Long term effects of kids that don't know the biological father

Casey - posted on 04/24/2013 ( 17 moms have responded )

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When I found out I was pregnant, the biological father and I had already broke up. When I called to tell him, he said "what do you want me to do about it?"... so I told him "nothing" and hung up on him. Then I started seeing someone that I had known for a long time, he was there for me during the whole pregnancy, so I gave the child his last name (and didn't put a father on the birth certificate). This is the tricky part, my son was 8 months old and when I left the one I named him after and got with the man who I am still with (and married to). He is the only man my son knows as Dad, and now that he is in Pre K he has learned how to spell his last name. He doesn't really know that his name is different.... yet. I haven't been able to get a name change (apparently to change his last name I need a lawyer). I don't want my son to resent me or hate me when he is older and feels like me and my husband have lied to him his whole life. My husband and I have a daughter that is 3, and he won't even listen when I try to explain how I feel about it. He has always told me he would leave me if I brought the biological father into the picture. I worry that my son would get older and want to live with him, and then I think what if his biological father lets him do what he wants (who wouldn't want to live somewhere that they could do anything they wanted). Should I go with my heart and let him know about his biological father, or let my husband ruin my relationship and trust that my son has for me when he figures it out (or someone gets mad at me and tells him)? I understand my situation is complicated, and I'm curious if anyone has been in my situation or knows someone who has.

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Jodi - posted on 04/30/2013

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@ Kristi - he found out on his own. It wasn't something his mother told him. This is the risk you run if you don't tell your children the truth straight up - you run the risk of them finding out. Withholding biological parent information is NOT withholding "need to know" information, sorry, I have to disagree with you on this one. Children have the right to know.

Dove - posted on 04/29/2013

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Absolutely tell your son the truth. Any man that would leave a woman over wanting to be honest with her own child... is no man at all. Your child deserves the truth and, if it comes to it, a chance to actually KNOW his biological father. If your husband would actually choose to only spend 50% or so of his time with HIS biological daughter simply because you want your son to know the truth.... That speaks volumes and I'm sorry he is putting you through that emotional turmoil. He sounds insecure. Perhaps the two of you seeking counseling about this issue before talking to your son could help him come to grips with his insecurities.

Alahnna - posted on 07/20/2013

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I may get long winded here, but I will try to keep it short.

First, my ex husband grew up and never knew his real dad ever. HIs mom refused to tell him who he was, then she said it was one guy, then she changed it to a man who had died so now he will never know for certain.

My ex has always had issues with feeling like he belongs, what his roots are, his sense of family and lots of resentment/anger towards his mother. I think it ultimately shaped him into the man he is today and he's very jealous and resentful of people who are happy, especially families who seem well off. He always has this sense of I had a sucky childhood, I didn't know my dad, I deserve to have good stuff now, but he wants it all handed to him. But his mom's whole side of the family is like this, so I'm sure that has something to do with it too.

What I see in him is a man who feels lost. he wants to belong so badly, but doesn't feel like he does anywhere and because of it, he's desperately searching for it. He doesn't seem to grasp that happiness is what YOU make it and that family is more than just blood.

That being said, I read all the reasons you said you were hesitant about telling your son, not wanting him to want to go live with his dad, his dad giving different rules, your husband saying he'd leave. Those are all reasons that YOU would not want to tell him to make things easier for YOU.

When you become a parent, you life changes. Decisions need to be made for the best of your child from the moment that child takes it's first breath. In my mind, you no longer come first, that child does because you made the decision to bring them into this world. It is our job as parents to protect them and make hard choices sometimes. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world by far. You''re always second guessing yourself and wondering if maybe you should have done things differently, if you screwed up your kids for life, etc. We've all been there, it's not easy

If you put your own wants aside, the fact that you are posting this and questioning things, you know in your heart your son deserves to know. Sure it would be easier for you and your husband to just never tell and go on, but these things always have a way fo coming out eventually. Then your son will resent you for not telling him and hiding things, and he will also begin to wonder what else you may have lied about. He may forgive you but the relationship will never be the same.

If you do tell him, yes his dad may not be the perfect dad. He may make mistakes and do things you wouldn't do with him. But the bottom line is he IS his dad and your son deserves to have the chance to know him and his side of the family, as long as he isn't a danger to him. You made the choice long ago to be with this man, and because of that, it set your life on this course. Now you have to make the best of it.

I do not like my ex. If it were not for the kids, I would not even have contact with him. Because of my children, I am civil to him and we co parent faily peacefully. He does things that annoy the crap out of me, like the kids don't get baths on the weekends they go with him and he doesn't get them to brush their teeth. He feeds them crap and he's more strict with them on some things than I would be. There are things I do with the kids that I know he doesn't agree with or that bother him as well. The kids are getting to have a relationship with him though and they know where they come from. Yes, it's not always easy, but I have made the choice for my kids. I only pick a battle when it is my kids safety at risk, not just to be petty. For example, as soon as they get home from their dads, they get tossed in the tub for a goos scrub and I double check teeth brushing that night instead of snarling at him. However, when he left my 8 year old and 5 year old alone to run down the street to a fast food joint to get supper instead of taking them, I spoke up and made it clear that it was not to happen again. We make sure not to disagree in front of the kids, we show a united front and we support the other parent's decisions once we have both agreed on it.

