‘I’m torn about telling my 6-year-old granddaughter daddy isn’t her real father’

Dear Coleen

My daughter’s boyfriend left her when my granddaughter was two months old. I never liked him and I was glad to see the back of him.

When my granddaughter was eight months old, my daughter met a lovely man and they married six months later. He’s the only father my ­granddaughter has ever known.

However, my granddaughter is now six, and I worry that they’ve never told her the person she thinks is her father isn’t her biological dad.

I’ve spoken to my daughter about it, and she wants to tell her, but keeps putting it off.

They’ve since gone on to have two children of their own, and my heart breaks to think of my little granddaughter one day finding out that the boys she thinks are her brothers are her half brothers.

Not that it matters, but it’s the not knowing part that I think she’ll struggle with.

I also worry that if, one day, her real dad comes back on the scene she’ll be angry with her mum – and all of us – for not telling her.

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What do you think we should do?

Coleen says

She needs to know the truth too, and the sooner the better. If she finds out when she’s 15, she’ll be mad that nobody told her. But if her mum tells her now, she’ll probably think about it for a bit, then go and play with her toys.

She’ll have questions, of course, and for those I would suggest getting a really good book on the subject. If you do a search on Amazon, there will be all kinds of books on this topic.

The worst thing to happen is if somebody just blurts it out when she’s older or, like you say, if her dad comes back into the picture and you’re all forced to tell her.

Speak to your daughter about how you feel, and why you think it’s ­important your granddaughter knows sooner rather than later. She’ll still think of her stepdad as her dad, and her half brothers as her brothers.

I’ve had this conversation with my kids. My youngest daughter is my son’s half sister, but they’ve never thought of it like that. They’re just brothers and sisters. So don’t make a big thing of that. She’ll work that bit out later on.

But don’t start criticising her dad, and telling her how he ran off, because that will make her feel unwanted.