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wth should they call new husband???

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Okay, so my situation is this...
I have a 3-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old daughter with my ex-husband. When my second daughter was 3 months old (and oldest was just turning 2), we had "trial separation", which turned into him having sex with everyone with a vagina. Obviously, I decided we were done.
My very long-time friend from high school had moved in before husband even moved out to rent out our basement to save up money for awhile (we had a few housemates over the course of our marriage - which lasted a total of 4 years). And after husband and I were totally done, me and my old friend who lived with me started dating and fell in love and all that.
My daughters' biological dad has nothing to do with them. I tried everything in the world to get him involved in their lives, but he's really into having sex with random girls, drinking, dj'ing online (, and everything else in the world other than taking any responsibility for his kids. The longtime friend who I am with (named Shane, who isn't technically my husband, but only because we're not doing the marriage thing) told me from day one that he would only step in and be their dad if their biological dad failed to do so. He didn't want to step on their dad's toes and be something that was unfair to their dad. However, their dad is AWOL and hasn't seen them in many, many months. He doesn't call me about them, or even email me about them or anything.
So we've all moved on. My 3-year-old barely recognizes him in pictures anymore, and my 18-month-old has no recollection of her biological dad whatsoever. Shane is 10x the father their biological dad ever was anyway. So we're all happy... except for one issue.
My oldest calls him "Shane" because we always referred to him as that from the time she was 2. I didn't want to start calling him anything like "Daddy" to her while she was still having issues with getting over the absence of her biological "daddy", whom she always called "Daddy". My 18-month-old calls him "Daddy" 100% of the time. She hasn't even really known any other dad.
We are expecting our first baby together in August. So when I refer to Shane as Daddy, my oldest daughter says "No, that's Shane!". It's been the cause for much confusion around here... what Shane should be called. I'm okay with my daughter calling him Shane, but I wonder how much she can understand about the new baby being Shane's biological child and about her younger sister calling him Daddy.
Does anybody have any suggestions or personal experience about this?
post #2 of 35
My stepfather was a very hands on parent who was in my life from the time I was 15 months old. I called him "Poppy" which was nice because it was a fatherly name that expressed the closeness of our relationship, but it wasn't dad or daddy which was reserved for my biological father. My half-sisters (bio-children of my mom and Poppy) also called him Poppy instead of Daddy.

Could you possibly come up with an alternative to dad or daddy for all your children to call him. One idea might be "Papa". It means father or daddy, but it wouldn't be confused with Dad or daddy. The children would always clearly know which father to which you were referring. I wouldn't tell your daughters they had to call your dp anything in particular, but when your new baby is born just start referring to your dp by whatever name you have chosen chances are they will start to call him by that name as well. If your older daughter wants to call him "Shane" no big deal. If your younger dd still is calling him daddy you could suggest that she call him "Papa" or whatever you have chosen. Tell her its nice if she calls him that name so the baby isn't confused or even explain that even though her bio-dad isn't around he will always be Dad, but that Shane is a father to her too and that if she wants to call him by a special father name she can call him by whatever name you guys have chosen.
post #3 of 35
First name is sufficiently familiar, IMO. I am really good friends with a blended family, and the kids called him by his first name all they up until their mother married him. Then he legally adopted the two older ones, which was just before the couple had their first child together. It was a similar situation to yours - their biological father just got up one day and walked out on his wife and two small children.

I am completely opposed to coercing a child to use a name they don't want to.
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamalluv View Post
First name is sufficiently familiar, IMO.

I am completely opposed to coercing a child to use a name they don't want to.

I disagree with the first statement but fully agree with the second.


A step-parent, especially one that is dedicated and caring, deserves some sort of honorium. I don't know what it is, but we title so many people in our childrens lives, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends that get the title of aunts and uncles, yet a step-parent, who has more contact and loving parent/type role, with the child, gets nothing. It just makes me sad. Other than her mom and dad, I am the closest adult in dsd's life. I am the mommy at our house providing for, loving, playing with, taking care of, etc. Madison, just as I do my other two daughters. Yet I am just Julie, no different than my friends kids call me. No one bats an eye that she calls my brother and sil "aunt and uncle" or my parents "bompie and mimi" or my own aunts and uncles "aunt and uncle" no one says that she should just refer to them by their first name or as "mrs. or Mr." yet, for the step-parent, who is there in the role of parent, and for some is the only mother/father they have, a first name is just fine. It is hurtful sometimes.

