*Bio Dad's Family Wants to Take a Family Picture*

Updated on April 30, 2012
J.S. asks from Riverside, CA
31 answers

I received a phone call today asking me to bring my daughter to the park to take a family picture. Its would be a family picture of all the grandkids from her bio dads family mom for mothers day. It sounds nice but When my daughter was 2 she is now 5. They asked me to do the same thing..I took my daughter and she screamed and cried the whole time. My daughter has been raised by me and sees bio dad once ever three months his choice and doesn't see the other family even though they are welcome to come and see my daughter they just ask to see her on holidays if that. I asked my daughter if she would like to go and see everyone and take some pictures and she says no. And that she doesn't want to take a picture. I am happy they want to include her but I don't want to upset my daughter. Bio dad called me today saying that he would love to also take a family picture meaning me and him and my daughter as a family picture. He said for my daughter to have later on in life. I don't no what to say considering that him and I are not together..never lived together and he has a girl that he has been living with since he found out I was pregnant. I no it seems harmless but it just doesn't seem right. If you were in my shoes what would you do? My daughter's happiness is my number one priority.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you so much for the advice:) The reason my daughter is scaryed of bio dad is because he didn't come around much when she was a baby or toddler or preschooler he said to me at that time.. that it wan'ts important and she won't remember him coming around. I think differently about that but I let it be. Now that she is in kindergaten my daughter is having a hard time with him wanting to be in her life and when he does come she her it see's her for maybe 2 hours and leaves because he says he is tired..any who..about the picture I told bio dad that he is more than welcome to come pick my daughter up to take the picture. The picture is to take place today Sun at 10 am. And so far no sign of him. I really would be surprised if he did come because he has never took my daughter any where..About the relationship with the grand parents my daughter knows them as her grandma and grandpa and loves them, I take her over when they ask..but her bio dads lives right next door to his parents when I call and tell him a head of time that I am taking my daughter over he never comes even though its only next door...I would love my daughter to have a relationship with him but If he doesn't want to make the effort I can't make him..

More Answers


answers from Redding on

Fostering a relationship with her Dad's side of the family is important.
She's really too young for you to be giving her the choice. You should be more positive and say something like "You are going to take pictures with Daddy's family, lets go buy you a new dress."
It's hard I know. But those pictures will be priceless to her later.
*I dont think it's necessary for you to take a photo with him tho unless you actually wanted to.
*By and large it is HER family and not yours. She could very well resent not having those pictures when she grows up. She might think it was selfish of you. She's too young to make rational decisions about it right now.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It's bio dad's family. They want to include her. Geez... The next complaint will be they are not including her....

At 5 she is not old enough to make this decision. Go with the flow, encourage a relationship with bio dad's family.

Your daughter certainly did not ask to be in the position. Do what's right for your daughter.... Forget your feelings for now.

She may treasure these pics later in life.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

Hi J.-

When my divorce was final...I hired a photographer...and had a STUNNING picture taken of all the kiddos...and framed them for each of my ex's family members.

I never got a thank you.

Now...years later...as my oldest will be deploying this fall for Afghanistan...

When eldest son is on leave here this summer...I will have a similar picture taken...and send it along (perhaps not framed this go...lol) for this christmas...

I think (even when others do not respect or embrace) FAMILY IS important.

Just my opinion.

Best Luck!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

He gets to have family pictures even if it upsets your daughter. You should not ever ask her if she wants to do it, she will always say no. She loves you and by wanting to have a pic with dad's family she feels she is betraying you. You let her go and then dad handles the news that she is going to be in pictures. You don't get to say yes or no. It's his family.

As for the other one, there is no way that is appropriate. I would say you could do a set with 3 frames and have one of each of you. I would use 3 different types of frames too. That way there is no implied unity.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Giving her the choice at age 5 is putting pressure on her to "please" you. Decide for her. You are not making her "happy" by having her make adult decisions.

I have a stepdaughter (parents divorced when she was 1) who didn't have a family picture taken until she was a teenager. It's the first and only picture she has with her dad, mom, and brother. It's a casual photo snapped in a coffee shop. She treasures it.

We also have a professional photo of five kids - my SD and her brother, her mom's two daughters from her second marriage, and her dad's daughter from his marriage with me. That is also one that they all cherish.

