16 answers

My Brother Just Found Out He Has a 6-Year Old - How to Tell My Daughter???

My brother, who has no children and is not married, just found out that he has a 6-year old, confirmed by paternity test at the courthouse. We will soon be meeting our new nephew and are very excited as we are a close family. My question is this: how do we explain to our 5-year old that she has a "new" cousin?? I'm not sure how to bring the issue up to my daughter without totally confusing her and without getting into too many adult details. She's going to wonder where this little boy has been this whole time not to mention, she's never looked at my brother like he was a "dad" - just an uncle. There is a huge learning curve for all involved (especially my brother!) and I'd like to help facilitate things in every way. Have any of you moms ever been through something similiar?? Advice please?!?! THANKS!!

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You are reading too much into this. Just tell her that Uncle has a little boy and we finally get to meet him.

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I feel that you are putting more into it then the kids will. Just say that he is a cousin that she has not met. And that he is uncle ----- child.

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Children are smarter than most people give them credit for. Simply tell her that he is her cousin and that he has not been there for certain reasons. If she questions you, then simply tell her that it is not something she needs to be concerned with. How about I had to explain to my daughter was was 3 at the time that she had a sister 13 months younger than her that had lived only 5 miles from her for 3 years. For 3 years, her father was her father only in her eyes. I introduced her to her sister. Told her that her sister is from her father and that was that. There was never any questions. I can assure you, your daughter is not going to wig out. Just tell her that it's her cousin and don't act like it's a big deal. If the adults wig out about it, the kids will pick up on the vibe and they will too. If the adults act like he's been part of the family for the past 6 years, then your daughter and new nephew will too.

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Hi AB,

I think of everyone involved, she is probably the one you don't have to worry about. She will most likely think its way cool to have a kid her age to play with. If she asks a question, just answer as truthfully as you can. They are full of questions, but they are also blessed with the ability to just adapt, especially when it comes to having fun time. You and your brother need to meet up at a park or the childrens museum, so that they can just bond and do what kids do, have fun together. It's a wonderful thing that your brother is getting a chance to be in his sons life at this age, much better to know now than to learn this when he was all grown up. Enjoy!!!!

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You're over thinking the process......she's 5 and her world is simple - as should the introduction be.

"This is your new cousin Billy. He's about your age - 6. Why don't you go outside and show him around. I'll call you guys in a little bit when the hot dogs are ready."

Trust me - they will have their own conversation about it while swinging one day and the explanation of who he is, etc will be explained in his words.

1 mom found this helpful

Well how about just telling her that her uncle is a daddy and you are all going to meet his son soon. Of course when she asks about where the boy has been maybe you could just keep it super simple like maybe explaining that all kinds of people are mommies and daddies. A lot of the time mommies and daddies are married and live together but sometimes they don't. (Child's name) mommy and daddy don't live together and he has been living with his mommy until now. Now he will come and visit his daddy and we will get to meet him and you will have a very special cousin to play with. If she asks why not all mommies and daddies live together I would just be truthful and say you don't know, grown ups don't always tell why they do things and it is not polite to ask them. I think if you keep it super simple and focus on the joy of meeting the new family member it can go really well. Best wishes and congratulations on finding out about your nephew, it may take some adjustment but children always bring joy in any situation. Take care:)

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Like the others have said keep it simple & honest, answer only what & when asked. If she asks about the Mom or where has he been now or later down the road, then just say your Uncle and the Mom were together years ago. Leave it at that. She will be happy to have a cousin. As they get to know each other, her cousin may explain the best.

1 mom found this helpful

You are reading too much into this. Just tell her that Uncle has a little boy and we finally get to meet him.

1 mom found this helpful

I feel that you are putting more into it then the kids will. Just say that he is a cousin that she has not met. And that he is uncle ----- child.

1 mom found this helpful

Just be honest. Just sit down w/her & say something like "you know uncle we thought has no children, well we've found out just recently, he does now have a son & he is your cousin." Then tell her his name. If you believe in God, just say that God has blessed him w/a son, God decided that he is chosen to have a son. If you don't then I'm sure you'll think of the right thing to explain but I would just be honest. Kids are more receptive than you might think. I know that the truth is always best & you can fill in the adult parts later if that time ever comes but for now, just explain that simply, she has a new cousin that you all didn't know. Good luck!

