I just got engaged to a wonderful man with two children from a previous marriage. I have a really good relationship with his kids -- they are 6 and 9-- and pretty decent dealings with their mom (who is also engaged to someone). The kids live with their mother (and her fiance) and they stay with their dad every other weekend. While we live about 45 minutes away from the kids, we do our best to go to all their school recitals, sporting events etc. (we had to miss 1 basketball game this season because of weather).
Anyways, I was talking with his 6yo today and she said that she sometimes calls her stepdad "dad", and that when he and her mom get married then he will be her "real dad". I tried to explain to her that 'no, you already have a dad, [stepdad] will still be your stepdad. when your dad and I get married you won't call me "mom", right? because I will be your stepmom." she said no, she will have two moms and two dads, and there was no convincing her otherwise. Well, that's all very nice coming from a 6yo point-of-view, but it sounded like she was still going to call her stepdad "dad".
Now, their stepdad is a nice guy from what I know of him, and I don't really hear many complaints about him from the kids (although I haven't seen him at many basketball games). The stepdad lives with them, so he is a big part of their lives. He recently took the 6yo to a Father-Daughter dance, which I thought was really weird, but maybe he is just trying to build a better relationship with the kids?
I guess what I am trying to say is that their biological dad/my fiance is a good dad who does the best he can to maintain a good relationship with his children even though they don't live with him. And, while their stepdad is a nice guy, and I'm glad he is good to the kids, he is NOT their real dad.
Maybe I am just overreacting...
From the perspective of a mom who'se little ones call their future step-dad "dad" from time to time, I honestly think that it is just the child's way of processing things, and loving the people in her life. My kids have a dad who is (now) very wonderful to them, and they see him every other weekend/one night a week plus most days before school. They live most of the time with my boyfriend and I. My almost 5 year old will sometimes call my boyfriend "dad", especially when she's scared and needing his protection. They are all very vocal about how much they love Steve - even in front of their own dad. Honestly, she knows that your fiance is her dad, but she loves her soon to be step dad as well, which is a wonderful thing. I think him taking her to a Father Daughter dance is sweet. As long as he's not trying to tell them that he is their dad, or is putting down your fiance to them, I think the kids have a wonderful situation to have four people who love them so much. My boyfriend publicly refers to my kids as his future step-kids, but loves them as much as if they were his own. I hope things continue to go well, and congratulations on your engagement!
Thank you. That makes me feel a little better. After thinking about it and writing it down, I realized that the kids are very fortunate to have two sets of parents that care about them and treat them well, and I should stop worrying about it too much. I think as long as we continue to stay involved be an active part of their lives, they should maintain a good relationship with their father into adulthood, which is really all I or any parent would want.
It definitely helps to hear other people's stories, I'm still very new to the blended-family life, and thank you! : )
You know, I called my step dad, dad. What else was I supposed to call him. Everyone else was calling him dad. I wanted to feel part of it. Though my real dad got heated over it, it didn't matter to me. I wanted to call him dad. He did all the dad things a dad would do. He even held my hair back when I vomited and took care of my hair when I got lice. The thing that sucked the most was that when I got married my bio dad refused to walk down the aisle with me if my step dad was going to be there too. I felt guilt for loving him and guilt for feeling like he was my dad... If the experience is positive... why not have two dads that love you?
I agree with the PP's. While it must be upsetting to your dp to hear another man called "Dad" (and yes, it would upset me to hear another woman called mom in addition to myself!) I think this is a situation where you should just be grateful they have another loving person in their life. So long as it is the CHILD's absolute, uninfluenced choice, I do believe that it is something to let go, if not encourage. If you felt like the mom or stepdad were pressuring the child into calling him dad, then my answer would be very different!
However, that said, if you think mom would be equally uncomfortable with them calling you mom at some point, perhaps you could ask if she could gently encourage them to call her husband "Dad Firstname" or Papa, or something that includes a dad name, but is slightly different. When dsd asked to call me mom a couple of times when she was little, I just said that it might be too confusing if she called us both the same name and we picked another nickname for me. FWIW, she kind of outgrew that and just calls me by my first name now, which is fine with both of us, so this might just be a phase as they process the new stuff in their lives. :)
|Blended Family Advice , Blended Family The , Blended Parenting , Blending Families , Step Family|