24 answers

8 Year Old Understanding About Her Biological Father

Hi ladies, Wow I am so confused right now. I have a 8 year old daughter from a previous relationship, I was 18 when I had her and her ather was only 16, he decided that he was not ready to be a father, he has paid cjild support for her the whole time but has only seen her twice since she was born. I tried to get him to see her when she was a baby but he refused so I gave up. My husband has been around since she was 2 and she know him as daddy, Well yesterday I recived a call from her fathers mother wanting to know how my daughter is doing and would like to see her if I thoght it would be ok. I don't know what to do. My husband is angry with them for not making the effort all these years, but I can't lie to my daughter anymore I am planning on telling her about her father soon. How do I do this and thy to keep everyone happy?

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Sometimes the best thing to do be very honest and as straight forward for her as you can be. Tell her the truth as she would know it. Just let her know you didn't keep this from her. The only problem is not all may be happy for a while. But they will. Keeping it honest and open will help.

peace

More Answers

Okay K.,I am a little confused by this story.
You have 3 children, 8,3,and 5months and say you have been married for only a year. Now, is the man who raised your 8 year old since she was 2, the same man of the 3 yr old? And is the father of the 5 month old not the father of the 8 and 3 year old? I don't understand who is the man standing in as her father at this point, which could be another problem.
Any how, I agree that you need to tell the grandparents that she is not prepared at this time and that when the time comes, she will let her see her. I believe that this would have a great impact on her life at this point in her life. I believe as a grandmother, she would understand.
As for the father, well, the blame can't be only on him. This is the price we pay when we are babies having babies and unfortunatly this little boy has still not grown up.

talk to your husband and make sure he understands you feel this is the best thing to do. Pray for help and guidance. If you do this, you'll be directed to say what needs to be said in the best way.

I completely agree with those who have suggested honesty as the best option. I can't speak from personal experience, other than of a friend who was a pre-teen when she found out her dad was not her biological dad. He showed up at her 8th grade graduation - surprising everyone, and I know how hard she took it. I don't think it gets easier for the child the older he/she gets - in fact, I think it gets harder. After you explain the situation to your daughter, then give her some time, and ultimately let your daughter decide if she wants to see her. Or at least, that's my advice...

I had a similar situation with my son. He was 9 years old when he was told. The only person you should be worried about is your little girl. Your Husband is an adult and will be fine. When my son found out he had a few questions and then went on his way. He only has one Dad and that is the man who tucks him in at night. Your little girl will be the same. But the truth will set you free! Maybe you should check in to adoption and then you wont have to worry about Bio-Dad's Mom. It sounds like he is reasonable and wants to do the right things. Good Luck!

You definately should give the biological father a chance! The decisions he made at 16 should not be thrown in his face now that he's more grown up. The fact that he has stayed present, if only in the form of child support, speaks for him. Some effort was being made to do the right thing for her. He is now 24, right? That is still very "young" to be a father, and even if he blows it this time, he still deserves another chance after this one. Like it or not, these people have a claim on your child too.

Perhaps it is a good way to bring up the matter with your daughter. "'Daddy' is your daddy, and he loves you very much. Your father is someone else, and he and his family would very much like to meet you. There are many people in your life who love you and think you are special." For your husband, you can have the same conversation: "You are her "daddy" and nothing can change that. He is her father, and needs the chance to explore that relationship, and she is old enough to get to know him. She has many people in her life who think she is special and who love her, and he and his family can be a part of that. It won't weaken her love for you!"

Don't most parents wonder if they will love their 2nd child as much as they love their first? But there is enough love for them all, right? Same with your husband--let him know that she will have enough love for all three parents, and all 6 grandparents!

