My 5 year old daughter had only been around her dad of and on for about 3 years. She hasn't seen him now since Spring 2007 and never talked about him or seemed to care to want to. Some how this last year she started talking about him here and there, mostly during play time like going to daddy's house and such, but now she mentions him all the time. It gets to the point where sometimes when I tell her "no" about something she'll just default to "I want daddy, daddy will get me whatever I want." I never say anything when she does that except for "I just told you no and this is why yadda, yadda, yadda, and that's that" I never make it into an issue of daddy isn't around because..... The other thing is that when she does ask about why he's not around, I just tell her that he's got to take care of his mom and family just like I help take care of my mom and family, she seems to understand that for the moment until the next time something comes up.

I guess my question would be how other single moms have handled this. I know that it's part of growing up and they want to know where they come from, and who their other parent is, but I guess I'm just annoyed by it because I'd like for her to see him if that's what she wants. The problem is that now we live in different states, it's not good for her to be around him, she's better of not knowing what's going on, and so on. So if someone just has any advice on this issue of talking to their kids about the M.I.A. parent without making them into a jack ass, but also keeping it realistic that they aren't the best place for the child to be at. Thanks a lot!

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I'm expecting my first and have been thinking about this exact question ever since my ex left and hasn't been showing signs of wanting to be involved (and possibly shouldn't). Where is that balance and at what age would it be appropriate to really discus? My fear is that he/she may grow up feeling invalidated/ unloved. Something my older sister is still struggling with as she reaches her 30th birthday and is searching for the father she has never met.
I have a semi-quick question for you. How does your family interact with your daughter? I'm afraid mine will be constantly making comments about Mr. M.I.A. hopefully never to my child, but to me. But kids have ears and I know this is something that made my sister start questioning herself and our mother. I don’t want my child to feel the burden of that expectation. Her/ his life doesn’t have to be lessened by his absence and she/ he (sry don’t know the gender yet) should never have to feel that way.
I guess I could have also added that the man she knows as daddy is my ex-husband, her biological dad left us when I was 2 months pregnant (out of the blue). So her daddy is in her baby photos and was gracious enough to want to be around, and then we separated because I felt it would be a good idea to "reassess" if you will. Turned really quickly into a situation where I didn't want her around him anymore (either) because he apparently latched on to people who were involved with, well, whatever, and a lot of things happened after that that even my parents don't know about which makes them a little insensitive at times too. That makes both your questions kind of more layered, I guess, because I think it depends a lot on your circumstance, the people around you, what type of personality your child has...etc.... and yes, I think the questions go hand in hand because you'll notice really quickly at what age your child starts either questioning more about this "guy" people are talking about or you'll see a facial expression that says "What's going on?" plus there will come times when other friends or relatives (children who are your child's age) are talking about their daddy and your child starts wondering what about their daddy. I would say to answer your first question, the time to talk about it is when you sense that the little one is really starting to wonder. And the conversation should be as simple as possible (I doubt that people want to make a child feel like their other parent is the most horrendous chump who's ever walked this earth and you hope he gets run over by a bus)...so keep it simple and make sure your little one knows that it's not their fault and also never make any promises that you can't keep. The other thing that I've been noticing with this whole "my daddy will let me do whatever I want" I know it's pretty easy then to want to give in to whatever you just said no to, but I don't think that the absence of a parent should be an excuse for the youngest member of the family team to use that as a bargaining chip. Always stand your ground and say something to the affect of "I just said no and this is why..." and leave it at that, but never justify the "daddy will let me..." with going soft and giving in or saying something you'll regret and/or will hurt you child's feelings. Remember: it's not his/her fault that they don't know the situation, plus they're not grown so they don't see it from the adult point of view no matter how rational you're trying to make yourself sound. On a side note, it's so annoying to deal with and when you feel like that (at least when I do) it's so tempting to just yell "well where is daddy? he's not here and hasn't been here for you, has he? I'm the one who takes care of you day in and out...." ..........yea, but I guess we can't do that! If I had to put a number on it, as an average, you can probably expect to start hearing about it by age 4 or 5...which is when you can just say simple things like "daddy has such and such to do..." you really have to get on a kids' brain level then, their attention span isn't so great so just use whatever is the most exciting, but true, simple answer of the moment. To your other question I would say tell those people who will be around (especially family) now already that you don't want them to talk about it...if daddy isn't going to be around at all...and that they know from the start that if they mention his name or the situation, you'll just not answer or walk away from the conversation. I think it's something that, especially if you're concerned about, you should deal with from the start so people don't figure it out in 2 or 3 years from now and then they're so used to talking about it. I think as a mother you should have every right to say to those who, hopefully, love and respect you that it's not their business to talk about anymore, what matters most is that your little one grows up knowing that they're loved by the people who ARE around and not made to feel like they're an outsider because they keep hearing whisper, whisper and then SHHH as soon as he/she enters the room. Oh yea, the other thing is, it depends somewhat on the people too. My brother is kind of odd about it because any time someone jokes about one of his past mistakes, he defaults to "well, lets talk about what SHE'S done" (looking at me) and then wants to proceed to talk about my past mistakes right in front of my daughter. So make sure THOSE type of family/friends know from the start...get the plank out of your own eye before judging me, especially in front of my child. In the end, the best way of knowing when to talk to your little one, how much, who should be allowed or not allowed to talk about it to them or around them...it all depends on your little one. I think personality has a lot to do with it, some kids are just naturally shy and easily hurt and then those are the kids you'd want to tread as lightly as possible. I'm lucky enough to have the most obnoxious, loud, happy, sweet, silly 5 year old anyone could ask for, so it seems almost like she doesn't hear when my brother or others try to start something. She makes up the most wonderful stories about her dad (all not true, but hey...), I think she's convinced herself that my little bit of info (daddy isn't here because he has to take care of his mommy) is gospel and she'll see daddy any day now. Sounds shitty and weird and maybe a little cruel, but we do what we have to and once they're old enough to REALLY understand (lets say long after that awkward pre-teen and early teen years are over, so around 18 maybe;-) then they should know the whole story and can see the daddy if they want. Oh, by the way, my second daughter who is 7 months old now doesn't know her dad at all, he was like what your ex sounds like. Didn't show any signs of wanting to be around, I heard all the horror stories AFTER his friends found out I was pregnant and what he has been like so far (I know he's trying to get on a better road, those are the pretexts I knew him under, but I guess you can't just block out someone's past record of how they handle responsibility when it comes to trying to figure out if they should be involved) so I told him eventually that I wasn't going to have him be involved and one day I will have to deal with that too.

