What would you tell him?

March 16, 2009 1:11pm CST
My eight year old son has started asking questions about his dad. His dad died when he was just two and of course he does not remember much about him. Unfortunately his dad was not a nice person, due to him being an alcoholic, so far I have avoided telling him any of the bad things that happened. I do not want my son to end up hating his dad as my daughter did. All he knows is that his dad was not a very nice man at times. I also have two elder boys who do remember what their dad was like. I do not want to lie to him as I always try to be truthful with my children. So what would you do would you be truthful and tell him the truth about his dad?.
4 people like this
17 responses
@tigerdragon (4297)
• Philippines
2 May 09
you know what, you are the one who is bothered. you are the only one who knows the real Him. it is not fair to your children to tell them who he really is.my dear, reality is what we feed our minds and what we feed their minds, it is like food you provide for your children, you would want them to grow healthier, it is the same what you feed their minds. it is not a lie. paint a beautiful picture of their dad, it is worst enought that they grew up without their dad.so, make it a memorable one, it is going to be a very valuable tool when they grow. when they are mature enough to understand then that is the time for you to tell them his other side, we all do have a dark side ,so why do always magnify the worst where we can also magnify the best in us or in someone else's. Think good, feel good, say good and do good.this is the only reality.
@cream97 (29151)
• United States
19 Mar 09
Hi, littleone! I would just simply tell him that your dad is no longer with us. I would also tell him that your father is not coming back and that he was unfair to us all when he was alive.. I would explain what unfair meant to my eight year old son. All this can be said in a mature and decent way, When he gets older, I will state what I mean exactly about his father.
19 Mar 09
Hi Cream That is good advice and I will explain that to him when he asks. Thank you.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29151)
• United States
19 Mar 09
You are very welcome, littleone! I was glad to help you with this advice! I know that this may be a sensitive subject right now and for the years to come. But, your son is mature and you can tell him in a polite way that will not make him grow in anger. My prayers are with you and for your family.
@owlwings (43253)
• Cambridge, England
19 Apr 09
I think I would involve the other kids (who do remember him) and try to steer the talk towards the good things they remember about their dad. The point is that, sooner or later, your eight year old will hear things about him from the older ones that may or may not be good. If you have an honest discussion that YOU manage, then you at least have some control over it. All people have good and bad sides (and sometimes the bad times can seem to eclipse the good ones almost entirely). Many of us feel, perhaps, that there are some people that we would just rather forget but others still need to know about them and to remember them. I think that, with an eight year old, you don't need to beat about the bush too much (eight year olds are aware of many things even if they don't understand them fully) but you DO need to make sure that all of your kids grow up with a balanced and even understanding and forgiving attitude, knowing that many people are really not nice to be around but that that isn't always their fault and that even the worst of people do (or did) have some good in them. If your kids can respect the memory of their dad a little, perhaps they will grow up to feel that they can realise some of the good things about him that he never (maybe) had a chance to realise himself. That way, truly, it might be said that their dad would have been proud of them.
20 Apr 09
I like to think he would have been very proud of my children.You are right I would rather forget as things were bad between us but there is things my son will never know as that was between him and me. I do not want him to have a negative view of his father. I have told him about the good times we had and the elder children have been very good and have answered him as honestly as they can without being nasty about him. Thank you for the advice.
@maximax8 (31192)
• United Kingdom
18 Mar 09
I think that is is better that your son learns the positive things about his dad like how much he loved his family. He might like to see photos of him and talk about how he would play games with him before he reached two years of age. He knows that at times his dad wasn't such a nice man but I don't think your son should be told details. He might find out when he is older and at least he knows that you have mentioned his dad wasn't lovely all the time. You would just be selective about what you share with your son and not actually be less than truthful with him. If you told him everything it could be upsetting for your son and make him hate his dad. Good luck.
19 Mar 09
Thank you. I have given him some pictures of him and his dad together that I said he can have as his own. The last thing I want to do is upset him.
• China
18 Mar 09
I think you couldn't tell your son about his father who was a bad man when babay is eight.When he would be eighteen ,you can tell him the truth.