Hi K.,
I agree that you should be honest and straight forward with her about how she came to be, so it is time to tell her the truth. However, I am not one of those people that believes that "family" has much to do with being biologically related and everything to do with loving and caring for one another. So, keeping your immediate family happy and secure is the most important thing. If inviting people who are biologically related to your daughter, but who don't know her at all, into your lives will be disruptive then don't do it. They could perhaps begin a relationship through cards or short e-mails on holidays and then let her decide when she is a teenager if she wants to meet them.
Your only obligation here is to protect your daughter, yourself and your marraige. Sit down with your husband, who IS her father, and decide how you want to tell her the truth. And then assure her that you are still her same family that you have always been and always will be.
You will get through this. Take care,
B.

WOW
in 8 years the grandma shows up???

I may seem rude, but I'd say:
dear so to say grandma, where have you been for 8 years ???
Now, we have a life going on here, and a good life, and a FAMILY, if you know what I mean, and the three beautiful souls to raise, and they know the value of love and caring and sharing.
Now, if you want to see MY DAUGHTER, then before you two meet, I need to know EXACTLY how will you explain her what is the meaning of LOVE, CARING AND SHARING, supported by the EXAMPLES from real life of yours! The situation is, that LOVE is not a NOUN, it is a VERB, and if not cared for, it dies, like everything what is alive. If nurtured and cared for though, then it only grows. Sorry, the situation IS difficult, because for 8 years, you left this child in the desert of no love and care from your side, so what is it there now going on that you need to see the Flower that blooms not in your garden? Dear grandmother, if you have answers to these questions, we can talk, before we will make a decision. If you have no answers, we can wait 'till the answers come."
To my 8 YEARS OLD daughter, I would not in no way start mssing up her perception of the reality of her FAMILY: loving daddy, mommy and dear sisters< this is her stable and happy world!!!
Can you imagine how much confusion will come into her life?
it is a very hard decision to make. I would start such revelation at her age of about 18, maybe, if there would be a real need for it, otherwise, why would her world be turned upside down, when she is growing in love and care, in thw world wthout trouble.

One question: so, you say, this is grandma who needs to see her, as she says. How about the biological dad? he still is no in need of her??? Now, if he is not even going to make appearance on the horizon, how could you explain this to your daughter??? BLOOD DOES NOT MAKE IT A FATHER, except that on papers, but not in life, as father is love and caring and sharing! To tell her: dear daughter, you have a father, but he could care less, so this is your Daddy, and father is just because of... what?

I am really sorry that this decision is hanging over your head,
and I am sorry I am harsh, K., but I believe children come first:
think about what is best for your daughter,
for her development, growth, health, and wellbeing.
This will help you to make a right choice.

(My parents did not want to see my sons until boys were 2 and 4 years old. We lived in the same town, and did not meet as they did not like my choice of my husband and dad for kids:
we were 21 then, old enough to make choices, right?! but they did not like him, so they refused to communicate with my family. Well, they finally met and we slowly reesablished the relations in the extended family, but my elder boy asked the granprents out front (at his 4 years old!!!): "why have you never come visit us, and we never saw you, when we live so close???"
You may be sure your daughter will ask this question to her biological grandma, so it will be very nice of you to prepare the grandma for such a quest so she better has a good response to it, not messing around with the child's mind fr her owm benefit, and the loss of reality...

Good luck, K.,
please act wisely!
Also, please liosten to what your dear hubby has to say on this situation
as he loves nyour girls, and h cares,
and YOU ARE A FAMILY !!! STAY AS ONE !!!

Sometimes the best thing to do be very honest and as straight forward for her as you can be. Tell her the truth as she would know it. Just let her know you didn't keep this from her. The only problem is not all may be happy for a while. But they will. Keeping it honest and open will help.

peace

You tell your DD just what you told us, with no judgement or accusation, I understand that you were young, but he was a heck of a lot younger, at least as far as maturity, he may not have been ready emotionally but he did his part finacilly.

