What do you tell your 3yr old?

Brittney - posted on 10/14/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My son is 3yrs old. His father knows how I feel about him not being a constant in his life, yet he continues to play a daddy when it is convient for him. Last weekend I let my son go to a birthday party for a cousin of his (dad's side of the family), but it was my understanding that he would be with his grandparents the whole day. I dropped him off and they were bringing him home. While he was at the party his dad was there and took my son shopping just the two of them, don't get me wrong I would love for my child to spend time with his father but once in three years is not enough. Anyways since this day he has asked me, "Where is my daddy?", "When is daddy comming home?" and a few other hard questions. I knew the day would come when he would ask these things but how do you answer these questions so that a three year old will understand?

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Tarysha - posted on 10/22/2010

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The statements below are so true. My daughter is 11 and her "donor" was never an active part of her life. I never spoke ill of him when she asked. Eventually he asked to start coming around when she was 8/9 years old. She figured out pretty quick that he wasn't there for her and that she didn't want to see him anymore. He's out of her life permanently. Trust your kiddo to follow his heart, because if he's as smart as you seem to be, he'll figure it out pretty quick and you'll never look like the bad guy in regard to his father.

JuLeah - posted on 10/15/2010

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I am not sure he has the same emotion to this that you do. I think 'Daddy' to him is the guy who took him shopping and spent time with him. I doubt he is longing for a father, but that Daddy guy was fun; when is he coming back?
It is their relationship .... you son will understand soon enough. For now tell him that Daddy only knows how to be Daddy once in a while. Tell your son you feel sorry for Daddy because he is missing out on time with a realy great kid.

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Crystal - posted on 10/24/2010

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That's tough. It's hard to answer those questions when they start asking where their dad is. I always found it to be as honest as I could with mine when they were younger. If you are unsure where and when the father is showing up, tell your son you don't know when he will see him again, but you do know that he loves him. As mine got older, I was more honest and told them for whatever reason, the father was unable to be there for them the way they BOTH would like. It's hard, but it'll be ok - just be honest as best you can and when he asks makes sure he knows that you are always there for him, no matter what. Sometimes distracting them and having some fun helps get their mind off the absent parent as well. Good luck!
Crystal | www.whydidichoosehim.com

Stephanie - posted on 10/24/2010

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I hate to post this, because it seems not to make sense, but you tell him the truth. Do so in a clear, simple and calm way. Make sure he knows in simple terms "who, what, where, why and how", and then just brace for many many many many clarifications that will come down the road. Don't bring the issue up if it's not relevant, or if he doesn't ask you. Always reassure him that he is your favorite, most important person in the whole world, and that you are smart, capable, and committed to loving and caring for him every single day (not in those words, but in ways he'll understand). You're not going anywhere. And you love him for who he is, not because your something to play with occasionally.



Don't ever let yourself feel guilty. And my advice- don't indulge in jealously too much. If you need to clarify things about what a parent should/should not do, wait until he's older to understand that, and then do it-- maybe 4 or 5. And only when he starts asking, "why?", maybe even starts blaming you for the break-up/failure (which is only his way to make sense of things). Clarify gently. Cuddle and be there. Be authentic about your feelings- if you're sad about some things, don't go on and on, but let him know that you have feelings too, and it's ok to have feelings. Life will go on, and be wonderful anyway (yup- that's your job).



good luck.



steph

Tammy - posted on 10/24/2010

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Can he call him?? I would let him call him and ask...as far as the home u explain to ur child that daddy doesn't live with you..don't sugar code it with a 3 yr old they understand more then you know and the question you can't answer let him answer. Say "I don't know do you wanna call daddy?" My kids father did that once in a while blue moon show up when it's ok with ur time and now we haven't seen him in 4 yrs and my son is 13 and my daughter is 9 and they don't hate him but r very disappointed and don't want him around even if he tries to come back.. I couldn't answer their questions except that he doesn't live with us and when he has time he will call you or do you wanna call him after a while he cut them off completely because it was convinent for him and his new girlfriend and new babies at the time.. I constantly let my kids know that I am here and I love you and I'm not going anywhere.. re assure him of you not him...

Brittney - posted on 10/23/2010

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Thanks again guys, and Angie, I have never told my child that daddy was just someone fun to play with and that i am the only parent that would always be there for him. I have never said anything bad about his father because if i was a child of a single parent i would resent the parent who talked bad about the other. I just wish his father would wake up and see what a blessing he is missing, but i know he never will.

