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#1 of 12 Old 03-07-2011, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The thread below reminded me of something we've been dealing with for the last couple years. Ds has not laid eyes on his bio dad since he was 13 months old. He has talked to him on the phone a few times  The last time he spoke to him was on his birthday, in December.

 

Ds was recently diagnosed with Asperger's and also has anxiety. We are trying to make his life predictable and simple. He was very confused about who this "daddy" was that he had to talk to (he spent the first couple minutes trying to and the phone back to me, telling me "this isn't (his nickname for DP)" and when he spoke to him on the phone he seemed to think he had to say "I love you" back, which really bugged me.

 

I know he understands that my DP is not his biological dad. There are a couple pics of him and bio dad in his baby book, and I've been honest with him. The way I explained it was that mommy and firstnamebiodad used to be friends and got married and made a baby together. But then we weren't able to get along and be friends so now we live in different places. He piped in with "*biodad* used to hit you mommy. He was mean and he pushed you." So he remembers, even though he was very young at that time.

 

Anyway, it really bothers us that my ex insists that ds call him daddy in these phone calls. Last phone call I told him not to use the word daddy or I was hanging up. I just didn't want ds confused. What did ex do? He told ds "I'm your father, who loves you very much blah blah blah."

 

 

So am I wrong to teach ds to refer to the bio dad by first name? Is that always disrespectful even the "parent" is a total deadbeat? I really don't care about respect to be honest but I just don't want it to come back to bite me later should this ever go back to court (and it probably will.)

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 of 12 Old 03-07-2011, 07:28 PM
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Hugs. I'd probably just use 'biological parent' and first names.

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#3 of 12 Old 03-07-2011, 09:07 PM
 
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I think you are perfectly fine in calling him by his first name or as bio dad.  If it should every go back to court his lack of effort or cooperation on your son's behalf should help negate any negative influence not calling him dad would create especially with a legitimate medical reason.  :hugs:

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#4 of 12 Old 03-08-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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I honestly think it should be up to the parent to decide what they want to be called, and clearly it is important to dad to be called by a "dad" name. I'm sure you could work together to find terms for everyone that are not confusing to your son and that gives dad a title he wants. In all honestly, dad's going to use whatever term he wants to use, and it will end up being more confusing to your son in the long run to have the grown-ups referring to people differently. My step-daughter's mom didn't like the nickname my step-daughter has always called me, and she refused to use it, replacing and correcting my step-daughter every time with my first name. So she went through a period where she got EVERYONE's names confused, and then went back to always calling me by the name we use at our house. There are plenty of names to choose from.


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#5 of 12 Old 03-08-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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"Biological" is sort of a confusing word for kids, I think, because it's not a word you typically hear in everyday conversation.We say "birth dad"... he lived with us until my kids were 5 1/2 and nearly 3... my DS definitely remembers, but I think DD only has a few vague memories. DS sometimes prefers to use XH's first name., and DD sometimes says "my other daddy, K not A." She calls SO daddy a lot of the time, otherwise by his first name, DS usually call him by his first name. I stick to saying birth dad, because calling him their daddy seems to familiar for someone who doesn't even respond to their emails. I will probably use XH's first name at the point that both kids are using it to indicate him (and I believe that's what it'll get to, eventually)


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#6 of 12 Old 03-08-2011, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your insights! I guess in a way it feels disrespectful to my DP who bears the weight of raising ds, b oth financially and emotionally, to encourage ds to call this other man who has done nothing but donate sperm, basically, daddy. I hung up on him during his last phone call with ds because he referred to himself as his father. That was probably overboard, but I had warned him ahead of time that ds has a father in his life and doesn't need any confusion, and if you start confusing him the phone call will be over.

 

I knew someone who taught her children to refer to their dad as "Mr so and so." I wouldn't go that far, but it seems so fake and like another poster said too familiar, to be referring to this guy as daddy when ds wouldn't know him from Adam if they passed in the street.

 

also ds seems to be having a phase where he has a strong need to identify with his daddy (my DP). He reads this one book "the very best daddy of all" all the time and will ask me as if to confirm that he has the best daddy "my daddy does this too, my daddy plays with me too, my daddy...." etc. Then out of nowhere he will randomly ask me about "A" (his bio dad's first name) and I get thrown for a loop. Today he told me "Daddy is Costa Rican, but I'm Puerto Rican, but you're not and Daddy is not, but "A" is but he's not my daddy, "E" is my daddy because he knows how to fix our tires." Poor kid! He's trying to figure this all out.


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#7 of 12 Old 03-08-2011, 08:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post

also ds seems to be having a phase where he has a strong need to identify with his daddy (my DP). He reads this one book "the very best daddy of all" all the time and will ask me as if to confirm that he has the best daddy "my daddy does this too, my daddy plays with me too, my daddy...." etc. Then out of nowhere he will randomly ask me about "A" (his bio dad's first name) and I get thrown for a loop. Today he told me "Daddy is Costa Rican, but I'm Puerto Rican, but you're not and Daddy is not, but "A" is but he's not my daddy, "E" is my daddy because he knows how to fix our tires." Poor kid! He's trying to figure this all out.


