Is a child better off knowing her biological father or sticking to the one who has raised her since day 1?

Holly - posted on 08/13/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I need help! My childs bio-dad has decided that he would like to take a semi-part in her life. Child support or custody isn't an option, he would just like to see her(supervised) from time to time. I am perfectly okay with that and for now have decided to call him a friend and blah blah blah. My husband and I don't know what is best for her. My husband has been with us since day 1 and she doesn't know anyone else as dad. I don't want to change that but I also don't want to deprive her/him from something. I want to know if it's better to keep it as her bio-dad is her "friend" or break the news to her that she has two dads. I am worried about confusing her and breaking my husbands heart. I don't want him to feel like anyone is taking his place. Any similar experiences and outcomes will be greatly appreciated!

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[deleted account]

yes, between the adults i would still consider your husband to be her step father, even though you and the bio dad werent married. Marriage doesnt factor into biology, thats my theory. Its ok for your daughter to not use the word 'step' dad though, my children dont use the 'step' part with my (second) husband, but they fully understand that it is a term of endearment and that they have a bio dad (who isnt around. my second husband does all the fathering). My kids call both their stap dad and bio dad's (remembering one has a diff dad to the others) the same thing "daddy". They always have. it hasnt confused them at all. This doesnt work for everyone though n i get that. If your little one calls your husband 'daddy' maybe she could call her bio dad 'dadda' or 'daddy-hisnamehere'; pa, or papa would also be appropriate (they sound a little grandfatherish to me though lol). See what your husband thinks and then sit down with bio dad to talk it over and include him in the name choosing process. I know first hand how hard it is on the step dad to accept the bio dad's inclusion. My husband is fantastic about it and proudly calls them his kids, regardless. He has had to deal with their bio dad coming and going and all he says is 'the guy needs to wake up and be a dad not just a 'father'. Its hard on all of us, but we support each other in our family unit and that's how we get through. you can do it too!

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Brandy - posted on 08/15/2012

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I'm 36 yrs old when I was lil there was a man that used to call the house and try to talk with my mom when I asked who was calling he would say just a friend, well when I was 15 and my parents were going through a rough patch this man called and was talking to me like we were old friends when he still wouldn't give me his name I threaten him by saying I will tell my dad your calling again, he then told me that he was my dad, he have been drinking and that's how I found out, I was very hurt and talk about it with my parents cause then it hurts them, my parents were very very young when they had me, I met this man shortly after and didn't go back for 6 yrs, he kept trying to force I'm your dad on me, I already had a dad who I couldn't ask for a better one, as I got older and have a child of my own I felt it was really nobody's fault that this happened, but I can only offer my bio dad a friendship cause her had every chance to say something but didnt, I have an amazing dad who does everything for us and even though I'm out on my own he still is there, he's my dad and my bio and I have over the years have grown close but he's not my dad, your child will know who's -who and who's been there when it counts even after they get mad cause he didn't let them stay out late or to that party :) in the end and as they get older they'll know he did that cause he was the daddy xoxo

[deleted account]

my children's bio dads are never going to win father of the year - my current husband is a million times the man and father that either of the bio dads could ever dream to be, and my children love him more than anything. I find peace in knowing my children will never resent me from keeping their bio dads away, and they respect their (step)dad for being man enough to love them in spite of the situation; they respect and love him for allowing them to know and love their bio dads.

[deleted account]

