My kids never asked about their dad, maybe because they know that we can never work things out. We've been separated for years now and we rarely receive any support from him.
You have some very good answers here and I would simply add that if their father is their biological father, they have part of him within, he is part of who they are. it dimishes a childs own self worth when a parent tears apart the other parent (even if the partner is a jerk). as a parent, our job is to teach and show them qualities that can enable them to develop into decent human beings.
Interesting point that no matter what a jerk the father is, he is still their father. That is true but remember, we are talking about men being good fathers and husbands. What can help them achieve this? We are all imperfect and need direction. It is up to us individually to find that proper direction and then apply it. I have learned that the Bible is like a manual for good husbands, fathers, wives, mothers and children. Learning our proper role and how to survive in these roles will never cause us to show one another disrepect, whether we are the father, mother or child. This was a good comment. Thanks.
How do you tell your kids that their father wasn't man to be their dad.
It's my opinion - when they have their license and are old enough to be determined to find him, so as to hopefully build a relationship.
I would suggest letting them find out for themselves through their own actions of seeking him out themselves. Be kind enough to tell your children for their own good, that you would rather not influence their decisions with your own harder heart towards him and that they should seek him out and judge for themselves on whether or not, they want a relationship with him.
Again, I wouldn't subject them to any knowledge, until old enough to handle the responsibility of seeking him out on their own.
Hope that helped.
Don't, by all means don't. In time they will learn what type of person he is and make the decision as to whether or not to have any dealings with him. If you do tell them that and succeed in convincing them of that fact, when they grow up and actually have no relationship with him, they might just blame you. So my suggestion is say nothing, or at least nothing negative. In time when and if they decide to have nothing to do with him it will be their choice and you will look like the good guy, no matter what.
fasfreta you are a wise wise woman! I am 6 years divorced now and in my childrens eyes their Dad is a super hero. You need to be able to let go and allow that to be - let them wish and dream and believe and then you love them enough to pick up those eventually falling pieces. And like Susana S replies next - be the responsible one with age appropriate responses that never make them question their worth in the journey.
Well said fastfreta I would just add that I think it's better for the children if they feel it isn't a taboo subject and that they can ask questions if they want to. Responding responsibly is the hard part
Perhaps you just werent up to the task of keeping a man, why is it his fault, you were the one who lay down with him, where is your responsibility in all this.
If that was meant to be funny, it wasn't. Your comment came across as crass, insensitive and extremely stupid given the subject matter.
Probably, half of it is my fault. That's why I never turned my back from my kids - they're my life.
IzzyM, I think it is time women started taking responsibility for their own actions, it takes two to tango.
It takes two to make a relationship work also. Of course a woman needs to her part. But in real life, sometimes a man chooses to leave for one of many reaosns, not always the woman's fault. This question, tho, had nothing to do with that. The question is, the father is gone...whats the best way to deal with this subject, with chidlren.
I have saved a book of photos, from when my daughter was a baby, when she asks about her father, I tell her that he loves her, but for right now hes taking care of other things. I let her look at the book whenever she wants. I have saved ring he gave me, to give her when it fits. She has been adopted by my husband, but her biological father will always be a part of her, and she desrves to know about him. I treat it like any other sensitive subject. Honest, age apropriate answers. With no angerness or bitterness.
This is a lovely answer too - I also have made albums for my 4 children and have watched that help build their relationship with their Father. It is losing the bitterness that makes the difference - I so agree
it is hard, he is the man who broke your heart and crusehd your dreams.
he is their father too.
I strongly believe its best to let the kids know the good side of him. The side you first loved. As painful as it is, if hes a truly awful perosn, they will make their own judgments when they are older. If youve never said a nasty word about him, and been open and honest all along, when this happens, they will be close enough to you, that you can help them.
Justine76, what a beautiful and forgiving answer. What you have done for your children is a perfect example of how a parent should approach this question. Just tell the truth.