As to the 2nd comment, I agree completely, a child should not be forced to use a title they are not comfortable with. But, to not even sugest other options is reall a slpa in the face to the step-parent.

OP- Could you maybe say "Daddy Shane" when you refer to him? Because obviously your 18 month old has granted him that title, and he IS the bio father of the babe that is on its way. Then your older dd can get used to the idea that he is a daddy (not her bio daddy, but new babe's) and can still call him Shane if she wants. When we have all the kids with us we refer to each other as Mommy Julie and Daddy Matt, if not when we are all out together it would be "Maia and Sage follow Matty, mommy's going potty by herself. Madison follow daddy because julie's going potty by herself" instead of just being able to say "Okay, girls, follow Daddy Matty, mommy Julie's going potty by herself!" usually Madison calls me Julie and Maia and Sage call their step-dad Matty, but they all understand why we say mommy Julie and daddy matt when we refer to each other.
post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
I disagree with the first statement but fully agree with the second.


A step-parent, especially one that is dedicated and caring, deserves some sort of honorium. I don't know what it is, but we title so many people in our childrens lives, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends that get the title of aunts and uncles, yet a step-parent, who has more contact and loving parent/type role, with the child, gets nothing. It just makes me sad. Other than her mom and dad, I am the closest adult in dsd's life. I am the mommy at our house providing for, loving, playing with, taking care of, etc. Madison, just as I do my other two daughters. Yet I am just Julie, no different than my friends kids call me. No one bats an eye that she calls my brother and sil "aunt and uncle" or my parents "bompie and mimi" or my own aunts and uncles "aunt and uncle" no one says that she should just refer to them by their first name or as "mrs. or Mr." yet, for the step-parent, who is there in the role of parent, and for some is the only mother/father they have, a first name is just fine. It is hurtful sometimes.
.

I see that as more of an issue with your friends kids calling you by your first name, rather then the step kids. I have raised my step son, practically all on my own since he was 3. I am the only "mother" he really knows as his almost never sees him and calls very rarely. I am "mom" but I am not HIS mother, so he calls me by my first name. It is more familiar then any other child should be with me, and other kids shouldn't be calling me by my first name if I felt it hindered on the relationship with my step son.

As for the OP, I think she has to decide what she is comfortable calling this man. In her mind he is Shane and that should be just fine. He isn't her father, he is her Shane. That isn't a bad thing.

My boys call my husband by his first name and again, it doesn't deminish the relationship they have with him, but they do understand that while he isn't their father, he is the one who is choosing to be their dad and their relationship reflects that, the familiar title of a first name works out just fine.

As for the younger one calling him dad, she doesn't know any different and if your older girl asks why the 18 month old calls him dad, just say that is what she likes to call him, you can call him that, or Shane, it is up to you. The baby on the way just learns from the start that he is dad.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by writteninkursive View Post
Okay, so my situation is this...
I have a 3-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old daughter with my ex-husband. When my second daughter was 3 months old (and oldest was just turning 2), we had "trial separation", which turned into him having sex with everyone with a vagina. Obviously, I decided we were done.
My very long-time friend from high school had moved in before husband even moved out to rent out our basement to save up money for awhile (we had a few housemates over the course of our marriage - which lasted a total of 4 years). And after husband and I were totally done, me and my old friend who lived with me started dating and fell in love and all that.
My daughters' biological dad has nothing to do with them. I tried everything in the world to get him involved in their lives, but he's really into having sex with random girls, drinking, dj'ing online (, and everything else in the world other than taking any responsibility for his kids. The longtime friend who I am with (named Shane, who isn't technically my husband, but only because we're not doing the marriage thing) told me from day one that he would only step in and be their dad if their biological dad failed to do so. He didn't want to step on their dad's toes and be something that was unfair to their dad. However, their dad is AWOL and hasn't seen them in many, many months. He doesn't call me about them, or even email me about them or anything.
So we've all moved on. My 3-year-old barely recognizes him in pictures anymore, and my 18-month-old has no recollection of her biological dad whatsoever. Shane is 10x the father their biological dad ever was anyway. So we're all happy... except for one issue.
My oldest calls him "Shane" because we always referred to him as that from the time she was 2. I didn't want to start calling him anything like "Daddy" to her while she was still having issues with getting over the absence of her biological "daddy", whom she always called "Daddy". My 18-month-old calls him "Daddy" 100% of the time. She hasn't even really known any other dad.
We are expecting our first baby together in August. So when I refer to Shane as Daddy, my oldest daughter says "No, that's Shane!". It's been the cause for much confusion around here... what Shane should be called. I'm okay with my daughter calling him Shane, but I wonder how much she can understand about the new baby being Shane's biological child and about her younger sister calling him Daddy.
Does anybody have any suggestions or personal experience about this?
I got remarried when my DS was 3. His dad is involved, so he has a "dad." My husband is "Pop" and all of our kids since then have/will call him pop/poppy. I love it!
post #7 of 35
Heres my experience.

