Can we talk about children calling step parents mom/dad? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 82 Old 07-01-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Abi's Mom View Post
I had a stepdad, too, I just called him dad.
As I read everyone's responses, I see how it may be a bit too formal for my stepson to call me Mrs. ...
I would rather he call me mom, but his mom refuses to allow him to.
It is entirely up to Johnathan. We made it his choice. He said he'd like to call me Mom or Mrs. Strode.
He said he thinks calling me by my first name is not right, because, in his words, he doesn't call any of his other parents by their first names.
But earlier in the thread you said he called you by your first name by mistake/to disrespect you. Something doesn't add up there around the choice. What if he now wanted to call you by your first name? Would that be ok?

If not, it wasn't really a choice.

Here's my perspective. Formal titles are not generally used around the home, because the home is family and a place to relax and be together in an informal way. That is why "formal rooms" are for visitors and places like kitchens are not formal. We all need formal and informal space in our lives.

I think that in my culture, WASP-Canadian 2007, it would be a clear signal that your home, Mrs. Strode's, was not mine. And I think that is very difficult for kids.

It's also just not the norm. I do not think that is the only reason to change something, but it is something to consider.

Eventually your SS will wonder why your home is so different. If you have a really warm and good relationship where he has felt loved, relaxed, and a part of the family, it will probably end there. If not, I think he will need a therapy fund.

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#62 of 82 Old 07-01-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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"Well, in front of the kids, he calls me mom, he calls be by my first name in private."

Really? No offense but the last thing I would want my husband calling me is "mom." Yikes. Just totally turns me off and strikes me as very weird! I am sure he'd also have a hard time relating to me as a wife if he were calling me "mom" Although my grandparents (my dad's parents) did this - they called each other "mom" and "dad". And I always thought that they were total aberrations! Thsi is the first time I have ever heard of another married couple doign this (calling each other mom and dad). Is it a 1950's thing or something? Even as a child I thought it was strange!
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#63 of 82 Old 07-01-2007, 04:24 PM
 
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Gethane--totally off topic but could your kids possibly be any better looking?!?!? Gorgeous family!

On topic--I don't know. It would break my heart if my dd called anyone else mama. I think if I had a stepchild I'd say call me Kate or make up a name.

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#64 of 82 Old 07-01-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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Gethane--totally off topic but could your kids possibly be any better looking?!?!? Gorgeous family!

On topic--I don't know. It would break my heart if my dd called anyone else mama. I think if I had a stepchild I'd say call me Kate or make up a name.

Thank you I'm quite partial to them myself. Alas, none of them really look like me. My genes must just be good mixers. Like orange juice.
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#65 of 82 Old 07-01-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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When both my ex and I remarried... our daughter started calling her step father "daddy." My ex husband didn't like it and demanded that I force her to stop. I could see why it bothered him, but I could not FORCE her to stop. We have other children together and its what she feels comfortable using. When my ex married a year after us he told our daughter that she had to call her step mother "mommy." So she did. When I found out, I wasn't thrilled. It hurt. It really really hurt. But, I talked to my daughter and even though she said that it wasn't her idea.. she was okay with it. So I knew that I had to become okay with it too. I will always be "Mama" and her biological father will always be "Dada" (even though he hates that word and keeps asking when she'll be a big girl and say "Dad." She's 9 and still refuses. )

So in our family we have Mama, Mommy (FTR, I hate the term "mommy" and have never been a "mommy" to my kids.) and a Dada and a Daddy. It works for us. Though there are things that make me sad about it. I've come to accept it because its whats best for my daughter. However, my ex husband forbids her from calling my husband "Daddy" in her house, and still gets angry that she says it at all.

The respect just don't go both ways for some reason.

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#66 of 82 Old 07-02-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this over the weekend, and spoke to my DH about it (he's the stepdad to my two girls). He was as shocked as I was...it just does not seem right, seems more about establishing a pecking order/rank than it does about fostering an intimate relationship. And yes, you are RELATED to this child even if only by marriage... DH had numerous step fathers, and one asked him to call him "Dad" which he refused. Had he demanded it, I'm sure it would have limited their relationship a great deal...not because DH as a child would have been disrespecting his step father, but because the step father was trying to limit the child's autonomy. Small people are people, too.

