My question is --- Would it be bad for me to come into my daughter's life later than a year old due to financial reasons of having to move? Her mother says babies have stranger anxiety and that if I can't move to her state before then, then I should stay away. And this is her ostensible reason for not doing an acknowledgement of paternity with me and making a parenting plan. She said she doesn't want me in and out of her life. I suggested some visits and showing her my picture until I can move there but she refuses and says, "go through the courts but don't be surprised if they agree with me." Her mother also says my daughter doesn't need to know about me if I can't move there anytime soon and that her husband will be her father. I'm doing the best I can with what I have and she says it's not good enough but that she's not trying to exclude me even though she refuses to work with me on something I can actually do.
From: Donnie, Portland (Ore or Me?)
It's true that babies go through a stage called stranger anxiety, or separation anxiety, when they are unsettled by people they don't know, and it's true that the more they see a person, and the younger they are when they are introduced, the less likely it will happen and the less stressful it will be. There are ways to ameliorate that stress, however, (see the link above), and I'm not aware of any research that shows lasting or harmful effects from a baby's exposure to someone new.
The thinking today is that it is better for children to know the truth of their beginnings but it's also true that having an absentee parent pop in and out of a child's life is not easy on a child, either. What's in the child's best interest is for you and the mom to work together to figure out your role. Sounds like you need to start by establishing paternity. This site, The National Fathers' Resource Center, is a good starting place.
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