How to Discuss Absent Fathers with Kids

Children find it difficult to cope with an absent parent if they are not given a proper explanation of it. It’s unavoidable for them to watch their friends coming to school with both their parents and when they realize the absence of their own parent, it gets a place for stress in the young minds.

Various questions arise in the mind of the child no matter what the condition could have been to live with a single parent. 

What is the emotional turmoil that a child goes through when he or she has to live without a father?

  • Low self-esteem of the child
  • Silent mourning
  • Physical and mental insecurity
  • Poor academic performance
  • Feeling of Homelessness
  • Negative impact on future relationships
  • Health disorders 

How to Tactfully Answer your Child’s Question about his/her father’s Absence?

Separation, imprisonment, abandonment, and death are the four primary reasons for a child to live without a father, and all the causes result in one feeling and that is the feeling of loss. If this is not dealt with deep understanding then it will leave a scar in the young hearts and have a negative impact on their future relationships.

It is a social right to know both your parents and the reason, of course, if a child is living with a single parent. Do not worry if you have to raise your new-born as a single parent, you will get used to it. 

How to discuss with kids regarding absent fathers?
-Do not provide assurance that his/her father is playing hide and seek
-Talk about what kind of person his/her father was
-Do not makeup stories. 

Talk positively about their Dad

There may be a bitter separation that you have gone through with your husband, but that doesn’t wipe away the truth that he is the father of your child. Don’t poison a young mind with hatred, threat, and revenge.

These are heavy terms and kids can hardly bear these terms. You cannot speak ill about the partner with whom you have a child so you got to keep that respect in front of your little one. 

Tell the Truth

Being careful about the child’s maturity is significant. Holding specific details does not mean that you are lying but you cannot put a blatant lie that ‘Your father is Dead’ to avoid your kid’s questionnaire.

They will be resentful when they grow up to know the truth. Let them know the truth when they grow older as it may hurt for some time but eventually they will accept it. 

Educate them on different kind of families

Your child should not comprise the definition of a family consisting of a father mother and their children. There should be acceptance and general knowledge of the different kind of families that exists in society. 

There are single-parent homes, adopted children’s homes, children through sperm donors, and children living with grandparents. All of the families have equal respect and love and nowhere seems to be lesser significant that the stereotypical definition of a family.

Deal with your past emotions

You cannot avoid your child’s questions on an absent father and get away with the rage. It develops more and children are curious by nature. They will go and speak to a third party who may interpret your relationship and provide the wrong information.

You need to sort out your past emotions and tactfully speak to your child without bringing your own feelings in between. Maybe, get a pet, it will help your child overcome the loneliness.

Why should you deal with your emotions first before answering the questions your kid has?
-Getting angry or upset will not help, rather, your kid will try getting information from someplace else.

-Not wanting to answer questions will make your kid inquisitive.

-If you think that not answering these questions helps, you are wrong as that can damage your kids’ mental health. 

Business absence or military absence

Every child wants to grow up with both their parents and when they witness a very long absence or frequent absence of their father in the house, then they might come up with various questions.

You need to be honest with your child and explain their Dad’s work schedule which seems busy but how they frequently miss being around. Include your child in all the communications and let them stay in touch and understands the importance of work and job, which is for the benefit of all. 

Expect your child to continue with queries on their absent father

Patriarchal society makes it unavoidable to get rid of the father’s name which may still be attached to your child in the records. Children will persistently ask if their father loves them or not. 

You need to go gentle with the reply. Don’t lie and don’t break the heart. You can say that he would definitely fall in love with kids if he gets to know them the way they are. 

Teach them that their dad is not absent because of them

Children often live with the guilt that they have remained the outcome of an unplanned pregnancy or a failed marriage. As they grow older, they get adamant on their self built guilt and destroy their own life.

You need to reassure and make them feel that they have no role in the separation and it was all the choice of two adult partners who are excellent people individually but not together. 

Reassure kids:
-Kids have a tendency to believe that their fathers are absent because of them. 

-Reassure them that absent fathers have nothing to do with them. 

-Make them understand that you are both the father and the mother to your little dumpling.

-In fact, celebrate fathers’ day in your style with them.

Show them your selfless love

It may sound cheesy but love is the ultimate solution to most of the problems in the world. Let your child have very little space for another parent in their life if it’s the case of a completely absent parent. Don’t give false assurances but do every bit to fill the void. 

Make sure that you are enough and it’s your decision to be a single parent. Your love will lessen the questions and as they grow older, they get to understand things all by themselves. 

Let your child express the emotions

Never try to suppress the emotions that your child carries for his absent father. He might compare his situation with a friend and see how his friend’s dad accompanies him o the gym or plays soccer together. 

Allow him to feel worst and then talk out, emotions that are suppressed leads to dangerous consequences. If you have recently divorced, help them deal with your divorce gracefully. 

Identify people who will be father-figures

Your child will particularly feel hollow in an otherwise happy life when occasions like Father’s Day arrives. You should identify a person who is a father figure to your child who can he look upon in troubled times or shares greetings on a special day. 

It can be a grandfather, maternal uncle, or even a friend of yours. If you have a son, he may not share a few things with you which he believes to be the boy’s talk. It is necessary for you to find him a male companion who is a guide, mentor, friend, and father figure.

Frequently Asked Questions on Answering Kids’ Questions About Absent Fathers

Is it good to let your child hate his father because he was abandoned?

It gets traumatic for a child to bear the burden of hate and detest. Children should not feel that their father had some major drawbacks. They will be scared to carry it along due to similar genes. You can highlight the good qualities of your partner to make sure that your child feels better. 

What is the phrase that needs to be avoided while dealing with your child?

Never tell your child in the peak of your anger that ‘You were my mistake’.  This is the most disheartening and selfish phrase to psychologically destroy your child’s mindset. It also tarnishes your image.

Does the absence of a father pave way for an undisciplined child?

When you decide to take the responsibility of your child, then you got to play the role of both the parents. Children raised by a single mother understand the challenges of their mother in day to day life. They will be more disciplined as they realize the difficulties of a single parent who leaves no stone unturned to keep them happy.


Single mothers have raised excellent individuals who have earned fame, power, and money in different sectors. This can also not be considered as a misfortune because it’s good to live in peace with a single parent rather than unhappily living in a chaotic home with both the parents. 

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