. Esp. at 3.

My DD doesn't have a realtionship with her father.. she still knows she has one. I never understand why parents find these things so complicated. It's only as complicated as you make it.

He's 3, just tell him has gone away for a while. again, he's 3. he will accept that.

cross the bridge of a more detailed explanation when he's old enough to understand.

MascaraOHara · 15/05/2008 13:06

or even just say. "daddy's not here." in a happy voice. full stop end of.

elesbells · 15/05/2008 13:06

I think you have to stop thinking along the lines of money = visits tbh.

Mediation is an excellent idea. Why won't you go? Its in the best interest of your son surely?

At least then you've done all you can to let your son see his dad. If he lets him down your son will see it for himself and make his own decisions, rather than you tell him he doesn't have a father and then finds out he has.

zippitippitoes · 15/05/2008 13:08

i agree that at three you son doesnt need any sort of explanation that is more complicated than has been put forward on here

Baffy · 15/05/2008 13:08

As you can't agree on this between you I would say that is exactly what mediation is for. To help you agree on a suitable way forward for everyone.

Please agree to go. For your son's sake.

And please please don't tell him he doesn't have a daddy. It will have serious reprocussions later in life please believe me.

I know it's hard. And I understand all the bad feeling you must have towards his father.

If I were you I would tell him he has a daddy who loves him very much but daddy can't come to visit just now.

He needs to know he has a dad who loves him. If nothing else he needs to know, and believe that.

madamez · 15/05/2008 13:10

Sorry but you need to go to mediation for your son's sake. Mediation is about working out a fari agreement which puts the child's best interest first: is your resistance to it because you think you wo't be allowed to have things all your own way? Tough. You're the grown up so start acting like one: if your DS' father is prepared to negotiate a compromise then you ought to be as well, rather than planning to lie to your son. Because this would be a really bad lie: he does have a father who has offered to negotiate an arrangement to see him. And lies like this come out in the end, and the lied-to child NEVER forgives the liar.

zippitippitoes · 15/05/2008 13:12

i agree entirely with madamez you need to be the grown up and do the mediation

mankymummy · 15/05/2008 13:16

agree with madamez.

separate your anger with DS's father from your sons welfare.

TotalChaos · 15/05/2008 13:19

No, definitely the wrong thing to do. I had no contact with my father due to his choice; my mum tried as far as possible to sweep all mention of his existence under the carpet. So my mind ran riot as an older child as to what sort of terrible things might have resulted in my conception. Far better to give him a simple and relatively honest explanation from an early age, so he grows up knowing he has a father.

charliegal · 15/05/2008 13:23

i agree with the other posters. You must tell your son the truth, that he does have a Daddy.
I think about this a lot because I have a donor conceived son and a female partner. I feel my son does not have a father in the sense that I understand the word. We will be really careful about how we explain his conception and the kind man who helped us have the baby we longed for. Your situation is very different and your little boy deserves the truth. Hth.

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