Monday, February 09, 2004

Dear Abby, You Suck

Dear Abby:

I have a 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. She thinks my husband is her real father. She even carries his last name. Her real dad was an abusive drug addict who has had no contact with us.

Should I tell her the truth now? One day? Ever? I don't want him in her life, but I'm afraid that someday someone may slip and tell her, and then she will never forgive me.

Abby, this is so hard. I don't want to hurt my daughter, my husband or my other kids.

Needs Help in Texas

Tell your daughter now that you were married once before. She will have questions. Answer them honestly. The longer you put this off, the greater her shock will be. So do it now.

And the award for missing the point goes to... Abby!* Because your daughter will really care that you were married previously. Sure, minor heartache for a kid, but no serious re-evaluation of their identity nor yours. Now, if you have the conversation you actucally asked about the, "Honey, your daddy ain't your daddy" talk, the kid will care. She'll re-evaluate you, herself, her former daddy, her siblings... oh lord.

First, mom. You needing a horse whipping for allowing this big lie to roll down the hill for 10 years. Before you talk to your daughter, talk to an actual professional. It never fails to amaze me, by the way, how Abby is ever ready to recommend counseling except in the really important, it's not advisable to deal with this without professionals, type of situations. Prepare yourself. Prepare a network of support (inside and outside the family). And, almost importantly as all the rest of this, talk to her with your husband present, loving, and supportive. By the way, do her siblings know? Get ready for that shit storm as well. This is why you start out honest.

* Yes, I may not be giving Abbs enough credit here, she may not have missed the point. Best case scenario, she punted on second down. Unacceptable.


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