Prego and the Loon

The Absent Father

In Absent Father on August 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm


Sadly there comes a time in every single mamas moments that your little munchkin will arouse the question, “Where is my daddy?” or if your child is anything like my son he or she might say, “I don’t have a daddy!” Words that physically rip ones heart out and crushes like no other. If you’re like me a statement like this could take you by surprise. At the time my only response was, “…but you have a mommy who loves you very much!” Since then I have done a little bit of reading in hopes to be better prepared the next time I am confronted with such a statement.

In my research and discoveries I have come to the below conclusions. For any child that may present this predicament you need to remain strong and be prepared to respond with an age appropriate answer. Most importantly you want your child (or children) to know that they are loved. You want to provide them with a sense of security and reassurance. I firmly believe that the truth is the best answer, but remember that they are not always asking nor do they need to here the entire story. Again age appropriate! Inform your child how lucky they are to have various male role models in their life. In sum the three most important things to walk away with are to provide an open heart, a sense of security, and an honest story.

Looking for resources on the subject matter you may be interested in:
Raising Boys Without Men by Dr. Peggy Drexler
When Dad Hurts Mom by Lundy Bancroft

Please keep in mind there are also books available to read to your children:
Do I Have A Daddy? by Jeanne Warren Lindsay
Raising You Alone by Warren Hanson
Love Is A Family by Roma Downey

For a mama who is currently dealing with such questions I would love to hear thoughts and suggestions on the subject matter from my readers, and any further resources that may be helpful. Thank you for your love and support! Sincerely, Prego

  1. I knew the day would come, but being prepared still didn’t take away the feelings that came when the question was finally asked!! It’s not easy to answer it, but honesty was the way I went – and only answering what he asked. That was the big deal, only answering what was asked! And apparently explaining that it had nothing to do with my son and was a shortcoming of his father didn’t take, several years later I learned my son thought that if he was a better kid his dad would be around. I had to just keep reinforcing that it wasn’t his fault at all and that he is a wonderful kid.

    Good luck!

  2. I have no experience with your situation (and bravo to you for getting out!) but I’ve got to think that honesty (at an age appropriate level) has got to be the way to go. I also second Kate’s comment that you answer the questions he asks, no more. As he gets older and needs more answers, he will ask those questions and you can answer them then. This is how I deal with difficult topics with my kids. And definitely make sure he always knows it’s not his fault… as kids, we take responsibility for everything.

    Great post here from someone who held himself responsible:

  3. This very topic used to give me horrifying gut wrenching nightmares and make me feel like THE WORST mother on the planet. Glad I’m not alone.

    My daughter realized very early on that she didn’t have a dad, and the other kids she knew did. Whenever she asked me that question, I answered her as literally as possible (as you mentioned, as well as Kate) – and would say “there are lots of different kinds of families in the world. Some have only mommies, some have only daddies, some have only grandparents, etc.). That appeased her and she wouldn’t press the subject any further. Sometimes the “where’s my daddy” question would be accompanied by the “how did you get me” question and I would avoid it all together by saying “you’re not quite old enough to understand yet”. Not as satisfying but it would at least end the line of questioning.

    I always promised myself I would sit her down and have the “daddy talk” when she was 6. I picked that age because I felt like she would be old enough to grasp the basic concept of what I needed to tell her, and young enough to not walk embarrass herself by telling someone that some kids simply never had a father, then getting corrected by someone other than me.

    6 y/o came and went… every time I went to talk with her I chickened out. I had no idea how to tell her that her dad was a complete asshole and that try as I might I could not work out a civil visiting arrangement and he refused to follow through with the court/legal path. Finally this past December, he contacted me out of the blue and we started communicating. That was 7 months ago and we are still not quite at the point where I feel comfortable about them meeting, but this sudden change is what finally gave me the courage to just tell her.

    I sat her down with every picture I saved of him and said “You know how you’ve always thought that you just don’t have a Daddy? Well, you used to have one, when you were first born. His name is ******* and I was together with him when I was pregnant with you and until you were two months old. We were both very young and immature and used to have very bad fights and couldn’t figure out a way to get along so we stopped seeing each other. Because of other things going on in our lives, he didn’t see you either, but he never stopped thinking about you.” (Insert pictures, and her face like a deer in headlights).

