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Approaching Paternity Issues: How to Tell Your Child You Are Not Their Only Father
Whether your child is a teething infant or a pubescent teenager, learning that you are not his or her biological father can be devastating. You are most likely dealing with your own inner struggles, but apart from all of these emotions, you now have to figure out how to tell your child that you are not their only father.
In most family law cases, a court will generally look for what outcome is in the best interest of the child. As a father approaching this issue, you should be in the same mindset. You may have known someone who went through a similar situation or been given excellent advice, but no two families are the same. Although there is nothing that can wholly prepare you for the road ahead, there are a few steps you can take when determining how to approach your child with this topic.
Do Not Keep Secrets
Many fathers in this situation have often raised their child from birth. They have soothed several fevers, calmed multiple tantrums, and dried rivers of tears. No one can take away a father’s love for his child. Communication can make or break any relationship. Therefore, it is in the best interest of your child to communicate effectively what is happening. Do not keep it a secret. Once the information is out, you, your child, and your family can deal with this new family dynamic together.
Age, Maturity, and Family Dynamic
There are several factors to consider in determining when, where, and how to tell your child. For example, age, maturity, and family dynamic are just some of the factors you may weigh in making your decision. A child’s age may determine several of the other factors such as when. For example, if the child is too young to understand, then it may be best to wait a few years. However, if the child is older, she may already be aware that something has changed, and it may be best to tell her as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be. Similarly, age may also determine location. Encourage your child to talk about her feelings when ready. Be available and ready to listen, comfort, and console. Your child may be upset, but don’t dismiss or deny her feelings. Keep calm and answer questions lovingly and supportively.
Say “I love you.”
Tell your child you love her. When you decide the timing is right, be sure to tell your child how much you love her and how that will never change. Continue to build a relationship and focus on their growth and development.
We will help you arrange a paternity test if necessary and assist you with the legal implications resulting from that test. To speak with a lawyer contact us online or by calling 480-345-2652.