How will I explain to my daughter about her father absence?

Children will become very curious about an absent parent as they start to get older. How would you explain to your daughter about an absent father? At what age would you approach the subject?

29  Answers

8 0

My Daughter's Father lives in a different state. She started asking at 3 why she didn't have one. I tolde her she did and everyone has one. I explained that he lived far away and although he could not be with her, he loved her. I didn't think I was lying because he said so when she was born and up until about a year and a half after that. She would have a breakdown twice a year wanting him to be a part of her life. I hugged her and cried with her. I always explained that everyone is not ready to be a parent and that if you force them to be it could have a negative impact like child and continuous rejection. I also explained that it had nothing to do with her and it was a choice he felt he had to make. I told her I was more than ready to be a parent and I will always be here with her as long as God knows she needs me to be here (She understood that people die and that was a fear of hers too). She accepted that. I never speak negative of him and I have allowed her to write him letters but I would explaining that she may not receive a response but she could just let him know how she was doing. I had to play it by ear and move on the topic when she did. I am always honest with her and adress issues as she asks and seems ready to receive the response. I have no hard feelings toward him...things happen and I share with her positive times we had together. She seems to get it. Best wishes!

0 0

Wow, you sound like a terrific mother. Your daughter is really lucky to have you.

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137 92

SUCH a tough question for so many people. I've seen moms do this so well and then I've seen moms not do this so well and suffer the consequences. First, your approach depends on the reason for her father's absence. Age is actually very relevant but not as a measure for when but rather a way to construct your approach. I find that it should start as early as possible and be age-appropriate but you shouldn't start before you have cared for yourself enough to bracket your own emotions. This is her biological father, the only one she is ever going to have.... she have another dad, or multiple dad-figures, but only one man gave her life and no matter what he has done, she needs the opportunity to love him, know about him, and understand the situation. Clearly her capacity for understanding will grow as she grows and matures so you start simple. Again, though, I can NOT emphasize enough how important it is for you to keep your own feelings (if they are negative and rooted in pain and anger) bracketed and allow yourself other sources to diffuse them and let them out. There's nothing wrong with your feelings and it's okay to be sad and show empathy of course but I've seen so many moms both intentionally and unintentionally destroy a father's image in their daughter's eyes and the only person that hurts is the daughter. Even if the father was abusive or is in prison for something horrible, you have to help children piece things together and feel reconciled even if not with the actual human but rather their existence as part of that other human who is their father. Children are very resilient and actually have a greater ability to feel and understand things than we often give them credit for. Don't wait too long to start walking her through whatever the situation is. Make sure you are caring for yourself in the midst of it. And remember, there is nothing constructive about a child hating their father. It is fine to hate what they did or hate the situation or whatever.... but being at peace is so much better. My godson was abandoned by his father at the age of 8 months and there wasn't much of a bond even before that. My friend, since, remarried and there is now a great dad in the picture and a sibling now too but they (including her parents as well) FREAK OUT if anyone so much as mentions his bio dad's name or my gs's previous last name. They didn't even explain adoption to him and don't plan on it and before the new dad, they would trash my nephew's bio dad constantly. He's not a bad guy, just a total apathetic, immature, selfish, idiot who couldn't handle the greatest thing to ever happen to him. My gs has some issues and no one seems to care. Because the family wasn't willing to deal directly with things and handle this situation, it is my godson that is suffering and will continue to suffer until at some point it is really hard to help him. Don't wait. Create a safe place for dialogue and emotions. Be present. Take care of yourself. And remember that a child NEVER deserves to suffer even if you think someone else does.

3 3

Honestly, it depends on what the reason for the absence is. For example, my husband is gone due to a deployment with the military. I explain to my older son ahead of time what's going to happen. To my daughter who is just 3 (2 at the time), I didn't explain it. I just waited for her to notice and I explained that Daddy is at his far away work. I also have a Sesame Street DVD and a Daddy doll to help. For one who may be deceased, I was just wait for her to ask, then give age appropriate answers. For ones who are in jail, just mention that they made a mistake and they are trying to make that mistake right, at the moment. Then be honest and answer questions. For ones that are just not in the picture, say that some people can make babies, but aren't Daddy's. That's the best advice I can give. Be honest and just wait for them to ask questions, then answer with age appropriate answers. If you lie, it will come back to haunt you later.

