Introducing Your Child to His or Her Birth Father

family playing in the parkIt isn’t too common for a child to meet her biological father later on in her life, but it does happen. While interviewing a group of parents who have had to introduce their children to their fathers, one thing became clear: no two stories were the same. As these parents shared their stories, they hoped that their experiences would help someone in the same situation.

It is important for you to know that you are not alone in this. Other people like you have been through something similar before. Each of these stories are different; one tells of a father whose absence and presence were unpredictable over the years. One explained that incarceration was the reason for absence. One father didn’t know he even had a child, while someone else searched for his child when the other parent unexpectedly moved. While no two situations are the same, there are bits of advice to be taken from each one.

In most cases, legal backing is essential, and counseling for the child, parents, or both is beneficial. In each of these situations, support from attorneys and counselors was used at some point. Aside from the help of professionals, emotional support from your friends and family will play a very important role throughout this event.

Before one of the interviewed parents allowed the father of her child an introduction, she met with him a number of times in order to establish a cooperative association and to ensure a safe environment for their child. When she felt comfortable enough for an introduction, she gave her little one an age-appropriate briefing of the situation, and when he didn‘t understand the concept of “father” she allowed him to choose a title, which was usually “friend” for a time.

Some parents weren’t as fortunate to have so much control and cooperation before an introduction took place. There was an instance where extended family members instigated a meeting between the child and the fickle father, and another where the father was the one who searched for his child. In both of these cases, the children’s parents managed the outcomes by providing love, honesty, and stability in the home, as well as a committed step-parent.

After all their stories were told, the interviewees expressed how difficult it is to advise one on how to manage their individual situation, because each one is so different. Each outcome produces its share of disappointments and satisfactions; good relationships as well as confusing ones, too. So their ultimate tip, their most important word of advice, in all its simple complexity, is to think objectively and do what is best for your child. Help her constructively apply to her life what she has learned from her experience, deliver consistent support through all of her emotions, and always, always make sure that she knows how important she is and how unconditionally you love her.

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Introducing Your Child to His or Her Birth Father

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7 comments

  1. Britney says:

    I am at a loss. My 9 yr old has never met her father. He walked out when I told him I was pregnant and has kept his distance. See hes an addict and hasnt been good for her. She has been raised by my ex husband who is the father of my oldest child and my current husband has been in her life since she was 1 1/2. She knows my 1st husband as her father and we have just never really said anything different. Well recently she has started asking why she doesnt look like her brother and sisters on either side and I am not a liar. I dont want to lie to her about anything at all much less this. mY fear is that she will hate me later if I continue to wait but Im not sure when the best time to break the news to her would be. Im at a crossroads and dont know what to do

    • Megan Klay says:

      Hi Britney – I think nine is a pretty good age for your child to understand when you communicate this with her. My recommendation would be that her birth father has not been a part of her life because he hasn’t been ready to be and that her father/dad is the man who loves and cares for her and has been in her life all this time. I hope this helps. Best wishes!

  2. Natalie says:

    I am having this situation going on now.I have a 7 year old son with autism. His father walked out on him when he was two and before that was in and out of his life. Recently he asked his sister to ask me if he could see my son. I am kinda worried because I don’t know why now he wants to do this and I am afraid to ask. I don’t want to cause him to change his mind. Being that my son has autism I want to make sure I do the right thing I do not want him to be hurt and suffer anymore than he has already.

  3. Mareyea says:

    I’m actually just going through this with my 3 year old daughter. Her father has messaged me expressing that he wants to start being in her life and fix things with her before it’s to late, he wants to start with her birthday party this weekend and I don’t know. Before now he’s been in and out of her life but total he’s probably only spent 3 weeks around her and that’s not all at the same time. I believe that she should have the opportunity to have him in her life and the earlier the better because she’s already at the age to where she remembers things and she knows what’s going on around her. I don’t want to see her hurt either though and I really don’t know what to do or even where to begin to handle this situation. I think the hardest part about being a parent is having to make very important decisions for another human being, second hardest is seeing them hurt or even making the wrong decision. I’m so stressed out over all this and I can honestly admit that I don’t know what the right choice would be. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  4. jen says:

    my daughter is two and my husband has been gone since she was a week old, he was in prison then had gotten deported 2months ago. she has seen him once a month up until 2months ago but idk how to tell her where gonna b with daddy for a month and then leave again

  5. Janice says:

    My daughter meet her father at age 16, she was very upset, and told me that if she made it to age 16 without him, she did not need him now. He did not see them for years and the only reason he wanted to visit the children, is because I had his child support raised to the state minimum, and if he was going to pay he wanted to see them. I personally thought it was cruel, to be allowed to show up when ever he wanted then blow back outta town and there life, when ever he felt like it. They should matter too.

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