Toddler struggling with having no father

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  • #21941 Report


    Looking for some advice on how to help my toddler please. Her father refused to be a part of her life and has never met her. He has always been good on the financial side but is not interested in anything else. My little girl is 3 now and has been asking about her daddy for nearly a year now, much sooner than I expected! It started with her crying for her daddy when she hurt herself or was upset. Then it progressed into her asking where her daddy was. I told her that she didn’t have one and explained about different families. We’ve had that conversation a number of times since last summer. Recently she told my mum that she had lost her daddy and then she started calling me daddy sometimes. Whenever we are out anywhere there are men, particularly fathers, she is fascinated and very attention seeking with them which concerns me. She really seems to be craving a daddy and I don’t know how to deal with it. There aren’t a lot of men in her life and my dad doesn’t bother with her that much. I had planned when she was older to say that her father wasn’t ready to be a parent and knew that I wanted to be her mummy so gave her to me (haven’t quite worked it out yet), but I feel she’s too young for this yet. I really don’t know how to explain it to her for the best. She’s very intelligent, curious and intuitive so I know this isn’t going to go away. I could just do with some advice on how to deal with it for the best. Thank you

    #21947 Report


    Hi Angie

    I’m in a similar situation to you, so whilst I don’t have any advice to offer you, I can share your concerns and I’d be interested to hear any advice that others can offer too!  My daughter has never met her dad as he left when I was pregnant and refuses any contact. She’s nearly 4 now and like you, I found the questions came sooner than I thought they would, it caught me off guard!  My dad died many years ago so she doesn’t have many male role models around her and she is fascinated by men and craves their attention.  When she asks where her daddy is I tell her that she doesn’t have one as all families are made up differently and that she is lucky because she has an extra special mummy and Nanna instead. She seems happy with that answer for now but I know it’s only a matter of time before she quizzes further! X

    #21950 Report

    Healing Light

    Hi ladies.

    My child doesn’t have a father in her life full stop. She doesn’t like men except my male family members. She is very clingy and hides her face if any man comes to talk or even put food on the table at the cafe.

    My child has asked where her Daddy is. I told her she doesn’t have one but that’s ok because families come in different ways. Some kids don’t have mummy but their daddy loves them so much. Some kids got no daddy but mummy loves them soo much. Some kids have 2 mummies or 2 daddies and they love the kids so much too.

    My child is 4. She made reference to some other kids in her preschool, those with daddy and those without. She then said mummy, i don’t have a daddy but i have you &i love you. I showered her with kisses n hugs and said i love you toooo baby girl. She was happy faced and kept playing.

    Please tell your children they are loved, make a song and dance about loving them.  Sing the barney song i love u and u love me, we are a happy family. Also mention names of folk who are close to you and child, explain they are your choosen family as they don’t need to be blood rels.

    Hugs to you both. It’s heart breaking to have to tall about but they will see your strength and feel.your love. That’s what’s important to the children.

    Keep your chins up.

    Happy Mother’s Day in advance.

    #21995 Report


    Thanks for your reply Louise. It’s so hard isn’t it. The answer of she doesn’t have a daddy and different families etc doesn’t seem to be fully satisfying my daughter. I just don’t know how to bridge the gap between this explanation and the more adult explanation of the truth that she will eventually need. I worry so much about the situation. How do you sugar coat to someone that ultimately their dad didn’t want them? In many ways, I prefer this situation to that of one where her father constantly let her down and wasn’t the type of father she wanted, but it’s such a hard situation to explain to them. Especially when they’re so young! I did ask her dad to write a letter to her for when she was older but so far he hasn’t done it 😩 xx

    #21996 Report


    Hi wanderer. Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately I already do all of the things you’ve mentioned. I tell my daughter constantly that I love her and we are very affectionate with each other, we even sing that song! She loves the programme Our family on CBeebies so I point out the different families on that. I also bought her Todd Parr’s picture book about different families. It seems to satisfy her to an extent but she still periodically asks where her daddy is. I know she’s just trying to make sense of it all but I don’t know what the next stage of explanation needs to be. Let’s hope we can all get some advice from this forum! x

    #22077 Report


    Such a difficult situation- I remember only too well having to deal with an inquisitive toddler and the “daddy” questions.


