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Old 03-29-2009, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

Kaiti, in heartbeat.gif with Shane, astrological mama to spitdrink.gif Sophie *12.27.05*, praying.gif Maya *09.25.07*, sleepytime.gif Phoenix *08.23.09* & 3rdtri.gif due *12.04.11*  Having a hbac.gif waterbirth.jpg lotbirth.gif after 3 cesareans!

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Old 03-30-2009, 03:31 AM
 
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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.

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Old 03-30-2009, 09:39 AM
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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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!
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:00 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-30-2009, 01:36 PM
 
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"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!
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:41 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-30-2009, 02:19 PM
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:32 PM
 
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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).

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Old 03-30-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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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
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:59 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-30-2009, 07:11 PM
 
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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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Old 03-30-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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What's wrong with Shane? Nothing disrepectful about calling someone by their name
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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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.
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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.

I have to totally agree with these two posts. I have been wanting to respong to this thread, but could not get my head to put together my thoughts eloquently enough.

It is a sad moment for involved step-parents at times with this whole "title" issue. There are nice family names for EVERYONE in a family, but a step-parent... and it can set up an outsider feeling at times, for both the step-parent and the step child.

My DSD often wonders what to call me. She has stopped calling me her Jen ever since my DD was born because DH now refers to me as Mama a lot because that is what DD will likely call me. DSD was corrected by him in the past that I am not to be called mother or any variation thereof out of respect for her Mom, which I understand... however, that has set up DSD for feeling out of place and unsure of what I am when she is here since I am her sister's Mom and she seems to be confused and unsure what to call me now.

There SHOULD be some sort of name for step-parents. Not neccessarily Mom or Dad... but think about it... there is sister, aunt, uncle, grammy, the list goes on and on for every important person within a family... except a step-parent.... who are we?

I like the families that think outside the box and come up with a special name/title.... but I think with as many blended families in the world that we have today, society needs to get with the times and come up with a new name for us instead of creating this awkward split home sydrome from the begining.

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Old 04-01-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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There SHOULD be some sort of name for step-parents. Not neccessarily Mom or Dad... but think about it... there is sister, aunt, uncle, grammy, the list goes on and on for every important person within a family... except a step-parent.... who are we?
I've heard others suggest bonus mom or bonus dad, so a short form might be bonnie. But then that is an actual name, so it doesn't really work, does it?

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Old 04-02-2009, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh wow. So many varying thoughts...

