Not sure what I should do, if anything - Mothering Forums
Blended and Step Family Parenting > Not sure what I should do, if anything
shishkeberry's Avatar shishkeberry 01:38 PM 02-25-2010
I'm in the process of starting a blended family. I have a 5yo DS from a previous relationship and I am pregnant with DC#2. I just bought a house with my fiancee and we are going to be living together full-time for the first time. He was practically living with us before (spending about 20 days out of the month with us and the rest at his parent's house).

So now we're going to be a family unit all in one place. My DS and my DF say "I love you" and stuff like that. Anyway, I'm wondering if I should start encouraging my DS to call my DF "dad" or something like that. Once the new baby is born that child will call him "daddy" and I don't want there to be a lot of confusion. My DS's father is still sort of around...I receive child support and he calls maybe once a month. But he has a new family now and it seems like our DS isn't as important to him. DS rarely sees his biological father. Maybe once every three months? We only live 40 min. from each other so it's not really a distance thing, but DS does call him "daddy" and talks about him sometimes. I get angry sometimes that my ex doesn't seem all that involved with our DS anymore, but it doesn't seem like DS is experiencing any grief over it so I usually keep my mouth shut. ( Just to make it clear, I never badmouth my ex in front of our DS.

Should I encourage this, or just let DS and DF work it out on their own with no input from me? Am I worrying over things I don't really need to?

Jane91's Avatar Jane91 05:41 PM 02-25-2010
Unless the stepdad is willing and able to become the adoptive father, I have not really seen anything good come of calling a stepdad "dad".

In my experience stepdads fall pretty easily by the wayside when they are no longer involved with their stepchild's mother, and this just sets up for a second rejection by dad.
spinknottle's Avatar spinknottle 05:53 PM 02-25-2010
IME, a parent should never "encourage" a child to call other people mommy and daddy. Maybe you're DS will come up with that all on his own. If his father is still involved (although barely), then he has a dad. Unless your fiancee adopts your son, then let your son and your fiancee figure it out.
ProtoLawyer's Avatar ProtoLawyer 06:32 PM 02-25-2010
I would let it evolve naturally, perhaps gently encouraging a different but still fatherly nickname (Pop? Papa FirstName?) if "Daddy" becomes confusing.

Oddly, my stepdaughter's mother, years ago, told my husband it would be OK for their daughter to start calling me "mommy" (she's "mama"). To me, it seemed WAY too soon to be heading down that road (we were not yet living together, not engaged/married/otherwise life-partnered yet, though it was clear we were heading that way). So I never encouraged it, and my SD didn't start.

Now, occasionally she'll call me Mom (especially if she wants something ) but that's come organically. She may or may not start calling me more by "mom" names when the baby's here and we're encouraging him to call me "mommy" (listening to my SD babble nonstop about "mama" as a toddler made me utterly not want to be called that myself). We'll see. Your DC#2 might start something like that, too, in which case I would neither encourage nor discourage it.

In response to a previous poster--I don't think an actual adoption is necessary (my husband's stepsisters have called his father "pop" since he married their mother, even though they were never adopted and their biological father was somewhat in the picture and is now deceased), but I do see your point. Do make sure the commitment's there and for the long haul.
aricha's Avatar aricha 01:33 AM 02-26-2010
I think a nickname, even a dad-like nickname, is appropriate if it's something your fiance wants. I definitely would take daddy's title from your son's actual father while he is still in the picture at all, especially not if your son still talks about him, even occasionally.

My step-daughter calls me by a mom-like family nickname. My older biological child goes back and forth between that nickname and "mama" (they are interchangable to him, and he grew up hearing both), the next oldest calls me mama exclusively as far as I've noticed (though I'm not sure if I'd notice if she called me by the other name every now and then. I'm assuming the youngest will call me "mama" only. None of the kids has ever gotten confused by it, and the older ones actually switch back and forth depending on who they are talking to and which name that person uses for me. They seem to have it figured out without much help from us.

I call my biological father "Papa"-- my parents divorced when I was a baby and I didn't live with him, but I spoke with and saw him regularly all my life. When my mom remarried, we were given the choice to call him by his first name or call him "Daddy." We chose "Daddy," but I think that worked because we had a very secure and stable relationship with our biological father.
shishkeberry's Avatar shishkeberry 01:12 AM 02-27-2010
Thanks for the advice I guess I'll just let it go and see what happens when this new baby starts talking.