Neither of these photos is showing reality, in that these groups of people don't live together as a family. But relationships do exist, in all forms.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

In the long run when she is older, she might appreciate such a picture. when I was younger and my mom forbade me to see my biological father, I went along with it, then when older, I began to wonder more about him. Today, I sure wish I had some family photos of him..... As you grow up, even though a kid might not have a close connection to a parent, as they get older, that can change... I say have her take the picture.. she needn't hang out with everyone, but you never know... she may have fun playing with the other kids if given the chance..

I also think that they are making it a point to include her.. I would emphasis that to her .. now, it may not be as much as you might like, but it is something.. you might be able to build on this.. plus, she is now five and just might be able to enjoy her time with the others, including her dad.. there is a big difference between ages 3 and 5 and how they handle things..

good luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I have a slightly different spin...my parents were split before I was born. Dad remarried when I was just under 11 months old. I did not have any pics of me and my parents together until my high school graduation and then later my wedding. I feel that regardless of the parents relationship or lack thereof, the child is entitled to an occasional picture of their core family. What I would suggest is a picture of you and her, him and her (with or without his girlfriend...maybe one of each), and one of both parents and her. Put in a three way frame (or mount on the wall of her bedroom wall beside each other).

As for the picture for grandma, I would have said "Suzie, we're going to the park to have your picture taken w/ your cousins for your grandmother for mother's day." If she bulked, I would have assured her that I understood how she feels about not really knowing them but sometimes we have to just do the right thing for someone else....it's a picture, you weren't dropping her off and leaving right?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you should encourage her to go to the park and get the picture taken. I know she doesn't want to, but see what you can do about getting her to go and being pretty in the picture. I like the idea of getting her a new dress.

My cousin never wanted to be in the family photos. We used to take large family photos and she'd be pouting in all the pictures because she didn't want to be in them. Now it's just funny to look back and see everyone smiling and her pouty face. It's priceless! Even she looks back and laughs!

As for a photo of you, your ex and her--I think that's weird unless it's a special occasion like a religious ceremony, a birthday etc. For example, a wedding photo might include the married couple and the mom and dad.

You are both her parents, but it's weird to pose as if you were one family. I don't think she'd treasure that when she got older.

Good luck! Blended families are so difficult...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

if he wants a family pic for your daughter in the future, then HE can take her and get a pic of the two of them together. If you aren't together now, a picture of you together isn't going to mean anything more than a single picture will.

As for the full family pic. I would take her to the park. Tell the family that it will be up to her if she participates or not. Then just let it be. If she decides to do the pic, okay. If she decides not to, then have a nice day at the park. Either way, no pressure.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Biased, here.

I take photographs. Just for myself. I have hundreds of my son and his father (I have 10's of thousands of photos). By and large, they create a 'fake' history. Why? Because his dad was nearly never around. He'd go weeks without seeing him, and then see him for a few hours, and go weeks again. Then there were the temper swings, and all the awful times. But if one doesn't look at the rest of the photos ... these photos SEEM to show a close and loving relationship. A few hundred photos, vs the 30,000 or so I have of my son WITHOUT his father. Picture at a ball game with dad... 75 ball games WITHOUT dad. Picture of dad at one of kiddo's plays. 11 plays (dozens of performances) WITHOUT dad. The list goes on.

I HATE this fake history. It's not real. Or... at the very least... it's just out of context. It just feels wrong.

I have no idea if when my son is grown he'll be ticked at the fakeness of these photos in and of themselves, or be glad to have them.

In 10 years I might be able to give you an answer.

Now? All I have is my weird feeling about it. It just doesn't feel right.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I agree with Grandma T :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Ditto Grandma T, too! ;-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think it will be nice if she is a part of the family picture. She might not be in regular touch with them , but they are still her family. Do take her to the park and let her decide if she wants to participate or not while she is there. If she starts crying or refusing to take the picture, then well, what can anyone do. The family will realize their mistake (hopefully) and try to meet her more often. I think spending time with them is more important for her right now than a single family picture.
As for a family pic of three of you, it doesn't make sense to M.. You are not together , never been together , so that single picture is gonna mean nothing at all. Maybe you can get individual pics of each of you and put in a nice three photos - photo frame. Or both of you take pics with your daughter seperately with her in the same dress and put them in a nice two photos - photo frame.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have never been in that type of situation so I may not be the best person to ask, but I would try to convince your daughter to go. I would also try to take at least one nice "family" photo of you, him and your daughter. I think that later in life your daughter will really appreciate having these pictures.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I also agree that she should be part of the family picture. She may feel nervous b/c she doesn't know them that well, but talk it up, and I too like the idea of a new dress. ;) Depending upon how much time is between now and the picture maybe you could urge Dad to pick her up and have a play date with the cousins and/or Grandma so she'll feel more comfortable on picture day. It really will only take a few minutes for a five year old to jump in and make friends, as long as the other kids are close to her age.

