when is it a good time to tell your child the truth??

Dianna - posted on 11/05/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My baby's birth father never wanted anything to do with his life, he made that very clear. my son is almost 3 mos., and i feel i have done enough to attempt to let him know the "door is open" but at this point what kind of parent could he really be if he doesn't want the responsibility. i have thought years from now when i have to tell my child the truth, what do i say. i could never tell my son his birth dad never wanted him. should i try harder to get him involved?? what about stability? he's just a baby, i could never imagine him going back n forth? that couldn't be happy living 2 different lives, parents not on the same page. For my son's sake i am willing to be civil and compromise, but we can't even get through a phone conversation without arguing, he's so indecisive, and continues to be immature and play games. My current boyfriend has been with me since i was 3 mos. preg., he seen my son delivered and he has been a wonderful father to him...is this going to eventually break my son's heart that it isn't his birth dad, how willi make him understand??so when is a good time to tell your child the truth???

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Karen - posted on 11/09/2009

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one thing don't keep this a secret from your son. tell your son a dad does not to be blood related but who is someone that cares for you and has your best interests at heart. when your son is old enough and wants to meet his real dad let him so he can understand who his blood father is and have him make up his own mind about him. he will become a better person for it. do not try harder to keep your son real father around sounds to me you have a great man already.

Nicole - posted on 11/09/2009

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my mum never told me the truth about why my real dad wasnt around and waited way to long to sit down and have a chat with me. in that time my dad, my grandad and my auntie passed away and only when i was 18 i learnt the truth as family left on my dads side decided to contact me. i was so upset with my mum for not telling me the truth. my daughers dad is a complete waste of space and left me when i was pregnant... hes never bothered about my daughter and has only caused me grief. however i met somebody when my daughter was a few weeks old and he raised her as hes own and we had another baby together... he was a good dad but after two years he became abusive towards me and my daughter. because of hes actions hes no longer aloud to see me and the kids and is a waiting a court trial in march. i have told my daughter the best i can considering her age and will try and continue to be honist with her. shes only 3 and ive told her daddy isnt come home again because he has been naughty. thats all i think she will understand for now... but a time will come when she starts to ask more questions and i will always tell her the truth and the same for my son. i think its best to be honist from the start

Cassandra - posted on 11/09/2009

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I am currently going through a VERY similar situation to your own with only a few minor differences:
My daughters father and I were together through the first 5 months of my pregnancy and then decided it was not going to work out: however he said that he would be very involved in our daughters life and that we decided we can get along for the sake of our little girl. However, it has NOT been that way, and he is no longer interested in her. (i wasnt aware that you get to choose whether or not your own flesh and blood should be an interest or not? whatever.) I have decided this is what I am going to do:
I am in the midst of creating my daughter a journal from me to her that I am going to give her when she is much older, and in it, I did explain to her the circumstances between her father and I, and the role he chose to play in her life or lack there of. I explained it all very gently and made sure she understands that this has NOTHING to do with her, and that no matter what, she is too good for HIM, NOT the other way around. and I will give this to her when I feel she is ready to handle the truth. Until then, I will explain that her daddy is not around, but thats okay because she always has mama and grandma and grandpa, and lots of other people who love her sooo much. and thats how I choose to handle it, I hope this helps you!

Raena - posted on 11/09/2009

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Hello. I know exactly how you feel from both angles. I have 2 kids and my youngest ( 6year old old girl) has never met her dad. We were married but I left when I was 3 months preg because of abuse. My second child (10 year old boy) has his father is the picture but it has been a loooong road. He is still inconsistent but it is way better than before.

Anyway. I would say tell him as soon as he is able to understand. My daughter knows now about her father. I told her when she was about 4. She was asking about her daddy because she would see my son go with his and because I know how I felt not knowing. I didnt know my father either. Still havent met him. I found out that my step father was not my father when I was 14 by accident. I was soooo mad that my mother hadnt told me. Also very hurt. I spent years wondering and secretly trying to find him. I finally did about 3 years ago. We talked and he confirmed that he is the boob I though he was but I feel better. I think though that I would have felt a lot better had I known and didnt feel like I couldnt even trust her.

My sons father didnt come to birth after being called twice and didnt come to the hospital at all. We fought for years over him not being there for my son, child support (finally took him to court when my son was 4) and whatever else you can think of. Finally about 3 years ago he got into a really bad accident and I guess he saw the light. He now picks him up after school and every other weekend. Dont get me wrong. There is still work to be done but it is way better than before.