My DSS is almost 7. I've been around since he was 3.5ish and when I first came around I told my DP that I had no intention of taking the 'Dad' title from DSS's bio dad even if DSS decided to start calling me Dad.

I figured we would leave it up to him. Well..... about 6 months into dating we were moving in together and when we went to sign the lease agreement the manager said 'If it's ok with your dad.....' and Jake looked up, sleepy eyed not even 4 (almost there) and said 'Is josh my daddie?' and we were both side swiped by the question and I believe our response was to side step the question and say 'he's your josh' and that stuck. I was Josh and I was ok with that.

Not long after that we decided to have a child, within 3 or 4 months. DP started calling me Daddie and DSS was still calling me Josh but every now and then tested Dad or Daddie to see how it fit and we never corrected him. During all this time DSS's bio dad had seen Jake once, and was also not easy to work with accusing DP of 'hiding his kid' and insulting her which during the pregnancy didn't fly with me. So I eventually put my foot down, as much as I could without having actual contact and got her to understand that regardless of her Ex's title in my DSS's life she did not have to put up with being insulted and she started hanging up on him when he got beligerent. That lasted a couple of months, it was obvious he was wanting to be a part of DSS's life and I was/am all for it. Eventually he stopped insulting DP and now we have a working relationship that allows DSS to see his bio dad whom he calls by his first name, we call him 'your other dad' and he sometimes argues with us but not always. When my DD was born Jessica started to only refer to me as Dad and Daddie for her benefit and DSS eventually made the change over to just 'Dad'. I didn't prompt any of it, and from the sounds of it your DP wouldn't prompt it either.


I wouldn't correct your oldest in calling him by his name, but I would tell her that your youngest can call him whatever she likes so long as you 2 know you are in it for the long haul and having that emotional daddie bond isn't going to be a bad thing.



You may find that eventually with your youngest calling him Daddie that your oldest may follow suit. I would let them decide what they want to call him. But I wouldn't allow the oldest to continually correct the youngest. Because she needs to figure out what to call him too.




I also think parents make a bigger deal out of titles then kids. Even if they call him by his first name he is still the parental dad in their lives and they will look at him that way regardless of what they call him. But that is up to you two too i guess.
post #8 of 35
"If your younger dd still is calling him daddy you could suggest that she call him "Papa" or whatever you have chosen."

Or you could NOT, since this Shane dude is, in fact, the only father figure your younger dd has ever had in her life. If you every break up, for her that experience will be identical to the experience of a child who has their biological father move out of the house. Don't sweat the names - but remember that your choices have made Shane "daddy" emotionally if not legally, and that the stability of your relationship is every bit as important to your younger dd (and probably both dds) as if he were your husband and the biological father of your first two kids.

Obviously, things would be different if you had an involved ex. Since you don't, I'd just be grateful that God-or-insert-your-deity-or-natural-force-of-choice-here sent your daughters another father so quickly after the first one went AWOL, and that he seems to be working out well.

Congratulations on your new baby!
post #9 of 35
I don't think it is really that complicated or that it matter much what kids call you. I think it is complicate for us because we have lived in the world for a long time and these things mean things for us but for small kids things are just what they are. They love their people they have names they call the people they love. Kids are flexible they accept their life and the people in their life. The issues around what people are called are usually grown up issues not kids issues.

DSS calls me by my first name, i have been in his life since he was a baby he has no memories of Dh and his mom being together or me and DH not being togeher. DSS mom wants to be called mommy our other kids call me mama. DSS knows he has a different mom than his brother and sister. DS who is 2 will tell me DSS mommy is his mommy and i am momma.

