24/12/2010 10:49 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Father Christmas, presents to children My son had some friends round for tea, two little girls and a boy. As they all crowded around my son's computer playing games, the visiting boy started a conversation about Christmas and how he knew his dad dressed up as Santa and delivered the presents on Christmas Eve.

One of the little girls said: 'I didn't see my Daddy last Christmas.'

'Why not?' asked the little boy, an incredulous look crossing his face.

My son chipped in: 'Lucy's dad doesn't live with them.'

I was surprised by the other boy's reaction. He seemed aghast a daddy wouldn't live with his children. He pumped Lucy for more details.

'But why doesn't he?' he demanded, 'Where does he live?'

Quite matter of factly, Lucy explained that her daddy lived in a house in the next town because 'He left mummy because they argued too much'.

'My dad would never do that,' the other boy replied, hotly. 'He would never leave us. Unless he died. My dad loves us too much.'

Then the conversation switched, quick as a flash, back to the computer game they were playing, and the subject was forgotten.

I'd been sitting at the other end of the room, listening in. The little boy's fierce assertion that his daddy 'would never do that' was somewhat heartbreaking. His faith in his parents' relationship and his dad's love and commitment was just so sweet, totally born out of childlike innocence.

As an adult and a cynic, I sat there somewhat sadly thinking how sometimes daddy's are asked to leave, forced to go, no matter how much they love you. Or sometimes out of the blue, they just announce, without warning, that in fact they love someone else.

It was one of those weird 'out of the mouths of babes' comments that stayed with me for weeks. Every time I've seen this little boy since, I've thought about it. And I really hope for him, it was a statement of fact. I hope his daddy does indeed love them 'too much' and never leaves.

Do your children view relationships in black and white?
Have you ever had to deal with awkward questions about breaks ups or separation?
Is it best to open discussions when kids make innocent statements, or should their idealistic views of love and marriage be encouraged?