Who is a 'real' mother or father?
Both, the children and the adults that I work with in my practice often tend to use the expression of 'my real father,' 'my real mother.' I might have addressed this before but the implicit resonances of this phrase are often quite detrimental for the child. For example, I had a young child become very upset about the fact that his grandma told him that his father was not his 'real father.' However, this father had been there since he was born, had given him his name and was actively involved in the child's life. For the child of a certain age, there is 'real' and there is 'fake' or 'pretend.' His grandma's phrase suddenly diminished the value of his father to the realm of the fake and pretend. This is not something he will easily accept, and this had quite a detrimental effect on the relationship between the child and his grandmother. I explained to the child that each child has only one biological dad, but can have more than one dad. The dad that raises the child is as 'real' as the dad who made the child in an act of love, but is not present anymore. This explanation was quite a relief to the child, and did calm him down.
It is more precise to speak about birth mother and father, or biological father, than to use terms as 'real,' which then reduces a person that can be extremely important and 'real' in the child's life to someone who is 'fake,' not real.
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