Sorry, this was a very long answer to 2 quick questions. The topic just kind of got away from me hahaha. I do wish you all the best in figuring out what's best for your situation. One quote that will always stick with me and I can't remember where I heard it is when a woman told the man involved "I don't owe you a baby..." and after thinking about it for a while, I think it's so true. It seems like so many women panic because they don't know what could be if they're single parents, but if he's know good or if his actions every day of your pregnancy don't scream I want to be a part of this baby, then you don't owe him and you know you can do it. Are you planning a home birth? Do you have a good support network around you? Hope all goes well! Take care and all the best!
The first thing that I feeel is very important for all single mothers to remember is that no matter what, dont ever make the FOB look bad in the childs eyes. Children are very smart, even when we think they are to young to understand, they know. They will see for themselves, and you should allow them to, if their dad was not a good person. My sons father is a "LOSER" and lives right here in my city but does nothing, and I mean nothing, for my son. He wont even keep a job so they can garnish his wages.
Anyway when he was in jail, that is what i told my son, that when people dont follow the rules yadda, yadda, yadda, they go to jail. He now knows that he is not in jail anymore, but is just not man enough to be a father. Over the years it has not been a big issue like it was when he was younger because he has other male role models in his life.
Being a single mom was not as much of an issue in my family as was having sex before marriage, but everyone is over that since I only have one. My friends were more throughout the years and still today wondering if I will have anymore children, but I would rather be married first. Being a single parent is hard, dating, childcare, work, to many issues to name, but it is also a blessing and I thank God for every blessing.
I really dont think there is a right time to talk to your kids about any one issue, when he asks, I tell him. Of course you always want to be honest, but in ways that their young minds can comprehend. Baby steps of information before you really say anything.
With family I would say that you may want to just call the person or persons aside and let them know that you would appreciate if they keep their comments about your choices and situations in your life to themselves. That if they have nothing positive to say then Shutup!! You also want to make sure that your family and friends arent making the MIA parent look bad to the child when you are not around as well. If you have pictures, videos of the MIA parent to show the child, that would be good as well, I know its not the same, but as any woman knows, you gotta do what you gotta do. Also share with your child positive memories of him, not the negative stuff, and point out good qualities that your child may have like the dad etc.

There is more I could say but have to get off computer now. Have a good night =)

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