Susan - posted on 10/22/2010

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I think honesty is very important in these situations. I'm not saying your son needs to know everything about his father, or that you should badmouth him. But if you don't know when he'll see his father next, then tell him you don't know. As he gets older, he'll learn the truth on his own.

Angie - posted on 10/21/2010

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dont tell kids things like that cause they retain information like that and one day it will come back and kick you. my now 7 year old had contact with his dad from 3 months till he was 3 yr, then daddy got a new girlfriend and a baby and it was 6 months before he sore has dad again. it shattered him and now he only sees his dad a few hours a month and he came to his OWN conclusion that daddy didn't care. so just tell them daddy is busy and as much as you dont like the father talk to them and let them know whats going on or use the grand parents as great back up if they are willing to be a steady part of their lives

Ayanda - posted on 10/21/2010

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Amen to all the ladies- i am a single mom too- and the pathetic excuse of a father for my daughter doesnt exist except via skype and phone calls. He has never bought her or let alone money grammed her even 1$. and then he says " you are such a strong woman and i nkow you can do it" wat a load of bull!!!! excuse my fustration but i dint get on top of myself and went strong on my own....LOL anyway my daughter is very gets attached to any male friend I get and it really saddens me all the time - how much she needs to have him in his life and I know she would love him. sometimes he goes for months with no contact watsover- how can one just not think about thier child ???***perplexed. and when she sees his picture she gets so excited chanting "daddy,daddy,daddy" why must woman deal with this alone all the time. But I give my baby all the love in the world and... I let the man upstairs do the rest.

Diane - posted on 10/20/2010

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I know how you feel. My son's dather is only in his life when its convient for him. He will show up once in a month or even less then that. But when my son does see him for like a week afterwards he will cry for his daddy and ask where he is. It is really sad and I don't know what to tell him. Because I don't think its a good thing to talk bad about the other paret in front of the kids. I just keep telling my son that I am here and that I love him very much and will never leave him. I'm not sure what else you can do.

Phyllis - posted on 10/20/2010

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I have dealt with this and my daughter is going on 11 and we still deal with this. the best way to start is to explain that mommy and daddy will not be together and that this does NOT mean that either of you love him any less. Then I explained that daddy has the option of coming and he will be the first to know when daddy is there... this is about as much as you can tell him at this age. Eventually he will understand more on his own. My daughter at this point looks at her dad and asks when u coming oh yeah that's right when it is convient (sp?) for you ... she gets disiplined for the attitude but not for the truth. I never say a bad word about her father and that is the most important thing at this time because if he ever happens to change and become a great father then u will be the one made to look like a bad person.
I also have grown sons (19 & 20) and about a month ago was the first time they ever heard me say a bad word about their father. Even then it was to say he was an ass for how he was acting with his sons.

Brittney - posted on 10/16/2010

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Thanks Everyone for the feedback. And you are right about him knowing that "Daddy" was fun for the moment, but soon he will see mommy is here forever, and his "Daddy" will have to answer to him one day.

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I agree w/ JuLeah. My 2.5 year old son 'knows' who Daddy is, but to him Daddy is just the guy that calls on the phone every once in a while and comes to see him and his sisters every once in a LONG while (last visit was in April). He has much more of a relationship w/ his 'uncles' than w/ Daddy cuz THEY are the ones he is around more.

Teresa - posted on 10/15/2010

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I know how you feel hun and my daughter has asked me questions sometimes about her dad that are hard for me to answer and its hurts because I at times I really don't have the answers. But I never ever talk bad about him even thou I truly cant stand him lol. I feel its important to either say nothing about him or to say positive things about him. As your child gets older and understand things better he will know for himself how his father really is if he still his absent at that time you can comfort him. Let him know also that there is absolutely nothing wrong with him and he's not the reason that his dad is not around. Tell him that his Dad loves him and say things like "Hopefully he will come and see you soon but I'm here with you and love you" My daughter is five now and when she asks those tough questions all I have to do is pick up the phone and give it to her lol. I refuse to cover up for him now I let him answer those questions. She's very mature for her age and when she was able to see how he would come by or call every blue moon she would ask him why. So now he comes more often and calls her alot. Somethings you have to let God work it out. You just keep doing what you are doing and try to stay positive as possible.

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