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Ladies, help a hurt father. daughter calls stepfather 'Daddy' - Page 2

post #21 of 33
I haven't read every post...so I hope what I say isn't too repetitive and has value to you.

I was a Daddy's little girl, I adored my Dad and he adored me. My mom remarried and had four more children. I have known my step dad since I was 5. I don't know when I started to call him Dad, but I do remember the pain it caused my Father. My step-Dad being called Dad was no reflection on my relationship with my Father. In public being able to call my Step-Dad "Dad" as all the other kids did made me feel like I was a part of the family. I wasn't an outsider or an intruder on another family, but a part of it. I didn't call him "Dad" because he liked to be called "Dad", honestly I never have thought about what his thoughts are on this. I called him "Dad" because it made me feel good.

Then on the phone with my Father...I had to refer to my step dad as Paul. It was so stressful, always watching what I was saying, trying to catch myself before I hurt my Father's feelings. I didn't want to hurt him. He was always my Dad and I would always be his Daddy's little girl. There is a bond there that will never exist between a Step Dad and daughter, it is just different.

My 2 cents...try to make her comfortable calling you Dad or Daddy and understand that she might need to call him Dad to feel a part of that family too. You will always be her Daddy and noone else can EVER change that!
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
Within reason, I don't think it's wrong to let kids in on the truth: their parents are people with feelings, too! Obviously, your daughter already realizes this, if she doesn't call her step-father "Daddy" in front of you.

It's one thing for a parent to say, "It hurts my feelings that you love your other parent, even after he/she divorced me. If you really love me, you'll stop wanting to see him/her."

It's quite another thing for a parent in your situation (i.e., you have been "Dad"; you're not getting jealous over a name you haven't earned and another man has) to say to his child, "Being your father is the most important thing in the world to me. In my whole life, I will only ever have one daughter (Jill). Likewise, "Daddy" and "Mommy" are incredibly special names that people traditionally use for only one man and one woman in their life. I know (Jack) is important to you and it's OK with me that you love him and that you want to have a special name for him. But it hurts me to know that you call him Daddy. I can't control what you do when you're not with me, but it would mean a lot to me if you would choose a different special name for (Jack) and only call me Daddy."

Unfortunately, at the age when she started calling her step-father Daddy, she was too young for you to have that conversation with her. Your ex-wife should have - and could have - put a stop to it then. It was pretty hostile (and inconsiderate of your daughter's relationship with you) that she didn't. If you wait until your daughter's a teenager to have this discussion with her, she may use it as emotional leverage against you. But many 8-year-old girls are sensitive, caring, innocent, fair and wonderful people, who would be quite capable of understanding and responding reasonably to such a request, if you are careful to phrase it in a way that's honest and considerate of her relationship with (Jack) and that doesn't brow-beat, shame or manipulate her.

But once you state things so clearly, don't keep revisiting the subject and nagging her. She'll either do as you ask or not. Keep in mind, she may feel she's created such a precedent by calling (Jack) "Daddy", that he may be hurt if she stops. Plus, who knows how her mom will react? If she stops calling her step-dad "Daddy", your ex may assume you're being controlling or competitive and she may make your daughter feel guilty about giving in to it. And you're not looking to tear your daughter apart, by getting into a war with her mom. You want your daughter to know she IS so important to you that you're NOT indifferent to her calling another man by your name... regardless what your daughter may have believed, up 'til now. Right?
Well said...but as a child that was in the middle, and this is only my opinion, but this caused me pain. My father didn't put it quite this calmly, but this is the point he was shooting for. As a 30 year old looking back, he should have tried to see it from my eyes rather than get me to see it from his. I always worried about his feelings, I was always in the middle, it made a difficult situation worse. If she was calling him Daddy/dad to manipulate you and hurt your feelings intentionally then I could see bringing it up. Otherwise, she is following her feelings and what feels right for her.

If my Mom had stepped in and told me I couldn't call my step-dad "Dad", I would have felt like I was less a part of the family, he loved "his" kids more and I really believed it would have made things difficult as well.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarpop View Post
If she was calling him Daddy/dad to manipulate you and hurt your feelings intentionally then I could see bringing it up. Otherwise, she is following her feelings and what feels right for her.