    Each situation is different, so there can’t be a “right way” of doing things. You sound like yoh are very attuned to her needs, and you are trying to deal with it sensitively which is great.


    My daughters dad lost interest when she was around 1 and has been absent pretty much since.

    I created an open forum for her to talk to me as she explored the idea of a dad/her dad. It’s the idea of a dad (comparing with societal norms etc) that makes children yearn for what others have.

    I provided pictures, offered some facts (nice ones) about her dad and have tried to assure her that despite not being here, he does care (gritted teeth needed). As she’s cotton older i’ve gone on to explain that CM (when I recieve it) is his way of contributing and whilst she does not see him, he is contributing at least in some way.

    It isn’t easy. There have been times where she’s cried as she misses “him” (the idea of him) but now at age 10 she is able to understand that he also had a choice to be an active parent and didn’t take it. She still feels loved and part of a family unit.

    It’s worth drip feeding some “memories” to support your daughter in piecing together her history from a young age. Hopefully this will prevent her going off to find out find herself when she’s older, as she can trust that you have been open and supportive.

    #22079 Report


    Very interesting topic this. My Dad never wanted to know me but had a son years later who I’ve seen him with.

    My sons Dad has kids to diff women, said to me he sees 3 out of 5, didnt seem bothered. Once i said i was pregnant he called me all kinds and said he was not interested. So my son will wonder the same as i did, why did my Dad not want to be around. I felt bad i felt like something was wrong with me hope my son can just be open when hes older and ask me.

    Tough one. As few of you say its not all about slagging the other parent off but also telling the truth.

    #22081 Report


    I’ve done the same as Twitter.  my son’s dad doesn’t go to school events and none of his friends has ever seen him – he doesn’t show up much – but I helped my son work out what to say when someone asks. So he’s called Fred or whatever, he likes tennis, hates chocolate cake and supports Man Utd.

    It’s something to say so he can join in when his friends talk about their dads. I hope it makes it a little easier.

    #22432 Report


    Twitter and Kathy – I just want to say thank you so much for your replies, they were really useful. It’s taken me a week or so to get my head around starting to tell her info but I’ve done it. She started talking to an imaginary daddy on Thursday so I used the opportunity to start. It’s heart breaking, but at least I have an idea of what’s next to say. Thanks again x

    #22471 Report


    Well done Angie, that’s a really positive step! It feels counter productive initially as it naturally inspires curiosity in your little one (the dreaded why questions!)


    My advice is keep your answers really simple and age appropriate. The novelty soon wears off and hopefully things will get easier.


    Good luck x

    #22477 Report


    It’s such a shame and its heart breaking to read that there are fathers (and mothers) who do not want to see their children.  I have a 3 and 9 year old who unfortunately lost a Daddy who absolutely adored them in July last year to cancer.  My children now have to grow up without their Daddy ever being in their lives again.  I think parents who turn their back on their own children are not good people and there is no excuse for doing this – they made the decision to create a life.


    #22482 Report


    Hi Angie, my son was about 2-3 when he began asking about his Dad. I think it’s because he saw his nurseries friends with their dads and was inquisitive. I did the same as most on here explaining about different types of families etc. But the other thing I did was explain that if he had a Dad that him and I would have to share our time, our experiences. Ie mummy would need time with daddy alone, and my son would have to spend time with daddy without me. That seemed to do the trick with my son as we are very close. Also I find spending time with other single parent families a help. He also attends activities which are run by men and that’s seems to help the balance.

    On the plus side by the time he was at school he was no longer interested, so it’s likely the issue will fade away at some point

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

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