Absentee parent - Where's Papa?

Nervous about what to tell your child when asked, "Where's my daddy?" If you are comfortable with the answers you have given yourself, chances are, your child will be too.

A six-year-old boy specifically asks why an absentee father doesn't see him, "Doesn't he like me?" His mother gently explains that although his father would like him very much, raising children is a huge job, and he was just not ready for a job that big. So he went away. But she tells him how very much she wanted him and how happy she is that he is her son.

Although the number of ways that women become single parents differ--from initiating a divorce to finding yourself pregnant after a brief fling to choosing anonymous donor insemination--the one concern that most moms mothering without their child's biological father share is how to handle the "daddy" questions. And even though there really isn't a "one-size-fits-all" answer, for most single parents, one thing holds true. If you have come to terms with your feelings about heading a single parent family, your child most likely will be happy with the answers you supply.

Still, every now and then a single parent is caught off guard.

Following are some tips for helping you deal with talking to your child about an absent parent, whether you are divorced, never-married, widowed or not quite sure!

  • Most little ones start asking questions about a daddy around the ages of four and five. They become aware that other families might be different from their own by observing family activity through the day-care, school, church or synagogue, the media, or just day-to-day living.
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