(Closed) How do I explain to my children? NWR

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
4658 posts
Honey bee

Honestly, I think you’re overthinking this.  I grew up without a father and that entire side of the family.  I had a very loving grandmother, my mother and all of her siblings.  I never knew I was missing out on anything. 

I really don’t think you need to say anything.  If your future child asks, a simple “Families come in all shapes and sizes.  You family has…”  If you emphasize who is there instead of who is missing, most kids aren’t really going to know the difference, and if they do, they really aren’t looking for your whole drawn out history.  They just want to know that their family looking different that Johnny’s family down the street doesn’t make them weird or “less than”.  That’s all.  And considering all the different families there are out there, I highly doubt it’s even going to register to your kids.  When they are older (and by older I mean late teens) and really want to know then you can share some sparse general details if you wish.  We got in contact with my father’s family (not my father) in my late teens and my mother just provided a simple explanation saying it was her choice to not associate with them, but they (his family, not him) were nice people and I’m old enough to make my own choices now.  I saw them once or twice and that was it. 

Post # 3
3448 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

snowflake8 :  Both of my parents grew up with physically and emotionally abusive families. Both were estranged from them my entire life. I knew my aunts and uncles alright, but it really wasn’t ever something I wondered about. It’s all your child will ever know so they probably will not think much of it. By the time they really wonder about it and ask, they’ll probably be old enough that you can pretty much tell the full story.

When they are younger, just say that even though daddy is very close to his family and they are very good friends, your family is a little different and don’t hang out very much. Again, they probably aren’t going to ask.

Most kids would not think anything about it. This isn’t something you need to worry about. “Mommy’s family isn’t super good friends like daddy’s, so we do not really see each other.” And in the teen years they can learn the truth if you want.

Post # 4
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I will never speak to my father again, or really anyone on his side. I also have a hard time with my mother. It’s made it that family doesn’t mean much to me. So this is something I have thought about that a lot too. I just planned on little them know that family comes in all kinds of ways. That at times family isn’t about who you are related to by blood, but some times your friends. Then when they are older, I will let them know everything. 

Post # 5
473 posts
Helper bee

I don’t have children myself but I was raised in a situation where my mother was estranged from her family (particularly her mother). Our situation was a bit different in that the estrangement didn’t happen until well after my siblings and I were born. My mom didn’t want to keep my sisters and I from having a relationship with our grandmother however, so my dad would take us to see her until we were old enough to take ourselves. My mom was always very open and honest with us as to why she didn’t speak to her mother. She still had love for her deep inside but knew it was best for her emotional health to end their relationship. They both suffered a lot of abuse in their lifetimes and my mom took the road of therapy and healing and my grandmother never did 😢. My grandmother was always good to us kids though so my mom decided to let us decide for ourselves if we wanted a personal relationship with her (she was not my Mom’s abuser btw). It’s a really sad situation looking back at it. My sisters and I continued our relationships with her until she died and my mom also reconnected with her six months before she passed. 

All of that being said, because your children aren’t born yet I think the best thing will be to be open and honest with them about your family situation once they are old enough to understand. Be honest with them about the feelings you have for your mother. Even though they are not good feelings, your children will understand much better if they know the whole story. Although it was sometimes hard to hear about my Mom’s past, I am very thankful that she was so open with us about it because it allowed us to understand her and not feel left in the dark and confused.

Post # 6
2122 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

My dad is estranged from his family. His dad died 38 years ago, and his mum died 23 years ago. When that happened, he fell out with his sister and the rest of his family, and never spoke to another family member again. A cousin found me on Facebook a few years ago, which was lovely. It’s never been a big deal though.

Post # 7
4854 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Child of a nmom here. I’ve thought about this too. If I were to have a kid, I would just tell them if they asked. I would explain some people are bad and hurtful and sometimes people have parents that are bad and hurtful. Maybe liken it to some kid that they know that’s mean or something. I wouldn’t try to explain npd until they are much older but I guess it depends on the kid.  In the mean time I’d be more concerned with the new baby causing nmom to rear her ugly head and start hoovering / love bombing / guilting. 

