A mom holding her daughter's hand as they have a serious conversation

How to Explain an Absent Parent to Your Child

Unfortunately, not every parent remains actively involved in their child’s life. It’s only a matter of time before the child begins to ask questions. Although this can be a complex topic, it’s something that you can’t avoid discussing. Here are some tips on how to explain an absent parent to your child.

Give Simple Answers

If your young child asks about their absent parent, try to give simple answers. The goal is to comfort your child without causing any unnecessary confusion. There’s no need to go into detail. As they grow older, you can then provide a more in-depth explanation. You can say something like, “I don’t know where they are, but I’m here for you.”

Let Your Child Know That It’s Not Their Fault

When their mom or dad no longer comes around, some kids begin to blame themselves. Be sure to let your child know that it’s not their fault. The last thing you want is for them to feel responsible for how things worked out.

Avoid Speaking Bad About the Other Parents

When discussing your ex-partner’s absence, put your personal emotions aside. There’s no need to throw them under the bus. Your child will eventually be able to draw their own conclusions about the situation. It’s not a good idea to push them to feel a certain way. There’s always a chance for the parent to have a change of heart in the future.

Validate Their Feelings

It’s perfectly normal for a child to feel a bit sad or mad about being abandoned by a parent. Your job is to provide loving support. Encourage the child to be open about their true feelings.

Be Realistic

When a child asks why their mommy or daddy isn’t available, there’s nothing wrong with giving an optimistic answer. However, it’s still important to be realistic. You don’t want to provide the child with a false sense of hope. Telling the child a lie could come back to bite you in the long run.

If you need any help, you can contact us, Fenchel Family Law by calling (415) 650-1112. We will be more than happy to assist.

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