When can I tell my 7 year old son that my husband is not his father?

Faith - posted on 06/25/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My 7 year old son's father was not in his life when he was born. My husband was always there for him but im afraid that when grows up and notice about my last and his last name is different? He might ask about his real father? When do i tell him or should i just wait till he ask?

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Katy - posted on 07/01/2010

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At 7 he is old enough to understand that his step father is not his real father but that he loves him as though he is. However when you do tell him he will want to know about his real father and the questions that come along with that topic he may not be ready for. So maybe it is best to wait until he can understand the entire concept before you light a fire that you can't control. I would also suggest having him in counseling when he does find out so he doesn't think that his dad didn't want him or love him, regardless if that is true or not he shouldn't have to burden that.

[deleted account]

Why did you keep your ex's surname for your son if he wasn't even there for him? I'd change my son's name.
Some secrets are better left at that, secrets...

Khadijah - posted on 06/26/2010

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I would probably wait until he ask about it before I told him. If your husband is the one that has cared for him financially and emotionally then to me...that IS Dad!! Of course that makes perfect sense to an adult but for a 7 year old not so much.



The libraray has great resouces and also go online and see what you can find. My ex-husband grew up in a similar situation. His Mom remarried when he was 2 years old so his step-dad was all that he knew or could remember ever being there. His Step-Dad legally adopted him when he was about 6 or 7 and of course his last name was changed to his step-dad's and mother's last name. (which he said gave him a sense of belonging)



He once told me that he wasn't really hurt to find out that his step-dad wasn't his biological father. He was just happy he loved and cared about him. He did seek out his biological many years later after he graduated from high school and he was satisfied with the one chat that he and his biological did have and moved on.



It will all work out in the end. Get a jump on it now and be prepared when the questions do start.



Best of Luck

[deleted account]

Well I would check out some books on adoption. I am assuming that your husband has adopted him more or less as his son.
This helps you prepare for questions he might ask and how to work through them.
But ultimately the when you tell him is entirely up to you.
If you think he is ready to have this discussion and be able to cope with comprehending what you are telling him, then do so now.
Essentially you want to ensure and reassure him that he is loved by both of you and that regardless of blood relations or not he is loved for who he is.

I would definitely look up some resources at the library though. They may have suggestions and ways to deliver the news that make it easier to discuss and understand at a child's level.

good luck!

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Cheryl - posted on 09/09/2012

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Curious if you have told your son yet. We found out 3 months ago that my 53 yr old husband's mother had an affair and his father is not his biological father. My husband's reaction is different than mine, but we are both deeply affected. (as are our adult children). In some ways everything makes sense to us now, but in others nothing makes sense.



Don't delay. He may have trouble and react in a way you don't anticipate. But if you think you are doing him a favor, you are not. Unless you go to your grave with this info, he should know earlier rather than later.



What we will do with this information feels like it will be our journey for the rest of our days.



Oh, and his mother failed to disclose this before she died in spite of many opportunities. It was his dad who spilled the beans. and the biological father isn't yet aware.



Jeez.

Natalie - posted on 07/12/2010

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i have basically said i will tell sam when i think the time is right and i won't bash his bio dad i will just say that he and i couldn't be friends and so i went away from him but his daddy has been here since he was a baby and that he has been a good daddy to him and so that means he is his daddy... and after that ill just answer any questions he has...

Nicole - posted on 07/12/2010

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I am in that same situation. My ex was very abusive and after I left him I found out I was pregnant, I did the right thing and told him but he said he didn't want anything to do with her. I married my best friend, we actually went on our first date a few days after I found out I was pregnant, so he has been here the whole time. He had a 7 yr old daughter already and when we decided that we were going to be together regardless of my pregnancy, we told his daughter. She didn't fully understand, but she got the idea and she asked us questions later. Now our daughter is almost 6 yrs old and we figured it was about time to tell her. We don't want her to find out from anyone else. We are worried about her asking questions about her biological father, I want to be honest but I don't want to tell her that he was abusive and that he didn't want to be her father, and I don't feel that it would be in her best interest to give her much info about him until she is 18. We wanted to tell her around the same age we told his daughter because she somewhat understood and then she would know and as she got older she could ask more questions. My husband has already adopted her because since the bio father has never had anything to do with her it was considered abandonment. Im very nervous to have this conversation though. Good luck and I sympathize with you.

Jessica - posted on 07/09/2010

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That was the same scenario for my daughter. When she was 7 I told her about her "real"(blood) father and I'm thankful now that I did. I wanted to wait till she was old enough to understand and for her, 7 was good. It depends on your son, but I would definitely tell him sooner than later. My daughter doesn't want anything to do with her real dad and she loves my husband as if he was her dad. Just my situation, you do whats right for you though. My husband has said he would adopt, we just haven't had the money or resources to do it yet.

