Children, Should You Tell Your Child the Truth About Who Their Parent Is
Why create this hub?
With people these days often having many relationships throughout their lives and bearing children out of wedlock the true parentage of a child is often a mystery. Knowing at least two couples who have chosen to keep one of their children's parentage a secret I have given this subject some thought.
As with most things in this life it is down to individual choice and what will ultimately be best for the child. However no matter how much I think about this matter I cannot see that it is right and proper to keep such information withheld from a child.
Yes, there may be instances where:-
- The actual parent's identity is unknown
- The child is the result of a rape or an attack
- The parent is a totally horrible person.
On the whole though I think, if possible, that it is important to be honest with children. Whatever you decide though it will not be easy.
Personal thoughts-Secrets and Lies
Nine times out of ten it seems that it will be the father's identity that is not known. A woman and her baby may move in with a new partner and the child may then never know any difference.
If this relationship is successful and marriage or a long term relationship ensues then other children may follow. Here to my mind lies some of the biggest problems. So often the father will find it hard not to treat his own blood relative in a different manner to his partner's child.
I can understand why, in such cases, the parents want to wait until such a time as the child is an appropriate age to understand the information that she or he is being told. However, deciding what the right time and age will be is a nightmare. If you are not careful the child may discover their true identity long before you can be up front with them.
In the past I have known someone who discovered her parentage by stumbling across her birth certificate when, as a nosy 11 year old, she was searching through cupboards. How devastating. It was something which screwed her up for years and she never really came to terms with.
I have also known someone who found out, that the person she knew and loved as Dad was not her father, when her mother, in a temper, blurted out the truth to her one sad day. Fancy keeping a secret 16 years only to reveal it in such a terrible way, and in anger. Another poor soul left with a scrambled mind.
Finally, I came across a person who said that, a member of her own family had told the child the truth about who his Dad was, when she had fallen out with the woman. How cruel and nasty. This woman was going to tell her little boy when he was a little older but instead he had to hear it in such a way. Suffice to say the relationship between this Mum and Son is strained to say the least.
Deciding on the right time and age will not be easy. However hopefully my instances will make you think carefully about whether it is right to withhold such information in the long run.
No doubt there will be some who withhold such information as it is easier for them and because it seems much too hard to be honest. However, if you love your child you must want to do what is best for them.
Think ahead to when the child is an adult. For example, the child may have a health issue that needs a full family health record. Then again the birth certificate will maybe hold part of the true story and so will ultimately be accessed.
Even if the child is an adult before he or she discovers the truth they may be able to cope with the information. However some do not cope well when eventually told. I have known a grown man who, when he found out in later years that he had been adopted, spent all of his time looking at people and wondering if they were his real parents. Adoption these days though is less fraught with such problems. The Law has changed and children, after a certain age, have a right to certain information.
This hub offers little in the way of answers, I am afraid. Hopefully it has given you something to think about, especially if you are directly concerned with such issues.
What my gut instinct says is think very carefully before you decide how to handle such a situation. Remember that other people will no doubt know the truth also. Remember also that people do fall out big style and then do hateful things to each other, so there is really no-one that you can rely on 100% to keep your secret.
Of course there will be some cases where the child was actually fathered by someone else and the father, and perhaps, the mother does not know this. This is a whole different ball game. However remember that especially in respect to health the true parentage could be important knowledge in the years to come.
What do you think?
Should parents reveal the identity of the true parent?
Children and safety issues
- Incest and one of its after effects
If my story was written as a piece of fiction and I read it somewhere I would say that the plot was unbelievable. However this is not a piece of fiction it is the story of how I came into the world and...
© 2009 Ethel Smith