2 8

First I need to know if the Father is deceased, or just gone due to divorce, or abandonment. I've never had to explain to my girls, but when I was 8, I lost my father whom I adored. My mother explained it the best she could. She also had a priest come in and explain it to me. But most of all, she was just there for me. When I needed to talk, or need to cry, she was there. My advice is to be honest and upfront. If it was through divorce, make sure they know it was not because of them. And most important, be there for them.

176 1

I wrote a story for my daughter as her questions started when her Dad had not returned in six months. She was approximately two and a half when he left and it was heartbreaking to hear her ask the question, is my Daddy ever coming back? In the beginning my answers were very basic, but truthful: I don't know honey. I would talk to her about her feelings, acknowleging that they were legitimate & appropriate. I would hug her and always tell her that she was loved. As she got a little older she would continue to ask, and you could see it in her eyes as she would look at her friends with their daddies. I would explain that her Dad worked away ( which he did and I would be truthful and reiterate that I didn't know when he might come back). I looked for a book that could put it in terms that she could understand. I wrote this story about a giraffe that gets lost in the jungle and as the baby grows she longs for what she feels is missing. Her mother continually reiterates a beautiful verse about loving and protecting her and reassuring her that her family is "perfect for her" even though they are only two. When the baby giraffe is tall enough to see above the tree's she is able to see clearly that the jungle has always been made up of different kinds of families, and they are all perfect, just the way they are. The symbolism and deeper meaning of this story is that perhaps we are all chosen for our circumstance, and when we are older we will see clearly that it does take all kinds of families to make up this world, and our family is perfect just the way it is. The fact that the Dad in our family is missing, does not mean he doesn't love his daugher, in his own way, but he too is like the giraffe daddy in our book, "lost". I truly believe any parent that abandons their child is lost. I now have a deeper respect for the universe and the gift I have received. I will raise this beautiful soul knowing that she is loved. Read our story

0 0

literally brought tears to my eyes

21 6

My mother died when I was 5 and my dad went to prison. My family was truthful with me and didn't make up things. I think you need to judge when the time is right by your daughter's understanding. I have been honest with my daughter and told her the reason she didn't have a grandmother when she was 5. Good luck.

1 34

I have a daughter and son and their father has been absent for the last 2 years but not totally non existant. I've explained the situation very carefully to her being she was 5 at the time, so that she knew it wasn't her fault and that her daddy loves her very much. My boy was much older and was in highschool and he understood everything. As she's grown she has the understanding that when people make the wrong choices in life that there can be consequences that follows. I'm very Blessed that her daddy and my husband has learned from his actions and has become a better man in the process.

30 52

I approached the subject with my oldest when she asked. We were looking through picture albums and she saw a picture of my bio dad. She asked who he was. When I told her that he was my dad, she said, "that's not Grandpa..." I then explained that my dad wasn't around because he made poor decisions and that Grandpa was my step-dad. She thought for a moment and then asked if she had 2 dads, also(my husband has been present since I was 3 months pregnant with her and is the only dad she has ever known). At that point, what am I going to do? Lie?? No way. I explained that she did have another dad. She asked where he was and why she had never met him. I told her that he was making poor decisions and that as soon as he begins to make better ones she can see him but that I have to protect her from his current actions. I stressed that he is a good person, that he is just making some mistakes right now. She asked a while later if he "the bad decisions are drugs". Again, what am I going to do? I promised myself I would never lie about him and that I would never put him down to her. After all, he was good enough to have a relationship with at the time.

My advice is just to answer the questions asked in an age appropriate way. Don't over share and don't EVER put him down to her or in front of her. In fact, it's a good idea to try to remember why you were with him the first place while you are talking to her because she can see and feel your true emotions about him. Kids are very perceptive.

