“She looks like she knows every little detail of her life except where she came from. There’s a calmness and sobriety that comes with the question ‘where’s my daddy?’ it only comes up once in a long while but it always breaks my heart” Says Fio.
In the song “Momma, where’s my daddy” Keb’ Mo asks, “Does he ever think about us or does he have a heart of stone? Momma, what’s the matter? Why’s there water in your eyes? Do you need him as much as I do? Where does he come from? What does he look like? Does he have a face like mine? Is he ever coming back here and why would he leave us behind?”
This is the utmost expression of the gaping emptiness within every child whose questions have not been answered. It is like a blank page filled with question marks and yes, it brings tears to every mom’s eyes.
Being a single mom isn’t easy but it becomes harder if you cannot meet your kids’ emotional needs. It is even more heartbreaking if their father wants nothing to do with them. How do you tell the truth without hurting her?
This question bugged me for days and so I posted in a forum where moms could share their stories. Here are some of the answers I got.
Your dad went to heaven and will not be coming back… I didn’t like this lie.
Your dad got hit by a bus and disappeared… I hate this one more
Your and I have the same daddy… grandpa… well, no comment.
Tell your child the truth; let her know not all families have both mommy and daddy. Some have mommy only, some daddy, some grandpa, and grandma… cool one. Ha? I wonder what age is appropriate for this answer.
Just tell her dad is God… no. I will not lie with God.
Tell her he is at work far away and may not be coming back… not bad an answer.
Your dad is not around baby; God will bring him back someday. Perfect!
He traveled far away and I am not sure when he will be back… well, not bad but no.
Introduce your child to a father figure and let them know that’s their daddy. It can be a brother, an uncle, a godfather … not bad but it’s still a lie.
Then, in teenage, their children hate them for it. Someone will say, a teenager will hate you anyway… true but did you do your best to protect her in her early days?
Psychologists say children raised by a single parent are said to have issues with:-
- Emotional security
- Enthusiasm to discover things
- Problem-solving skills
- Teenage depression
- Opening up to new relationships
And the list goes on and on… but this varies depending on well balanced your life is as a single parent.
So, what do I need to do to make it easier?
First, you know this question will come, just prepare for it and prepare to consistently tell the truth with the best age-appropriate words possible. All those lies people use to end up hurting an already delicate relationship with your child. Instead of creating a lie after another, just tell the truth and be sufficiently grounded on it.
You also need to understand this question from a child’s point of view.
Why would she ask about the daddy?
- She needs assurance: one of the advantages we have as moms is that our children trust us. So much that whatever you say is taken to heart without a doubt. This is the message you should pass to your child as you answer this question… “Your dad is not here but I will always be here, anytime you need me, I will be here.”
- She needs to know her roots: everybody wants to relate to something bigger. You need to let your child know her father if it’s possible. If it’s not, introduce her to all the relatives you can so that she knows she has an army of people she can relate to as her own family. Kids feel good introducing people as my aunt, my granny, my cousin… that ‘my’ plays a significant role in a child’s life.
- She needs to know it’s ok not to have a daddy: kids sometimes think like adults, they looks for solutions with their little mind and so before she starts resolving your marital issues, let her know it’s possible to live with just mom and be ok. She needs to be made aware that she’s not any inferior to all those kids with dads. If by any chance she feels, dad should be here to solve this and that; or she lacks an item because she has no dad, she’s going to suffer anxiety and it could easily lead to depression. Watch out for any hint of stress in your kid and jump in before it’s too late.
- She needs consistency: one of the worst mistakes single moms do is to introduce their children to anyone they date. This is not safe for your child and can cause trust issues. I suggest you only introduce your child to your fiancé or someone you have already decided to share your future with and he is committed to it. She does not need to know every ex and so it’s highly advisable to date away from home and give her time and space to grow towards the person you bring into her life.
Finally, you must be a good listener, our babies mutter their feelings all the time and if she realizes you never take note of her concerns, it’s going to be one difficult journey to get her to open up again.
I don’t know what single mothers around you are doing but I would really like to know. Share with us the advice you would give to Fio (our sister in the introduction).