Help for Neice with No Dad

Updated on July 02, 2009
E.S. asks from Waterloo, WI
4 answers

Hello Moms,

My 3 year old neice doesn't have a dad. He is not a nice man, to say the least and is not listed on her birth certificate. He has had no involvement with her life. My sister is not the best mom on earth, but she is far from the worst. She also has the support of my parents who love my neice very much and help see to her care. I was wondering if anyone had any experiences to share or books they have read about this subject. I am looking for things we need to be talking about with her and how to answer her questions. My daughter thinks that Grandpa is her cousin's dad and I don't really know how to address that either.

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So What Happened?

I don't plan on doing anything without talking to my sister, but my parents and I both want to be prepared to help her and my neice as much as possible.

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

If you are the one that is going to try to "talk to her" don't do it. That is the responsibility of the mom not you. My daughter is 2 and her father saw her only once at 3 months. I constantly worry about what I will say to her when she starts to ask about her dad but that is my right and responsibility and no others. Even if you think your sister is not a perfect mom please trust her enough to deal with this sensitive issue. I am sure that she loves her daughter alot and wants what is best for her and is also worried about how to respond so if you want to do anything talk to the mom first.



answers from Rapid City on

I wouldn't talk to the neice either but to your own daughter when she is questioning about grandpa being dad you can talk with her on that. Explain to her that sometimes families consist of mommy, daddy, brothers and sisters and sometimes it consists of mommy and one child. Sometimes it consists of daddy and child but all families are unique and that is ok. Explain to her that Grandma and Grandpa help out with her cousin because she doesn't have a daddy to help out like her daddy does. My niece and nephew pretty much lived with my parents and my own kids thought they were so lucky. I pointed out to them that they were the lucky ones. Grandparents are special and fun unless they have to parent like they do with my niece and nephew. I point out that they don't get the special times GOING to grandma's to spend the night. It is confusing to young children on who is who. My granddaughter comes over a lot and I do watch her when her mother works. It never fails that when my great neices comes over they ask where Emma is or they call here asking to speak to Emma. It surprises them when I tell them that she is at her house. Most of that is because they haven't been to her house, always played with her here and since they live in a small apartment, we have Emma's birthday parties here.



answers from Appleton on

My daughter, 22, grew up without a dad. He died while I was pregnant with her. I never made an issue of it and we rarely talked about it. You can't miss what you don't know. The only time I really wished he could have been there is on her wedding day. My oldest son took over the duties of father of the bride and walked her down the aisle and danced the father daughter dance with her. I flubbed that one and cried during the father daughter dance, because he would have been so proud of her.
The funny thing is my older daughter, 34, has a little girl, 7, who has an absent father. She has asked why she doesn't have a dad and we told her that sometimes kids don't have a daddy. Her uncles have stepped up and taken time to play with her and spend time with her.
The best thing you can do is let your neice know she is loved and beautiful and if a father daughter event comes up, hopefully her grandpa or an uncle can take her to the event. If the man doesn't care about her I really feel it is better if she never sees him. It is better for her to be surrounded by people who love her and treat her well.



answers from Minneapolis on

My sister has two kids, from two dads and they are not involved with either child. My husband and I do a lot of things with them and we talk about how families are all different. My dad also lives with them, so there's that added element as well. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a child too so that is another layer of how people become families and that we all get a family on a different path. There is no right or wrong way of being a family.

There are books out there that talk about different families and I recommend you get a few to read to the niece. The other thing is not to have a negative opinion of her father. She'll pick up on that.

Good luck!

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