DEAR ABBY: I have a 5-year-old grandson I adore. His mother (my daughter) is a single parent who left the father of her child after he beat her up. He was charged and spent six months in jail. We assured him at the time that he would have no financial or social obligations to his child whatsoever, and they have had no contact since the incident. That was five years ago when my grandson was a newborn.
My question: What do we tell my grandson when he asks about his father? Please understand that this man is a drug dealer and gang member from a "family" of gang-bangers who have all done jail time. He's also a high school dropout with no future.
I see no good coming from my precious grandson knowing anything about his father, who lives in the next town. My daughter has a good job and is raising my grandson in a loving, healthy and stable environment. He is surrounded by fine role models.
What I'd like to do is tell my grandson his father is dead. What do you think, Abby? -- CONCERNED GRANDFATHER IN SEATTLE
DEAR CONCERNED: Although it's tempting, I don't recommend it. If you lie, that untruth will come back to haunt all of you, and your grandson will wonder what other lies he was told.
When he asks, it would be better to tell the boy that when he was born, his father was too immature to be a parent and agreed that his son should be raised by his mother and her family. Later on, when he is older, he should be told the truth. Be prepared to offer him professional counseling at that time to help him deal with any feelings of rejection.