Here's the thing...what happens when he's 18? Still Mrs. Strode? What about 25...still Mrs. Strode? Assuming your marriage lasts, this "child" will grow up...and would you STILL expect the same formal/title from him then, or would you be willing to treat him with more respect and let him choose what he's comfortable calling you?

Respect isn't demanded, it's earned...true respect, anyways. If you want your sons respect, you will treat him with respect, including listening too and accepting what he feels comfortable with. Sometimes, if everyone around you thinks you're doing the wrong thing, you actually are. And in this situation, it sounds like from your first post you went against what your step son, your husband, and his ex-wife all recommended...as if just to make a point about how you define the relationship with your step son, as if to make a game of it all. Wow. Again, I'm glad you're not my kids stepson...and if I was your DH, I sure would not allow my son to be treated as a second class citizen.

(oh, and by the way...I know your kids are quite young yet...but just so you know, all kids go through a phase of calling their parents by their first names, it's a matter of understanding titles/relationships/etc. So one day, your kids will probably do that too, just so you're prepared, and it's not abnormal, or a sign of disrepsect, merely a natural part of growth and learning. If they wanted to start calling you Mrs. Strobe, though, that would be weird.)
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#67 of 82 Old 07-02-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
I really think that, when the bio (or original adoptive) parent is alive, it's not OK to have anyone else get that honorary title. Not for the sake of the kids; like a PP said, kids know who their parents are, but for the sake of the parents. It's hard to co-parent with a person you don't know and didn't choose. I'm the only mom of my kids, and I'm the only one who gets called that.
I disagree. The man who raised me when I was young as my father I called "daddy" and I desperately wanted him to be my dad. But my mother forced me to stop and it broke his heart and mine. I am still upset about it and cry when I think about it. She did it to spite him (he wasn't my bio-father, but bio-father wasn't in picture).

My two oldest call my dh daddy or his first name. They call their bio-dad by his first name and see him so rarely (he wants nothing to do with them) and so remotely that I don't think they even know who he is. I have no problem with them calling him daddy. I used to call one of my friend's mothers Mom because I was so close to her.

I think that the child should choose to call the step-parent whatever they want to. It shouldn't be forced either way.

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#68 of 82 Old 07-02-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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Regarding when I said I didn't want him to call me mom, that was said defensively to his mom (H) when we were discussing what he should call me.
H started yelling at me about how she's his only mom and J can't call me mom!
I said I didn't want him to call me mom, meaning I wasn't telling him to call me mom.
H thought she should be the only one called mom.
I was trying to calm her down because she was nearly hysterical over the thought of J calling me mom.
(FYI, his mom is bipolar so when she starts yelling, I don't take it personal anymore.

I've learned that hysterical yelling what H does when she gets emotional).

It was agreed by all us parents that calling me by my first name was not going to happen.
It was the only option taken away because we all agreed it set me apart from his other parents (mom, dad and stepdad, who are all called, mom, dad and dad).

The irony is that H 'makes' J call his stepdad dad, but refuses to allow J to call his stepmom 'mom'.

During my discussion with H, when I told her I didn't want to be called by my first name I said I wanted to be called Mrs Strode and she said it was too formal, so then we further discussed other names.
She suggested some silly names like cat woman and nanny kat.
So Hand I never decided amongst ourselves what J would call me.
He ended up saying, "well, it's up to you."
If it were up to me he would just call me Mommy K or Mommy S.
I just have a feeling if I let J do that H would be pissed.
I knew she wouldn't let him call me mom.
Origninally, J said he wanted to call me by my first name because it was easier to remember.
It was not because he liked it in particular.

And yes, now I am saying this:
"It is entirely up to J.
We made it his choice.
J said he'd like to call me Mom or Mrs. Strode.
I'd prefer Mommy K or Mommy S.
But at least J and I are agreed that calling me by my first name is not right.

In the end, J actually calls me all kinds of names.
He calls me Mrs. (last name), (first name), Mom or Mommy, and occassionally nanny K, cat woman or just K.
I had attempted to find a name everyone would like, and realized his mom wasn't going to be happy with anything other than my first name.
Yet, she insists he call his stepdad Dad.
Oh, the irony.
and hypocrisy.
I realize I can't get J's parents to agree, I can't make them happy, so yes, I left it up to J in the end.

