What to do when "your daddy lives far away" doesn't cut it anymore? My 3yr old is acting up b/c he (badly!) wants his dad!

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Tracey - posted on 11/06/2008

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I was in the same situation with my son when he was young, the difference was his father didn't want to see him. Try finding a father figure, like your father a brother or trusted friend, who's willing to spend a little quality time with him doing "guy" things. My father and my sisters boyfriend both helped me in this situation and within a few weeks he stopped asking about his dad. He is now 8 years old and when he asks about his dad I answer him as truthfully as I can, but he has adjusted so well he asked my sisters boyfriend to be at his school concert because all the other moms and dads were going and he was as much like a father to him as a real father.

Jo - posted on 11/05/2008

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i an haveing problems 2 with my little girl she 3 now and all her friend have daddy and she dont understant it at all . she has not seen her dad in 2 years .when she was younger i told her that he was at work .because when we were together he worked far away . but now she is saying things like mummy and daddy are getting married but now its harder 2 get her 2 understand because when her dad phones witch anit much he told her he had a little girl who is 6 witch is his girlfriends little girl and he was haveing a baby this month so now i have to grt her 2 try and understand that 2 its so hard because they are to little to know and its even harder to find the right words to say

Katie - posted on 11/04/2008

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I have a 9 year old who was 5 when his father left. His father lives in the same town as we do and does not see either of my boys. While my younger one does not seem to upset by all this my oldest is now going through dad withdrawl again. His dad comes to maybe 1 of the football games a season and nothing school related. He has two new kids and they are now the important ones. It does not help either that my oldest is ADHD so he's not the "perfect child". Braxton now takes everythin out on me and I hear "you hate me" at least a dozen times a night and don't know how to respond when it all stems from his anger at his dad. I never thought of the journal idea but I think I may try it. Hope all works out for you and your son.

Martha - posted on 11/02/2008

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I actually have a couple of suggestions. When my daughter wouldn't stop asking about her very absentee father, I took her to Office Max and let her pick out the journal of her choice and told her that it was only for daddy. She could draw pictures or write anything she wanted in there to him and mommy wouldn't look. For awhile I let her keep his picture up, but it actually began to make things worse. So, we found a "special box" and put her father's picture inside of it. I told her that whenever she wanted to see him, all she had to do was open the box. These two things have helped quite a bit - the journal allows her to "communicate" with him and the box allows her to "see" him whenever she wants to see him. He's been very vocal with me about his complete lack of desire to ever have contact with her, so when our current method begins to fail we'll have to find another method. No method is foolproof or indefinite. Just keep trying out different ideas - eventually one will work for you and your son. Good luck!

Lorrae - posted on 10/31/2008

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I think honesty is best...like I said before. My daughter knows her father and I were married (not that she really understands what marriage is) and that we made some bad choices. She knows her dad has a girlfriend...and she lives in Germany. I still do hold on to the fact that kids are just more aware of their worlds than we give them credit for and most of them are probably inquiring because of what they see with their peers. I'm not sure if it is the healthiest option to tell your child they don't have a dad (in my opinion) because that may open up a different can of worms and may introduce other psychological issues other than abandonment. Who knows. I know a friend of mine has been too honest (in my opinion) with her daughter, but also told her daughter that her father/Father is Jesus...and He will never leave her...and she can talk to Him anytime, anywhere, and any place. Just a few more thoughts for you....hope it helps!

Michelle - posted on 10/31/2008

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My son started asking about his dad around the age of 3. His dad has never been around, he "left" when he was 18 days old. I didn't try to sugar coat anything, but I also have never told him the truth about his "dad". (I don't like that term because he's anything but that). I just simply told him at this point in his life he doesn't have a dad, but I told him he's got a wonderful group of men around that love him and will always be there for him. My dad and my uncles will always do anything for him. They take him golfing and camping and doing guy stuff that mommy can't give him. Amazingly he was very okay with this. I'm not going to force someone to be in our lives if they can't get themselves straight. I know my situation is probably a little different. His "dad" is a drug addict who is now serving 9 years in prision and that's why I don't want to tell him the truth, but not wanting to say anything bad either. Sorry if this didn't help.

Sandi - posted on 10/31/2008

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Honesty to their level of understandment is the best in my opinion. I was honest to my daughter when she would ask about her dad, never bashed him or anything.(she even prayed for him at night) I.just told her daddy made some bad choices..(she doesn't need to know all the ugly details right now at age 5) She has a photo of him and her in a frame in her room but that's about it. I don't know how it is with your children, but over time my daughter has stopped asking about him so much. She has a lot of love,support, and stability so that may be helping.