The kids know who love them and who is there for them. Your son will see what you and your husband do for him and what his dad does. If his dad doesn't step up to the plate, he will see and he will apreciate what he has with you, maybe not right away, but when he gets older and is mature enough to. Yes, he may say he wants to go live with his dad in anger, or may want to for a while. I have seen my friends go through it and most times, they realize how dumb that was and come back because they see how good they have it at home. Your ex may also surprise you and end up stepping up to the plate and being a really good dad. If that happens, think how lucky your son will be to have not one, but TWO families who love him and are looking out for his best interests.

Told you I would get long winded, lol

Kunzang - posted on 07/17/2013

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Hi Casey,

I found out about 4 years ago of a woman who had a son by my son and never told us, and maybe not her son, either. Actually today is the boy's birthday and he is 15. I am his grandmother and I have never met him, and I am not sure how to approach the mother without any conflict. If I do not find a good way, or have success with the mom ~ my family will find this boy when he's 18. Anyway, it is really sad to have so many years without a relationship with my grandson.

So, here is my opinion about your situation. There are more people in the family of the guy who is the father of your son. Many of them may really desire to have a relationship with your son, as I do with my grandson that I do not know yet.

I know a lot about my family's ancestry / geneology, and health issues. I think that is something that everyone should know about their family.

If the father is dangerous it is good to have your child stay away from that father, if he is rehabilitated he should know your son ~ if your son wants to know him. I think it is really bad for children not to know their fathers. I am from a divorced family, and I was divorced, too ~ my son and I both knew our fathers. My father is dead now and I am glad I had the opportunity to know my father.

Blessings to you and your situation. Kunzang

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2013

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I agree timing is important, but I think if she is feeling in her heart she wants to tell him, she should. If she feels her child is ready for it, her decision shouldn't be based on what her husband thinks because he thinks his ego is going to take a bashing. Really, which person is the one thinking of the child here?

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Casey - posted on 02/26/2014

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I would never use those words "not wanted", that would only make him think bad of me later. I don't agree in talking bad about the other parent in front of a child - part because it has a funny way of coming back and biting you and partly because it doesn't matter how I feel about him..... I don't want my son thinking it's okay to influence or talk someone into not liking someone they have never met (even if I feel that way). Psychologically or emotionally that would be devastating for a child to hear!! For now I am waiting... surely he will ask and hopefully by then I will have some way of explaining it without making him feel like he wasn't wanted!

Shawnn - posted on 02/24/2014

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Oh, sure. I always recommend that you tell a kid that they weren't wanted by one parent.

How about try this "he's not ready to be a parent now". And, you don't know if the new woman is the one blocking, or if it's your ex...not unless you're in the room with whomever is online at the time.

But, by all means. Go ahead and tell your son that he wasn't wanted...

Casey - posted on 02/07/2014

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Thank you all for your comments, I messaged his biological father and his new wife via facebook and text her, sending a picture of my son (they have known the DNA results for more than a year) - after she got ugly with me and sent several pictures of her and my ex back in response.... I am blocked from their facebooks and have no other way to contact him. Obviously he doesn't want to be a part of my son's life - should I still tell my son when his biological father just doesn't want him?

Casey - posted on 05/03/2013

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I have talked to him several times and it just makes him mad, I told him that I knew what was at risk, what if my son wants to go live with his biological dad when he is older... and I pay child support. What if he has so much fun with him and his new wife that he doesn't want to come home. Its a hard decision to make!

Casey - posted on 05/03/2013

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To clear parts of this up, his biological father went to prison... and was on drugs. He is clean and straightened up now, but I still don't know that I want my son to be around him. I have messaged his biological father on facebook... and his new wife called me. My husband now is the only father my son knows, and we don't discuss the last name really because I plan on changing his and will talk to him about that when it happens. My husband worries that he will get older and use those "you're not my Dad" words. A few years ago I talked to biological dad and he wanted to meet my son "to see how he likes him" and I didn't speak to him after that. Who doesn't "like" their kid?! Thanks for all the replies, I will keep posted on what I choose to do and how my decision affected my family!

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2013

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"He has always told me he would leave me if I brought the biological father into the picture. "

I did just re-read this, however, and have to ask if you have discussed this with your husband recently, and have you discussed how you feel with him? Maybe he will be more open about listening to you than you think.

Kristi - posted on 04/30/2013

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@Jodi--

I do agree they need to be told, but the "when" is my issue with it. I can understand how finding out on your own would feel like a betrayal. But, I would hope once all the cards were on the table, at least in case like your nephew's where abuse is involved, the child would be able to step back and understand why the mom or dad withheld that information at the time.

Or in the OP's case if the kid did catch on and were to ask why is my last name different and then they made up a BS story, that would be lying and I would be against that. I just think timing is important.