If my Mom had stepped in and told me I couldn't call my step-dad "Dad", I would have felt like I was less a part of the family, he loved "his" kids more and I really believed it would have made things difficult as well.
I can see this point, too. Just like I am finding in my own family at the moment, sometimes there's simply not one "right" answer, with divorce and blending.
post #24 of 33
Jeanine said it really well.
MY husband is in the same position. His daughter was a "daddy's girl". He and his ex divorced when the kids were 3(son) and 2(daughter). The exwife had custody and my dh had visitation, which he exercied, but with working to support them and going to college, and they were so young ( barely 20 at that point), he idn't have as much of a prescence in their lives as he would have liked. Long story short, the son calls my dh Dad and the stepdady "mike". But the daughter calls my dh "bob" and the stepdady "dad". She knew him as the main male presence in her life since before she has memories. She lived with him. Her younger siblings all call him dad. I know it's hard on my dh, but he doesn't press it. She calls them what she feels comfortable with. There might have been a chance to have changed it, 20+ years ago, but now, it's done. That's how she views them. When she got married, it was her stepdad who walked her down the aisle, while my dh watched with the rest of the guests.
My dh wasn't a bad dad. He always paid his support, visited, was involved, even homeschooled the kids for a couple years in middle school. But in her eyes, he is Bob, and her "dad" is the guy her mom married after her mom and Bob divorced. *shrug*
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KJoslyn78 View Post
Anyways - we have and do see it as family, is family, is family... no step, no half... you're just... family! and i am sure to her, being both major male figures in her life, you are both very much family for her.
This is what we aim for in our mixed up lives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alastair View Post
Part of me also feels humilated when she calls him daddy in front of mutual friends of my ex and me. I feel like it must reflect on me in a negative way. I suspect they are thinking that I must not be as much of a man as her stepfather if my own daughter calls him daddy too. I know these apprehensions must be unfounded but I cannot deny feeling them anyway.
While I acknowledge your feelings here I wanted to present another point of view. When we (DP and I) become aware of situations like these we often feel proud/grateful/happy to know that here are kids of divorced parents that aren't being screwed up by tensions between the bio parents. We think, how wonderful that all these adults can put their personal feelings and arguments aside and let their child feel loved by everyone involved. I do not think this reflects on you in a negative way at all. Also, knowing that all people see things differently, I would go on to say that if other adults did not see this side of it, I'm not sure I'd want to be involved with them anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
None of my kids call their stepdad 'dad' or 'daddy' and people still assume he's their dad when we're in public. We've even had people tell my daughter how much she looks like her 'dad'.
People have assumed I am DSD's mom. Occasionally I correct them, but usually not, for 2 reasons. 1 (most important), divorce isn't easy on children, ever. I know it helps my DSD to know I love her and claim her as part of the family. 2, I don't need to get into a detailed conversation about my private life with a stranger. I'll also add (before I forget to) that DSD's mom has expressed (to mutual friends) that she is glad to know that when DSD is here she has another adult who loves and cares about her. That makes me feel really good inside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
There has never, for one minute, been a question in my mind who my "real dad" is. Not once did I think my step-dad was a "replacement" for my father... they both have their own place in my life and my heart. Just as the birth of my second child did not detract from the love I have for my first, the addition of my step-father didn't detract from the love I have for my dad. I have a great relationship with my step-father, and I always have... he's just not my dad.

Just love your daughter, be proud of your daughter, and be the best dad you can be. She will benefit not only from having more adults to love and guide her through life, but will benefit from having a father who she knows loves her unconditionally as she figures out the rest of the relationships in her life. It's not just a compliment to her relationship with him, but her relationship with you that she feels secure enough in her relationship with you that something as little as what she calls someone can't take away from that.
This just says what I feel really well, so I wanted to highlight it again. A child can never have too many adults that care about him/her, regardless of what that adult is called. When I was younger I called my close friends' moms, 'mom'. They treated me like one of their children. It would have felt strange to call them by the first name or by Mrs. Smith. I didn't mean I loved them more then my "real" mom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarpop View Post
I always worried about his feelings, I was always in the middle, it made a difficult situation worse.
I know for a fact that this was a big deal with my DSD as well, and I assume it is common in children of divorce. Even now, 5 years later, we are walking the fine line between making sure she knows she is loved and wanted, but is also free to choose to see her friends on a Friday night instead of coming here. As an 11 year old she's finding it really hard to not feel guilty when she chooses her friends, but we encourage her to see them because it is important for her emotional growth. This partially stems from DP (without realizing) putting her in the situation of being overly concerned about his feelings for just the year following the separation. Less then 1 year and we are still dealing with it years later, she still remembers.