0 0

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11 0

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7 0

Hi all I'm new here I'm after some advice. My relationship with my son's dad was awful he started abusing me once my pregnancy started to show. When harley was 8 months old he attacked me for the last time as a neighbour overhead it and rang the police I was finally saved.
So anyway harley has no memory of him at all which I'm thankful for. Mu current partner has been on our lives for 3 years now, I can tell harley is confused he doesn't call my partner dad but if people ask him harley says he's his dad.
I don't know what to do, do I tell harley he has a real daddy but then how do I explain that he's not allowed to see him.
Please ladies any advice would really help I feel so guilty that harley doesn't really know what a dad is when I see dad's picking up their kids from school it hurts me for him.


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4 0

Im needing help. I have a 4 year old daughter and a 5 month old son. They boh have differnt fathers. When i got pregnant with my daughter i lived in indiana. Her father and i never dated it was i got drunk and thing happened. I move to Florida when i was 2 months pregnant with her and when i was 4 months i met my ex (father of my son) he was there for my daughter raised her like she was his. i was with him for 4 years. he was the best father anyone could ask for when it came to my daughter but not so much for me he was verbally and physically abusive to me. He was into drugs and i had no idea til i found out i was pregnant with my son. My ex left me when i was 7 weeks pregnant with his son for a girl and drugs. He has never seen his son or my daughter since he left. My daughter is so hurt and confused. She think he was her real father but he wasnt. How do i go about telling her that he is her brothers daddy not hers?? Hw do i tell her about her real father. He just like a month ago started to talk to her on the phone and she has never seen him. How do i tell my son about his father that left him for drugs and different girls?? Please someone help me bc my daughter keeps asking me why dont her daddy want and love her ( my sons Father)

0 0

I wrote this article. My child doesn't know who her father is, so when she popped the question, I said these things:

0 0

My son's father has been absent from his life constantly for a little over a year now, my son is five. He knows who his dad is, he knows he doesn't live far. He also knows he is taking on the role of "daddy" to four strange kids that just came into the picture right before he stopped being "active" (if that's what you want to call it) in my son's life. It's hard for my son to cope, knowing his father is not far, yet refuses to see him. But I have always used the honest approach with him. Though I am a little more honest than some. I tell my son, that "sometimes daddy's aren't very good at being daddy's". I find this highly effective. It tells . My son the fault lies in the father. Not that it was an accident, or the wrong time. I don't see it as bashing. I also don't think that absent fathers should get off the hook so easily. You can make up excuses all day but as that child grows they will figure out the truth, and the simple truth is these fathers aren't good at being dads.

8 0

Domestic violence. Daughter n I lived together on own since she 1yr. Last night at 7 yrs I chose to show her a photo of her Dad. I'm not sure I did the right thing. We live in secrecy, he's quite a dangerous man. Life is good for us now , we see lots of family and she is very settled in school with some lovely friends. She had become more curious recently but I am struggling with how much to tell her. I feel like I've made a mistake showing her the photo, but she has occasionally lately expressed feelings of wanting to meet him when she's older. I love her very much and don't want to let her down, but I am scared of the consequences. I know there are no "right answers but I would appreciate some advice/support please.

9 0

my classmate's ex-wife makes $89 an hour on the computer. She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her payment was $19836 just working on the computer for a few hours. more……WWW.Rush64.ℂℴm

216 0

I wouldn't say anything unless they asked.
Then, I'd just say that some parents aren't very good at being parents. I'd tell them it's nothing against them and that I love them enough for both parents.

