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What’s Best for Kid

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From the U.S.: Very long story short, I just recently found out that I have another child with a woman I dated a very long time ago. The little girl is a pre-teen years old, the mother was not sure who’s child it was. the man who is on the birth certificate is the only one the child has known as her dad.

Mom and the kid’s “dad” have a very toxic relationship. they were married (after the child was born) the relationship became somewhat abusive and they divorced.

In talking with the Mom the little girl loves her dad (the only guy she has ever known to be her dad) but she has inherited some of my genetic medical conditions.

I am happily married with 4 kids with my wife, my wife is being incredibly supportive of the situation. The mom and I did the tests and its verified, she has not and has no plans on telling the little girls “dad” and I agree because we don’t want to destroy that dynamic for her.

I am conflicted because the mom wants me to have a relationship with this little girl, I do as well very much so. But I don’t want to cause her problems. I have spent a lot of time reading about peoples experiences on both sides of the coin, most of the time they are about a bio father who abandoned them.

The medical contiions are perfectly treatable, but because they are genetic she is going to find out about them some day. What is best for the child, is it best to get to know her as a family friend, to not get to know her, or for her to be told the truth but re-inforce that her dad is the man who has raised her, that I didn’t know about it but still would like to know her? Whats best for her both short term and long term

What’s Best for Kid

Answered by on -


You are asking very important questions. Your focus on what is best for the child, not on the interests of all the adults involved, is appropriate and admirable. Your wife deserves lots of credit for understanding that having a relationship with this love child in no way threatens her or the children you have had together. There is always enough love to go around if people are loving.

In general, secrets in families are toxic. They have a way of eventually surfacing and causing a great deal of pain. My vote is to follow your instincts and to tell the little girl the truth, reinforcing that you in no way want to diminish her relationship with the father she’s known.

Be clear with the child’s mother that you are interested in doing this to help the child. The child deserves to know about the medical facts. She also deserves to know the truth about her own identity. Be clear that you are not interested in helping the mom manage any bad feelings she has about her ex.

I do think the other man should also be told. It’s inevitable that he will find out. It’s better to be in control of revealing the information than to have it come out either in anger by his ex or as a slip from the girl. It would be helpful if the two of you could have a face to face conversation about the situation. You don’t have to be new best friends. But you do need to agree that neither of you will ever speak critically about the other to the child. It’s also wise to agree that there is nothing to be gained by getting into conversations about the child’s mother. The focus should only be on how you can both help this little girl grow up healthy and strong.

With care, your introduction into her life expands the universe of love and support for this little girl. There is no reason for her to have to “choose” a dad. She can have and enjoy the love of two men in her life.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

What’s Best for Kid

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). What’s Best for Kid. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 12 Nov 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.