Okay, with this info, I would say to follow your son's lead and call your DP "daddy," and either (a) talk to your ex about what he'd like to be called, letting him know that your son chooses to call your partner "Daddy" and would he like to be "Daddy A" or "Dad" or some other designation... or (B) just call your ex "dad/father/whatever" and tell your son that he has a Daddy who loves him and plays with him and fixes your tires, and a "dad/father/whatever" who used to live with you but now he talks to on the phone (or whatever). 

 

If dad is going to use dad or father, you might as well find a way to make it understandable to your son. If you think this is likely to end up back in court, I'd think you should probably avoid actually telling the person the court legally recognizes as his father that he can't refer to himself that way, even if you have a good reason.

 

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#8 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 04:10 AM
 
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You should allow your son to call his father "dad". He might not be a good one, but he is his dad.

 

I might find it incomprehensible that DSD's mom doesn't pay CS, doesn't know dsd's teachers' names, or how well she does at school, or how her college applications got filled out, etc. etc. etc. But she is her mom, and DSD loves her. For me to insist that DSD doesn't exchange "i love you's" or doesn't call her mom "mom" would be MY issue. 

 

The fact is - the kid has a dad, even if he is an uninvolved one. You are afraid that your kid will not appreciate what his stepdad is doing for him? No worried. He'll see it and he'll appreciate it with time, but don't add to turmoil in this kid's head. His dad is his dad. Come up with another special name for your husband and stop trying so hard to control relationship between your young son and his father. People who leave their children still hold their kids' hearts. Your son will have one of the two memories:

 

Memory #1: My dad left me, and we only maintained contact over the phone. My mom and my stepdad raised me, and my stepdad actually was the real father to me. 

OR 

Memory #2: My dad left me, and we only maintained contact over the phone. My mom and my stepdad raised me, and my stepdad actually was the real father to me. My mom also always made my relationship with my dad even more difficult than it was. I wonder what would happen if she stepped aside and let the two of us just be. I always felt like caught between the rock and the hard place.

 

Best of luck! I know your decisions are not easy ones.


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#9 of 12 Old 03-16-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post

You should allow your son to call his father "dad". He might not be a good one, but he is his dad.

 


But in this case, biodad is the one trying to "make" the kid call him dad. That makes it a stickier situation. When the child chooses to call a stepparent "Dad", and at the same time has so little contact with his biodad that he has no idea who is on the phone when biodad calls, it's not a matter of getting out of the way and letting the kid have the relationship he wants with his dad. If the OP goes along with biodad and makes her ds call him "dad", it's not only going to be confusing, but very disappointing. Obviously this child sees the idea of "dad" in a particular way (playing, fixing things, etc)- that's what dad means to him, and that's his stepdad. It would be sad to shift that title from an obviously very satisfactory relationship to an occasional voice over the phone- which in my book trumps biodad's (maybe) secret, hidden feelings about the son he has, for all practical purposes, abandoned. His only memories of biodad are violent! I can definitely see the OP's hesitation to join biodad in his attempts to "make" her ds call him dad.


 

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#10 of 12 Old 03-16-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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I think you have to let your son decide and learn to set boundries for himself.  I know this is not easy for you, but your child could have mix feelings about his biodad.  He could love him and hate him at the same time -- this might bother you but that is your problem not necissarily your son's.  He can understand that dad can have more than one meaning and he has to work through these emotions and "own" them himself.  If his biodad is forcing it, then that becomes a hardship and negative emotion between the two of them that you do not need to complicate.  

 

The most I would do is involve a counselor.  Have a neutral party he can talk to about the situation.

 

It might be you need to role play with your son if he expresses he doesn't want to call him daddy ---but IMO that would be best done by a third party.  Empower your son to learn to respectfully say no and hang up on him.   

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#11 of 12 Old 03-16-2011, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

I think you have to let your son decide and learn to set boundries for himself.  I know this is not easy for you, but your child could have mix feelings about his biodad.  He could love him and hate him at the same time -- this might bother you but that is your problem not necissarily your son's.  He can understand that dad can have more than one meaning and he has to work through these emotions and "own" them himself.  If his biodad is forcing it, then that becomes a hardship and negative emotion between the two of them that you do not need to complicate.  

 

The most I would do is involve a counselor.  Have a neutral party he can talk to about the situation.

 

It might be you need to role play with your son if he expresses he doesn't want to call him daddy ---but IMO that would be best done by a third party.  Empower your son to learn to respectfully say no and hang up on him.   



I do hear what you are saying, but he is only 3 years old. He has a hard enough time with social relationships and has anxiety because he has had certain instabilities in his life....his grandparents, for example, were a big part of his life and now they are not. I can see that this past year he is finally really "relaxing" and really trusting my DP. He used to resist any affection/physical playfulness from him and cry that it "hurt" even if it was totally benign, like a hug...now he jumps all over DP and roughhouses, asks for him when he's at work, and doesn't want to go to sleep without a kiss from him.