0 2

Hi i have read alot of stories with absence parents and got a lot of good advice but my situtation a lil differtent so dont know really how to go about it my daughter is 3 her father been in out of her life since she was 2 months old he chooses the wrong path and ends up in prison hes also fighting addiction so i dont want to be honest why he isnt around i feel thats just to much for her.I make lies like daddy sick hes at the doctors hes at work but this time around he started off sober and was a better parent than ever but of course got with the wrong crowd and messed up now left her again but now the question is gettting more the anger and hurt she has is getting more she now asking why does my daddy leave me i need him or mommy please find me a daddy that wont leave me mommy why doesnt he love me i dont know how to answer and it just brakes my heart none of my friends or family has ever had this problem so if anyone has been in my shoes please i need ideas to help her cope this time i try my best to give extra attention try to keep her busy i reassure her father loves her but its not helping this time any help thank you

3 0

What is the reason for his absence? Are you divorced? separated what? Every child is different and every reason is different. You tell you child as much of the truth that they can handle and understand. If they are very young make it very simple such as"mommy and daddy are different from when we first met and fell in love and married. Now both of us love you very much"

0 36

Wotever the absence is u should just b honest. If they shout and scream as they do not like it, then as a mum we are here for them to do it. They probably only need a huge hug. xx

25 20

My children (ages 4 & 5) ask about their father. They say they don't have one. I tell them they do. When they ask where he is I tell them honestly I don't know. I would love for them to sit in a room and make him explain to them to their face why he chooses to not be in their life. I know he blames me for moving out of state, but when I was in the same state you still didn't see them. My 11 yr old knows that her father is the reason she doesn't see him. He doesn't even call on Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. If my younger kids' father wanted to see them I would let him, but not for his sake. It isn't hurting me for them to see him, but I would have to be there because his family is sneaky and I don't trust them. I would love for my kids to know their family, but they dont make it easy. Even a phone call wouldn't hurt, but thats ok because I'm the one who gets all the hugs, kisses, and Love.

19 77

My eldest 8 has always known n seen that her father n I were separated 2004 n divorced 2007 but he was always around as we lived in the same city. However; 2006 we (my daughter n I) got our permenate home n her father moved to Manchester where his family lived; so contact was hit n missed n I moved on.
My eldest has a lot of great memories of her family situation- the joys n happy time along with her memories; she has loads of pictures of the three of us.
In 2008 my eldest n I moved closer to our family n I brought her, her own mobile n because her father wasn't working he helped us to move n stayed over (in our daughter's rm) n then went back to Manchester.
Though communication fr myself, allowing my eldest to ask questions she is well adjusted to our single parent household.

314 42

fortunately i haven't had to answer any questions about my sons "father" since he was 3. he left when he was 2, and i had to answer questions like, "when am i going to see daddy?" "does daddy love me anymore?" and deal with a crying 2 year old begging for his daddy. it broke my heart everytime he asked a question and especially when he would just cry for his daddy. i usually cried with him. i would tell him that daddy was working a lot, or he hasn't been able to come see you. and yes he still loves you. you can't exactly tell a 2 year old that his daddy doesn't want to be a daddy anymore. eventually he forgot about him completely. he found a picture of him holding him as a baby and brought it to me. he said, "i know that's me, but who is that man holding me?" i felt at 6 he still wasn't able to completely understand, and i was also married to his "daddy" at that point. my son believed and still believes my husband is his father, so i told him it was just a man we used to know. and that satisfied him. he has never asked any questions since then. if they don't ask, then don't tell. and if they do ask, give appropriate answers for their age. never, never speak negatively, as much as you may way to. when my son would cry wanting to see his daddy, i wanted so bad to just say your daddy's an ass! but never said it, and if he ever asks questions i never will. now that he's getting older, if he finds out and asks questions, i'll answer them truthfully but gently, as his fathers leaving was a really bad experience, and he did a lot of bad things. i very much hope that he doesn't find out and ask until he's much older, and it will be easier to tell the truth. so, if they don't ask, don't tell. if they do, give them truthful but gentle answers and never speak negatively of him. even then, it will probably hurt them. i hope you find the right answers for you and your child. every situation is different, every child is different. but be prepared to be truthful, and be there to pick up the pieces if the truth is hard.

0 0

Be direct, honest, and sensitive. Answer her questions in ways she understands. When she is ready to know she will ask. Don't give too much information and stick to the facts, not your opinions. You don't have to explain everything at once. Just simply answer the questions as they come. Never lie, if you don't know the answer tell her that. Where is my Daddy? Can be as simple as a city or state. Why aren't you together? Can be "we didn't get along" or "Daddy works far away". The older she gets and the more she knows about relationships will make the answers more difficult. Be up front, positive. You don't have to hide information, just provide as much as she asks for, and let her know that you are open to talk more when she is ready. Keep in mind if you express anxiety or hostility she will be less willing to come to you with her questions.

