History : my partner has a child with his ex , which is not his biological child but he knew this before birth (as she was already pregnant) . The relationship didn't last long but he stuck by the child.

PRESENT: Any way we've been together 9 years and the she is 10 . They have often questioned me as to whether they are really daddys child , and why they dont look like her brothers . I just said they wouldn't look like them because they are boys and i made them with daddy and im not her mum so that explains the looks . Recently her mother has expressed that she needs to tell the her that he is not the biological dad , after she has seen some papers where he is refered to as 'step father' from when we looked after her for 6 months due to social service intervening . And the mother has recently just had a baby with someone she hasnt even been with a year . Personally i feel its been deribarilaty done , i.e letting her have access to to the papers to be able to ask these questions to try and break contact or something .

How would you think they should go about this ? She wanted to do it in a public places i.e wacky warehouse . And i know im not her mum ,but should i be there aswell ? More friendly faces to show we have been there for her regardless of who made her ?

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    Don't do this in a public place. This isn't meeting a stranger on the internet to buy a unicycle. This is a private genetic truth that she may or may not have trouble processing. You want to be there to support her, not make her feel like she can't make a scene (or whatever the reason for suggesting a public place is). Jan 30, 2020 at 22:14
  • I agree with Ian. Personally I wouldn't make it a complex scene. I'd just straight up tell them, but also not act like it's abnormal. I've had a fairly "way she goes" attitude about most things in life so my kids wouldn't over-react about something I could easily rebuttal with a casual remark like that. It's worked as of yet.
    – Kai Qing
    Jan 30, 2020 at 22:58
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    Somewhere I get the feeling that this might be the opening move in a custody battle. I am not saying I am right, but you should take it into account and be prepared for it. Check who formally has custody over her, regardless of how the day-to-day arrangements are in practice. Feb 1, 2020 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


I am going to assume you and (step-)dad are loving parents, and that the child in question likes/loves you as (step-)parents.

Legal stuff aside, you, your partner and the biological mother are the child's family. Biological mother might argue against this, but as your partner has been "Dad" for the child since birth - and you his partner - you qualify as "Step-mom".

You should be there with the child, when the child is told. Motivations are unclear, why you might consider having the talk with dad and child alone, or whether biological mother should be there as well.

Use the question of why the child's brothers don't look like her, as starting point. "Remember when you were asking why you don't look like your brothers? We should talk a bit..."

You can then establish some common grounds on what a mom and dad are, and how somebody who isn't biological mom/dad still can be mom and dad. You yourself appear to be a step-mom, yet (I am assuming) you are still doing mom-stuff, taking care of the child and her family. Because you aren't biological mom doesn't mean you don't love her.

Next the difficult part: Why have you "lied" to her about the true nature of "Dad"? Keep it simple: "Dad" is still "Dad", telling her that "Dad" is really step-dad seemed confusing for her when she was younger. But this might have been wrong. Admit that you might have been wrong about what you have been telling her and you are trying to set things straight. (Extra parent tip: Admit to being wrong).

Finish by reinforcing that you love her as a daughter, and you enjoy the love and warmth and fuzzy stuff she brings to your family (if she is in doubt - don't make her question her role in your family).

Finally, this conversion should take place a private place.

  • Hi! Thanks for adding a nicely detailed answer. We are looking for answers that come from either personal experience or expertise, or are sourced from reliable reference material. Could you add a bit to the answer to indicate which of these the answer comes from? Thanks!
    – Joe
    Feb 18, 2020 at 15:41

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