How to explain absent father

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  • #24295 Report


    hi everyone I just joined gingerbread because I need some advice about how to explain to my daughter why she doesn’t have a dad.

    She is 5 years old and I have always told her she doesn’t have a dad.

    I was groomed and raped and my daughter was from this situation, her biological father is aware of her but didn’t want anything to do with her ,( and I’m glad he isn’t in our life as he isn’t a good man) so he’s never met her and never will, so I’ve been a single mum from the start.

    I feel so guilty for lying that she doesn’t have a dad, it seemed the easiest least hurtful thing to do when she was very small but soon she will learn that everyone has a biological father and I don’t know what to tell her, she has asked why she doesn’t have a dad many times and I’ve always told her all families are different. It’s never felt the right time to tell her she does actually have one as I don’t know how to explain it in a way that doesn’t hurt her but need to do it soon before she learns about where babies come from at school and comes home confused with lots of questions, if you have any advice I’d be so grateful, thanks for reading sorry it’s a bit long

    #24299 Report


    I’m really sorry for your experiences. I just wanted to respond as I understand the worry. I am in a similar situation in that my baby’s dad vanished when I was pregnant. Perhaps he’ll turn up, perhaps he won’t.

    I plan on telling him the truth at an age appropriate time. I try to spent time with a variety of families and read books showing diversity. I will also tell him that our family is special because Im so talented that I can do two jobs at once!

    My sons dad was adopted which I think had an impact on him so I will tell him that it’s not that daddy doesn’t love you it’s that he doesn’t know how.

    I hope I’m done way that helps.

    #24300 Report


    Thank you so much for your reply it means a lot, I’m also really sorry for your experience. But love when you say your so talented you can do two jobs at once! I think what I’m most worried about is the feeling of rejection and thoughts she might have that her dad didn’t want her or love her and how this could affect her whole life emotionally but explaining that he didn’t know how might be a good way to explain it in my situation too, thanks again so much for your response it’s helped a lot.

    #24304 Report



    I had my Son when I was 17 to an absolute loser who played no part in his life.

    It broke my heart when I heard him say he didn’t have a Dad.

    Fast Forward to the present Day and he’s turned out amazing he has a good job he’s married and he is absolutely no worse off for not having had a Dad.

    Don’t best yourself up about it just go with it.

    You’ll work out what to say when you have too.Everything will work out x

    #24305 Report


    That’s really great to hear your son turned out so well, and credit to you being a great mum too, and you’re right maybe I don’t need to over think or plan what to say too much and just go with what’s natural, thank you for your reply x

    #24312 Report


    The dad of my two boys was abusive and violent and I had to leave when my youngest was 5 months old to keep me and my children safe.  Fast forward 15 months and my ex has seen his kids for 6 hours since I left and makes no effort for his kids apart from sending things via amazon. Even though his dad behaves like this my oldest is really happy and said he never wants to see his dad again and is really happy with his new life, becoming a single mum was best thing ever I did as it made a better life for my kids. when my kids are older I will talk to them properly about how their dad treated me and how it made me feel.


    #44658 Report


    Hi there

    I really feel for you and I am so sorry that you have suffered in this way.

    My story is not as traumatic, but I have been alone since I was 12 weeks pregnant with no contact with the father.

    At the moment, I mention every now and then to my daughter that we don’t have a daddy in our family. I’m wondering whether to collate some material like a photo and any other memories for a box as I hear from an ex-social worker neighbour that older children will often have questions about their identify. At the same time, I don’t want her to start idealizing the absent father. Very difficult in your situation.

    A friend of mine who was raised by a single parent said that his mum would say she was very lucky because she didn’t have to share her son, which I thought was nice and I also like the idea of saying that I am super talented (haha!).

    In my case, I think I will say that I met a man who helped me to make you and is your biological father but he didn’t want to be a daddy and didn’t ever meet you. I want to avoid her feeling rejected and don’t want to say anything negative about him. So difficult!

    I’m thinking of reading some books for sperm donor conceived children, as there seems to be a lot more advice for people in that situation and even though it’s very different from ours, we might pick up some tips.

    Good luck. You are strong and brave and a wonderful mother.



    #44671 Report


    My daughters father suddenly cut contact with her when she was 5, he just stopped turning up to collect her and i then found out he had a new girlfriend and had moved to Newcastle.  He has made no attempt to contact our daughter,   she messaged him on facebook a couple of years ago and he proceeded to tell her i had stopped him seeing her, she knew this wasn’t true as i have been very honest with her about it.    She knows how i feel about him for what he has done to her but i have always said she has to make up her own mind about him.  He does pay maintenance but this has taken 8 years to sort out.  She’s now almost 15 and has decided she no longer wants his surname, he won’t respond to messages asking to sign the paperwork so i have to pay £215 to go to court.  I initially made excuses for him when she was younger as to why he and his family suddenly didn’t want to see her but I can’t keep making up for him being such a selfish b***tard, she has photos of them together from when I was with him but she is extremely bitter about him rejecting her.  It has gotten to the point where i’m thinking of driving up to where he lives and letting her have it out with him so she feels better and can get all of her anger out.  It will make her feel better, i don’t care how he feels.

    Your situation is really difficult because of the circumstances but unfortunately the truth usually has a way of eventually coming out  and i think your daughter would benefit from the truth coming from you.  Obviously she is far too young to know the whole truth but maybe saying you are no longer friends with her dad and he moved away for now and when she’s a lot older and has more questions sit down with her and be honest with her.

    It’s an awful situation to be in but you know your daughter best and you will know when she’s emotionally ready to handle whatever you choose to tell her.

    Good luck

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