1 0

Telling your kids about another woman is tricky, but they will figure it out, no matter what. So it is better to be honest with them, as age appropriate as possible. Especially when it is someone with whom your family was very close with and then all of a sudden daddy is living at her house and her husband is gone. They get it.

My kids were relieved to be able to talk openly about reality with me. Because when they were with their dad, they would ask him pointed questions and he would deny everything, and they always figured out he was lying. So they began to not trust anything he said. So they knew they could trust that when they asked me a question, they would get honesty.

Did I tell them details? No, of course not. Did I tell them their Dad was a demon, no, absolutely not. Did I verbally lash out about him or his behavior? Never. Did he accuse me of all these things. Regularly. Do they have a respectful relationship with him now? No.
Why? Because he lied to them repeatedly, and expected them to do the same, to cover up his bad behavior. For himself and everyone else. Is that my fault? No.

It is complicated, I am really sorry for the young lady who knew too much, and that is hard, but it is not necessarily better to know nothing so the child is left to speculate the worst, and live in a world of lies that never give them even ground to stand on.

Adults do not always make sound rational choices. And when they get the consequences they deserve they are hurt and angry and need to find someone to blame the less than perfect outcome. We all get exactly the life we create for ourselves by our choices.

Tell your kids the truth as pragmatically as you can, answering the direct questions they need to know to make sense of a troubling situation and hug them through their tears, reminding them that they have no responsibility for the choices of their parents.

If they know they are OK in their pain and confusion and can come to you for real connection they will be fine in the long run. The absent parent is usually not someone who can handle all the hills and valleys of life. That is why they are gone. The one that remains has the responsibility of being a rational sounding board. It is a big job, we must be up to the task.

5 9

This is a very difficult question actually. My postiton is really difficult. I adopted my nephew 6 yrs ago when he was a wee baby. and he goes to school and see daddy's picking there kids up from school. He has asked why he doesn't have a daddy that picks him up. I've explain that he is a special child and has only one parent at the moment, and maybe in years to come he will have a daddy. But i cannot just pick one out of a book. My son is special needs and i have found it very challenging, because he also doesn't know that he was adopted, so now i'm tredding on egg shells. because i'm close to the age with him where he starts to understand.
As a parent u have to be positive about all partys no negativity because they will in time feel that they are damaged. i know this from my own experience of life, i became affraid of men in my mums life and also in mine. and still to this day i am a single mum of a 6yr old and need to find a way to break that brick wall i have put up. i'm 28 with a lack of life experiences other than working the best i can to support my son and make his life a happy one.

3 3

You need to tell the truth about the absent parent and talk about it whenever she needs to at the level of her understanding. You do not know how this story will turn out and this is her story. Tell it to her with good will as this is her father and she will have a different relationship with him than you had. Remember the positive things about the relationship and share those stories. Situations change and you don't want her to have a prejudice that will ultimately hurt her. All children need to know their stories, but not from your perspective, practice to keep it neutral.

27 10

My daughter, now 8 1/2, came to me and her father, who are divorced, when she was 5 and asked us why we weren't together. We told her that daddy was hanging out with another woman and it broke mommy's heart. We told her that it was not because of her or her brother, who was 3 at the time. It was not because we didn't love each other or her or her brother. It was because we couldn't live together and get along with each other. She still asks me when me and her dad are going to get back together, to which I tell her we aren't, we are better off as great friends. When she is older, her dad wants to tell her what he did, but right now, I think this is the best explanation for a 8-year-old and a 6-year-old.

1 2

I disagree with you telling her about another woman and that it broke your heart! That put the blame on him and made you the poor victim in her eyes. Which to an adult, that is all true and I am sure broke your heart, but a child does not need to know THAT! The rest of what you talked with her about was great.

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