Child Caring

'Why is this little boy calling my daddy daddy?'

Hi Barbara,

My boyfriend is going thru a divorce and they still live together (in separate rooms of course- their lives are very separate and have been separated for a few years now) since she is in the process of finding a place to move into. They have a 4 year old boy and a 3 year old boy. My boyfriend and I got pregnant unexpectedly and we now have a 17 month old boy. Both of our families have been pushing for the boys to meet and my boyfriend has been on board but his ex has been causing issues and finally we are ready for them to meet irregardless of her feelings. We have seen a psychologist who said now is the time for them to meet, when they are young and have them meet at the park and make it casual. I agreed to not be there at the first meeting, as did she (her idea) but after that, I will be present. What are your thoughts? Thank you so much!

From: Christina

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Dear Christina,

Introducing the children to each other at a playground sounds fine. But the question is, introduce them how? By casually, does the psychologist mean simply as other kids at the playground? Because introducing them as half siblings will be meaningless to a 17-month-old and confusing to the preschoolers who, I suspect, already are pretty confused by a mom and dad who sleep in separate bedrooms and, from the sounds of it, don't live together amicably. I suspect the psychologist is recommending this only to appease your families; I can see nothing else to gain.

Which brings me to this: what's the rush? This is a complicated situation (probably much more complicated than you can possible share here), and you are only complicating it even more: "Why is this little boy calling my daddy daddy?"

I think it's smart that you and your boyfriend are in counseling together. But until a divorce is final and/or your boyfriend lives separately from his current wife (and why is that taking years, anyway?), I see no benefit to explaining to young children that their daddy has two families. When that time does come, I hope you will seek professional guidance again.