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#69 of 82 Old 07-02-2007, 05:48 PM
 
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what a mess for you all. Thank you for taking the time to explain to us all, especially without getting defensive.
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#70 of 82 Old 07-02-2007, 06:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jster View Post
Here's the thing...what happens when he's 18?
Still Mrs. Strode?
What about 25...still Mrs. Strode?
this "child" will grow up...and would you STILL expect the same formal/title from him then, or would you be willing to treat him with more respect and let him choose what he's comfortable calling you?
Well, let me see, I'm 32 years old.
I'm no longer a child.
I call my mom Mom and my stepdad Dad.
I have never and will never call either of them by their first names.
That would be odd.
J is treated with respect.
J is choosing what he's comfortable calling me with only one exception: he cannot call me by my first name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jster
all kids go through a phase of calling their parents by their first names, it's a matter of understanding titles/relationships/etc.
I don't like such generalized statements.
How would you know what ALL kids do.
I never called my mom by her first name and I never called my stepdad by his first name.
I never wanted to.

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#71 of 82 Old 07-02-2007, 06:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kyangel80 View Post
Little background.
I have a 4 yr old step son who calls me mom.
His father and I were married when he was 6 mths old, and we were seriously dating when he was born.
She does not call my dh dad.
However, X-dh married a year ago.
My dd calls her mom :.
I don't want to live by a double standard.
Stepmother has become very unhappy and overbearing and I'm really not liking that dd calls her mom, but I don't know what, if anything, I should do?

I'm not trying to mean, but in the end, isn't it a double standard?
Maybe I'm reading things wrong, and I'm not just referring to the post I quoted.

It seems that many bio moms are saying:
bio moms are the only ones who can be called Mom.
stepmoms should be called by first names or silly nicknames
stepdads (married to bio moms) should be called daddy (except I think one person said she called her stepdad by his first name).

It also seems that what bio moms thinks the stepmom should be called is directly relative to
a) how much a bio mom hates her ex and/or
b) by how much bio mom hates the stepmom.

It appears to me the bio moms are passing a lot of judgement on others and laying down the law, so to speak, based on the bio moms assessment of everyone else's character (ex's and stepmoms).

My husband and his ex truly hate each other.
They each have good reasons to feel that way.
H knows me fairly well.
We've known each other for 3 years now.
I like H and she likes me, for the most part.
H and I disagree on certain things, but we always manage to work things out.

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#72 of 82 Old 07-02-2007, 07:39 PM
 
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I disagree. The man who raised me when I was young as my father I called "daddy" and I desperately wanted him to be my dad. But my mother forced me to stop and it broke his heart and mine. I am still upset about it and cry when I think about it. She did it to spite him (he wasn't my bio-father, but bio-father wasn't in picture).

My two oldest call my dh daddy or his first name. They call their bio-dad by his first name and see him so rarely (he wants nothing to do with them) and so remotely that I don't think they even know who he is. I have no problem with them calling him daddy. I used to call one of my friend's mothers Mom because I was so close to her.

I think that the child should choose to call the step-parent whatever they want to. It shouldn't be forced either way.
Well, FWIW, I think it's different if the bio-parent isn't parenting. And I had friend's moms who I called "mom", too, and my friends called my mom "mom." But there's a huge difference there. It was a term of affection for a person who very clearly, very obviously was not a parent. A step-parent relationship is very different! I am the mom at my house, the female parent, and a parent to SS, but NOT his mom, KWIM? So there are loyalty issues for him, and jealousy issues for his mom, and loyalty issues for my bio-kids (who were decidedly uncomfortable when SS started calling me mom). Those are things that were easy to avoid, for us.

My guess would be (and it's not like I know) that your mom forced you to stop calling your SD "dad" because she was trying to protect you (from what, I don't know, but perhaps your BD broke her heart?). I do know that that doesn't make what she did OK, but that doesn't make it NOT OK to disallow the use of the names "dad" and "mom" for people other than the bio (and actively parenting) parents in our situation.

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#73 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 01:54 AM
 
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I t seems that many bio moms are saying they are the only ones who can be called Mom, stepmoms should be called by first names or silly nickname, and stepdads (married to bio moms) should be called daddy (except I think one person said she called her stepdad by his first name).
I don't think there's a double standard, but I don't know how involved the bio-dads are in the situations where kids call s-dad "dad".