I don't know if it's a sense of denial on my part, or what, that makes this such an issue. Even while I knew from early on in the marriage that it wasn't likely to last, I still never prepared myself for what would happen when I have children calling my partner who isn't their biological father something.
I'm okay with my oldest calling him "Shane", except that she does dabble with "Dad" and I do think it confuses my little one at this point. My oldest was extremely into her dad while he was around, and I'm sure there are scars that she doesn't show based on his disappearance. I felt lucky that my kids were so young when their dad and I split, and almost convinced myself that it was like Shane was their biological dad. Honestly, it just feels like he is. Their bio dad was never much of a dad, spent most of his time at work, and the rest of his time fighting with me. Our lives are so much more peaceful now.
We tried the "Papa" thing when we first decided that we were going to begin dating (it was a permanent or nothing situation for Shane), and for a brief period, my oldest called him "Papa", but as my youngest started using words and grew out of the infant stage, Dada became the word of the year, and it would be absolutely impossible to get her to stop calling him Daddy at this point. I wouldn't want to - just watching her eyes light up and hearing her squeal "Daddy!" when Shane walks in the door tells me that it's a fine match - her calling him "Daddy". I don't, more than anything, want to confuse the new baby. I know there's already an element of confusion in my daughters' lives over the absence of their dad and I can't explain that to them at this point - they're still too young to understand. But I don't want to bring our new baby into the world with this sense of uncertainty over what to call him.
Taking cues from the kids, I myself call him "Shane" to my oldest, "Daddy" to my youngest, and "Daddy" in reference to the new baby. I just want him to have one, easy name! Shane has no ex-wives or children of his own, so in my head, this situation is a simple solution - we just put Shane where their biological dad was and move on. But it's not that simple, is it?
As for the comment that the possibility of a relationship with their biological dad should always be a door that remains open, I have hesitations about that. I don't trust their father with them, for more than a few reasons. Legally, we have joint custody, but only because we had a dissolution and it was the easiest thing to file at the time, and we were both just ready to be done with being married. Now that their dad hasn't seen them in forever and has made it more than clear that he doesn't care about them (with the exception of a phone call I got from him at tax time to see if he could claim them and get money back for them - pffft!), I plan to apply for sole custody here within the next few weeks. Left alone, their dad would likely never want anything to do with them, but he's a very impressionable person and I can see him hooking up with a girl who is intrigued by this guy having kids and him trying to get some sort of custody of them. What a nightmare that would be! And they don't even remember him. So while the door for that relationship remains cracked, and there's always the opportunity that he becomes a part of their lives when they are older, the opening in that door is definitely narrowing. He'd have to prove to me that he was capable of taking care of a child before I would allow him to keep them for any period of time. After all, he can't even keep bills paid, himself clean, food in his house, a way to work, and a full-time job. So as it stands, he has a long way to go.
I appreciate all the advice, and I will definitely think it over and we'll talk more about it and see what path to take. It will probably be one of letting my oldest daughter slowly choose her own name for him. It just gets confusing when people who don't know our situation make assumptions and we have to keep explaining to people that no, Shane isn't their biological father. You'd think it would be more obvious - as my daughters are both blond-haired and blue-eyed and Shane has dark skin, black hair, and brown eyes. Another issue is that my daughters look remarkably alike (we get asked frequently if they are twins), and then to have one calling Shane "Daddy" and one calling him "Shane", I'm sure it's kind of a guessing game for onlookers! I guess we will see what happens when the baby arrives and if my oldest decides to board the "Daddy" train or continue to call him Shane.

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Old 04-02-2009, 05:25 AM
 
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To be honest, I think it depends a bit. Growing up, I never called any of my uncles or aunts "Uncle Tom" or "Aunt Janet", they were just "Tom" and "Janet" (that's how my parents referred to them, so that's what I picked up on). The only members of my family who had "titles" were my parents and my grandparents, and sometimes my great-uncle and great-aunt (who were "Uncle Thomas" and "Auntie Bess" half the time, and just "Thomas" and "Bess" the rest of the time). So, if your family is anything like that, then I think it would be fine for your kids to use your partner's name to refer to him (I mean, even if you guys are nothing like that, I think it would be fine too though!). Otherwise, Papa or Pop, or something like that maybe? I think it totally depends on comfort levels. If everyone's comfortable with him being called Shane, so be it.

Does Shane have any preference?
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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Maybe it's an age thing... (I was 7 when dad got married and 13 when mom did) but I never felt inclined to call my stepparents anything other then their names.
I think age plays a big part in it also, as well as the involvement of both the step-parent and the bio-parent. My dsd was 2 3/4 when we became a family, my youngest dd was 2 1/2. When we are all together, I am in the role of mommy and Matt is in the role of daddy to all the girls, no differences. However, Madison is with her mom over 60% of the time and she is a great, involved mommy; Sage & Maia are at their dad's about 50% of the time and he is a great involved daddy (now- when we were married I worked full time and still did 90% of the care of our kids) So I don't expect Mad to call me mommy, or Maia and Sage to call Matt daddy (though Sage often does), but as I said in a previous post, we (the grown ups) do use the names Mommy Julie and Daddy Matt to refer to each other when we are with all 3 kids, just easier/shorter that way.

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I do have a nickname for my stepdad - my sister never used it but some of my friends have. He has one for me as well.

I vote let your kids call Shane what they want. Special nicknames are always good. You can call Shane whatever you want (within reason of course). If she wants to call him Shane that's fine - if you feel like that would confuse them get together and make it fun and maybe a little silly while playing around with nicknames.
.

