I have a 6 years old daughter that is not the daughter of my husband. My daughter doesn't know. Nobody else knows except my husband.

I want to tell my daughter some day that my husband is not her father but don't know how to tell her. This situation have been stressing me out for 6 years. How society is nowadays, I feel that she should know. I just don't want anybody else telling my daughter, and her responding with defiance.

What age do people believe it will be a good time to tell a child about who her biological dad is?

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    Does your husband know he is not your daughter's father? Oct 14, 2018 at 23:12
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    Hi, welcome to Parenting SE. We try to provide advice here. but it has to be in response to a specific question, because otherwise we have to guess. Can you edit your post to add at least one question? For instance you might ask if you should tell your daughter, or when you should tell her, or how. In the mean time, what does your husband think? Have you consulted him? I know this is upsetting, but take a deep breath and think about what you want. Oct 15, 2018 at 7:01
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    You might take a look at this related question: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/18874/… Oct 15, 2018 at 7:09
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    I almost never vote to close a question, but this, well, isn't a question. Azzarha8, could you please let us know exactly what kind of advice you are looking for?
    – Kevin
    Oct 15, 2018 at 14:42
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    My question I'm was trying to ask is "what age do people believe it will be a good time to tell a child about who her biological dad is"?
    – Azzarha8
    Oct 15, 2018 at 19:58

4 Answers 4


"Father" is used interchangeably in English as a biological relationship and a social contract/job description. You husband is her father because he fulfills the crucial social contract, even though he is not biologically related. It might be useful to refer to the biological father by some synonym such as "sire" to make it clear that there is a difference.

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    I'm not so sure sire is the best term. In general, dad is the best fit for the husband, while father is the best fit for the biological father. This always heavily depends on the situation. Sire wouldn't be a good choice for explaining this situation to a 6 year old. Oct 16, 2018 at 16:34

I think the earlier the better; the longer you leave it the more she will feel she has been lied to when she does find out. However she has to be old enough to understand the meaning of "biological father", otherwise the information will just be confusing.

One way might be to get an age-appropriate sex education book, read through it with her, and then talk about your own past and how she came to be conceived. Admit that you made a mistake, and talk about how sorry you are and what a wonderful man your husband is for standing by you. Emphasise that "real father" means the person who looks after you and loves you, not the man who merely provided some sperm. If you are consistent about "real father" vs "biological father" then she will pick up that and absorb it into her own thinking.

  • This is making a lot of assumptions about the reason why OP’s husband is not the biological father.
    – AsheraH
    Oct 24, 2018 at 19:19

It heavily depends on the circumstances to be honest. My mother and father split when I was two years old. She told me around the age of 5 or 6. The way she explained it was that my dad was the man whom she was married to and was around me all the time; while my father was a man who lived in New York and contributed to my birth.

I believe she explained this to me for one of two reasons, as I haven't asked her why she did it, nor do I care to ask either.

  • My father wanted contact with me.
  • I asked.

To top this off, I also see it from the perspective of a father who cares deeply for his children. I have a total of four children; three with my wife, and another from a previous marriage. His mother refuses to allow me to have contact with him, regardless of court orders. I've tried many times, but the point of the matter is; I care how she may break this news to him. This is why I say it heavily depends on the circumstances.

If her father isn't around (for any reason), and won't be around (for any reason); then there is really no reason to tell her, and if you and your husband are the only people who know (aside from her father), then there isn't anything to worry about.

On the other hand, if her father is around, but just now wanting to show interest (for whatever reason), then you should truly take care in how you break the news to her. It's important for your husband, and her father to get along together (truly all three of you should get along, without quarreling of any kind), prior to introducing this topic in any way. That way she can generate her own opinion of her father, instead of it being placed in her mind based on what she sees or hears.


If she is ever introduced to him, do it matter-of-factly, "This is (name), he is your biological father."

If there is ever an illness ("we're going to call your biological father and find out if this sort of thing runs in his family").

If she ever questions why she doesn't look like any sibling/cousin/etc., "let me show you a picture of someone else you're related to...".

If she ever has to do a family tree for school, make sure she learns that she has a biological father and the tree should include him.

Life is going to give you plenty of reasons to discuss this with her. When it happens, please reach out to the man and let him know how his name came up. Ask him if he's in a place in his life where he would be receptive to her. She will probably tell you if she wants to know more, meet, or contact him. If you gave her his full name and she's tech saavy, she might try to find him online (which may/may not be the best way for her to learn about him). Introducing them on a lunch "date" might be a much better idea.

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