C.G. asks from Atlanta, GA on August 06, 2009
How and When to Discuss New Family Members?
I have a bit of a strange situation and just looking for input. I have a 7 year old son. We live long distance from family so we only see them once a year on average. That means he is not real connected to them anyway. But I have recently found my 2 brothers. I knew they existed but nothing else. So no mention has been made with in the family because I never knew that I would ever find them. My step dad has always been referred to as my dad and grandpa to my son. So in reality I have a different biological father who has never been in the picture and never will be. But now I am talking to these new brothers. So how do I approach that with my son? And when would be the right time? Should I just say talking to a friend for now? I have not met them in person and it has only been about a month or so since connecting. And only one have I spoken to on the phone. I have not dealt with a situation like this before, so thought maybe someone out here has dealt with or heard about such a situation and can offer some insight, things to do or not do etc...
I may need to offer more information to get answers so if there is a key thing I am missing please just ask. I will update the question with it. thank you.
added info: I do not know how I feel about these brothers. I do not know them well enough to make a conclusion about them. I am a trusting person. We live in different states so a face to face meeting is far off. I will work to get to know them over the internet and phone. But in the meantime I wondered should I just be saying I am talking to a friend or writing a friend or should I say my brother? Because regardless of whether I have a close or distant relationship with them, they will still be my brothers. Heck I talk to my one brother more than my other siblings (even combined) whom I have known all thier lives. So that is where I was going. I would not have him get involved should I discover they are not good people. And to address the search for records etc.... I already did do that and it came up clean. I checked Federal and State levels, and agree with that advice :-).
1 mom found this helpful
A.D. answers from Atlanta on August 09, 2009
I too would tell the truth and use it as a good time to teach him that DNA doesn't spell mom or dad. Anyone can provide DNA but not everyone can be a mom or a dad which it seems is what your stepfather and his family have been to you.
J.M. answers from Atlanta on August 07, 2009
Hi. My son is 5 and I think he would be mature enough to know the absolute truth. I think it would be different if HIS father was not his biological father but since it is his grandfather I don't think it would effect him. I would be completely open and honest with him. It would be a good learning experience for him. Many families have situations like this, it is very normal.
J.S. answers from Atlanta on August 07, 2009
Family or not you do not know them. You do not know if they are safe or not. If it were me I would not have my children around them for a long time. You must get to know them enough to evaluate what type of people they are. There are reasons you do not talk to your father, you don't know what character traits they have recieved from him. If your brothers want to meet you, than thats fine you and your husband should. But not your kids yet. You brothers should understand that the siblings, you and your brothers, need a relationship first. Then the kids can build one later.
Google their names, go on the states website they live in and see if the have a state and federal prision list. I was in California and was learning about my step father in law. I called an 800 number for state and a different 800 number for federal to see if he were incarcerated at any time. They just needed his name and birthdate. Learn as much as you can first and decide later.
What I did with my son. He didn't understand our family. Some do not speak to eachother, some are remarried, my dad is cut off from me. I got legos. My biological parents were a red (dad) and blue (mom) legos squished together, i used two different shapes for different people. Then made me and my two sisters different shapes but blue red mix of legos. I showed him they divorced and my mom remarried. My step dad was yellow. They had my brother he was blue and yellow different shape though. He saw that me and my sisters all had blue as did my brother, but we were a little different. I took myself (red blue) and showed I married his father (my husband was two colors from his parents like green gray). When i showed we had him and his sister they were red blue and green grey mixes in two shapes. I did the same with my husbands side of the family. Ever since then he has understood. He doesn't understand divorce completely, I just explained they had problems and the only way to fix them was to be away from eachother. I did not blame anyone for it, just left it as problems. I did not want to villify anyone or place blame, he just needed to understand where everyone stood in the family including himself.
I hope this all made sense. I know my friend just drew and colored a family tree, but I have divorce and step parents to factor in. Mine would have ended up looking like a spider web !
I hope that helped!
D.T. answers from Atlanta on August 07, 2009
I believe being fully honest is the best. It would be more confusing to tell him they are just friends then suddenly tell him they are your brothers. My 6 yr. old daughter recently asked why her dad and uncle look so different. We told her it was because they had different biological dads and explained what that meant. Children are surprisingly able to deal with information as long as it is presented in a straight forward and honest way.
A.S. answers from Atlanta on August 07, 2009
This situation can be simply handled but the most important piece is...how do you feel about these new family members? I would wait until you have a handle on that before introducing your son. Are you concerned that your family will find out and not approve? What were the circumstances of this discovery? All of these questions really revolve around you not your son. Once you feel confident that this is a relationship you want to include your son in then simply introduce them to him. At his age an in depth description is not necessary and may even confuse him. In short, if you feel good about these "new family members" than he should too and remember "family" doesn't always have to be related. Good luck!