Natalie - posted on 07/09/2010

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When you Figure this out let me know i am in the same boat but my son is 2 and he has a brother who doesn't have his last name either.

Stephanie - posted on 07/08/2010

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im going through basicly the same thing except im not married yet and my son is 3 he calls my youngest dad dad i dont plan on telling him unless he ask y cause pain to a younge child that doesnt understand yet he is only 7 if he hasnt noticed yet dont say any thing untill he asks he'll be able to understand better by the time he puts that much together

Stephanie - posted on 07/08/2010

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I don' t think he is to young to know. In fact now might be the best opportunity to tell him. I know you are worried about the questions he might ask, but you can't with hold information he needs because you don't know what you want to tell him. Be honest with him, and be careful how you present thing to him. Don't say that his dad ran out on you both (that paints a negative image instantly, and if he is going to have a bad image of him it is better that it be something he comes to on his own.) tell him his dad wasn't ready to be the man you two needed, so he decided to move on. It is the same idea, but less negative. Kwim.
The main reason I would tell you to tell him know is because at this age there are still lots of bonding things between a boy and his dad, so though he may pull the your not my dad I don't have to listen to you thing a few times, the anger will be less and he will have time to bond more with his step dad before the puberty hormones kick in and cloud his feeling about this.

Ashley - posted on 07/07/2010

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I think it's going to be up to his emotional maturity, not his age. Unfortunately you don't want to just wait and wait because you don't want him to think you were "lying" or "hiding" something from him. I guess you might start pointing things out to him like that you do have a different last name (he needs to know this for safety reasons anyway - like if he gets lost) and then one day he will start asking questions.

Deborah - posted on 07/07/2010

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when you decide to tell him, just tell him that his daddy left because he just wasn't ready to be a daddy, he loved him very much but he just couldn't take of him so you and your husband (whatever he calls him) are his mommy and daddy and you love him and will always be there for him. we had to explain these things to my nieces when they ended up living with my father. One mother, 2 different fathers but none were ready for the responsibility of parenting. we actually had to explain things at the age of about 3 years because they were asking questions, but then they would tell other people like teachers and classmates, but it was no big deal to them, it's what they have always known.

Annery - posted on 07/04/2010

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In my opinion u shouldn't tell him whether his biological father was there or not. Don't force ur opinion or feelings about his bio father on ur son, let him build his own opinion when he asks. The only thing you need to tell him, when he asks, is dat it did not work between you n the best thing was for every1 to go their separate ways. You met a wonderful man that stepped up and took on the paternal role in his life n he should consider himself a very special boy that has 2 fathers that care for him deeply. Let ur son figure out for himself if his biological father is a looser or not. You speaking negatively about him is not healthy for ur child and he will probably feel resentment, insecurity, anger and abandonment issues,even though u and ur husband have been there for him.. don't put him through dat.

Michelle - posted on 07/04/2010

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My sons father was not in his life but i always had photos and spoke a lot about him and used to tell him when he was old enough we would find his father.
2 years ago we found out his father died and with that so did my sons dream of getting to know him.
It has affected my son pretty badly as he wanted to get to know him. I personally wouldnt let time stand in the way and always be truthful.
Good luck

Amanda - posted on 07/03/2010

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Hello, my daughter is eight and we are in exactly the same position. I told my daughter when she was five, we put together a photo album with pictures before and and after her birth and told her that she was already in my tummy before I met her 'daddy' it didnt really sink in but I read somewhere that it is best to tell a child when they are young so that it is always in the back of their mind and not such a shock! We recently got the same photo album out and discussed it again but now she is 8 she understood alot more. She was confused that she had two daddy's but I explained that 'daddy' is the man who cares and looks after you, the one that helped you to ride your bike, reads you stories at nite and then you have your bio father, who put you in mummy's tummy. She has had alot of questions and shown a few emotions, so I made up a feelings box (a shoe box decorated) and whenever she has a feeling or a question that she wants to share, she can post it in the box and I can reply putting her mind at rest. It is working so far. It's a horrible situation as I am sure like me, you wish your husband was the bio father... I am lucky that when me and my husband married, he took my surname purely so we would all have the same surname. I would hate my daughter to feel that I had lied to her so that is why we decided to do it sooner rather than later. Good luck x

Tina - posted on 07/03/2010

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he does deserve to know when you feel fit, either when he is old enough to understand or when he starts asking questions, i was a little older when my grandfather out of the blue said you know Denny (my dad ) is not your real father, it blew me away i was all sorts of emotions, i still til this day dont believe it was his place but i do think my mom should have told me, and i still dont see my bio dad as my dad but i have siblings that i love and adore and we grew up not knowing until this came out we where always great friends but it would have been nice knowing we were siblings....mind you everyone's situation is different but like i said i believe he should know, or if the father still til this day doesn't have anything to do with him look into the abandonment laws and have your husband adopt him then when he is old enough of course tell him, but this way he can have dads last name and you dont have to worry about the questions right now, and i personally know on both sides how it feels to be in the situation, so you have to do what you think is best...best of luck hope we all helped.

