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Answering Those "Daddy" Questions?

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We know that many of you at momlogic are single moms. So, we'd love to know: how do you handle the inevitable "daddy" questions that your kids will raise?

mother having conversation with son

Single Mom Seeking: If you're dealing with this, Dr. Leah Klungness, psychologist and author of "The Complete Single Mother," offers some tips:

Make sure you're ready to discuss the "dad topic" with your kids. If you're anxious or upset talking about their dad, kids will sense your discomfort. After all, kids take their cues from their parents on any subject.

Remember that having a single mother is normal -- whatever that means! There are more kids today living in single-parent and blended families than there are those who spend their entire upbringing in their biological parents' home. Your kids need to know this fact. Encourage your kids to understand early on that they fit in just as well as anybody else -- whatever their family background.

Don't change the subject -- or try to avoid listening to your kids. It's most important to allow your kids to express their thoughts and feelings freely. Kids get discouraged from expressing their feelings if we jump in too quickly with too much information or empty words of reassurance. Don't give more information than necessary. Try to listen more and talk less.

Keep your discussion age-appropriate. Don't forget that your explanations need first and foremost to be appropriate to your kids' developmental level. For example, a 4-year-old does not understand what commitment, trust, or intimacy means. The explanation that "Your father and I did not feel happy living together," rather than details about how Dad was never able to make a commitment to you, is more meaningful and comforting to a preschooler.

If you're a single mom, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. Thanks.

next: Elton John To Adopt?
9 comments so far | Post a comment now
A- September 14, 2009, 11:18 AM

my son never asked me when he was small, but when kids asked him at daycare he told them his dad was dead.. I didn’t know that until the teacher brought it up to me. I never disputed that fact and although it may be wrong, it may be just as well as his “father” was an abuser and hasn’t seen my son since he was 3 months old when I got the strength to get away from him and the beatings. my son although, has that monster’s last name even though I have never seen a penny of child support. my son has asked about his last name, I told him it was a mistake that he got that name and after years of people telling me it was too difficult to have a name change it took working for a law firm after my son started school to realize how easy it is, but now my son is at an age where he is used to his name and doesn’t want to change it because that’s who everyone knows him as.. hopefully that will change when I get Married that will change.

singlemomsong September 14, 2009, 12:17 PM

I need lots of help with this one Dr. Leah!
Do you have any suggestions for a situation in which the father was never present? The ‘we weren’t happy living together’ could create more issues since it isn’t exactly true.

Kate September 14, 2009, 2:23 PM

I simply explained to my son for the last 6 years that his dad is not able to be with us. That he is sick and has to get better before he can ever come around.

My sons father was also very violent and has spent the entire 6 years of my sons life in and out of prison.

I found that telling him the truth was the best approach, I did not tell him as I would an adult but my son has always known his father is not the role model he needs!

Single Mom Seeking September 14, 2009, 5:03 PM

It’s great to hear from you Singlemomsong!

Here’s what Dr. Leah says:

If You Don’t Know the Father’s Identity….When your child begins to ask about his father, tell him what you know about his “dad.” But add, too, that you and this person did not love each other the way grown-ups who parent together should. It’s okay to say that you didn’t know him very well. Assure your son that your meeting was special because your son was the result of this event, but point out that his dad was not destined to have a larger role in either of your lives.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous September 29, 2009, 3:56 AM

Again, this is why children need both mother and father in thier lives. We (women) kid ourselves when we think kids don’t need a father.

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