Father to (adult) son 101
September 15, 2011 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend (really): How do you (or did you) deal with finding out that you have an adult child you didn't even know existed?

A friend of mine discovered a while back that he has an adult son from a previous relationship that he didn't even know existed. It's a long story. They are in regular contact now and live in the same city. The son's in his mid 20s.

So... can anyone point us to supportive resources that explain how you deal with suddenly finding yourself to be a parent, especially to an adult, or share their own experiences of similar situations? Obviously I'm open to being memailed on this one as it's a sensitive subject.

If it's relevant my friend is single, middle aged and has no other biological children, though he has been (and is still occasionally) a kind of godfather-cum-stepfather to several of a friend's children, although they now live in another city several hours away.

There's good will on both sides, but also a certain amount of confusion too. Please help us make this work.

posted by Chairboy to Human Relations (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Something similar happened in my husband's family - a relative discovered he has a college-aged daughter from a previous relationship. He and his wife are some incredible caring people and immediately welcomed her.

They've made it work - the rest of us met her at a family reunion this summer. It worked best, I think, that he didn't step in and try to parent her. Yes, she's his daughter, but he didn't raise her. So, that frees them to have a more collegial relationship, more like I have with say, my husband's aunts - they didn't know me growing up, but we really like each other and are friends. We have a bond tighter than just friendship because we also have those family ties.

I think the best thing for them was the assumed good will on either side, and that they both approached it with a willingness to get to know each other, plus lots of open communication. This fall, she's actually moving cross-country and will live with them to attend school.
posted by bookdragoness at 3:28 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

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