I am sorry that your husband feels hurt by this, but he isn't her bio dad. Your DD has the right to know him, and if she is really lucky she will end up with 2 men in her life who love her. I wouldn't hold anything aginst the grandma, she probably tried to stay out of it so that you could move on with your life and not complicate it further. But at some point she needed to know about her grand dd. I am not saying she was right, but I have seen this happen a lot.

Good Luck you and your family!

K.,

Before you do anything, how are you going to handle it when she wants to know why her grandmother wants to see her, but not her father? Rejection is a very strong emotion for a child to deal with. Are you prepared for the consequences of your years of deception? She should have known form the time she was able to understand that the man she calls dad is her step father....This would make this a happy thing instead of stressful. Good luck!

Your daughter will need to know eventually, and I would bet the younger she is, the less she will feel confused and betrayed by not knowing about her real father earlier. Just sit her down and explain the entire story; make sure she understands how much her stepfather loves her, and that she doesn't have to choose between him and her real father. She might feel funny at first, but she will want to know her father and his side of the family at some point.

K.,

I have not been in your situation, so please take my thoughts with a grain of salt! It seems to me that you are not going to make everyone happy. The sooner you let go of that, the better off everyone will be. I think the focus needs to be on what is best for your daughter. Her grandmother and your husband are both going to have to work around that. As adults in the situation, it is their responsibility to put their own desires aside and do what's best, not your daughter's.

I don't think you can cut her extended family out of her life completely. On the other hand, it seems to me that they have to earn some trust before he can expect to be trusted. While your husband is understandably angry, he needs to deal with his own anger, and not make it your daughter's problem. I would certainly talk to your daughter's grandmother. Find out her side of the story. For now, you have no idea what her situation was or is, and I don't think you and your husband can make a decision without that information.

No matter what, you need to be honest with your daughter. She WILL find out eventually, and the longer she goes, the more bitterness is going to come from your deception. Tell her the truth, on a level she can understand. You don't have to go into all the details, but she needs to know that she has another father who was too young to take care of her. We have family friends whose three children are all adopted (I know not the same situation, but it has similar points.) They have told all their children from birth about their biological families. Although their kids have struggled, they have been able to struggle with their parent's love and help. If your daughter finds out on her own, there will likely be damage to your relationship, and she will be left wrestling with her questions on her own. Tell her the truth, at a level that she can understand, and you guys can work it out from there as a family. It will probably be messy and uncomfortable for a while, but hopefully the situation will improve in time, and you will all find a place of peace.

Best of luck,
S.

K.,
If you haven't stop reading all the responses by now I hope that I have a few ideas that might help you decide what is right for your situation.

First of all I have had a similar experience and it is always hard to figure out what to do. I think the better idea is where to start.

First I do agree with a lot of the first few postings about being honest with your daughter and husband. Getting a husband in this situation to calm down and try to see things from the other perspective can be very trying and may take some time, good luck, mine was a few years with slow progress but finally we are on the same page.

With explaining things to your daughter you may want to start out with a very basic non detailed version of what happened. REALLY basic, then see what kind of questions she has. Try to be prepared for some hard ones, but they may not come right away. My daughter was really laid back and didn't have very many questions at first and not at all the ones that I was expecting. Just see how it goes and then decide if you want to bring up the other grandmother thing then or wait a little till you feel it is the right time.

Speaking of grandma, it might help to just call her and explain your situation. She will probably undertand and you two can discuss stages and making sure that as this whole new aspect of family is introduced you will work out when might be the best time to introduce them and under which circumstances. Try not to make time commitments and just maybe offer to keep her in the loop as to what happens.

This whole thing may go over super easy and faster than you think or it may take a while.

I also had the estranged family seem very interested at first, but they quickly faded into a rare call or card and really didn't take a priority in day to day life anyway, every situtation is different.

Good luck, another grandma is kind of like another mother-in-law!! eeeeeiikk!!! Not that all MIL are bad, just complicated relationships at times:-)

I hope something here may seem helpfull.