Silence and secrets within the family only foster confusion, anger, distrust, and resentment within a child. Age-appropriate talk to children is necessary. If this is not done, even a very small child will create their own imaginary scenario. The truth now will save years of difficulty in the future. Children will learn soon enough about matters of the heart between adults, especially their divorced parents.
I may have been the worst wife, but I try to be a good mum to my kids.
You may have been bad wife and he may have been bad husband - but all the responsibility is to the kids - you are keeping up with your responsibilities - and he clearly is not keeping up with his.
I would advise following the advice you were given earlier and get to the court and make him at least pay the money he is supposed to. Good luck with life
Umm... I think that if it has come to a point where you have to sit your child down to tell them, then it is too late. I think children need to know from day 1, be brought up with the knowledge.
Having said that, people have there own way to deal with these things and I am not to judge.
dont tell any negative things about their dad, if they will ask, dont bad mouth him but dont cover up for HIM, explain to them in a nice way, that things happen, and later on they will decide for themselves about it,
if you still have time, you may want to finally contact their father and tell them about the children, well, he should know that already but give him opportunity to see them too, make a way for it,
Great answers everybody. It feels good to see so much common sense.
Hi Grace, I agree with fastfretta and prettydarkhorse, it's not a good idea to badmouth him and you shouldn't make excuses for him either. It's a fine line you'll have to walk. It's odd that they haven't asked questions about their father, perhaps you are unknowingly indicating how painful the subject is for you and your children are sensitive to your feelings. If they do ask questions it's a good idea to be truthful but objective. Well, that's my 2 cents worth.
Thank you everybody for all the good advices. I would never want them to hate their dad. After all, he's still a part of them – whether I like it or not. He is still their dad no matter what. What I feel for him doesn’t have to affect thm. I love my kids and it doesn’t affect my love for them. Unfortunately, I just have to live the choice of marrying a “jerk” (excuse me for saying that). And even though, I don’t say bad things about him, they probably figured that one out a long time ago (when we were still living with him under once house and they see me being abused and beaten by their dad). My kids are very smart to understand the whole situation and even before posting this question, I’ve already made a decision not to tell them unless they ask or they’re really old enough to understand. I so appreciate all your thoughts. Big thanks! *hugs to you all*
You've received plenty of wise replies to your query; and fortunately only one (Insensitive and WAY off the mark !!) that presumably was penned by a guy who probably never met his obligations as a father.
What surprises me is nobody seemed to notice what you said about
your Ex but rarely providing support. Unless you are exceptionally well-funded, you truly owe it to your kids to aggressively pursue collection of Child Support decreed by the Judge in your DIvorce Case, through every legal option available to you -- however much such efforts may seem burdensome (or frustrating) to you.
Of course, there's nothing gained -- and too much risked -- in making your kids aware of such pursuits.
It continues to astound me, how an adult male (who claims any degree of self-worth) can blythely wander through life without feeling shame and guilt over not trying his very best to acknowledge and meet fatherly duties, in EVERY sense.
Well, I have to work hard to pay all the bills plus my kids' expenses. I am quite fortunate having parents (plus my brothers) who are very supportive and understanding. My only wish is to pay them back - but I know whatever they spent for me and my kids - time, money, love - can never be paid back. I try to be a good daughter to my parents and a good mum to my kids.
That jerk, well.. He gives them (my kids) money sometimes but that's not even a quarter of their needs. He sees them a a max or 3 times a year. Rarely checks if they're still alive or well.
I'm blessed with my kids.
you don't tell them anything...they will learn about him on ther own. It does not matter how you feel about the man...he is their father.
my biological father was not in my life the 1st 8 years of my life...but when I met him, I was the happiest little girl in the world. When I started getting closer to my father, my mother decided that she would set me down and tell me her version of my father and it came with a letter that he wrote.