    It took days… weeks.. for her to fully understand what I told her. I didn’t give her any other information that first time, and was ready and willing to answer ANY question she had about him in the time following. It was hard to be nice about it, but I refuse to let her feel any animosity and ill feelings coming from me about him – that’s something she needs to decide for herself. That was in January, and she will bring it up every once in a while and ask questions. We’re getting closer to having a Skype “meeting” with him, which is making me feel sick to my stomach… but c’est la vie.

    Good luck, and keep us updated. This is so, so hard 😦

  4. This is very helpful to those who need it and sadly many do these days.

  5. I don’t think it matters what kind of person you are – I’m sure it would take me by surprise, too.

  6. I consider myself lucky to have a husband who is a very loving father to my 2 daughters. As a matter of fact they are much closer to him than me as i work nights and during the daytime their at school. I salute you for being so strong and steadfast. Your son is very lucky. My only suggestion though is to pray for enlightenment so that you will be able to say it with the right words and enlightenment for your son as well so that he will be able to understand what you are trying to convey to him and slowly accept it. God bless you my friend. I will pray for you.

  7. I can totally relate with your story. Not that I’m already a mother but I grew up without a dad. Well actually, I grew up without my parents. But once a year, my mom would go home from abroad and everytime she’s with me, I would ask ” Mommy, where is Papa?”, ” Mommy, when will I see Papa?”, ” Mommy, why do we have different surnames?”, ‘ Mommy, will Papa come to my graduation?” and the hardest question of all, “Mommy, does Papa loves me?”

    I have a lot of questions. Actually, I did see my father twice. The first I saw him, I said to him, “No, you’re not my Papa. I saw my Papa’s picture and he doesn’t look like you.”

    I’m 21 now, but still, I want to feel the love of my father.

  8. My husband was raised by his mom. He did visit with Dad and later his mom remarried. His mom did a wonderful job of raising him. The result – a wonderful father who cooks and cleans. I owe his mother many thanks!

  9. This was touching…

  10. I adopted my son, he’s 10, and doesn’t fully get how families come together, he’s only ever asked about his birth mom, and I’ve told him as much as I know, and can tell him, I just leave out the bad stuff, he just seems comforted in knowing that he does have one, but he’s not attached to her or anything. Maybe your Lil fella just needs explaining.

  11. I knew I had a father. I always had questions as to what it would be like with him there as a real family. My mom always made sure that we were loved enough for the both of them, it didn’t solve anything but it was a great help. Sometimes you have to make do with what you can say. Sometimes Mom would say “Yes you have a Dad, but God made me lucky enough to have you all to myself just to make sure you always had love” the wording is shakey. But it made me happy. Neither of my parents are the best. But I respect and love my mother BEYOND belief because she always made sure that I was happy no matter what. Do what you think is right. Sometimes thats how the best parenting happens. I’m sure you will make a great decision either way. Good luck!

  12. Once upon a time… I was that boy. My father left, it was ugly, and my mother never knew to shelter her hate or despair or whatever other reason she had for berating him for his faults and shortcomings. There is more of course, but in the end as a teenager, when I knew I had heard her one time too many I left to live with him.

    Somewhere between the blue and the grey I found he had my eyes and for a reason I may never know I was the one person in the world who found him gentle. I also found my own truth along the way… and also I know, because he told me when I was older… he did have those faults.

    Be true, be fare, be aware he will find his way…but most of all be the better person.


  13. Im a single mom. and had that moments with my son, til finally told him that i will tell him the truth when the time he can fully understand what happened. Told him no matter what the reason, it will not identify who he is. That he is love no matter what. he didnt ask again after that.

  14. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  15. I agree that you reveal/answer in an age appropriate way and add to it as he wants to know more. I grew up in a house where you had to “come of age” in order to hear certain things and I knew I didn’t want to be like that.

  16. You hit the proverbial nail on the head when you mentioned “truth being the answer”.
    As you said, obviously every parent needs to filter the information given according to the level of maturity of a child.
    I really respect and love my mum for being honest with us and sharing the reasons why my dad and subsequently my ex step-dad, wasn’t around.
    Knowledge of personal family history is important for a child to feel confident and have a sense of belonging and grow up mentally and emotionally balanced.
    That can only be given by the parent or guardian being totally honest with child.

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