Telling my son about his father


I am Mom to a wonderful almost-4-year-old boy. My dilemma is this: I am a single mom, and the circumstances surrounding the birth of my son are somewhat less than desirable.

I became involved with a man who had recently been released from prison. After learning I was pregnant, it took only about 6 weeks to realize this man had not changed his ways at all, despite his claims to the contrary. I broke off our relationship, and he subsequently returned to his life of drugs and theft, to return to prison. I don't expect him to be released for another 6 years, possibly longer.

To make a short story long, I did not put this man's name on my son's birth certificate. I have sole custody at this point, he has never met my son, and until sustained change takes place in his life, I don't intend to allow it. My son is nearly 4 now, we have a wonderful support group of friends and family, but he is aware that he doesn't have a dad. He has called his uncle and grandpa "dad" a few times, almost as though he's trying it on for size. I anticipate the time is soon coming when he will ask me about his father, and I want to be ready with some truthful, yet loving things to say. Obviously I want the best for my son, I don't want him to feel responsible for the fact that his father is not around, or to have his self-image injured. I have always talked to my son in terms of "what a wonderful present God gave me to give me you." But I feel so emotionally wrapped up in it and so afraid I might say the wrong thing, I thought it wise to get some objective advice. I would welcome any thoughts you may have, and I appreciate your website and common-sense approach so much.

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