I asked my dad many questions and I believe that he told me the truth...one of my questions was "did he not want me", his answer was "no, he was young and not ready to be a father" he did not pay support.
We had a great relationship for 50 years, he was always available to me, he listened and we had a monthy father/daughter day...our last was Oct. 1997 San Francisco, Blue Angels, the following weekend he was mugged and beat into a coma, he died 3 months later.
Your children will learn the truth, no matter how hurt you are, no matter what he does or doesn't...let them be the judge of the man...unless he is a violent criminal and not safe to be around them, I may make them aware of that type of situation...(safety of the children is 1st priority), my mother just looked like a vendictive bitch to me...not that "we" had a good relationship.
Hope that helped...my children...now 26 and 28, realize how much of an ass their dad is...but they love him and I have tried very hard not to say a bad word/feeling about him, and our divorce was painful and unexpected and I hated him...it was hard.
I hope when my kids are old enough, they would have the time to see their dad. My ex-hub might have the same reason: that was was too young to be a father. We are both 32 now. We were young when we got married and yes, neither one of is is ready. But for the sake of our kids, someone has to stand up and be responsible - I did. I love my kids and that matters.
If the time comes they want to be with their dad - so be it. I know, in my heart, they needed him to feel complete. I don't want to take away a piece of them because I hated him.
I can relate with you on this. I simply don't. When my son's Dad and I parted ways, I took it upon myself to raise him by all means. I never once asked for help from his Dad, I figure- he should be man enough to do it on his own. If not, that's his loss because eventually through actions my son will soon learn the truth. I never down talk his Dad, because it's his Dad. You can't take that away from him, and he's gonna think the world of him regardless, and that's okay. I just don't feel that it serves any purpose to bring up the point that he's not man enough to raise him. I just continue to do my best to teach him responsibility, accountability, and the ethics of hard work. My son knows what his Dad is to him, that's all that matters. Just as long as he also understands the importance of what I'm teaching him. Your son will figure it out, probably not till he's much older how much you do for him and when he does he'll really appreciate it.
Wow i have seen some of the most interesting answers here. Gracethomas you will do just fine, They always say time is the best healer above all. You will bring up fine kids who will better judge of character and life. Raising kids alone is a tough job, kudos to you for that.
I am going to be very honest with you, healing is the most important part of anyones time on this earth. I dont know your circumstances, but I would ask you not to say anything negitive to the children, the hurt and pain of your relationship was between you and the father of your children, dont posion them with that hurt and pain, I know we all want to retaliate and strike back, but I would ask you to step back, put the kids first, leave your own pain out side of your relationship with your children. God loves you, God loves your children, dont bring hate and pain in to your loving relationship with your children.
"Kill them with kindness." That's what I believe in. Well, I don't think its necessary to be kind to him since neither my kids nor I see him anyways. I have no intention of taking away a part of my kids' life by saying bad things about him. And I agree with the healing phase. I've moved on. I don't want to remain strapped by feeling bad about "us". I've forgiven him a long time ago. I just hope he did the same too.
"Momma just hung her head and said
Son, Pappa was a rolling stone
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died all he left is was alone"
An old Motown hit for The Temptations. The little boy is questioning his mum regarding unpleasant stories he'd heard on the streets regarding his absent and deceased father. His mum never once says anything bad about a man who was obviously a scoundrel.
In Johnny Cash's song "A Boy Named Sue" a young man has spent his whole life hating his absent father for deserting his family and for burdening him with a girl's name. He tracks his father down, determined to kill him, but finds that he actually likes the old mongrel.
One day they may develop a relationship of their own with him and will resent your denigrating remarks about him and thus will resent you.
Maintain your dignity, it will mean more to them in the long run than your disparaging him. It serves no purpose for anyone other than yourself to denigrate the man. Show them lots of love and leave no doubt in their minds that they are precious not only to you, but to many other significant people in their lives.
One day they will learn the truth their own way and at least then their feelings towards him will be their own.
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