When we all first moved in together, Maia-oldest dd, called Matt daddy a few times, and her bio-dad was really mad. So we sat down with her and told her she could call him anything she wanted, but it couldn't be dad, daddy, papa. She said "Anything? really?" and we told her anything else, except for a bad word, so she sat and thought and then yelled "Squiggles!" Now all 3 of the girls call him Squiggles at least a few times a week
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:51 PM
 
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Oh (we get asked frequently if they are twins), and then to have one calling Shane "Daddy" and one calling him "Shane", I'm sure it's kind of a guessing game for onlookers! .

Madison and Sage don't look alike other than the fact that their hair is the same shade of brown (mad's is straight, Sage's curly) but they are only 9 weeks apart. Right now we are between their birthdays, so When people ask how old the kids are I can say 6, 4, and 3. But boy, oh boy, is it fun when they are the same age. Last summer especially, people asked me alot "are they all yours?" I always answer "yes" because she IS mine, I do not need to distinguish to random people that she is my step-daughter. Usually it is followed by this conversation

Random person - "Wow, how old are they?"
last summer I would say - "5, 3, and 3."
Random Person - "oh, Twins!?!"
Me - "No, they're 9 weeks apart!"

Usually this would result in people just looking confused, one particularily rude woman kept persisting.

Rude woman - "They can't both be yours if they are only 9 weeks apart."
Me- trying to ignore her, talking with my kids
Rude woman - "Well? They can't both be yours."
Me- getting angry inside thinking what if they are adopted? foster kids? and really what business is it of hers?
Maia (5 at the time) -"That's a really poopy question. Would you rather she say 'These two are mine, that one has to tag along because I married her dad' cause that would be pretty mean."
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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Oh wow. So many varying thoughts...

As for the comment that the possibility of a relationship with their biological dad should always be a door that remains open, I have hesitations about that. I don't trust their father with them, for more than a few reasons.
I guess I meant psychologically. Children who are adopted and have no connection to their biological parents often are very interested in finding their parents when they get older. It seems to me that especially when there is little to no actual relationship, kids get very curious about it when they get older. My comment was just that, to me, it would be important that my children know that I acknowledge the existence of that relationship (which will always exist, regardless of whether or not he is involved in their daily life) and support their right to pursue it should they choose to. You and your ex made a decision about your adult relationship, but your children should be able to make their own choice, too. That's all I meant by "leaving the door open." If your oldest doesn't want to replace "Shane" with "Daddy" it might be her way of leaving the door open, and I think I would probably honor that.

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Old 04-12-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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I have been thinking about this a little bit myself. I have been with a wonderful man for over a year now and we are planning on living together/getting married at some point in the near future.

My dd has actually told him that she wanted him to be her Dad...and my oldest ds has already made the comment that my bf was "almost" like their dad.

My ex husband has not been seen or heard from in over 5 years now so the twins don't even remember him and the older two barely do. So that is not an issue.

To me it seems like my kids will not have a hard time accepting him as their dad he already does more for them/with them than their real dad ever did. I do wonder about the transition of name though. When it does happen it will be up to each child. Right now they do call him by his first name and he has said that if they continue with that it is ok with him. (But he has also mentioned that he really hopes that they will one day consider him their dad.)
He has been through this himself (his dad died while he was an infant and his mom remarried when he was 5.) So I think that is helping out here some. He has been in their shoes to a degree. I hope that it continues to help when we are all under one roof.

What matters to me most is that my kids are very obviously crazy about him and he is about them. There is a lots of love. :

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Old 04-13-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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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 actually really get this.

I have full custody of both my girls, and my ex has two weekends a month of visitation. We haven't crossed the bridge yet where he's dated someone seriously enough to introduce them to the girls, but I can see it coming soon.

If at some point in the future he were to live with someone who was involved in our girls lives, and this person was special to them - I could see that person wanting to have a more unique name than just 'Jane' or whatever.

You're right about how we bestow monikers on loved ones. All my close girlfriends are 'Auntie' to my kids, I think it's wonderful. Even distant family members are considered cousins by the girls when we're talking about them.

It's so hard, because right now the thought of anyone being involved with my girls on anything but a general makes me want to claw out my ex's eyes, I do realize that we're all adults and I'm going to have to make room in my life to accept other people. It can only benefit my kids, right? That's how I'm going to try and look at it...

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