My sons biological father and I have been separated since my child's birth. He wasn't on the birth certificate and hasn't seen him. My fiancé has been in my sons life since he was 3 yrs old and has been a wonderful role model and is now called daddy. I was recently served papers for paternity and visitation. Long story short biological father was awarded paternity and visitation. First supervised visit was yesterday. I told my son he was meeting mommy's friend. I want this to be a good thing for my son and I want this to be a good transition and addition to his life. I don't know how to tell my son who this person actually is. What's the best way to introduce this person into my child's life without confusing him too much?
I'm going to agree with user1450877's answer about being honest, but not his/her tone. Be 100% honest with your child. The words you choose will need to honor their ability to understand, while being honest.
If I were in your shoes, here are some of the things I would want to do:
- Get your son comfortable around his biological father (BF). In an ideal world the 4 of you (you, BF, daddy, and son) would spend time together and your son would get more comfortable with his BF. If that's not possible, maybe 3 of you could spend time together.
- Explain that people can have many father and mother figures, but they only have 1 BF and MF. Explain the difference.
- Help him see the positive sides: he gets to learn good qualities from both his BF and his daddy, he gets more people to have fun with, his BF will do fun things with him that his daddy won't, and vice versa, etc.
4 is a little young for full explanations, but you could reasonably let him know that the biological father helped make your baby so that you and your fiancé could have a son.
Your fiancé is obviously the father in the family relationship, but if the biological father uses that term, make sure you make it very clear that biological father is not automatically the same as father.
Different solutions can work, but you need to find one that works for you, your fiancé, and your ex.
IMO, "Daddy" is usually reserved for the male parent who raises the kid, in this case that seems to be your fiancé. If your ex strongly objects to that, I suggest assigning both the fiancé and the ex new labels that they can agree on (let them provide the suggestions) and leave the "dad", "father" and "daddy" labels untouched.
To explain to the 4 year old who mommy's friend is, I strongly recommend to first teach him the basics of human and animal reproduction. Then you can explain partners and marriages, while specifically explaining your relationship to your fiancé and to your ex.
The whole thing will not be a big shock as long as you don't use words he already understands ("daddy", "father"), and attach meanings to these words he doesn't yet understand. You don't want or need to tell him that daddy is not daddy, because that wouldn't be true. You need to tell him that daddy is not his biological father, and that means you need to explain what a biological father is.