When I was young, I'd had a daughter, "Sam". She's now about to turn 17. Her mother and I never married, and never considered being together. I pay child support, and communicate frequently, but we have no real interaction outside of emails. Sam doesn't have any real interest in me, or my current family. I do now have another daughter, "Rene", who is about to be 11. She doesn't know about Sam. I've not told her because I know how excited she would be to have a sibling, and how crushed she would be to find out that Sam wants nothing to do with her. Taking nothing away from Sam, Rene is an amazingly bright, happy, wonderful child. She's also very sensitive to her own feelings and the feelings of others. I know that Rene would be devastated to find out Sam would want nothing to do with her. And it would break my heart to see her go through that. My question is how do I tell her about Sam? Should I tell her about Sam? Should I have done so already?

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    Have you asked Sam whether she might be interested in meeting/e-mailing/... Rene? Is she clearly opposed or just not interested?
    – Stephie
    Sep 1, 2016 at 15:39
  • @Stephie: Sam knows about Rene, and has made it very clear that she wants absolutely NOTHING to do with her. So much so she even refuses to call her "sister".
    – PiousVenom
    Sep 1, 2016 at 16:11
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    Oh yikes. Yah, this might be better left alone until they are both adults. 17 years old is a VERY selfish time for kids, and 11 years old is a VERY tough emotional time for kids. Very bad combo in this situation. Plus, you may be betraying Sam's trust by bringing Rene in on all of this.
    – Jeff.Clark
    Sep 2, 2016 at 15:56

4 Answers 4


You would absolutely not frame it as her half-sister wanting nothing to do with her. You frame it, correctly, as the daughter not wanting to be involved with you.

If you need to explain "why," tell her that you and her mom split up, and she feels hurt and rejected by not having you in her life as a full-time father, even if it wasn't an actual rejection by you, so she avoids contact and interaction because it reminds her of that hurt.

But, absolutely, do not allow your daughter to feel the rejection is in any way focused on her.

When should you? I don't have as clear an opinion on that, especially since I don't know your daughter's personality like you do.


Have you told Sam about Rene and that Sam's feeling of resentment or frustration toward you doesn't change the fact that she shares blood with rene. Ask her to put herself in renes shoes. But don't be pishy. It may just take time. What rene won't know at this point won't hurt her and when she is old enough to fully grasp it all she most likely won't resent you for a desicion her sister made. I have family that wants nothing to do with me.I didn't believe my mom when she told me after I was 16. I met them.even stayed with them.moved to their state even for two years ...wasn't worth my energy.they still aren't and I thank my mom for not telling me when I was younger and giving me that worry of a family not yet known

  • 17 is a very selfish and emotionally volatile time for kids. Telling Sam right now has a high potential to in disaster because of Sam's stance. Once they are adults and more emotionally diverse, they may become close.
    – Jeff.Clark
    Sep 2, 2016 at 16:09

My dad had 3 marriages, and I knew that I have a sister from second, but never seen her. What I figured out when I was 27, that I have an even older half-brother. I can tell that I was surprised, but I could understand my dad being non-talking about it. But I was raised as single child and never was excited of having a brother. Anyway, it depends, and in my opinion there's no clear answer.


Imagine being in Sam's shoes. You're 17 and your dad, who never really cared to connect with you, now wants you to connect with his daughter, whom you have no interest in meeting, instead of showing an interest to mend the relationship between you two.

For Sam, Rene is a symbol of you moving on and not caring about her. By expecting Sam to care about Rene, your just rubbing salt into her wounds, you're the one being selfish. Just leave Sam alone and don't force Rene into her life.

My own dad remarried and had another daughter when I was 16, and I feel like what Sam is feeling must be stronger versions of feelings I've had myself at that time, That's why I thing you should not force Rene into Sam's life at all.

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    It's not me who had no interest in Sam, but her who had no interest in me. Even at a younger age she never really cared to have me around.
    – PiousVenom
    Sep 5, 2016 at 13:51

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