So, this is really long, sorry about that! I see by your posts you've found comfort in many of the replies and I hope this one helps a little too. You will always be her dad, even if she has a second and third dad. I understand your feelings, but I would encourage you to try to let go of your feelings towards her mom on this. That is over and done with and cannot now be changed, in the end it's the relationship that matters, not what she calls you or him. What do you want her to remember of this time when she is older? That all of you were able to get along and love and support her or that there was anger over her calling her step 'dad'? I read many of the threads here about crazy sounding step parents (and bio parents) and always wish everyone could just suck it up for the sake of the children. It sounds like you are trying and I applaud that.

If you keep an open loving relationship you will always be the first. Someone earlier said love isn't like a cup of sugar that can be used up. I agree, love is just a vessel that continues to grow to encompass more and more love, and who couldn't use a little more love in their life?

Best of luck to you - this blended family stuff is never easy.
post #26 of 33
if my children called their step mom mommy it would kill me. KILL ME. She is evil. pure evil. and they know it. and they are older. they watched this woman tear our family apart. if they were babies though....how could they not call he mom....especially if they were with her half the time (they never will be). Honestly that is one of those bitter things that go along with all the ways we screw things up. Sorry.

and stop worrying about what other people think. for all you know your dd may wake up tomorrow and decide to call ya both Harry. kids are funny that way. It is not a reflection on us or how we parent.
post #27 of 33
I am a step-daughter and a step-mother. I never called my step-father "Dad," but I did not meet him until I was 16. What I called him did not affect my relationship with him, and it did not affect my relationship with my "real" father. I can't say I had a great relationship with my "real" dad, but that was totally his fault, not my step-father's. I did have a wonderful relationship with my paternal grandfather, but then we weren't biologically related either since my dad was adopted. All in all, for me, my relationships with the men who raised or helped raise me were not based on our biological relationship, or on what I called them. It was all about who they were and how they showed me that I mattered to them. Or didn't.

As an adult, my step-children have lived with me since they were 2 and 3 years old. I'm a stay-at-home-mom, and I homeschool them, so we are together all the time. They do call me "Mommy." I wasn't sure how to deal with that at first, but their "real" mother -- who loves them, and with whom they have an important bond, even though they don't get to see her very often -- expressed to my husband that she was happy that I have that kind of relationship with them. They also call her "Mommy," or "Mom." When speaking to me they sometimes call her "Mommy M------," and I bet that when speaking to her they probably call me "Mommy Michelle." Other times they just say, "my mom," and we know who they mean.

I completely understand why it hurts your feelings to hear your daughter call someone else "Daddy," though. It's human nature. We were not designed to have our families ripped apart and rebuilt like this! Unfortunately we adults do not always make the best decisions, and divorce results. The best we can hope for is that our children will be surrounded by love, and be somewhat shielded from the drama that we've created. I know that, personally, I love my step-children every bit as much as my biological children. To me, they are no different. I think we are lucky to have such happy families after something as traumatic and unnatural as divorce.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
It's quite another thing for a parent in your situation (i.e., you have been "Dad"; you're not getting jealous over a name you haven't earned and another man has) to say to his child, "Being your father is the most important thing in the world to me. In my whole life, I will only ever have one daughter (Jill). Likewise, "Daddy" and "Mommy" are incredibly special names that people traditionally use for only one man and one woman in their life. I know (Jack) is important to you and it's OK with me that you love him and that you want to have a special name for him. But it hurts me to know that you call him Daddy. I can't control what you do when you're not with me, but it would mean a lot to me if you would choose a different special name for (Jack) and only call me Daddy."
I really do not think this is a good idea. It may work for some families, but I know that it took years for my step-daughter to be comfortable with the idea that it doesn't hurt my feelings that she loves / misses her "other mommy" and vice versa. This was despite the fact that we both have only encouraged her that it was ok. I think that telling a sensitive 8 year old that it hurts Daddy's feelings when she calls her step-father "Daddy" too is likely to result in her worrying herself sick about saying the wrong thing and hurting either Dad or step-dad. I think it's important to remember that this situation (divorce/breakup, remarriage) is not the child's fault, but a result of the decisions that the adults made. The hurt feelings also are a result of those adult decisions, not a result of the child's actions. The child should be free to love all of the adults in her life without worrying that doing so will hurt one of them.
post #29 of 33

@alastair - You were in same boat where I am today, and I am glad to see there are people out there in this world who understand daddy's have heart and feelings as well. Even I don't have solo custody of my child but I love my daughter. I am in USA and my daughter is in Canada with her mother and step dad but there no moment in my life where I am not thinking about her. 

