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Author Topic: how to handle question about # of children  (Read 4779 times)

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how to handle question about # of children
« on: June 04, 2010, 11:47:53 AM »
I've just joined the group in the last week. I've got a question about how to handle the question of "how many children do you have?"

I have two children, both in their early 20's. I am estranged from my daughter. It is sad to say, but I finally had to ask myself in regards to her, is life better without this person in it. The answer was yes. My son made the same choice. It was a difficult decision, one I put off making until one day she just went to far.

I haven't talked to her in well over a year, and don't see the situation changing.

Usually I have been answering that I have 2 children, but often, in further conversation, it becomes obvious that the situation is what it is. That's when the bean dipping starts. People suddenly feel the need to tell me how I should have a relationship with her, no matter what, etc. They have no idea what they are talking about and I don't want to get into a conversation about it. A few people I've had to bluntly tell them "my child, my business". Which can be a bit of a conversation killer.

I've thought about saying there is only one child, but that doesn't feel good to say. And if I get to know the person better, something that at some point with have to be clarified.

Is there anyway I could handle this better?


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Re: how to handle question about # of children
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 07:34:49 PM »
"I have two children but unfortunately don't have much of a relationship with my daughter.  However, my son lives in xxxx  and he zzzz"  If people want to bring up your daughter, look at them and slowly say "I really don't care to discuss the relationship with my daughter right now.  Bean dip."  If they persist, remove yourself from their company.


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Re: how to handle question about # of children
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2010, 07:46:57 PM »
I am sorry you are in this situation.

I agree with you; it wouldn't feel right to say you have one child.  When people ask about your daughter, I would try bean dipping first. If the person is not taking the hint, you could say, "My daughter is not in my life right now. This subject is very painful to me. I don't want to discuss it." 

If the person continues to bring it up, You can just keep saying "I don't want to discuss it."  It is a shame people won't respect your wishes to not discuss this topic.

I don't know if this is helpful or not.  :-\   Maybe some of the others will have some different suggestions. I hope you find something that works.

"Carry out a random act of kindness, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."  Princess Diana


  • Guest
Re: how to handle question about # of children
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2010, 03:41:15 PM »
Its a difficult position you find yourself in, that is for sure. I have a sister who went into foster care very early in life and we have the same sort of dilemma with casual conversations. My mother only recently (20+ years after the event) started to say I have 4 children, where for all the years before she would say she had only 3, such is her ease as time has passed to accept what happened and not be so concerned about other people's opinions and intrusions.

I have heard my mum say a number of times, "No, I have four children actually. However, one of my children is estranged from the family and always has been." When pressed on why she just says, "We took a decision that it was best for everyone." If anyone presses her for more information and she does not feel comfortable she just says, "I mentioned it because it is more honest to acknowledge all the family members, but the reasons why are personal and we don't really talk about it outside the family."

Suzy Sunshine

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Re: how to handle question about # of children
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2010, 11:53:20 AM »
It seems to me that if a stranger asks how many children you have it would take quite a lot of intrusive and inappropriate questions to drill down to one child's relationship with you. I would answer the question honestly and then steer the conversation in a direction that keeps me comfortable.

Don't forget to ask your conversational partner lots and lots of questions, the quickest way to get the conversation back on track is to ask her about her beandip.