19 Mar 09
He is very mature for his age and wants answers now and will not wait that long for them. I have told him the good things about his father.
• United States
17 Mar 09
I don't think you really need to go into all the details of the bad things dad did. For one, he isn't around, so there's no way your kids are being exposed to the bad things he did. I would be honest with your son and tell him that his father did have an illness. But, I don't think it's a good idea to disparage a parent- especially one who has passed on and will not be involved in your son's future decisions.
19 Mar 09
Unfortunately my three elder children were exposed to the bad things he did. I would never disparage him as he is still his father no matter what he did.
• Taiwan
17 Mar 09
Maybe you can tell him the happy things at first.If he continues to ask,then you can say: I will tell everything to you till you aged 18,now what's the most important thing is to enjoy the happy life and learn to love others.If you like, you also can teach him which things he shouldn't do in the future.Wish you and your family happy all the time:)
19 Mar 09
Thank you for your wishes. I agree that it is important to be happy and make him feel loved.
@singlemommy (2955)
• United States
17 Mar 09
I don't think that you have to particularly tell your son the "bad" things that his father did. Just tell him who his father was. You obviously loved this man at some point if you made children with him. I'm sure you have a few good memories that you could share with him. My son doesn't know his father. He is only two right now, but I know when he gets older that he will ask questions too. His father has done a whole lot of horrible things as well so I'm not 100% sure how I will handle the situation when it arises either. I think the best thing I can do is show my son all the people who are around him and who love him.
19 Mar 09
Yes there was love there at the start as I went on to marry him. There is a few good memories. Like you said you never know how you will handle the situation till it arises.
• India
17 Mar 09
pls develop some love,affection,sympathy in his heart...don encourage hatred at this level as it makes him cruel in future
19 Mar 09
I have never encouraged anyone to hate anyone and my son will never be a cruel person as I have three elder children who are growing into kind compassionate young adults.
• United States
16 Mar 09
I would tell him about the good times then I would explain to him that is dad had a disease called alcholism. Because it is a disease so he was also sick and it made him make a few mistakes he would not have made if he were well. I would tell him the important thing is that he loved him. He might not have been perfect. All parents make mistakes and that he did love him. I would leave it at that. He does not need any of the bad details. Just something likt that I think! It is hard with kids because the are so impressionable.
19 Mar 09
It is hard but all I can do is my best.
@daneg33 (1131)
• Canada
16 Mar 09
I would tell him the good things about him, like how much he loved his children, things to that effect. Stick to the happier times, he will find out more soon enough, but he needs to know some positive things first.
16 Mar 09
Unfortunately the happy times were few and far between but I will tell him about the good things I do remember.
@mayka123 (14327)
• India
21 Jan 10
I lost my husband when my kids were just 8 and 10 years old resp. My son does remember a lot about his dad but not my daughter. I have avoided telling him about the bad side of my hubby's life. If ever she does come to know something later I will deal with it when the time comes. I dont think that now that the parent is not around the kids should be knowing each and every detail about their life.
• Indonesia
17 Mar 09
If I were you,I will tell him the truth.First of all,tell him that nobody's perfect and everybody ever did mistakes include his dad.Tell him that whatever his dad had done,his dad loved him.Also tell him that you already forgived his dad. Explain him in a simple words as his age.When he's getting older,he will soon understand the situation.One we must concern,be honest,don't be a liar or we will loose everything we have especially our beloved people.
@eselmaro (208)
• Philippines
17 Mar 09
The truth can be good or bad. It is up to him how he can handle and will you tell him about it.
@ishi23 (71)
• United States
17 Mar 09
its a tricky situation....I think your son is too young to understand the bad things about his father. I would suggest that you continue on talking good things about your hubby, with time he will discover the real picture of his father
@barehugs (8984)
• Canada
17 Mar 09
Never be untruthful to your children, They revere you and believe you can do no wrong. No one has a good enough memory to be a lier. I would not enlarge on his Father's personality, unless and until, he asks. Then you will have to answer truthfully.
@GAUCI123 (1042)
• Malta
16 Mar 09
Well I will sure not lie to him, since he will sure find out when he gets older. try avoiding talking about negative things and tell him about his positive things.