Friday, May 2, 2014

Talking about Step-families with Kids

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"Momma, who's tummy was Pip in?"  This question from Bear {5.5 yrs} caught me completely off-guard.  We were in the family room, going through boxes and downsizing.  We happened to come across a picture of our family prior to Bear's birth.  In the picture, my step-daughter, Pip, was about 10 years old.  Bear had been sitting and studying it when that question emerged. 
 
As there's no relationship between Pip {18 yrs} and her biological mother and I've since declared her my "heart daughter", the fact that I'm not her "real" mom rarely comes up.  I hadn't thought talking about this fact would be an issue for many years until Bear was old enough to do the math and see that she had been born 10 years prior to my husband and I's marriage.  So you can imagine why I was surprised and momentarily stunned.  So I bought some time.  "Whose tummy do you think she was in?" I responded. 
 
Bear thought and thought.  "Nana's? No.... {little laughter}.  That's not right.  I just don't know.  Not yours, because you said I was your first baby."  And that's when I realized that not only had I set myself up for this conversation, but that this small child had put those pieces together at the tender age of 5. 
 
And so I began, saying something to the extent of  "Well, your sister was in another mom's tummy."  To which Bear countered, "Whose?"  That's when I decided to make it simple.  "It doesn't matter whose tummy she was in, because I'm her mommy and that's all that matters."  He responded with a simple nod of the head and a sweet smile to show me he understood and then turned and began playing with some toys. 
 
I think that in the next week's time, I'll start working in books like Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, God Found Us You, and a few others just for a little bit of reinforcement. 

I still really can't get over that he put that all together...

What's a tough topic your kiddo has asked about? 
 

 
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3 comments:

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

What a perceptive child! I love the way you dealt with it, and Bear's acceptance - because it is so clearly the truth.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

My mom has terminal cancer and my son wants to know just when she will die.

Angela said...

I can relate to this post! There was a time when my children first realized that their half-sister had a different mommy. It was kind of confusing for them but they quickly accepted the simple explanation I gave them...and I think that's key ~ to keep it simple just as you did. My step-daughter lives with her mom though so it is a little different than your situation.

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