Vicki - posted on 10/31/2008

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well to me honesty is the answer. i am very honest with my kids. my 7 year old's father went to jail when he was 3. i simply explained to him that daddy made a bad choice and now he has to learn a lesson. think of it this way, don't say anything bad to your kids because they understand more than we will ever know. they will find out in the long run that their dad is the one choosing to miss out on something so great. They will one day appreciate us not walking out on them like there father. They will never be able to make up missing there first smile, first start crawling, first day of kindergarten, any of that and they will never have the pictures. kids realize that the pictures aren't there because their dads arent' there. stay positive and be strong thats all you can do.

[deleted account]

heres a little different perspective...i grew up without my dad, my mom always said the "nice" things, she always made an excuse. the truth is that no matter what she said, even as i got older, it was never good enough; because what i wanted was my dad. i dont know the situation with your family but the best thing is to be honest. children understand a lot more than we give them credit for. i promise eventually he will understand, he probably wont stop asking, but he will understand.

Jael - posted on 10/30/2008

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hey there! im new to this, but can sort of relate to u. my son (tyler) and i have benn on our own since he was 2mnths old and last time the "sperm donor" saw him, he was 6 mnths. there has been no contact now for 5 1/2 years, and when he was 4 he asked me if his dad was in heaven since that is where my dad is. i had to explain to him that he wasnt, and asked why he doesnt see his dad, i told him that his dad chose not to be a dad, and i chose to be both his mommy AND daddy and that he is very lucky! some people may not agree with this approach, but once i explained things, he understood and has not mentioned it to me again. when someone asks him about his dad, he simply says that he does not have one.

i have always promised to myself that i would not lie to my son and make excuses for someone who makes no effort to be a part of his childs life. i will not bad mouth or speak ill of his dad either, because i know that will one day backfire.

so i dont know if this helps, but i guess what im trying to say is that i think the best thing is to be honest and keep it simple, dont make any false promises in case it falls through, and dont make excuses for his dad - it is NOT your job. and always remind your son that he is so lucky to have a a mommy that loves him so much!

Jael

Lorrae - posted on 10/30/2008

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Hi. I am in a similar situation. My ex left when my daughter was 4 months old (she is now 3 years old) and has lived in a few different places (due to school and Army). He used to see our daughter a few times a week, then maybe a few times a month (when he moved); and now he currently lives in Korea and has been there since July. I decided to create a visual for her and be pretty honest with her. I bought a world map at Office Depot (it is a nice laminated one from National Geographic) and we put 'blue dots' where dad has lived or is living...we have a 'red dot' for home. Not that she can really grasp the actual distance, but it helps. She can e-mail if she wants (she tells me what to type) and he calls once in a while. Honestly, she probably could have cared less but I think she is more aware now in part due to her age but also being around other children her age who have a dad in their lives. I truly believe she knows her father as 'dad', more as a person she calls dad than anything else. It is difficult. Try to stay positive, even though it is hard; but also be as truthful as you can be in 3 year old language.

Krystal - posted on 10/30/2008

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I think at the point your at all you can do is say the 'nice' things like he lives far away and such. I havent had to come across this situation yet but it will soon be lurking my way and my daughters dad lives in soon to be colorado and We will soon be living in Georgia so its going to be a rough one...good luck!

Katie - posted on 10/30/2008

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I'm not quite in this position yet being that my son is only 2 1/2 but I know I will face it sooner or later becaue his dad lives (luckily) in the same state but a good 6 1/2 car ride away. The first idea that came to mind would be to create a visual, like a chain of construction paper, to count down the days till he gets to see daddy. He gets to rip one off for each day, like right before bedtime. That way he can see how soon daddy will be there. I don't know if that's an option but it's something I might consider with my little one when he's a bit older.

Amy - posted on 10/29/2008

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He moved to Colorado from Wisonsin when Ty was 2months old. I've tried showing pictures and giving him his old blankets but it just leaves him wanting more. He asks so politly if he can go be by his dad & it's all I can do to just not cry! I thought of trying to contact his dad, but that may open a can of worms...

Shana - posted on 10/29/2008

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I think you seem to be handling it the best you can. I usually just try to tell my son, who is about 3 1/2 also, that he will get to see his daddy when he can, or that daddy is busy, or anything 'nice'. Then give him all the love and attention I can. It's so tough, and sometimes frustrating not being able to give him what he wants, but I believe their little brains will soon understand the situation, and adjust to this way of living. We just have to be patient, I suppose. How long has 'Daddy lived far away'?

Amy - posted on 10/29/2008

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I just don't know if I should be handling it differently, or in a way that his little brain can grasp the concept of at this point...he's been very frustrated and I don't know how to help!

Shana - posted on 10/29/2008

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I am having similar problems as well. It is such a difficult thing to deal with.

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