The dreaded question, where is my daddy?

Jennifer - posted on 05/23/2012 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Ok, so my daughter is just shy of 2 1/2 years old. The other day when I picked her up from daycare (she is there 4 days a week!), she commented how 4 other kids daddies were there to pick them up. I said "Yes hunny, it's time for them to go home and eat dinner!" Then when we get in the car, she said "Why no I have a daddy?" (I know, not proper English, shes only 2!!) Then she begins to list 4 different friends at daycare that all have daddies. I told her, "Yes babe, that's right!" And she asked her question again. So now, I have tears in my eyes as I'm driving home and I just told her some kids have mommies, some have daddies, and some have both. And I ran through a list of family and friends that love her very much!! Then she said "Michael (my boyfriend of over a year) be my daddy?" So I told her that he loves her very much and is always there for her. After that, she was just kinda silent the rest of the way home. My boyfriend adores her and has told me before how much he loves her and would love for my daughter to be his own too. I have a feeling my daughter is only going to keep asking the question or saying things along these lines. Obviously, she is too young to understand this situation. Has anyone run into this? I knew the day would come where she would ask about her dad, but I thought I had another couple years!! Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!!

*Sidenote, her father hasn't seen her in over 7 months, last time he saw her is when he come to court to sign over all rights of her and give me full custody. He lives 8 hours away with his older son from a previous relationship and calls/texts maybe once every 2-3 months to check on my daughter. Never has mentioned about coming to see her or asks for pictures!*

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Brittany - posted on 05/23/2012

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If you don't want to tell her he loves her that is fine, explain to her that you are her mommy and you chose to stay with her, she has a daddy but he can't be around right now. If he has signed over all his rights, and your new BF wants to be 'daddy' - ask him if he would be comfortable letting her call him daddy, and taking on the daddy role. (Given it is a commited serious longterm relationship) Then you can explain to her when she gets older what the situation really is. 2 is really young to try to explain these situations.

Good luck to you.

Tiffany - posted on 06/24/2012

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Hi Jennifer I just joined Circle of Moms and looking for new mothers to talk to. I am in the same situation but only my daughters father doesnt call or text at all. I think you handled the conversation very well to not down her father and to let her know that yes he does love her so that way the door is open later down the road for a relationship later. Although when she does get older to understand of course you will be able to talk to her a little more in detail and she will still have the option to either leave that door open or close it! I tell my daughter the same thing that yes daddy loves you its that we live in 2 different states :( may not be the best thing to tell her but thats why its so hard to see daddy and with him working all the time it just makes it hard. When she gets older then to fully understand I will sit her down and tell her everything but right now I feel that thats the best way to help her understand why daddy isnt around.

Michelle - posted on 05/23/2012

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Well if he signed over his rights he has basically said he is no longer her father, tell her the truth that daddy loves her but can't be with her right now. That way it leaves a door open if ever they chose to pursue a relationship and you don't end up being the bad guy

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[deleted account]

My girls haven't asked about their Dad for a while now. Initially after my ex and I split up my eldest asked why dad didn't live with us anymore. Simple answer - Mum and Dad get along better not living with each other, and we argue less. It was true, but not all the details. If and when my girls ask then they will get more information, but that's satisified the questions. When ex stopped writing to them, 2 years ago, eldest asked me to tell her Dad to contact her again. Said that he either couldn't or wouldn't keep in contact and that as he's an adult there's nothing I could/can do, it's up to him. She had a good cry, but has now moved on. My girls' Dad rarely gets mentioned.

Lynda - posted on 06/26/2012

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Thanks for your kind words Jennifer, always to hear that as often we just have to pat ourselves on the back :)

Jennifer - posted on 06/26/2012

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It is a very difficult topic to talk about with your kids, and I don't really think there is a "right"age to talk to them about this. For you single moms out there that your child has a relationship or is slowly growing one with their father, that is great!! Recently, he (her father) has been calling more to check up on her, I think it is because I filed papers to evaluate our child support order, and if he is nice now, then maybe I will drop the court date? I dont know?? It is so hard to put my anger aside when I talk to him and he is telling me how much he misses my daughter yet he loves that he spends every weekend with his son. I honestly cringe every time my phone rings and its him calling me. I don't feel like he genuinly cares about my little girl, its more about making himself feel better saying Oh I checked up on her!!

*Lynda-I can only imagine the things he put you through. You sound like you are a very strong woman!! Father's Day is a rough holiday to go through with being a single mom, and all of those school activities must be hard. But your son seems to have a great mom and he will really appreciate everything you have done and continue to do for him when he is old enough to fully understand everything!!

Trista - posted on 06/25/2012

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My son's father actually didn't meet my son until he was 2 1/2 years old, he wanted nothing to do with him. When he did finally call, I wondered if I should even take him to see him. We ended up meeting at a Chuckie Cheese near the house, my son having NEVER met his father before out of the blew called him Daddy. This man never supported my son, never called frequently, never was interested in making my son a priority at all. He offered at one point for the papers to be signed, but we never went through with it .... then fast forward 12 years later, and the scene is TOTALLY different. Although, he wouldn't win the best father of the year award, he does have a relationship with his son today. This only happened because I stayed aware of the need to put my son and his feelings before anything else. I often found that my explanation to him was always honest but still protective. I didn't want him to think at a young age that he was abandoned, unlovable, or unwanted. It's a very thin line to walk, I know. It seems that you are handling it AWESOME though!! I would be cautious though of having her call your boyfriend "daddy" right now until maybe you guys make it official. As it could be devastating to her if in her perception both daddies where to be gone (not saying it would be the case, but it's just another way of protecting her).