As far as a family picture, I think it's kinda weird to have all of you in it. I would say to her dad that the two of them can take a picture together since the photographer will be there for his family. I'm sure you have lots of snapshots of you and her, so this will be special to her.

It's a difficult situation and I understand you don't ever want to put her in a position where she feels scared or uncomfortable, but in this situation, I think you gotta do it! Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Why in the world would you put that type of decision in a 5 year old's hands? I think that was uncalled for. I hope you're not already expressing your displeasure to her & making her feel uncomfortable or putting words in her mouth. Parents do that more than they realize. Don't project your feelings onto your child, please.

I think you should do the pictures, yes, both of them. She is 5, what 5 year old girl doesn't want to get dolled up & play model?

If you want these people to be part of your kid's life, the relationship takes two - meaning, you say they don't contact you regularly, but do you contact them to see your daughter? It's our job as parents to keep relationships going on our child's behalf.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Here is what I would do. I would say no on the photo op. I have a 4.5 year old and she would freak out if I asked her to pose for a family pictures with a bunch of strangers.
Then I would offer that the family can see her more frequently. Maybe go over there once a month for an afternoon, meet at the park with her cousins and things like that. My parents where divorced and they did NOT co-parent in an amicable way - let me tell you: it is important to know your paternal side of the family! I feel I was cheated out of that and once I got what was going on I was very angry with my mom for many years.
But I agree with you on not making her uncomfortable for a photo op every few years, contact needs to be regular and ongoing.

As for the pic with dad I say go for it. Whatever your relationship with him was or is, you BOTH are your daughter's family! She will appreciate having family photos with BOTH of you when she is all grown up.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

What are the ages of the cousins? If there is one close to her age? Maybe you could take your daughter to see them prior to the pictures being taken (you said they are welcome to see her, but maybe you need to take the first step) so she is more comfortable around the other kids. Have you asked your daughter why she doesn't want to go?? or maybe have her dad ask her if she wants to go??. Although you seem very neutral (and slightly positive), do you think your daughter is picking up other vibes from you. Now, the picture of you, bio dad and child ---since he is in her life, I would have the picture done. Don't make a big deal about --just consider it a group photo with her in the center. That way she has a picture at age 5 with both of her parents. It may not mean much to her now but it may later. I was recently at a wedding and the bride burst into happy tears when they took a picture of her with her long divorced parents. She said she had always wanted that as a child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I would encourage her to take pictures with her dad’s side of the family. No parent is perfect so try not to be too hard on him, he may get better at being a dad as he gets older. She should also get to know them even if it is only on the holidays.

I can also understand why he would want a picture with the two of you and your daughter. My parents divorced when I was about one and the only time I saw my parents together was for my 8th grade graduation, they left my step parents at home. My father passed away 24 years ago so I will never get that chance again. Looking at your daughter’s situation she might be very thankful as she gets older to have that picture.

I have also kept pictures of my husband and his ex-wife for his children. I asked him to not throw them away because that is a part of his life and I know his daughter would want them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I would bring her to the extended family picture and strongly encourage her to be in it (but back off if she has a total meltdown). Although it is more wear and tear on you and your daughter doing it this way allows bio dad to see why you don't love the idea if she freaks out in front of him. If you can get her to do it she may be glad to have the picture later. I can see why a fictional family picture would be uncomfortable but it would be nice for her to have some pictures with bio dad (even if he is a very part time father).

I did adoption counseling for a while and it really is important for kids to have pictures and history of bio family even if there is little or no relationship with them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Go with her to the portrait sitting. I think that this is her family and whether they see her often or not, they are her family. This should not be a negative but very postive thing. How might she feel if later in life if she saw all of the family protraits and was disappointed to not see herself in them. This is a good thing for her and later in life she can make the decision to avoid or embrace her family but for now, maybe just being involved with her when she has interaction will be a nice buffer or comfort for her.

