My daughter is 2 and a half. My boyfriend and I have been together since I was a few months pregnant. She eventually started calling him daddy and we stopped correcting her as her biological father continued to deny having a child. About a month ago her biological father finally took the DNA test and started coming to visit and has agreed to help financially. This is all great but he now demands that we start calling him daddy as well.

How do I explain this to my 2-year-old daughter?


3 Answers 3


Call them both daddy.

Joe (Or whatever his name is.) is also your daddy.

This should be all the explanation your two-year-old needs. She is not likely mature enough to understand the complexity, and won’t be for a long time. So a simple explanation, “some girls get two daddy’s,” is enough for now.

This is a perfectly normal practice for young children with step-fathers and bio-dads. Even for older children who understand there is a bio-dad and a step-dad.

It sounds like the biological father is trying to reconcile. Put your personal feelings aside and focus on building relationships based on honesty — which is surely the best example you can set for your daughter. If the biological father is actually supporting his daughter, there is no reasonable explanation for denying him this ultimately small request. It is, after all, just a label; however important it may seem.

He will always be her biological father, never telling her will not change it, and it sounds like he also wants to take responsibility and support her.

There is the possibility that she will greatly resent you for not telling her important information about herself, if that’s what you are suggesting, when she is older.

That is not the case for your boyfriend. And, I don’t be to be rude or inconsiderate, my next statement may never be tested, and I hope it isn’t, but there is no guarantee the relationship will last; unless he legally adopts your daughter, there may be a point where he is not in the picture.

Better to tell her of her reality while she is young and able to adjust easily, not when she is 18 and it falls like a bombshell.

  • Oh i dont plan on keeping it from her. I realise she will have questions and I pursued this relationship. Court ordered him to take a DNA test. My concern is that ehile she is putting together her idea of a mommy and daddy that we shouldnt be coaching her to call a stranger daddy. I suggested papa.... asked him even, and he agreed and then when i wasnt around changed his mind. But i guess my question is, u do t think it is confusing to call a man that raises u daddy, and a stranger daddy? I think she should come to a title on her own terns as she did with her step father May 7, 2018 at 15:01
  • @Mommylovesyou letting your daughter come to her own terms seems very reasonable; just be sure you really are okay with it, because she might settle on daddy anyway. Also consider that, if bio-dad remains involved, he won’t be a stranger to her for long. It’s perfectly alright to want what’s best for her, and to be irritated at bio-dad for changing his mind about what he is called. (This action also informs me that he really didn’t agree with you about the label in the first place, but did so just to get along in the moment.) May 7, 2018 at 15:21
  • True. U have been very helpful. Thank you. I am still accepting that this is a big change, but he seems to have a good family and i want that experience for her. My parents are diseased, and having loving grandparents for her is very important to me. I just want him to be more honest and patient is all. A relationship must be built. It just takes more visits and her seeing me reacting to his presence in a positive way, which i will admit is difficult lol. But vital May 7, 2018 at 15:51
  • Canni ask?i have let him take her to the park alone. Also his parents took her to a butterfly garden and all was well. So i did let them take her overnight,she has never been away from me like that. She came back clingy and anxious. Actually shaking. Would not bathe without me actually in the tub with her. We are potty training, but when she came back she was refusing to go to the potty, peeing in her panties and barely talking.i dont think they harmed her in any way, that is not what im suggesting, i think we moved way too fast. Am i wrong for slowing it down? Do u think she felt abandoned? May 7, 2018 at 16:25
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    @NonCreature0714 has good suggestions, be wary, but it may just be the trauma of having been left alone with strangers. My husband and I left our 6 year daughter with her (very loving and kind) grandparents, who she already knew and loved spending time with, for a week while we went to Hawaii. Previously she had never shown any signs of separation anxiety. It upset her greatly once she realized (emotionally) that we weren't there to tuck her into bed at night. Yes, this may have been moving too fast. May 7, 2018 at 16:59

While your frustration is understandable, what it matters is the psychological well being of your child at the end of the day.

I would introduce her dad and refer to her dad as her father and would let to her to decide whatever she would wish to call him. Explain to her how fortunate she is to have two kind of fathers.

I would however avoid willingly or unwillingly doing parental alienation, no matter how justified you are.

I see a lot of negativity in your post about her father now being present in her life, however with duties also come rights. It might be for the best it happens so early in life and not much later on.

Her father might genuinely be trying to come round, and with luck will be in her life forever. Let time and the child decide what will happen, and what name she will feel he will be called.

See https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201304/the-impact-parental-alienation-children

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    Thank u! That is what i want. For her to know, and decide what to call him. Maybe my post was not very clear. I have tried this whole time for them to have a relationship. U did sense anger, yes, i have some, though i do muffle and put it away when we are both with her. I want her to be comfortable with him. May 7, 2018 at 15:04
  • @Mommylovesyou Completely understandable. At the end of the day, the one that will suffer more from misunderstandings is your daughter. May 7, 2018 at 15:11

You could ask "daddy" how he thinks he wants to explain this to his two year old daughter. Just because he demands it doesn't mean you actually have to do anything.

What really counts is not "daddy"s demands, but what is in the best interest of your daughter. If you think it is better not to confuse your daughter, who has learned that your boyfriend is "daddy", then don't confuse her, and don't introduce this man as daddy.

(Frankly, he denied to be her father for two years, he can't complain if the daughter denies he's the father for two years as well. )

  • This feels like a rather agressive response. Of course your daughter is the most important thing. But the other guy is her biological dad and your daughter can benefit from having him around. So it is in her interest to keep the peace and find some middle ground
    – Batavia
    May 7, 2018 at 5:48
  • I am still scheduling and encouraging visits. However, for now i wish to be present for them. She did only just meet him, and when it comes to my daughter i cant just trust someone. Anyone. I do want it to build to that May 7, 2018 at 15:07

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