Jamie - posted on 06/25/2012

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We Definetly do what we can for our children. My parents split when I was 2 and even to this day my father won't let anyone say one bad/negitive thing about my mom so I've tried to do the same with my children. They deserve the world and dispite being a single mom I would never have changed things but when the dads are losers you have to wonder why they would choose to be this way. All in all I'm sure things will turn out fine. We do our best.

Lynda - posted on 06/25/2012

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So interesting. I'm struggling with this same thing. My son is 7. His father took off when I was pregnant (I was given an ultimatum and chose my son). He has reached out once in 7 years, found me on facebook, and didn't ask me a question about his son, only reminiscing on our relationship. I replied only about our son, and he never said a word back. But my son is quite curious and has been for some time. As he's gotten older, I give a little more age-appropriate information. But he really doesn't know the full story. Just that he's got plenty of people in his life that do love him. I do not bad mouth his dad at all, but he knows he also has 2 half sisters and a half brother (from his previous marriage(s)). They live on the other side of the country. And he's not a father to any of them (so it isn't personal). The truth is, I only found out this information later, as he is a true sociopath and I don't really want my son to have anything to do with him. But I've saved an envelope with his picture, a picture of his half/brother (only one I had) and names and last known address/phone of all of them. That information is getting rather old now, but if he wants to hunt him down ... well, I;ll understand. But as he gets older I'll start to fill him in with more. The 2 things I will never tell are the abortion request, and the abuse. But it's hard watching him be sad on father's day school activities and cub scouts dad camps, etc. We do what we can do, right?

Bryndís - posted on 06/25/2012

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Jamie Noble, I had to tell him the truth at this time cause he was asking what he had done so that his father did not want to know him. I did not tell him any details, just the truth. Today he is a wonderful 12 year old who says he does not need his father. In his own words: I have you mom, and that's enough :)

Jamie - posted on 06/24/2012

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Is 6 old enough to tell everything to? Not judging only asking. I know every kid is different but I don't even know what to tell my daughter even as the truth. What virsion do you tell? I'm sooo lost here.

Jamie - posted on 06/24/2012

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To correct; he is my sons real father but his father says he isn't his real son even tho he has gotten a paternity test n everything.

Jamie - posted on 06/24/2012

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My daughters father run away and that's the battle right now. She's 7 in December. She says she will find him and live with him. I have never said a bad word about him either but my sons father is what scares me most. My son isn't his real kid n he still thinks I should of gotten an abortion but when he gets older says he will try to be a dad. It's been a year and no word from him. My son turns 3 in November. He is an alcoholic and he is very mean to my son. But when the time comes if it does, then he will turn it around on me. He already does to his family n mutual friends. It's so very difficult but I think the love I give him n everything makes up for some of it. I hope.

Bryndís - posted on 06/16/2012

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At first I told my son that his father lived far far away. When he was about 6 years old I told him the truth. He is not scared by it today. He is a happy 12 year old who has a mommy who loves him to the moon and back and that is enough, he says :)

Jennifer - posted on 06/01/2012

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Thank you everyone for your input!! I did talk to my boyfriend about the situation and what she said. Him and I are on the same page with everything!! To Jenn & Jessica - best of luck!! If you ever need to vent or talk, I am here for you, this is definately not an easy situation. And Jessica, I thought I had more time, she will be 2 1/2 at the end of June, but I guess there really is no way to prepare yourself or her for this topic!!

Jessica - posted on 05/31/2012

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I am in a very similar situation. My 26 month old has only seen her biological father 2 times when she was 6 months old. She has no clue who he is. He wants nothing to do with her, so Ive been told. I too have been dreading this question. My baby said Daddy for the first time a few months ago and has recently started calling my brother in-law Daddy. She hears my niece say it. I have yet to correct her because she is so young and doesnt know any better. I say stick with what she knows and keep telling her that you love her very much. When she is older you can then explain where Daddy is. I havent figured out what Im going to tell my baby yet, hope I dont have to anytime soon!!! Good luck!!!

[deleted account]

Talk to your boyfriend first and check that it's OK with him first, see if he is willing to become official 'Daddy'. In simple terms, you can say to your daughter 'You are lucky, you have two Dads. Michael is the one you see every day and is involved in your life. When you are older, I will explain to you who your other Dad is'. That way you have answered her question, let her know that she has a biological Dad without making it too complicated and left the rest of the conversation until she is older. Your ex may have signed over his rights as a parent, but he is still her biological Dad, if that makes sense, and your daughter has the right to know/be made aware of who her biological Dad is. As for your ex, your daughter doesn't need to be aware of the full facts/details, just the awareness that he exists. When she is ready to deal/accept more information, then you can provide her with it.

Certainly don't give her any guarantees that her biological Dad will be in her life now or in the future, especially as he has signed away his rights to being her Dad. Also worth mentioning in the fullness of time that she has a half brother who lives with their mutual Dad.

It is worth talking to your bf and possibly your ex about how you may deal with your daughter when she gets interested about her biological Dad. Certainly the information that her biological Dad is out there with a half brother is something you shouldn't hide from her - just need to make sure that she has the right level of information at the right time, taking into consideration her age and stage of development. Also better coming from you than finding out from someone else.

Jenn - posted on 05/25/2012

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i am in the same situation as you are except my daughter is 16 months old. her dad has never seen her and dont ask about her so i understand how you feel. you should just tell her the truth even if she doesnt understand right now. i know that when it comes time and my daughter asks that question i will just explain the truth to her the best i can so she understands. if he signed his rights over trust me she is better with out him.

Jennifer - posted on 05/23/2012

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I really believe he doesn't care about her, so to me, telling her daddy loves her, is a lie. He chose to give up his rights, I did not make him sign the papers, he wanted to! And is texting once every 2-3 months showing love??

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