As for the photo of the 3 of you. Of course!! She is a product of the two of you whether it be from the past or present. She can be very proud of the two of you and it sounds like your ex is a very endearing father. Be grateful and try not to over analyze or make sense of things that just are innocent and nice. You both are her parents and it sounds like you have a nice relationship. Good for you :)


I did not meant "endearing" in a sense of his fathering, I meant in this instance with wanting her to have a photo of the 3 of you and his wanting to make sure she was involved in the family portrait. I wanted to clarify so you did not think I was being insensitive to the past and what you feel because of it.
I hope that things work out well for you and your daughter :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes to the extended family picture, no to the one of the three of you. That would just be weird and fake.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

If she's in their lives and they visit her and stuff (even if not often) then let her be in the picture.

As for family photo with you and her bio dad-that's totally up to you. If you don't want a photo of you guys together, don't take one. She'll have pictures with him, pictures with you, and you guys aren't together, so you don't really need an "official family shot". In other words, do it if you don't mind, but don't feel bad if you don't want to.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No, I would not. I would not force my daughter to take the picture, I would not take the picture with him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I'd say no, screw them, if they cant attempt to have a relationship with her why should you have to put her in an umcofortable position. Maybe if they tried having a relationship with her she would feel comfortable and want to take the picture. As for her dad screw him too same thing, why should he have a nice family picture if he cant even bother to be a father to her. Just my 2 cents

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I doubt that I could stomach having a picture done with him since he has a live-in gf, but a picture of him and his daughter is appropriate.

How about doing this, J.? Buy a cheap disposable camera and give it to your daughter when you get there. Tell her that she can take pictures when the photographer is not snapping pictures of her and the other people. Little kids like taking pictures, and it can help her mood and hopefully get her to smile for the pics. I did this for my son during a family portrait at the beach - we were fighting time with the sun going down and extended family and it was stressful for him. I had the camera in the car and pulled it out without having thought of it before, and it was an absolute lifesaver!

And the pictures were nice, btw~


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Your daughter will probably be more comfortable with you in the picture. Take the mommy, daddy, daughter photo first and then let her take the family photo. You can build up her confidence prior to the event. She should be doing better at five. And, she will likely appreciate a family photo years from now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I still let pictures be taken of me and my older kids and my ex. We divorced as friends so I always thought it was important to have these for the kids when they are older. Now that they ARE older they love them. They have photos of us as a family in their homes as well as us with our current husband and wives. I do not know how old your daughter is but she really should reconsider she may love having them when she is older. .


I still let pictures be taken of me and my older kids and my ex. We divorced as friends so I always thought it was important to have these for the kids when they are older. Now that they ARE older they love them. They have photos of us as a family in their homes as well as us with our current husband and wives. I do not know how old your daughter is but she really should reconsider she may love having them when she is older. .



answers from Chicago on

Honestly, if it were me- I'd tell her bio dad where he can shove a camera. But that's just me. Someone that doesn't take the time or energy to be a regular part of her life would not be allowed to have fake- oh look at how happy we are pictures done with me and certainly not with my child. I feel that way though because my daughter's bio dad would totally try to have that just so he can show a picture around and pretend that he's a good guy and a "dad". So I wouldn't allow her to be used like that. But that's my situation. You have to figure out what is best for your daugther and what you can live with. If you think, in the long run she would treasure a family picture or that taking her may foster a relationship between your daughter and that side or that it would do her good to see them or have that memory- then go for it- buy her a pretty dress, do her hair all cute, and take her for the picture. But if you think you'll regret taking her later or if the memory won't be good for her or it will be too emotional for her to see them or her bio dad then tell them not this time but thank you anyway and don't take her.
And I as a child who's parents weren't together- I never would have wanted a fake picture like that. I have pictures of my parents, my sister, and I together from before the divorce and I like those but that's when we were actually a family. It wasn't some faked moment of us pretending to still be a family together. I had a family after the divorce- one with my mom and siblings and one with my dad and my sister (I only have 1 full sibling).
I think the example used below might have been after a divorce where she remembered all of them together as a family and missed that. But to someone, I, for example, that never had or doesn't remember two parents being in the home as a family together I don't think a picture like that would evoke the same emotions.
Just my opinion! Good luck. I get how difficult this can be. It's a fine line between protecting your child and her emotional well being and the fear of feeling like your denying her part of her family. It's a crappy position to be in- trust me I know. Just do what you think is best for her.



answers from Cleveland on

um big FAT NO. they dont want to be a part of her life, she doesnt want to go then no reason to go



answers from Columbia on

It's not the girls or your choice. That's just part of the happy benefits of pro-creation - you can't control your exes. :)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions