I love when readers send me Facebook messages or emails seeking advice. Sometimes I have the answer and other times, not so much. Recently I was left speechless over these 3 Qs and mainly because I am dealing with them, too! Here, Dr. Leah Klungness, Ph.D and author of The Complete Single Mother … to the rescue!
Q: If asked by my child, should I show a pic of the absent parent?
A: Show your child a picture of his father or mother. Keeping the image a secret only creates more worry and drama. Your child is simply curious. If he resembles his father (or mother) acknowledge that fact in a positive way. For example: ‘You have your father’s beautiful brown eyes. Or both you and your mother have such a pretty smile.’ In time, your child will realize that biologically—egg and sperm, = 1/2 the absent parent. And, eventually, he/she will see a picture of this person. It’s better to share that experience with you, the active, loving parent, rather down the line, with … the Internet.
Q: My child wonders if the absent parent loves him … I dunno!
A: Tough question. Say ‘Your parent loves you in his/her own way. He/she provides money to help take care of you. And he/she certainly wants only the best for you.’ If your child asks follow-up questions, admit that you do not know all the answers. Emphasize that you understand and respect his/her feelings about the absent parent.
Q: My child has half-siblings my ex won’t let him meet. Help!
A: Within a few short years, these children will seek each other out to satisfy their shared curiosity about one another. Regardless if one child knows and the other does not—one child will seek out their sib(s).
As parents, you, or a stubborn, absent ex will have little to no control over their abilities to connect via social media or in-person. In fact, refusing to introduce the children to one another will only fuel their efforts. Strap in.
If you have a Q for me or Dr. Leah, ask in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer. xo
Photo credit: Amazon.com