We have 50/50 visitation with DSS. I don't feel like it minimizes my relationship w/ DSS in any way that he calls me by my name. He also refers to me as one of his parents. We have talked about people calling me his mom when we are out and I asked him if he wants me to correct them. He does not and I told him he can tell people I am his myra_mcgray and not his mom if he wants but he doesn't want to usually. We know who we are in each others lives and if my kids call his mom mommy and call me by my name b/b there big brother does it doesn't bother me. I have friends who are not in blended situations have their kids call them by their names just because this is what most of the people in the world do. I know I am a parent to all my kids because I love them, care for them and help guide them in figuring out how the world works, they know I am their parent for the same reason what it is called does not matter IMHO.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
I disagree with the first statement but fully agree with the second.


A step-parent, especially one that is dedicated and caring, deserves some sort of honorium.
Honorium? Do you mean honorific?

Sir would suffice to convey respect. Or "Mr. Shane." But that sounds stuffy considering that she lives with the man, and seems rather formal for such familiarity.

"Daddy" is not an honorific, it's a type of pet name for one's father. Since the child doesn't want to call him Daddy, and until this point everyone has been fine with him being called by his first name, why not find some diminutive of his name for her to call him by?

It will probably be rather difficult with Shane being his name, but kids can be pretty creative.
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamalluv View Post
Honorium? Do you mean honorific?

Sir would suffice to convey respect. Or "Mr. Shane." But that sounds stuffy considering that she lives with the man, and seems rather formal for such familiarity.

"Daddy" is not an honorific, it's a type of pet name for one's father. Since the child doesn't want to call him Daddy, and until this point everyone has been fine with him being called by his first name, why not find some diminutive of his name for her to call him by?

It will probably be rather difficult with Shane being his name, but kids can be pretty creative.

Sorry, lets try honorary title, it was obvious from the rest of my post what I was refering to.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by phrogger View Post
I see that as more of an issue with your friends kids calling you by your first name, rather then the step kids. I have raised my step son, practically all on my own since he was 3. I am the only "mother" he really knows as his almost never sees him and calls very rarely. I am "mom" but I am not HIS mother, so he calls me by my first name. It is more familiar then any other child should be with me, and other kids shouldn't be calling me by my first name if I felt it hindered on the relationship with my step son.

.
from what I have observed, this opinion seems to be based mostly on what area of the country you live in. I am involved in a few different parenting groups, have a few different sets of friends, and we all go by our first name with each other's children. I remember growing up one of my friend's parents made us all call them Mr. and Mrs. Soandso, but even when I was growing up (early 80's) we all called our friends parents by their first name.
post #13 of 35
I don't feel that it diminishes my relationship with her, I just wish that something existed that signified the relationship. If I am with the park with Madison, and she yells "hey, Julie watch me!" It hurts a bit, I want the rest of the world to know that I'm not just "Hey Julie" I want them to know that this little girl was not born from my body, but that she lives in my heart in the same way that my other girls do, I'm not just a neighbor or a babysitter, I am another parent in her life, I will lay my life down for hers, when she hurts, I hurt, when she is happy, I am happy. I just wish some title like aunt, nana, grandma, uncle, poppy, bompie, existed for those of us in the amazing role of step-parent.
post #14 of 35
Could you just let something develop organically? I think kids understand quickly that their Aunt Bea is just Bea to their parents, Beatrice to their grandma, Mrs. Larson or Miss Bea to other kids in the neighborhood, and Mommy to their cousins. It may be more difficult when it's a sibling, but these things have a way of sorting themselves out.

My SD calls me by ny first name, but also by a nickname she came up with years ago (a mispronounciation of my first name), and occasionally "mommy," "stepmama," "almost-stepmom," etc. Her mom is "mama," and her mom gave her blessing to SD calling me Mommy years ago (and well before it would have been appropriate, in my opinion, but I did appreciate the sentiment). I never wanted to be a "mama," (independently of what my SD calls her mother) so any future children will call me "mommy" (assuming something else doesn't develop organically).
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
from what I have observed, this opinion seems to be based mostly on what area of the country you live in. I am involved in a few different parenting groups, have a few different sets of friends, and we all go by our first name with each other's children. I remember growing up one of my friend's parents made us all call them Mr. and Mrs. Soandso, but even when I was growing up (early 80's) we all called our friends parents by their first name.
Which is fine and up to the individual, my point is, IF you are feeling that calling you by your first name is an issue because other kids call you by your first name, change what other kids call you.

