I agree WT4 however "softened" doesn't necessarily mean lying, but rather sugar coating? Don't leave the door open to misinterpretation and false hopes, but telling the truth without any hard, hurtful edges - if that makes sense...
Hope can often be the killer in these situations and it's probably best to try and nip this in the bud early on so the child doesn't have any unrealistic dreams that will lead to them getting hurt along the way.
On the positive side, there are a wide number of children on here with very little or no contact with one parent and they're happy, balanced and performing well. The key thing is the child feels surrounded by love, whether it's from one parent, two, a carer or grandchild, or all of the above.