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a girl 9 asked me how come her oldest brother had a different dad then her and her younger sister. i wasnt sure what to say. she dosent know anything about sex and thinks if your married then you get kids that way. i told her that her mom and brothers dad were engaged and that seemed to pacifi her for now! truthfuly they werent ever married. you could tell the five yr old something like..your suppose to be married when you have kids but sometimes people have babies when they arent, God wants you to wait till your married but forgives us. something along those lines."we are all very excited about our little cousin"! this girl didnt ask till she was nine the younger sister could care less. i wouldnt bring it up unless she did..or tell her when she is older. friends have gotten a knock at the door and a supprise its a 5 yr old girl! total shock...please embrase this boy with all his flaws and love him, he might have had a hard life.

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Congratulations on your newly discovered nephew!
You don't have to explain a lot to a 5 year old. Just introduce them matter of factly, and answer any questions you get at her level. If you handle things calmly, she will too. Focus on how nice it is for her to have a new cousin to play with.

1 mom found this helpful

The best way to deal with children is to be honest. Tell her her cousin has been living with her mommy and her uncle just found out. Now her cousin will have a mommy and a daddy, and she now has a cousin right about her age she gets to play with. Isn't that great? When the why's happen, just tell her what you're comfortable with in language that you use around your house. Concentrate on the new playmate for her, and the uncomfortable why's will probably be put off until she's old enough to understand. You never know, her cousin may just tell her while they are playing.

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Most children (esp. at that age) will accept what you say without being confused. My son has never once asked why he has a half-sister that doesn't live with us. he just accepts it. Likewise, my 5 almost 6 year old niece has never asked why she has a half-cousin that's only around every other weekend. This same niece has cousins on the other side with step-siblings, and has never asked a lot of questions (beyond, "Why doesn't ____ live here all the time?" to which we've responded truthfully and no further questions asked.).

Our children are very intelligent thinkers and questioners, but with things like this seem to just accept when we tell them what's up. I think you could just say, "Uncle has a son and he's your cousin!" I would never advocate lying to a child, but you don't have to give all of the information (adult information). Just simply say you have a new cousin and go from there. The waters are much murkier for the adults involved than for your little girl, I promise!!! Though you are smart to wonder what the impact will be, I really think you won't have much issue at all if you simply tell her that she has a new cousin.

Hi A B
What a surprise! I think the simplest way to approach this is to let her ask her questions- then simply tell her what she wants to know- I would explain to her that the reason he has not been around the family is because Uncle ...did not know "where he lived at the time" but now he has found him and he will be a part of your family. I would imagine that this little boy will have questions and a larger period of emotional adjustment than anyone else. You did not mention if your brother will have custody or just timely visits- just explain to her that he will live with his mother and will just be visiting from time to time- don't offer any other details aat this time- just let them adjust to each other and become friends. These things have a way of working their way out without too much discussion especially with children-
good luck and blessings

I have a very good friend that the exact same thing happened with her brother.

They had children and just told them , "Guess what, Uncle John just found out he has a daughter!."
We are going to meet her for dinner. Her name is...

When the kids asked about their cousins mom, she just told them the truth. "She was a girlfriend a long time ago." The mom lives here in town and works as a lawyer.

That is all her kids wanted to know. They love their cousin and see her more than her father/ their uncle, since the girl lives here in town and the dad/uncle lives out of state.

I have been through this with my younger brother. He found out that he had a daughter who was about 5 months at the time. We had to explain to the other children in our family and we just talked to them about how some kids in their class live with only their mom or only their dad. Some kids live with their grandparents, etc. and that this baby had been living with the mommy only but now we are lucky enough to have a new family member. We really didn't have to explain the adult relationship between my brother and the baby's mom. They were quite accepting of that answer and were very excited to meet the new baby. I have been really shocked at how many families these days are not the traditional mom, dad, 2kids. Our children have a different concept of family just due to their surrounds. I hope all goes smoothly. There is just nothing like family. Congrats on the news of a new nephew!!

Dont over think it! 5yo's can understand much more than people give them credit for AND require less information than you think. I have a 5yo daughter who's father I have never married, she has 3 1/2 siblings but only lives with one and has 2 complete sets of parents. I have found when dealing with the family questions answer JUST the question, 99% of the time they dont need the story just the short answer. I would start out. You have a new cousin ........ He is uncle ...... son. If she does ask where he has been just say "he was with his mommy. Now we get to play with him and spend time with him too." This will most likely pacify her interest for now. Keep it simple and dont over complicate it. As time goes on and she asks 1 or 2 q's here and there she will get it (and it will be at her pace).

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