Kristen - posted on 07/02/2010

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I agree with the adoption comments, but also explain that while he may have a biological father out there, your husband is his REAL father, as far as love, support, and raising go.

Amanda - posted on 07/01/2010

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I am in exactly the same place you are with my 6 year old daughter Faith. I don't know when the right time is, I go over what i would say in my head but it never seems right. My husband would adopt her but my ex (who is in jail) won't give up his right s to her even though he has never been in her life and my husband now is all she knows. Adoption is a minimum of $3,000 and I recently found out that you can get a name change if you can prove it to be in the best interest of the child but it also costs $2,500 -$3,000. She does ask why her last name is different and I know that what I tell her now will not hold any weight much longer. I really wish I had an answer for you but I don't even have one for myself. Please feel free to contact me if you feel like you need to talk to someone who knows exactly what you are going through.

Pauline - posted on 07/01/2010

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I wouldn't say anything but that's just my opinion. My oldest son isn't biologically my husband's and there is no way I'd tell him. They do have the same last name though. The pain a child goes through when their father doesn't want them isn't something I ever want my child to endure. My son is nearly 12. I haven't told him and he hasn't asked. IMO parentage is much more than just biology.

Danielle - posted on 06/29/2010

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My real dad was in my life for a little bit but he always abused my mom and I remember hearing it, well my mom finally left and he never had anything else to do with us. My mom later married another man who stepped in and became my dad I also call him my dad. I realize that I was old enough to know what was going on but the best advice I can say is just casually bring up a conversation about it and answer any questions he has about it and be patient.

Angela - posted on 06/29/2010

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don't worry i'm in the same boat ur in.. except i don't have a hubby or anything like that.. but my son's dad hasn't been involved for over a year... and my son has a different last name than i do too.. and that's the one question i'm dreading to hear cuz i have no idea how to answer it. even though my son is only 2.. so i have some time til he starts to notice..

Richa .a - posted on 06/29/2010

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Rather than waiting for him to ask, find a time when u both are chilling out and bring up the topic, explain to him as if he is a mature person and don't lie at all. all the best

Kerin - posted on 06/27/2010

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Tell him now u could have the worst thing happen and some1 tell him 4 u. That would be terrible, but that happens way too much. Tell him He's father is ...... but u dad is (u hubby now) and always be.

Faith - posted on 06/27/2010

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Thanks you guys! this is really helpful to me. My 7 yr old knows alot of things and he ask lots and lots of questions. Im just afraid what his goin to ask like 'WHY' and WHAT happen to him? I dont know what good way to tell him that he just abandon us and that later on in life that he finds out other things and i lied to him. Its really hard right for me right now, i guess i will just wait till he ask and there i will definitely tell him the truth bcus now his too young to understand.

Pam - posted on 06/26/2010

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Just remember whenever you decide to tell him it is going to be hard on everyone. And from personal experience the later you wait the hardest it is going to be. And remember when you decide to tell your son be prepared to answer all different question, like why didnt yall work out and for your son's sake try not to make his real father out to be a bad person. No matter how much of a jerk he really is. Hopefully this comes in handy. Good Luck!

Shayna - posted on 06/26/2010

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I think he definitely has the right to know, but think that at his age now probably wouldn't be the best time to tell him. I think both you and your husband should sit and tell him together, and answer any questions he may have. I would definitely leave it positive, and not talk bad about his biological father in any way.



You're husband can legally adopt him, and his last name can be changed, but that is totally up to you.

Jessi - posted on 06/26/2010

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I would agree that it's best to wait until you think your son is ready, but don't wait too long. My dad is not my biological father (I have never met him) and since my parents got married when I was 2 1/2, I grew up not knowing the difference. However, one of my older cousins told me (in a not-very-gentle way). I was VERY upset to learn this info from someone other than my parents. I was about the same age as your son when this happened. It's a good idea to explain it to him before it can come out in a way that might confuse or hurt him.

Faith - posted on 06/25/2010

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thanks nicole and lisbeth..i will try to look at some resources at the library or tryin to talk to his teachers. I will tell him when its the right time or little bit grown up, now i think its too early.

Lisbeth - posted on 06/25/2010

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I agree with what Nicole said none of us can tell you when as we don't know your son. Maybe if his school has a conciliar you can speak to them about how and the resources available.

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