I guess I just feel that mom has a very specific meaning and while I am the only mother my step son has in the sense that I am the only one who takes physical care of him, I am NOT his mother. The woman who gave birth to him is the only one who should be forced to be called that name. IF my stepson decided to call me mom, that is his choice and how he feels, but him calling me by my first name doesn't deminish our relationship and if I felt it wasn't formal enough, i wouldn't allow other kids to call me by my first name.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by phrogger View Post
Which is fine and up to the individual, my point is, IF you are feeling that calling you by your first name is an issue because other kids call you by your first name, change what other kids call you.

.
Not just me, but the worlds perception, and I know it shouldn't matter what others think, but it does. I don't mean becuase other people call me by my first name, I just would like some sort of lovey name for a step-parent, just like aunt, uncle, grandma, etc
post #17 of 35
My mother and biological father divorced when I was very young. My mother met my stepfather when I was 9 months and they were married shortly thereafter. My stepfather was a supportive parent and served the role of "dad" for all intents and purposes. My younger sister is his biological daughter, born 3 years after I was. Still, my biological father and I had an "every other weekend" type of relationship until I was five. That is, until he got arrested and my mother refused visitation. Since my biological father had since had two more children with two more ex-wives, and refused to pay any kind of child support, he didn't really fight her.

Up until this point, and for about a year after, I called my stepfather "Papa". Later, when I was ready, I started calling him "Dad". I think part of it was that I wanted to feel like I had what my sister had. Nobody questioned me the switch or said anything, a fact for which I can remember being thankful at the time. I didn't want the pressure. It came for me at the right time.

I still have a different last name than my Dad, but he's still my Dad in every way.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
Not just me, but the worlds perception, and I know it shouldn't matter what others think, but it does. I don't mean becuase other people call me by my first name, I just would like some sort of lovey name for a step-parent, just like aunt, uncle, grandma, etc
I guess for me, the opinions of others don't matter, it is the relationship I have with him that counts and NOT overstepping my bounds with the woman who is his mother.

Of course, a lot comes from my own issues with having children who don't live with me and I only hope the respect I show to my step sons mother will come back to me with my kids fathers and their respect towards me.
post #19 of 35
I grew up with my dad and step-father both very much in the picture. I lived with my mother and step-father most of the time, but my father was very much involved in my life. I already called my father "Papa" and we chose to call my step-dad "Daddy." I still do, and I can definitely say that I have no confusion about my relationship with either person simply because of the title I call them. I definitely confuse other people, as I refer to them both as "my dad" interchangably in conversation.

I also have three "Uncle David"s, but I always know who I am talking about, and I am never confused about which one I have an especially close relationship with vs. those I do not.

My step-daughter calls me a family nickname, which is a "mom-ish" version of my first name. Our son (two years younger) goes back and forth between that name and "mama." Our youngest calls me "mama," as I assume the next one will. We refer to me differently depending on who we are talking to, but none of the three children are confused by who we are referring to... even when we slip and refer to me as "mama" to my step-daughter. I don't get confused or insulted when one of my biological children calls me by my nickname.

My husband has always been "Papa" to all the children and all my step-daughter's parents refer to him that way. However, most of the rest of the world calls fathers "dads" or "daddies," so my step-daughter occasionally refers to him as such (as in "my dad"), but when speaking to him, calls him "Papa."

My personal opinon would be to either stick with Shane for the oldest or to pick a nickname... we picked a nickname that I was okay with for any of the kids to call me, though I would naturally prefer to be "mama" to my biological children. Then, depending on who you are talking to, refer to him as that name or "Daddy." Don't correct the children, and it will allow them to pick whatever name is most comfortable to them, and allows them to change that throughout their childhood. Just because their biological dad hasn't been interested doesn't mean he never will be, and the door should always stay open to that relationship... so if the oldest is most comfortable "saving" that title for her father, she should be allowed to do that guilt-free.

I hope all that made sense.
post #20 of 35
When my father married my step-mother she already had a two year old son, whose father, though a jerk, was sort of in his life. They decided on calling my dad "Papa." They had a child together within a year and he also called him Papa. My first two siblings and I (who are much older than those last two) pretty easily just switched to calling him Pop, since that was a name that we had called his father before he passed (it was almost like passing a mantle down, which we all think is pretty cool). Every once in a while the youngest calls him Daddy, and, of course, the first three of us do as well. But, for the most part, it's worked out.

FWIW, when my father first started seeing my step-mom, my little brother just called him "Big Truck" ('cause he drove a pickup truck ), only he wasn't pronouncing the "Tr" sound yet. Instead it was an "F." Pretty funny. Well, at least we thought it was funny.
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