DEAR ABBY: My son was conceived when his father and I were married to other people. He is now 3 and starting to ask questions about his daddy.
I have since divorced, but my child's father has not. His wife and other children are not aware that my son exists. His father pays child support, but has made it clear he wants no relationship whatsoever with our son.
How do I begin to explain to my little one where his father is and why he's not a part of our family?
I also worry about how my son will handle the truth when he's older. I'm afraid he'll have a real issue with the fact that he was conceived during an affair. Please advise me, Abby. -- CANADIAN MOM
DEAR CANADIAN MOM: Honesty is the best policy -- but it should be given in small doses in an age-appropriate manner. Tell your son that his father lives "elsewhere," with his "other family." He can learn more details later.
It would be very helpful if you could get a father substitute involved in your son's life. A trusted male friend or relative could spend time with the boy. If you don't have one, Big Brothers Big Sisters may be able to match your son with a caring male adult who can serve as a mentor and role model. In Canada, call (800) 263-9133 or visit the Web site at www.bbsc.ca. (There is no national 800-number in the USA at this time, but readers who are interested in Big Brothers Big Sisters of America can visit www.BigBrothersBigSisters.org for information.)