How Do I Tell My 3 Year Old Her Daddy Isnt Hear Biological Father?

Updated on May 21, 2011
E.M. asks from Louisville, KY
9 answers

my 3 almost 4 year old has been calling my boyfriend since she could talk b/c thats about when we met. Well her dad hasn't been in her life and hes trying to pay child support and get back in... any way thats another story. I was adopted and my mother said she told me from the day I came home from the hospital that I was adopted... and when I was older and asked what that meant I guess she explained it better... any way like i said shes almost 4 and I don't want something to happen where one day she finds out that my hunny is not her biological father. I don't want her to hate or resent me... even tho her father really has no desire to see her even tho he says he does... (hes been saying it for about 4 years now) so how do i go about this telling her that her daddy was not the one that helped her be conceived? when she gets older i have no problem with her having a relationship with her biological father but right now it would only confuse her because he will never do what he says he will (come see her)... help!!!
also hunny and i are not married and he has not officially adopted her... or should i say legaly
(my friends parents adopted a little boy and im not sure if they ever told him he was adopted they said they wanted to wait until he was old enough to understand)

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answers from Indianapolis on


This sounds just like me and my 3 year old daughter. I will get back to you soon! You can email me at [email protected]! I just went through the her real dad coming from out of state to see her! I wish I had a hole lot of time right now! Shoot me an email and I will tell you in detail my story and how we deal with it!

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answers from Indianapolis on

I'd wait until she was old enough to understand. IF her bio father does come to see her, introduce him as a friend. then as a relationship grows, when she is older, explain. good luck!



answers from New York on

i'm going through the same thing and my daughter will be 4 in aug. she knows my boyfriend i been with for 14months as dad, because her biological dad lives right down the street and didnt want anything to do with her and i believe still doesnt,until my daughter started callin my man dad...... my babydad got mad and wanted to start being in her life..... and he stopped paying child support..... so im in the same boat girl.... guys are weirdos sometimes and they arent never ready to grow up.... and u cant wait for imaturity to grow and get wise then u wont get no where..... u seem like u have been very mature about the situation with not having a problem with him being in her life, and thats how i feel about my babydad being in my daughters life, but i basiclly fought for him to be in her ife and he still wanted to be a dead beat so i got sick of fighting with him to be in her life, its not my job to beg for her to have a better life but to make sure and know that i can make the best life for her by me being in her life the most and going throw daily task with her.... and at the end of the day your kid is going to know that you was always there and not daddy so she wont resisnt you she will thank you for never giving up on her! And she will thank your hunny too for being more of a man then her own father is. when she askes you things as she gets older just tell her the truth, and always say u tryed and wanted to be a family but its not what he wanted and in order to make a good life for her you had to remove her and yourself out of the situation before it got worst, and let her know you never wanted him not to be there for her, he chose not to be there, nd let her know its not her fault, people just donrt know when to grow up.... she will honor you and appreciate you like she has her whole life. you should be fine! keep in touch girl.... P.S. I WAS TEARING UP WRITING YOU THIS.... I didnt think there was more people out here with my same exact situation.... i dont feel alone anymore.... so thank u



answers from Louisville on

Do you have a pic of biological dad? My 4 Year old was adopted by us last year and he was 18 months old when he came to live with us. We are his parents, but we have never let it be a secret that he is adopted. However, at this age I dont think he really cares or can even understand. I feel that as long as we are open about it from the get go and discuss it while he does not understand when he begins to get curious about it he will ask questions.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I'm not personally in your shoes or have experienced anything like this, but I have a friend that has. When she was 15 she found out that the man she has called dad her whole life really isnt her biological father. She got really upset and then started to hate the man she knew as her father. To this day she still hates him. I think that it is good that you wait till she is 4-5 she might be able to understand, but dont wait too long. Good Luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

I think that's a very personal choice for you but I'm glad to tell you my personal family story to see if it may help in any way.

I was about 14 when my dad met my stepmother, who had an 18month old son. His bio. father had not seen him since he was 9 months old. Sort of the same as you, wouldn't pay support, kept saying he was/wanted to be involved but never showing up, etc. Of course her son started calling my dad "dad", which was okay with me and his other older children because he was just a little kid and didn't know any better. We have always considered him our little brother, whether he's a brother by blood or not.

One day when he was about 5, I had taken him to the park to play, and on the way back over to our house he had said something to me about his "logical" father not being around because he drank too much beer. I said something to my stepmom about it, not knowing if she had told him that or one of her crazy brothers or sisters took it upon themselves to do that, but she said no, it was her, she wanted to make sure he understood that even though my father isn't his biological father, it doesn't make him any less of a dad. His real dad isn't healthy enough to take care of him, and its because he drinks too much. She told him the truth.

Bear in mind that at the time he was 5, his bio. father had yet to ever come see him. Once my little brother turned 6, my dad adopted him legally. His biological father fought about relinquishing his rights in order for the adoption to take place, but all it took was my stepmom telling him he was going to do it or she was going to come after the $8K worth of back support he owed her. She even got him to pay the court fees for the adoption to take place.And my little brother at 6 years old went in front of the judge and when asked if he wanted my dad to adopt him, he said with a huge grin "Yep". They kept him very involved with it.

My little brother is 12 now, almost 13 (there are 4 of us kids, 12 year gap between the he and the youngest of the other three, me:). His biological father has never bothered to make contact with him and we figure it doesn't really matter. My dad will always be his dad. And he will always be our little brother.

I think you can explain it to her, maybe in another year or two, and part of me really thinks the earlier you explain it the easier it is for the child to accept. And then when she gets another year or two older, explain some more. My brother has never really questioned my stepmom about his real father as far as I know. Just not something he really cares about, he has a dad. A great one :)

Like I said, do what you think is best, but know that their capacity to understand and accept is better than what we all generally give them credit for. And good luck with your situation!



answers from Indianapolis on

my kids are 4 1/2 & 5 1/2 not 3 but last year when I started seriously dating the man I'm now married to then I told the kids that Tony (my husband) is their daddy in his heart while John (the bio father) is their other dad or second dad (I know thats backwards but John hasn't been around in their life at all til just the past few months).



answers from Indianapolis on

My dad is not my biological father and I've never known my bio dad. When I was old enough to put some of the details together, my mom answered my questions straight forward, but I wouldn't burden your daughter with it now. My mother did not want anything to do with my bio dad, so she just didn't want me to know his name. But, the rest of the details came out eventually.

My suggestion would be to get settled yourself. If you and your honey are serious, make the commitment and get married. If not, then just remind her that he's your boyfriend. Especially if her real dad does not want to be in her life, it's only going to confuse and disappoint her now. Kids will ask the questions when they are ready.

In my opinion, kids are too often burdened with this kind of information when it's really more important that they have some stability....a mom and a dad. Whether that's your boyfriend or not...that's more important that the details of her conception. Remember, you're the adult. She's just a child. Don't make her deal with something that is really your situation, not hers.



answers from Terre Haute on

Hello E., I believe that YOU will know the best time to tell your baby girl when & who her biological father is and who isn't. As strange as it may seem, most of us moms are single and have to deal with the issues of telling our children the truth. Establishing "hunny" as "mommy's boyfriend" to give the child a chance to identify who your guy is, is probrably the best way to let your 3yr old know (subtly) that he isn't daddy but boyfriend. Just go with the flow and eventually your 3 yr old will know that Mommy's Boyfriend really is not daddy. But then a father isn't defined by biological or genetic; it is defined by quality, discipline, love, and teaching. That is what makes a dad...a dad. Good luck.