Question: As I’m a single mother (my husband and I have been a part from the time I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter), how do I answer my daughter (she’s 2 years and 8 months) if and when she asks me about her father — without confusing her and making her feel that it’s her fault.
I am so afraid that she will blame herself for her father’s irresponsibility. So far I have never mentioned her father to her. And as she has never seen him before, it has not been an issue yet. I’m just trying to prepare myself when she starts asking questions.
Answer: You are right about the need to prepare answers for your child regarding her father. At every stage of her life, she will have different questions about her family. Your answers should be tailored according to her level of understanding. At two years, she may want to know whether she has a daddy. Your answer should be “Yes. You have a daddy. He is not with us right now.” When she gets older, she may want to know more. You can start to give her the answers that are appropriate to her questions. Do not taint your answers with your negative feelings towards her father. This may further complicate the issues of not having her father around.
If you do not involve your child in your animosity with your ex-spouse, your child will not get hurt or blame herself for the divorce. As your child grows, you must work towards bringing her up confident and independent. She can grow up feeling loved, supported and secure in your single parent home environment.
Join a single-parent support group. You can find good help in single parents who have gone through the challenges of raising children on their own.
Ruth Liew is an expert in early childhood education, child development, parenting, and child care. She is also an author and a columnist.
Blog: Diary of a Single Mom on the Edge