Explaining No Daddy

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Explaining to kids why there's no daddy

July 2000

hi all! i am a single parent by choice. my decision to have a baby on my own was not a hasty one and i knew that there would be many, many issues to deal w/ personally as well as socially. one issue that i thought that i would have more time to come to terms with was what to tell people when they asked after the status of his father. generally it is not so tough to answer an adult, i can be as forthcoming as i care to be (or not). when he is in range of my voice i'm very careful how i phrase things (he's 1.5 years old and really understands alot of what i say so i'm getting into the habit of screening for his sensitivities). yesterday a friend's son (four years old) asked 'where is jack's daddy. doesn't he miss him?'

i tried to be light and steer the conversation away but he was very persistent. i'm sure that it skimmed over jack's head but now i realize that i've run out of time and i need to get this sorted out in my own head so i'll not be caught off guard.

i really thought i would have a couple more years to figure this out! jack's father is not, and has not, been involved in his life. that may change if jack (or his father) decides to alter that arrangement. if that should come about i will be supportive but i do not plan to initiate it. how does one present this situation to curious children so that jack will not feel he is deficient or wrong? any stories to share? Michelle

i have no suggestions but I am also very interested in the what to say about not having a dad conversation? I think what has been most interesting so far has been the adult reactions. My daughter was playing with figures one day and refered to the figures as the mommy and the daddy ad im sure she has heard all her peers in day care refer to them, a friend practically panicked with what did she say how did she know that what do i say etc. I said nothing she kept playing the other adult relaxed. When another child has asked us once or twice (shes 2) Ive simply said we dont have one. So far it isnt a problem but any advice on whats coming down the pike is greatley appreciated kimberly

I am a single mother by choice of a 3 year-old boy and I have experience with both Michelle's issue (single mom by choice, since I am one also- no father in the picture at all since we are an adoptive family) and Elizabeth's issue (business travel as a single parent). The father issue: this is my line: in our family we don't have a daddy. There are many different kinds of families- some with just a daddy and no mom, some with 2 moms, some with 2 dads, and even some with a mom and dad. Luckily my son knows examples of all kinds of families. However, I have to warn you- this issue may come us with your child as soon as he can talk (just kidding). A few months ago my son brought up the question a lot about where his daddy was. He has a lot of sadness about not having a daddy and he LOVES men- all kinds, all ages. He readily goes to almost any man. I found that I myself had to be comfortable with our situation and willing to accept my son's sadness and let that be OK since I can't fix it. This will be the first of many issues you'll have to deal with. I have a lot more to say on the subject, actually. If you want to talk more, send me an e-mail. Mona