M.

Hi K.,

This is a tough one but I lived through something similar - twice! My oldest two are 20 and 25. I'd love to get together with you and encourage you. There are so many things you can do and no one can tell you which one is the RIGHT way. You'll have to look at the options and decide with your husband as he IS her father! That doesn't mean you can't work out many different things.

If you'd like to talk, email me and we'll get together. Meanwhile, take the time to think through everything but don't stress too much. It WILL work out! :O)

I lived this situation as a youngster, although I was a little older then your daughter when my bio-father appeared and I knew my step-father was not my "real" father. My Mom was honest with me and that worked for me. It's better now then later. I have a 20 year old nephew who still doesn't know his father is not his biological one--imagine the complications if he has a medical problem or something. The sooner the better. Also, explain that being a "daddy" is not about blood, it's about being there as your husband has done. She has a "Dad", and she has a right to know where she came from. Just my thoughts. Oh, and I still considered my step-dad to be Dad....not my real father. Kids are smart--trust her and yourself and it will work out. Just make sure you help her place appropriate boundaries with her biological family.
J.

hi. i agree with the other posts. the one thing i would add...assuming she's in school (as opposed to home school), you may want to warn her teacher(s) that some changes may be happening at home (you don't have to say what changes). make sure they're aware, though, and ask them to let you know if your daughter's behavior/grades/moods change at school. if they do, your daughter may benefit from talking with her school's counselor. this will be big, life-altering news for her, but she should know it.

I appreciate your husband feeling like the bio-father's family is late to the table, but better late than never. Sadly, I don't think there is anyway to "keep everyone happy". Your daughter will be pretty surprised, but its time that she knows the whole story. Your family sounds very happy and stable -- that will give your daughter a lot of peace of mind. Keep yourself and your husband's energy focused on supporting your daughter with stability and love -- not fussing about the bio-daddy & family. If bio-dad was 16 when she was born, he would be....24-ish right? He is surely much better prepared and much more stable to establish a responsible supportive relationship with your daughter now. It could be a blessing that he stayed away while he took the time to grow up, but he and his family do deserve an opportunity to get to know your daughter. Not an easy situation, but you sound very thoughtful and considerate. Good luck!

My suggestion is to tell the grandmother that the little girl knows nothing about that family, and thank her for her interest in your daughter, but it would only confuse her as to why a stranger wants to meet her.

I would also not spring this big news on your daughter until a "need to know" moment comes around -- such as if the bio-dad goes to court to enforce his parental rights. The older she is when she hears this, the better she will handle it. If you tell her when she's young, it will affect her for years, and she might even do quite a bit of "acting out" because of her dismay.

(If you don't believe me and think you'll tell her anyway, here's one more suggestion. Go to any elementary school
teacher and ask how children handle divorce. The teacher will go on and on with stories about poor schoolwork, bad behavior, changed personalities, sexual acting out, etc. Those situations won't be far different from the one your daughter will experience when she loses the way she thinks about herself and her parents.)

I would like to reiterate that children are not emotionally equipped to absord this kind of info without it harming the way they view themselves and their parents -- please, please don't make an 8-yr-old deal with this if you don't have to.

K.,

It sounds to me like it's the grandmother who wants to see your daughter & I think maybe the thing to do before anything else would be to agree to meet only with her to discuss things and see if you can come to some understanding. I can completely understand why/how you would harbor alot of resentment towards your oldest daughter's father and his parents. The bottom line is that you have to do what is best for your daughter at this point. It isn't fair to the father's parents to "punish" them for the actions of their son.

So, that is my 2 cents on the issue, based of course, on what you posted. You know best what your current situation is, but I think it's reasonable to keep your daughter out of this for the moment--an 8 year old doesn't need to know all the details. If you and the father's mom can't come to some terms, then your question is answered.