Post # 8
7431 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

If you teach children from a young age that families come in all shapes and sizes and makeups, then they will be prepared for any situation ranging from a schoolmate with two dads, a friend with just a mom, and your own unique situation. If you don’t make a big deal of it, neither will they.

Post # 9
9282 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

don’t make a big deal out of it.  when my parents divorced, my father’s side wanted nothing to do with my brother and me.  we would talk to our grandfather when we visited our dad.  then when my father passed, i had no contact whatsoever with them.

my mom also doesn’t talk to her brother.  so we have a very small, scattered family.


on the otherhand Darling Husband has a large, wonderful family.


as PP said, families come in all shapes and sizes.  i wouldn’t worry about it or explain anything unless specifically asked.


Post # 10
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I came from an estranged family, my mom cut out my fathers side of the family.  If they ask definately be honest but at the same time if they choose to want to have a relationship let them.  My mom forbade us to talk to that side of the family and I harbored a lot of anger at resentment at the time and was quite sad (keep in mind she also time outed her own family for reasons I later on found out made little sense).  One day my dad had enough and we saw his family and they were very cold and mean. My mom was right.  After that experience I never asked not cared less about that side of the family.  So my advice is be honest and if they do want to see them let them (at an age you feel they will handle the disappointment best).  Part of being a parent is also letting them grow and know some disappointments in life but make sure you can comfort them  should they disappoint them as they did to you.  They’ll be hurt for a few days but then they’ll get over it.

Post # 11
643 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I think kids know the family they know, and don’t question why someone’s not in the picture till they’re old enough to understand that people are capable of being mean, sometimes even when they’re family. You’re probably not going to need to explain this to a toddler beyond something simple like “my family lives far away and they’re not nice,” if they’ll even ask at all. And when they’re older and want to know, I’m sure they’ll understand whatever you choose to share with them.

I grew up without one grandfather (who was then still living) and never asked why as a child. I think I started wondering when I was 7 or 8, but didn’t really dare ask for a few more years because I sensed this was a sensitive subject from the few times my dad mentioned his father. My kids (the oldest is almost four) also haven’t asked why they only have one grandpa. It’s just how things are to them. 

Post # 12
509 posts
Busy bee

snowflake8 :  As others have said, you are way overthinking this.

I have both of my parents still in my life. Darling Husband has his mother, but has not seen his father since he was 10 years old (he is 30 now). We don’t really talk about him and it’s like he never existed. The man was abusive and a drug addict, so he doesn’t deserve to be talked about. When we have children, hopefully soon, we will not talk about him at all. If our child were to ask, we would simply say that Darling Husband does not have a father.

Lastly, I mean this in the nicest way possible: Honestly, I would focus more on how you will take care of yourself and your child, and if/how your Darling Husband will change to become a loving father and husband. Given your past post history, I am not sure if much has changed, but there were some very concerning posts you created before about your current relationship.

Post # 14
7369 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Can’t miss what they don’t have. Kids follow your lead and are way more adaptable than we give them credit for. You are overthinking this. You have way more on your plate to worry about than this. 

Post # 15
2166 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’m the child of a mother with an estranged family and I can honestly say I didn’t even know that my mom didn’t have a “family” until I was a pre-teen. Very similar to you, my dad’s side of the family was super loving and very well connected so I was just preoccupied with them to even realize there was a mommy side of the family too. 

I will say, you can probably not tell them right away until they connect the dots, but when they ask, don’t refuse to tell them. My mother refused to even utter anybody’s name in her family and my dad wouldn’t tell me anything and neither would my mom’s best friend. She trained them to never speak of her family and it made me feel very disconnected from my mother for a very long time because I didn’t understand why she was so distant when family was brought up. 

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