 

I feel like putting him in the middle of the "dad" drama is putting an unnecessary and overwhelming emotional weight on the shoulders of an emotionally fragile little boy. Plus, telling him now all of a sudden "you have to call this guy dad" when he is JUST coming to terms for himself with what a dad is, and who dad is to him,is going to make him start questioning everything about his life. If this invisible guy is his dad, then how come his sister's dad (who he thought was his "dad" too) gets to live with him and get attentions from him, but his dad is some random guy who calls twice a year, and whose only memory of him is him punching Mommy and hurting her (and he still has PTSD from that).

 

also it sounds like you are saying I should allow my ex to force the issue with ds. Itsn't it my job to protect him from that kind of thing, hence why I have custody and he doesn't? Also, doesn't it seem like a lot to expect a 3 yr old to be OK with hanging up on an adult, which goes counter to everything we have taught him up until now?

 

I'm not arguing with you or trying to sound snarky, maybe my expectations are off. Maybe I am being a helicopter mom...wouldn't be the first time. It is just very hard to step back and watch this play our when it has the potential to disrupt our family in a major way.

 

Sigh. You wouldn't think one word could have so much power.


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#12 of 12 Old 03-16-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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You know I read your post as your son as being 13 years old.....duh.gif  So my advice was really geared for the older child.  I am sorry.  I would at this age give your son two words for dad.  At that age we had daddy V and daddy R.  My son, on his own learned to control the last.  At 16 he says V referring to his biodad and dad for my dh who has raised him since he was 18 months.  He knows that many people call themselves dad that are not dad.  As your son ages he will see that with a lot of labels, some times as parents you have to just hold on to them while they do it.     

 

There has been a lot of changes, but your child is not "that" fragile. That doesn't mean he isn't hurting and is not confused or stressed.  Those are the emotions you have to help him work through.  Viewing him as "fragile" verses going through a hard/stressful time can be counterproductive because that how he sees you see him.  Viewing hims as a resilient person needing help bouncing back is emotionally better for you and him.

 

Kids can figure out at a young age what they can expect of certain adults. It takes a lot of hugs at times, the only thing you can really do while they work it out.  At 3 your attitude is what your child is looking for.  If you get emotionally involve and set up emotionally negative atmosphere around or about your ex, it will come to haunt you.  You want to be neutral as possible. "Daddy use to hit you." Should be met with, "I bet that made you scared." or "That happen a while ago, I am moving on from that" or "Yes, but everything is better/ok now." "That made me sad that he did that, but I am ok now."  Here a counsilor can help you "feel" what your son is trying to gain from you and saying this.  He could be needing help moving through WHAT he was feeling and he needs reassurance that he is safe now.

 

  • When my son was about 2.5 we were in hearing distant of a tornado. I held him in my lap so tight I left hand prints. My son for the longest time talked about that.  He had huge fear of tornadoes, bad clouds, et.  He needed to be told and reminded he is/was safe now.  I had to point on ways that the new storm (now) is different and how we are OK now and that if there is another bad storm will will manage it and be ok.  It was a matter of acknowledging the bad, but acknowledging we are ok and have made better now.  Your son needs to be reminded it doesn't happen now and you are safe now.  My son also needed to hear mommy only hurt him because the storm was bad and his safety meant he needed to be still.  Mommy's own fear caused her to hold to tight and that the doctors, firemen, people with Red Cross helped make things all better.  It was a process that took time.  He would talk about it because  he needed reassurance that NOW things were OK and you and your dh are not that way.  

 

As for the I love you --- please just bite your tounge.  In time he will gain control over it and became a struggle between your son and biodad but that has to be between them.  Ask he grows you will give him the skill to not have to say it.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post





I do hear what you are saying, but he is only 3 years old. He has a hard enough time with social relationships and has anxiety because he has had certain instabilities in his life....his grandparents, for example, were a big part of his life and now they are not. I can see that this past year he is finally really "relaxing" and really trusting my DP. He used to resist any affection/physical playfulness from him and cry that it "hurt" even if it was totally benign, like a hug...now he jumps all over DP and roughhouses, asks for him when he's at work, and doesn't want to go to sleep without a kiss from him.

 

I feel like putting him in the middle of the "dad" drama is putting an unnecessary and overwhelming emotional weight on the shoulders of an emotionally fragile little boy. Plus, telling him now all of a sudden "you have to call this guy dad" when he is JUST coming to terms for himself with what a dad is, and who dad is to him,is going to make him start questioning everything about his life. If this invisible guy is his dad, then how come his sister's dad (who he thought was his "dad" too) gets to live with him and get attentions from him, but his dad is some random guy who calls twice a year, and whose only memory of him is him punching Mommy and hurting her (and he still has PTSD from that).

 

also it sounds like you are saying I should allow my ex to force the issue with ds. Itsn't it my job to protect him from that kind of thing, hence why I have custody and he doesn't? Also, doesn't it seem like a lot to expect a 3 yr old to be OK with hanging up on an adult, which goes counter to everything we have taught him up until now?

 

I'm not arguing with you or trying to sound snarky, maybe my expectations are off. Maybe I am being a helicopter mom...wouldn't be the first time. It is just very hard to step back and watch this play our when it has the potential to disrupt our family in a major way.

 

Sigh. You wouldn't think one word could have so much power.



 

 

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