I wish you the best of luck!
A.
StrollerFit West Denver
Mom to Macy, 3

This is a tough situation. My niece had the same thing, father not really involved, her stepfather is Daddy. Her biological father has been around here and there, and is married with two boys. Her biological grandparents are FABULOUS. They send presents for all of the kids on their birthdays, not just my oldest niece. I can't recall what age the truth was really explained. She know her biological dad as an uncle until she was 7 or 8, old enough to know about birds and bees basically. 8 years old is definitely old enough to hear the truth. Some people give children much less credit than they deserve. Her bio father's still not super involved, but his family likes to be. My sister allows them to be as involved or as uninvolved as they want. My niece is now 15 and kind of makes the decisions on whether or not to spend time with her biological family when then come to town (they live in another state.) But recently she and some friends came in for a youth camp and the biological grandmother picked them all up at the airport and took them to and from the camp. My sister is glad that she hasn't forced a separation from her biological family, regardless of how completely uninvolved the biological dad chooses to be. She feels it's not her place to keep her daughter away from people who love her. I think it gets confusing for her sometimes, but she always feels loved which is the most important thing. Your daughter's biological mother sounds like she's not trying to force anything, she's calling and asking if it's ok. I think it could be more harmful for your daughter to find out later and think you deprived her of a relationship with a grandmother. You set the rules, but I would let her meet her grandma and spend time with her, if grandma's a good person. This may be a good ice breaker to explain about her biological father, too. Good luck, whatever you decide!

You calmly (with her daddy now) sit down and tell her that she has a birth father and a step daddy and then tell her how her father wasn't ready to be a dad when she was born and now her grandmother wants to see her. It doesn't make any one of you bad people in fact I told my step sons that they needed two moms and that's why I came along. :) I truly love kids in that they are pure and easily forgive what happens in their lives. I would encourage her that her step daddy loves her so much and she can still be the constant in her life and she can learn to love her father too. I also told my children when their dad sent the child support so she would know that he made efforts in the way he could at the time. In time she will be comfortable with both families. I hope this helps. Kay

I think you can let her biological grandmother see her and not totally disrupt your daughter's life.

Explain to the grandmother that your daughter doesn't know she isn't biologically your husbands (or whatever the situation is). Tell her you'd like it if they could meet, but you believe that your daughter isn't prepared to have her world torn apart, so could they meet with the grandmother being a "friend of the family"?

See, you don't mention anything about the biological father wanting to see your daughter. But if you introduce people as friend of the family, she can get to know them and feel comfortable around them. At some later point when she is ready to handle this, you can sit her down and explain things.

Coming from a broken family myself, my parents divorced when I was 6 and mom remarried. My father was never involved even when he was in the household. My gut feeling on your situation is to hold off on the visit AND telling your daughter. If it's the bio's parents who are wanting some time all of a sudden it makes me leary...why weren't they involved when she was a baby? Where is bio now? If she knows your husband and his family to be Dad and grandparents, it will just confuse and hurt her. Maybe send a photo and letter to the bio's parents and tell them you are not ready to open up that can of worms on your daughter. She has a father figure in her life and a stable household...wait until she is a little older to understand. As for me...I haven't spoke to my bio in 13 years and affectionately refer to him as...a Doner Dad. It takes more than the act of "donating" having sex to be a true dad and man in the house. He AND his family/parents should have stepped up to the plate years ago. Good Luck!

I have a 9 year old from my first husband. We split up while I was pregnant and I only saw him a few times after my son was born, up until he was around a year old. I have been with my husband since he was 19 months old. Iwas really worried about how my husband felt about telling my son about it, but I didn't want him to get too old and be upset about us keeping it from him. ANYWAYS!
We told him last yearand what we did was, we took him out to dinner and a movie without his brother. We told him that he was special because his daddy chose to be his daddy. He actually took it really well. My ex gave up his rights and my husband adopted our son, so we've had no contact with his biological dad or his family, so I can't help you on that end of it.

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