 

Over video conference today was the first time my daughter called her step dad "daddy" in front of me and her mother kinda did that to show me what I have lost in my life. I can't explained my feeling of that moment it was like that something has hit my heart with a real force and it was very painful. But after reading this thread I feel alot more comfortable.

 

I just want to say thanks to all the parents who replied to this thread, thank you.

post #30 of 33
From one dad to another...I feel your pain. Although my daughters don't call their moms bf/fiance "dad", for him, even if they eventually do it will be always just be a title. You will always be the true dad.
post #31 of 33
Hi mate,
First of all I would like to say this is the first time I have felt ‘low’ enough to come onto a forum. I will try to keep this short as possible as the last 4 year years have been an incredible eye opener.
It all started off 11 weeks into my ex’s pregnancy, she split up with me – Young, naive, what could I do? I all I knew I had to do was prepare for my child at the age of 22.
Less and less contact from her happened coming towards the due date – 3 days after my daughters due date with next to no contact I get a text saying welcome to the world *daughters name, with the mothers surname* this was the start of it – I texted asking when I could see her – she replied with on Sunday at noon (daughter was born the Friday).
The Saturday I get a message off my best mates ex saying your daughter is beautiful…I replied saying I haven’t even seen her – so obviously on facebook everyone had seen her before me; and eventually got an email to print off of my daughter for the first time.
It was a tense moment with my family going over to her family home but it was the most incredible feeling ever.
I was seeing her 4 hours every Sunday for the first 5 weeks; until I had to cancel because I wasn’t well, the following week I was due to go on holiday, and when I came back I was told I wasn’t to see her and contact my solicitor!
The court process took 10 and a half gruelling months of defending myself against lies and embellished stories to see my daughter – and to top it off when the mother didn’t agree that 50/50 driving was fair (she lives 35 miles away) the judge’s justification for me doing all the driving every fortnight was because I was living at hers more than she was at mine during our relationship…..only if freedom of speech was tolerated otherwise I would have challenged the ‘judge’.
Eventually a court order in place, the return was even tougher, as it was ‘supervised’ contact where I had to be in the same room as her mother, my daughter and my dad. I didn’t even recognise who my daughter was, she was almost 1 – last time she was the length of my elbow.
The little comments arrived straight away with the audacity to say she took her first steps just before you came over etc
Eventually after all that fighting, I could take her home for the first time, and she stays over at mine; felt like the best day of my life after an exhausting couple of years.
When she could talk it was getting better and better her calling me dad, and then when my ex opened the door and she said bye bye daddy, it was like; I don’t know, it was incredible. My ex slammed the door and didn’t say bye – this happened two or three times….constantly asking her not to do that because it looks bad infront of rose – I thought why on earth would (very naively) she dislike my daughter calling her dad…dad?!?!
Then the following week, I met her new husband, who by then both had another child, who came to the door.
I was trying to think why does she think him opening the door is going to phase me? I just didn’t get it.
Just after her 3rd birthday (nearly a year ago) I suddenly realised why my ex was trying to rub her husband in my face…and it was nothing to do with the man of the house, or the im the new boyfriend etc…no…that wouldn’t bother me – however.
I came to the door, he opened the door and just as I was handing her over, my daughter said Hi daddy…
Now im not very articulate in a way to describe feelings, but I will be honest; it hit me like a freight train, I didn’t know what I was going to do – it was horrible!
All I did was keep silent stepped into the house and kissed her on the head and said see you later darling – drove back to the house and broke down.
This happened ever since, and I’ve been trying to stay strong and gulp it down but it got to a point until I couldn’t deal with it – thinking ITS NOT FAIR! If the father is in the life then it should not happen.
How despicable and inconsiderate can you be to make sure your ex witnesses his daughter call your husband dad???
Then on I couldn’t go to the door I had to have my dad go to the door, and he has done so well – been there for me all through court, and been there for the handover – he had an argument with him saying its demeaning and do you not see what you are doing etc until I got out the car and shoved him into the car realising we are up against, stubborn, malicious bullies.
Tonight my daughter is in bed and I’m writing this because I decided after a good few months of burying my head in the sand, I went on my own.
He answered the door, I went to grab her both hands…went to complete the handover so to speak and he pulls MY daughter away and kisses her and says bye – and then she giggles and says bye dad.

