How to tell my 3 yr old 'daddy' is not her biological father...
My 3 yr old is a lovely, affectionate and very secure child. She has been the centre of my world since she entered it and is my best buddy! Her bioloical father and I were in what I thought was a true relationship when I was living abroad, we were close and got on very well, until we found out I was pregnant. He changed in an instant and it was the end of us then and there when I refused to have an abortion, having previously been told I would never have children naturally.
I returned to the UK and moved back in with my mother. I spoke to him on the phone once after I returned and he said I had 'disobeyed him' by going through with the pregnancy and that he would never recognise he had a child. He also said if anyone ever came looking for him he would turn them away.
After her birth, I sent pictures to our mutual friend and know they were shown to him but he was not the slightest bit interested.
I was bringing up my daughter very happily on my own, not wanting a relationship, I returned to work full time when she was a year old and soon after, met and fell in love with my now fiance. We have a strong relationship and although we have our arguments, are soul mates and live very happily all together. My daughter calls him daddy and worships the ground he walks on, they have a fantastic bond and he loves her dearly. I honestly never believed it would be like this.
We have a baby boy due in 3 wks time and are getting married next year. I am in total limbo land because I can't fathom when to introducing the idea that 'daddy' isn't where she came from but he is who will always be with her. She has my last name and I don't know whether to double barrel my name, the babies and hers so we are all the same, or change her name to my fiance's. I don't have long to get the name decision done. My partner is also going to legally adopt my daughter.
I think it is better she knows from early on rather than a 'sit down shock' when she is in her teens. I'd rather she grows up knowing and that it is so usual to her she is not bothered by it. I just don't know how or when to explain it. I am scared her brother will make comments to her when they are older children saying 'he's my dad not yours' and making her feel outed.
I'm just very nervous, can anyone help and tell me what to do?
You know I dated someone in a very simialr situation growing up. And When his mom told him the truth that is dad was only his step dad and his real dad try to get in touch with him, he turned away from his dad and let her step dad adopt his and he took his step dad's last name. You can talk to the real dad to see if he would give up all parental rights and then have the step dad adopt. That is up to you though. Make sure you keep the real dads name in hand just in case something medical came up and he would be match but other wise think it over. He doesn't want anything to do with her then tell him to give uprights on her.
I have to disagree. I came from a similar situation. My parent got divorced when I was less that 1 and my mom remarried and he adopted me. My real father gave up all rights to me. I found out when I was in 4th grade. I think it was a good time for me to know. Your daughter is WAY to young to even understand. She doesn't NEED to know right now.
I think you need to say it VERY positively, if at all. I guess she'll find out eventually so maybe it's best to know ahead.
I think you could just start off by saying "Do you know how Daddy and I met? Well, you were a baby and I was working at bla bla bla and we were doing okay, we loved each other a lot (show her baby pictures) and lived in such and such apartment. I met your dad and REALLY liked him a lot because he's so nice and sweet and handsome, and he really liked me too and when he met you he KNEW he wanted to be my husband and your daddy. We are all so lucky to have each other and now with the new baby we're blessed again." If you keep telling that story of how you all met Daddy, it will dawn on her while she's very young that she was born before you met him.
And when she asks about her original father, just breeze past that and say he really wasn't very nice and you didn't take time to get to know him, and are really happy that you aren't with him because you all love Daddy so much.
Wow, thank you for the above replies. I can see all your points clearly. It's such a difficult thing to deal with as I don't want to confuse her or upset her in any way. I think I have to start advising her earlier than later so that she doesn't remember 'the day they told me' as such.
Her biological father has not been in contact since I was pregnant during 'that' phone call. I don't even know where he is now, I have his details in case she ever asks though. To be honest, I hope she isn't interested in him when she grows up as I know he will hurt her emotionally.
I think the story is a great idea, have just run it past my fiance and he does too. It would mean it is done in a relaxed way and something she would be used to hearing. Will definitely start thinking of when to start saying it.
Still worried how to deal with the sibling issue...
Really appreciate your time in replying to me, thank you so much all of you.
I have a 3 year old son and I can't imagine him understanding anything like this at all. I think this is WAY beyond the comprehension of a 3 year old. I do agree that not hiding it is a great idea. I'm just guessing that being 5 or older would make more sense.
Good luck in whatever you choose to do. You sound very happy! :)
Lol I know what you are saying, she wouldn't understand it now. Though my thinking is that the same way she can tell me the whole of the Hungry Caterpillar story, because it is her favourite bedtime book, if I tell her the story of 'how we got daddy' then she may know it just as off by heart even if the full understanding of it comes later...? That's what I am hoping!! ;o)
I am happy, just quite a neurotic person to be honest and I worry about her so much I drive myself mad. I'll never understand how anyone can not love their child. I'd be lost without her, even though she's going through a defiant stage at the moment.
Yes, I know what you mean about being neurotic and worrying. :) My little girl is now almost 13 and talk about defiant ... OMG it's making me crazy!!! You know, when you mentioned the Hungry Caterpillar story, it made me wonder if there are books geared toward her age group about adoption. You might also find some great advice on an Adoption forum.
My only advice would to be VERY careful about the timing. Toddlers get very jealous and do lots of crazy things when a new baby arrives. They often feel left out and want to be your "one and only" again.
That is what I am worried about. Whilst I know she is going to be the pruod big sister at first and want to see him the second she wakes up each morning, I can't help wondering how long that will last... Surely the attention reduction, even if slight, will make her slightly resentful toward the baby. Any warnings of what to expect?
Dan is taking a month off work to be at home but I am pretty scared about what it will be like when he goes back to work...
Hmmm nearly 13, I remember what I was like at 13 so I can sympathise with you!! It's that age where because we're becoming a 'teen' we don't need to be told what to do anymore!! How many do you have?
The book is a good idea, I will do some searching on the net! ;o)
As far as your toddler, it will be an adjustment for her for sure. I have two kids, a 3 year old boy, and (almost) 13 year old daughter. There isn't any sibling rivalry and not much jealousy. My daughter is from my first marriage. I hear parents say when a new baby comes, it's very hard for their kids. They are excited about the baby but the newness wears off and they are ready for the baby to go back! :)
Your daughter might regress as fair as the potty, sleeping, behaviors ect. You might see her do things just for a reaction to get your attention. There are some very cute books on this topic, too. It will me difficult but try to keep some one on one time with her every day.
Yes, 13 is tough and my own teenage behaviors have might very fearful of what's in store for me, It's going to be a tough road!!!
im sorry if this is a little late, but i read this and i can completely relate. I didn't know me dad wasn't my "dad" until I was 12. No one new, not even him. I found out about a week before I moved out of state with him and my stepmom. And even though we do have a tumoultous relationship, Ive never looked up my real father, because that is my dad. He was the one who raised me. I believe if she thinks of your fiance as her daddy let her until she can fully comprehend "where daddy came from"
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