I think bio-parents should have rights to the "mom" and "dad" titles, as long as they are involved. If they don't care if the kids call someone else by that title, then it's up to them, but I do see those titles as being special and belonging to the bio-parents first. I think steps should be called by first name or a personal nickname, whatever they are comfortable with and reflects the personal nature of a step-child/step-parent relationship.

If the bio-parent is out of the picture, then I think the "mom" and "dad" titles are up for grabs by the person who is filling that role. My s2b dss doesn't refer to me as "mom" because he lives with his mom and she plays a huge roll in his life - far and above anything I am to him in the few weeks a year that he spends with us. I'm just Shannon to him. My youngest DS calls df "daddy" because his bio-dad has seen him maybe 6 times in his entire life and DF has been daddy on a daily basis for as long DS can remember. That's totally different than if his bio dad was actually part of his life. If that was the case, we'd researve "dad" for him and DF would go by something else. It's a respect issue, both respect for the child and respect for the parents.
There are step-moms on this board who completely desearve the title "mom" - no "step" about it, they are the ones who deal with every daily parenting struggle and triumph and they have earned the "mom" title. Each situation is different, ime.

As for the use of "Mrs. so-and-so". Personally, that strikes me as odd, like other posters have said. "mom" and "Mrs. ..." seem so removed from one another that it's hard for me to wrap my brain around having those be the only 2 options. You'd be OK with dss calling you "mom", but you see variations of your first name as disrespectful & unacceptable?? :
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#74 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 09:10 AM
 
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Just my two cents...

My stepdaughter calls me by my first name. She's asked several times if she can call me Mom or Mommy or even Krissy Mommy or something like that, and every time, I have to tell her, No. Would I have a problem with it? Not at all. If that is what she was comfortable with, than I would have no problem with it. She knows who her Mother is. She knows who her stepmother is. She tells me she wants to call me Mom for two reasons- one, because I'm "like a Mom to her" and two, because it's embarrassing to be in public and have "people look at her weird because she calls me Krissy and they think I'm her Mom. However, I have to tell her no because it's written into the custody/visitation agreement that no one is ever refered to as Mom or Dad.

My other point is, when I was growing up, I called my Stepfather, Dad. I knew he wasn't my Dad, but I knew he deserved that title of respect and I wanted us to feel like family. I also called several of my friends' Mothers, Mom. Never confused them with my own Mom, but they did "Mom" things and we were close. I would have felt very rejected if my Stepfather or my friends' Mothers told me that I had to call them by their first names.

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#75 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 10:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Abi's Mom View Post
Well, let me see, I'm 32 and no longer a child and I now call my mom "Mom", not Linda, and I now call my stepdad "Dad", not Ron.

all kids go through a phase of calling their parents by their first names, it's a matter of understanding titles/relationships/etc.

I never like when people make such generalized statements. How would you know what ALL kids do. I never called my mom by her first name and I never called my stepdad by his first name, I never wanted to.
What I mean about kids growing up is not that you would expect your child to start calling you by your first name, he/she will still call you mom, but wondering whether, once your stepson is an adult, you would still expect him to call you Mrs. Strode. Doesn't that seem a bit odd to you?

But I do appreciate your clarification, it helps to understand what it is you're dealing with. I'm glad the decision is ultimately left up to your step son. And I hope that the impression I got from your first post, that you found your step son to be manipulatively disrespectful when he slipped and called you by your first name, was a mistaken impression. It sounds much better that he is free to choose and you respect both his confusion and his difficult situation.

About kids calling their parents by first names, it really is a developmental/age-appropriate thing, usually for preschoolers, you'll get there one day and see You might not remember calling your parents by their first names because you were too young to remember it, and it was a pretty minor thing...
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#76 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 11:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
My guess would be (and it's not like I know) that your mom forced you to stop calling your SD "dad" because she was trying to protect you (from what, I don't know, but perhaps your BD broke her heart?). I do know that that doesn't make what she did OK, but that doesn't make it NOT OK to disallow the use of the names "dad" and "mom" for people other than the bio (and actively parenting) parents in our situation.
No, my mother is abusive and psychotic. She wasn't trying to protect me. She was trying to make me call her new bf "dad" and get me away from my "dad" for her own personal gain.

I think that kids should be able to call whoever they want "mom" or "dad" provided it's not forced. Step-parent or not. No matter.