in my opinion, and as a matter of responsibility, bio dad's should pay child support. both bio dads in my case have active cases with the child support agency. My daughter was already born when i met my first husband. when i remarried i had already given birth to the youngest child. It still doesnt factor into it as far as im concerned. My current husband and i would still conduct ourselves exactly as we do now in our family unit. Even if the bio dad was opposed to the birth, he wants to return now and you are (rightly) willing to let him do so. The bottom line is bio dads have rights, but cant be forced to exercise them. More importantly though, the child has rights, and the law states that the child must be allowed to have meaningful relationships with both bio parents unless there are court orders in place. That said, if the bio dad is willing to be in her life and be consistent in that, you should allow it unless there is a risk of harm (in which case you should seek legal advice) Your daughter is still very young and therefore hasnt been affected by this situation emotionally, but if it was to continue on could very well do so. I can understand your husband's feelings about it all because he's been VERY dedicated. He needs to understand he's not losing his place, or this child's love. She's still going to look at him as the man that raised her, and nobody can take that from him. He should be very proud of that. Bio dads that walk away from kids and choose to return really frustrate me, I totally get the feelings that come with it. However, i force myself to look at it from the child's perspective. They need and want to know their bio dad, and that is their right. Its our job as mothers to ensure that it is as easy as possible for our children

Holly - posted on 08/13/2012

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Okay I talked to my husband and he wants to know if the bio-dad pays child support or not, he also wants to know if the child that's not your husbands was already born when you got together and if you think maybe that could factor in to the equation if he was as opposed to our daughter being born and my husband being there for the birth and her bio-dad not being there since i was 3-4 months along.

Holly - posted on 08/13/2012

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Would you even call it a step father since her bio-dad and I weren't married or anything? You have been so helpful on giving me things to bring up when I talk to my husband about this. Do you have any name suggestions that imply father but don't cross that line? I just want my husband to know that I want to do what is best for her without torturing him.

[deleted account]

ok at three years old you dont necessarily need to have a detailed conversation with her about it. DOCS often tell carers in this situation (where an absent parent is being reintroduced) to let the child work it out, and state the obvious as they get older. Children are very clever and pick up on these things in time. Its great that the play dates have already commenced, that's the first step. I would suggest keeping them regular to ensure that there is a benefit to the child knowing her bio dad. that is, so she can build a meaningful relationship with him. If you dont want to call him her 'father' you will need to negotiate a name for him which implies it at least (which will help her figure out his relationship to her), which is different to what she calls your husband. I fully understand where you're coming from with the step dad being slapped in the face having that pointed out. I have one child with a different father to her siblings and it was never easy having it pointed out, however that is the truth of the matter and you've just got to try and deal with it as best you can. It doesnt change your husband's love for your daughter and that's all that matters.

Holly - posted on 08/13/2012

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Thank you for your advice. She is about to be 3. I have had some "play date" type visits with them and they go really well. I just don't want to confuse her. I feel like if I say this is biological dad she won't understand and if I try to say this is your dad too she would push him away. Her last name is different than ours so obviously we weren't going to hide things from her. Most people who knew me in the past know that her bio-dad isn't my husband. So I don't feel like its a secret. I just know that it hurts him when he's(my husband) told he's not her father. Someone he started working with asked him if he had kids and he, being the proud father he is started showing pictures. She was quick to notice that the oldest was biologically not his(because she knows the biological father) and said right to his face "no, that's so and so's kid". To me that is one of the biggest slaps in the face. I just want to handle things the right way. So are you saying that I should tell her now, that her play friend is really her father? If so, how should I word it? Because "father" is something I never call him since he had the choice to stay or go.

[deleted account]

your child needs to know the truth, and should have been raised knowing it from the start. Now'a days even adopted children know from the start that they have adoptive parents. That is to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of the child. it's the child's right to know where they came from. leaving it until their older causes more confusion and heartache than its worth.

to evaluate your situation you're going to have to factor in the child's age. If she is under the age of 5 its going to be easier for you to break it to her. I do have a friend in the same position. her child is now 12 and still has no clue his father is not his bio dad and she has no idea how to tell him, nor does she want the emotional dramas that will come from both the child and the step dad. I think its selfish to be honest.

I can understand your husband has invested a great deal of time and effort. as well as love, into building this relationship with your daughter, which is fantastic! (there should be more men out there willing to do so!). However, he is going to have to face the fact that she has a bio dad too. Reassure him as a wife, but ensure your daughter isnt put in a position to feel guilty in any way. Its going to be tough, nothing is ever easy about these situations, but you can all get through it. Maybe a counsellor might be an option for you and your husband as well. Good luck :)

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