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  1. #1
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    Default How to explain blended families to 5yo

    Hi everyone

    My DD is nearly 5 and I haven't been with her father since she was very young (a few months old). I met my now husband when she was 1. We have another child & her bio father also has another child. My DD understands that they are both her siblings, but doesn't know what that means. I tried to explain that she has 2 Dads and that bio father is also her Dad (she calls him by his first name and my husband 'Dad'). I said that Mum & bio father 'name' used to love each other and live together, and we had her, but that we decided to be friends and I met 'Dad' and went on to explain that they are both her Dads. She got upset and said she only wants 1 Dad and my husband is her Daddy.

    I don't know where to take it from here, she loves my husband and doesn't understand that genetically they are not related. I don't want to lie to her but I also thought she may have been too young prior to understand it but now I feel we made a mistake. We called my husband Dad and bio father Daddy 'name,' she chose to drop the Daddy and just call him by his name.

    I'm lost as to how to age appropriately explain it to her...

  2. #2
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    Hi OP, a few questions- how often does your DD see her bio dad? Also who made the decision to call your now husband Dad and why? How does the bio dad feel about this?

    I have been on the other side of this where my DH ex wife decided to do this. My DH was devastated and it has taken many years of confusion for the kids to know who was dad and caused a lot of hurt to all parties in the meantime.

    I think you owe it to the bio dad to discuss it with him and decide who is to be called what. He is biologically her dad and it is not necessarily reflective of love shown.

    Can you come up with an affectionate name for your DH instead?

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    Default How to explain blended families to 5yo

    She sees him sporadically, he is never a constant in her life; she has seen him maybe 6 times this year. We referred to DH as Dad from when she was about 2.5 onwards and had discussed this with bio Dad and he is fine with it. Bio Dad has said that DH is her Dad by all accounts (aside from genetically of course) and he himself has said that he doesn't have the same bond with her as he does with his youngest child. Upon me re-partnering, bio Dad gave me hell and didn't see DD for months, it was a massive strain on me and also DH. Bio Dad has since split with his partner & now wants more to do with DD (he sees both children together) which is fine by me - as long as he keeps to seeing her regularly, which TBH I don't see happening as it never has previously.

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    As for changing DH's name, I can't see that being possible (or fair) as its been 2.5 years and all she 'knows.' She thinks that Bio Dad is her 'friend' but also says his parents (who she's seen about 3 times in her life) are her grandma and grandpa. I'm so lost and confused and hope I haven't damaged my poor DD

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    Maybe do a picture book with photos of your DD's family - you and your DH and bio dad and his other kid etc. just keep reading it/ mentioning there are 2 x dads but don't harp on about it.

    Perhaps borrow a few books from the library about different families - kids with 2 dads or 2 mums, 2 of each, kids that live with grandparents etc.

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    I am sure I saw a book on playschool that explained blended families. Give me some time to google.

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    The book is called Family Forest. Someone posted the episode on YouTube where she reads it so you can see if it will be helpful. Just search 'Playschool Family Forest'. It has Carrie Bickmore.

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    Default How to explain blended families to 5yo

    Thank you! Great suggestions and I can't believe I didn't think to look for books etc! To add also, Bio Dad has given us permission to change her last name to DHs and use his surname as her second middle name. So DH is very much her Dad, but I do not want to cut Bio Dad out of her life or anything like that, it's just the way our family is and explaining that in the right way is so important for me.

    Thanks again!

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    Default How to explain blended families to 5yo

    As far as the name thing, what's done is done, I don't think you can change that.

    It was a similar situation with my DD, except that I broke up with her dad before she was born. I met my now DP when she was about 20 months old, but he has always been called by his first name. She calls her bio dad "daddy". Even so, DD has had many times when she doesn't want to go to see her bio dad and protests that DP is her "papa" (totally her doing, no idea where she got the idea to call him 'papa [DP's name]').

    Maybe it's just an attachment thing with kids this age? (DD turns 5 soon). I don't know....it's hard.

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    She will understand it better when she is a bit older. I understand that it's bothering you, but does it matter if she doesn't quite understand it at the moment?

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