So I say all this to say....

1) If the guy is not going to be in his life dont try to hide him. Your son will wonder probably. Even if he is not interested in a relationship I think it is human nature to wonder about the other side and you do not want to be the one to have kept him in the dark. You dont have to tell him so bluntly that his dad didnt want him but maybe you can tell him he is/wanst ready to be a dad or something. Kids understand way more than we often give them credit for.

2) If you the guy is going to be there, a middle ground is going to have to be met. Being civil is a good start but when an argument blows up just get off the phone politely and tell him you and he can discuss it at a later date. No sense in getting your blood pressure all up. If you want establish child support and maybe a time when he can come see the child and keep it moving.

As long as your boyfriend treats your son well and forms a bond and even if you guys dont stay together you are honest with him about the situation, I dont think his heart will be broken. If he has time to adjust naturally it should be ok rather than perhaps having the truth sprung on him some day.

HTH

Emma - posted on 11/09/2009

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im in the same situation and always ask me self the same question but i suppose the right time is when they are askin about their dad and they understand

Leonora - posted on 11/08/2009

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Well I must say if the birth father doesn't want to enjoy being a dad, them let the man who has been there do the job. As soon as you son is old enough to understand, aybe around 4 or 5 tell him the man is not is father, but is there for him. Explain to him that his father do love him, he just couldn't be there for him. I did this with my daugthers' but a little to late with the oldest daughter. Someone told her the man who raised her was not hers & it hurted her to a core, she was only 4, so I sat down told her all about him & when he came back into her life & she was 8 years old & she saw him as he really was. never keeping promises to where he is no longer there. It gets better

Patty - posted on 11/08/2009

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I think if your sons father wants to be a part of his life he has just as much say as you do and rights to live with him. You are two different people and not together so your right that you probably won't parent the same. You wouldn't even if you were together. Unless he is abusive verbally, physically or uses drugs and/or alcohol then he should have the right to parent. If he chooses not to it is his loss. Yes at some point your son will grow up and need to know the truth but if the guy your with now wants to be a role model and part of his life and you want that too than that can be very healthy. You cannot speculate as to why your sons dad does not play his role and it may be immaturity and the fact that you don't get along as adults/parents. If your sons dad does choose to be involved you will have to let go of some of the control and give co-parenting a chance. It can be challenging at times although it is also very healthy for a child to be with both parents who love and honor them even if it is in two different homes. Children are very resilient and adapt well and love both their parents. The parents need to learn not to fight over the child and remember one does not have more rights than the other. There are co-parenting classes and mediators through the courts that can help. If dad decides not to be a part of your sons life I think the best time to tell a child is @ age 10-12 depending on the circumstances at the time.

Jessi - posted on 11/06/2009

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honestly i can't tell you when a good time to tell him would be but i can tell you this. i have 2 very similar situations: my oldest brother & our dad and also my son & i. my dad has been in my brothers life since he was 2mos and my brother has known our dad is not biological to him since he was little but if you ask my brother who that 1 guy is he will tell you he is nothing but a sperm donor. same thing with my son, his bio-father hasn't had anything to do with him since the day i told him i was pregnant & now that i have my state, the state he stationed in, and the u.s. army suddenly he wants to be in the picture. if your boyfriend loves your son as much as he loves you then just leave it alone...i think it would break your boyfriends heart more than your sons because this way when your son is older he can look at it like this: your boyfriend was willing to be not just a father but a DAD to a child that didn't belong to him; those kinda guys are hard to find! & i congradulate you and your boyfriend for being such wonderful parents!

D'Etta - posted on 11/06/2009

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The best thing to do, is to never keep it secret in the first place. When parent's let their children grow up believing one thing and then spring the truth on them, the children feel as though their identity was stolen and their lives have been a lie. Even if all your son knows of his father is that he's "that man in the picture", he'll grow up feeling secure about it because it's just the way things are. You have to show him that there's no shame in where he came from by not trying to hide it. He'll still grow up respecting your boyfriend, and looking at him as his dad.



As for you and the father, if you can't be civil for a phone call... stop talking on the phone. There was a while me and my children's father had to send texts so we wouldn't argue. Sometimes he would still send stupid shit, but I just ignored it. We can talk on the phone now, but there's a rule. He's only allowed to call when it's about the kids. If he starts talking crap, or whatever, I hang up. It's not worth it. Keep the door open, if the father wants to see his baby, that's great. But set the ground rules. Don't let him disrespect you, or put you in a position to argue in front of your baby.

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