This is so long winded this story and apologise, and not exactly sure what I’m expecting out of this, but sometimes when it gets that desperate you resort to listening to other peoples stories and share yours.

This story is so diluted, the last 4 years have been horrendous and there are so many other little spite bites and brow beating its exhausting (great memories with my daughter, not taking that away) – But your not alone mate!

Alex
post #32 of 33

You have brought up a topic I feel quite strongly about as a daughter, and now as a Mother.  My father has battled with this for quite some time.  I am now 36 and my stepfather is dying.  My father is still bitter, and he doesn't hide it well.  I have learnt to tread lightly and always be cautious around my bio.  I am a product of divorce and am fortunate to have more than 2 parents.  My bio should be extremely grateful that this other man loved me enough to make me feel like his daughter.  I never called him Dad until recently.  I refer to him as Papa now that my children are born because it is the first time I could have a loving name for him without seeing my bio hurt.  It shouldn't be that way.  

 

You may think I don't understand, but I am a mother too.  My daughter's Dad has been with the same woman since she was 1 and I am remarried too.  I have full custody of my daughter but welcome a loving, nurturing, close relationship between her and her stepmother.  I have built such a loving relationship with my daughter that I don't fear someone else taking that away from me.  I just want her to be loved by as many people as possible.  If this woman is good to her, than WONDERFUL!!!  Perfect!

 

 

Like I said, I don't call my stepfather 'Dad' in person, but when I'm talking to other people, I refer to him as 'Dad' because it is so much easier than explaining things to the masses.  To call him my stepfather makes me feel like he isn't getting the love and respect HE deserves.  My bio saw a post on Facebook where I called my stepfather 'Dad'.  I am unhappy to report that he still struggles with it still and I can't stand it.  It drives a wedge between my bio and I now that I am old enough to understand that all those years were complete crap.  I should have NEVER known any of it!  I should not have to deal with his jealousy now that I'm also dealing with the passing of my stepfather.  

 

So my advice to you… if you love your daughter with your whole heart and treat her right, you will never be replaced.  Be happy that man loves your daughter as one of his own…so many children aren't so fortunate!  Show that man respect and appreciate what he does for your daughter.  Keep treating her right and you will never be replaced.  I guarantee it.  

post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharese View Post
 

So my advice to you… if you love your daughter with your whole heart and treat her right, you will never be replaced.  Be happy that man loves your daughter as one of his own…so many children aren't so fortunate!  Show that man respect and appreciate what he does for your daughter.  Keep treating her right and you will never be replaced.  I guarantee it.  

 

This.

 

One of my greatest fears is that when, my little one's father finds out that my son calls my fiance Daddy, all Hell will break out, drama like you wouldn't believe.  Nobody told my son to call my fiance Daddy, nobody told my son not to call my fiance Daddy, it came about naturally.  My son knows that my fiance is not his father, that my fiance is my three stepchildren's father, and he also knows that my fiance takes care of him like a Daddy... just like he takes care of his own children.  I'm personally happy that my son feels loved and accepted enough that he doesn't see any major difference in his relationship with my fiance than my fiance's relationship with his children.  My son is three.  The more adults who surround him with love, the better off he'll be.  When, starting from 8 months old, you have an adult male in your life taking care of you like Mommy does, and that adult male in your life has three children who call him daddy, it's gonna happen.  In my son's case, his biological father is barely there- we're down to about 5-6 visits a year (my son is 3), but still, even if he was super involved, I wouldn't have been shocked if my fiance got called Daddy sometimes, too.

 

On the flip side, if my son had a Stepmother he called Mommy, yes, of course that would really bother me, but if she truly loved him and treated him like her own, then I wouldn't make waves- it would be his decision what to call his stepparent and I would know I'm not about to be replaced, he just sees her as a parental figure.
 

Another point of view, I live right next door to my sister.  we see each other every day, and I mean EVERY day.  We joke about her twins and my son being actually triplets, because they're being raised so close.  Her girls sometimes call me their "other Mommy" and my son sometimes calls her his "other Mommy". They all know who their Mommy is and who their Aunti is, but they also know that their Aunti is there for them almost all the time and that an Aunti does almost everything a Mommy does.  I'm glad that, if for some reason I couldn't take care of my son, my sister would be able to step in and love him like I do, and even though he'd miss me terribly, his bond with her is really strong and he'd be with somebody he loves very much.  And that even if she was "Mommy", I'd always be MOMMY.

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