[deleted account]

I would want to know why your husband insists your son has absolutely no relationship with his father. I understand that the bio guy basically didn't want to be in the picture, but your kid still has the right to know eventually, maybe not now since he's still young, but when he gets older, maybe in his early teens.

Dove - posted on 04/30/2013

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Good point about the insecurity. I know I'D be insecure too. He's probably afraid that when the truth comes out she might try leaving him for guy number 4... which would technically be guy number 1...

Kristi - posted on 04/30/2013

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I agree with telling your son the truth. I'm just not sure when Is the best time. There are so many things to take into consideration. I've been trying to do the math here and I can't figure it out. Apparently, he knows his name and can spell his name but he doesn't know your name or daddy's name or sissy's name? But, you expect him to understand that he has another daddy that made him and another daddy that named him and now a third daddy that will raise him BUT ONLY IF we promise not to tell the daddy that made him.

My father adopted me when I was 7 months old. I vaguely remember my parents telling me about my sperm donor. I was probably around 12 or 13. At first, I felt weird. Like, ok, do I really belong here? Am I still supposed to call my dad "dad?" Stupid stuff like that. I never once resented my parents for anything. Although, as ungrateful, mentally ill teenager, I pulled the, "I want my real father," card a couple of times when I got in trouble. Both times, I wished I could have ripped my own vocal cords out and shoved them down a garbage disposal for the pain and hurt I saw on my parents' faces. Then, I let it go for awhile...I was better than EVERYONE during that stage so I don't know who the hell he thought he was walking out on me and my mom...fucking asshole. For awhile, I tried to convince myself that my dad loved me more than any "real" dad because he picked me when he didn't have to.

I've struggled endlessly about why weren't my mom and I good enough for this guy. I resent him to this day. I tried to contact him as an adult. I wanted to know my roots, I guess. I also have 2 half brothers and I'd still like to get to know them. But, the stand-up guy my biodad is, he never returned an email or a letter or a phone call. I sent him pictures of my children, technically his grandchildren...nothing. So, that's one thing you need to take into account. How is biodad going to respond when/if "jr." decides to contact him?

I can tell you this, had my dad told my mom "he would leave me if I brought the biological father into the picture," she would have said, bye! But, I think I know why you let that go and stayed with this guy anyways. IMHO, you need to examine that relationship and it's longevity and stability before you go wrecking your son's.

At this point, at his age, under these circumstances, I don't think anything positive will result in attempting to tell him the truth.

Jodi--

Was there more going on with your nephew? That sounds like an odd reaction unless he still didn't know his mom was being abused. That makes me so sad for them.

I don't think withholding "need to know" information until a child is more equipped to understand and deal with that information is lying, it's, at least, an attempt to use wisdom. In this case, does a Pre-K child need to know right at this point in time that he's on his 3rd daddy, who may not be his last, just in order for his mom not to appear to be a liar and to ensure that he is a happy, healthy, productive child? (blawk...that was a mouthful) My answer is no.

Dove--I'm pretty sure there is a good reason for the insecurity. Doesn't make any of this right but it makes more sense. It's all in the numbers. (as in time)

edited--it's 3am and I left out words and stuff!

Jodi - posted on 04/25/2013

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"He has always told me he would leave me if I brought the biological father into the picture."

Wow, it really isn't any of his business when you get right down to it. This kind of ultimatum shows a true lack of respect for both you AND your son. Believe me, if you tell your son, this is NOT what is ruining your relationship. Your husband's attitude is the problem here.

Your son absolutely has a right to know that he has a biological father. He then also has the right, if he chooses, to have a relationship with him. Your husband has no right to interfere with that. I would say that his ultimatum to you is very controlling and emotionally abusive. Emotional blackmail has no place in a healthy relationship.

My nephew never knew his father. He thought someone else was his dad until he was a teen (it's complicated, but I don't need to go into it here). His mother had fled an abusive marriage before she realised she was pregnant, and chose not to tell her son the truth about it.

He found out the truth, and he became a VERY angry child. He felt his mother had deprived him of a relationship with his father. He felt cheated and lied to. He lost any trust he had for his mother.

He did eventually come around (he is now 20 and seems to have come to terms with it), but as you can see, nothing GOOD can come of lying to your child about their parentage.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/25/2013

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YES! You should indeed tell your child the truth. Quite honestly, you giving your child the name of someone who was not the father was a big mistake.

If your now husband wants to adopt your child, then start there. Yes you will need a lawyer, especially since there are 2 previous men involved. The one you named him after, and the bio father. Both might need to sign over permission.

It makes me worried that your husband is threatening to leave you if you tell him the truth. Does he honestly think your son will not notice a difference in last name? And when he finds out his last name does not even match your maiden name, you will have more to explain. He WILL find out.

I do not agree with lying to children. My sister did this, and her son still supposedly does not know. Quite honestly, he hates the man who is pretending to be his bio father, and it would probably be a great relief to him to find out he is not related to this man.

Lying creates an even nastier and bigger web of lies.

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