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#77 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 12:01 PM
 
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My stepson and stepdaughter call me by my first name. They used to have those days that they'd say "I want to start calling you mom too" and I'd give them hugs and say thank you for making me feel so special and they'd play around with the MOM name for a day or 2 but it slowly drift back to my first name out of habit. its been a whle since the whole mom idea though. My stepdaughter who is going to be 9 this month has ALWAYS put me as her mom on paper...Like when she makes me pictures and cute notes she's always referred to me as "To MOM" "I love you mom" ect.... At school its just easier for her to refer to me as her mom to her friends and teachers since i am the only mother that is actively involved with her schooling, girlscouts, ect... She calls her mom mom/mommy and always has.

BUT...For the first time EVER..she wrote me a cute note the other day as usual...It ususally says "roses are red, violets are blue, you are my mom and I love you" ...well yesterday she made me a little scrabooking thing with that same poem but for the first time it said "you are my stepmom and i love you" Talk about throwing me in my place! lol Its okay though because I've always reminded myself that im NOT their mother so I can't expect them to call me mom. I know that she is getting older and her mom has been getting better with them...she's starting to see the difference between me and her real mom and Im sure she feels she needs to love and be more loyal to her own mom...so now Im the STEPmom and thats okay with me.

The one thing that I have always ALWAYS expected from them though is that they refer to me as MOMMY when they are speaking to their little sisters (my biological kids with their dad). For example : "Go ask mommy for a drink" instead of them teling her to go ask Rhendi for a drink. Brianna(my 3 year old) went thru a short phase of calling me by my first name because she heard it from them so much..that hurt me so bad!!!!! I know she didn't mean it that way but she's MY daughter...I want to be atleast called mommy by my own daughter. lol

At their moms they call their stepdad by his first name also.
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#78 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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We had it both ways. My ex-h moved in with a woman who has a daughter six months older than our oldest son together fairly soon after we separated (within a year) and he wasn't an active parent in those years. No visits, no money, nothing other than a weekly phone call. My boys first visit up there, they came home in tears because their now step-sister was calling their daddy "daddy."
Time moved on. I met dh, we got together, moved in together. DS2 went to school and playgroup, dh picked him up. There came a point where Isaac got fed up of telling people "that's not my dad." So DS2 chose to call DH dad by himself- and yes, it's caused hurt and upset with his bio-dad, who has not been a constant in his life in recent years. So we have daddy- and we have dad.
And yeah- if my kids stepmum got called mum NOW, I'd go ballistic- because they don't trust her, based on what they've said. If my guys had found a way to let me know that they feel she's really there for them, unconditionally, because she loves them, then I could share the title. Ex and I did consider the possibility of all grownups being called by their first names, but the boys wouldn't do it.

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#79 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 07:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by woobysma View Post
As for the use of "Mrs. so-and-so". Personally, that strikes me as odd, like other posters have said. "mom" and "Mrs. ..." seem so removed from one another that it's hard for me to wrap my brain around having those be the only 2 options. You'd be OK with dss calling you "mom", but you see variations of your first name as disrespectful & unacceptable?? :
Please re-read post #68

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#80 of 82 Old 07-03-2007, 07:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rhendi View Post
The one thing that I have always ALWAYS expected from them though is that they refer to me as MOMMY when they are speaking to their little sisters (my biological kids with their dad). For example : "Go ask mommy for a drink" instead of them teling her to go ask Rhendi for a drink. ...I want to be atleast called mommy by my own daughter. lol.
That is a good point.
I never noticed that part of it.
J does that exactly, just naturally.
Just this morning, he told A to go ask Mommy for food (when she was asking him to get her some food).
So I guess that's not even an issue in our home.
But it's a great point, anyway.

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#81 of 82 Old 07-04-2007, 02:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abi's Mom View Post
Please re-read post #68
I did, and I still just don't understand, but I don't need to.. it doesn't effect me or my kids at all.

I don't get this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abi's Mom View Post
It was agreed by all us parents that calling me by my first name was not going to happen. It was the only option taken away because we all agreed it set me apart from his other parents (mom, dad and stepdad, who are all called, mom, dad and dad).
Calling you "Mrs." sets you apart WAY more than calling you by your first name, imo. Speaking as a step-daughter & mother & step-mom, I just don't get it. It would be weird in any of the households in which I've lived, but that's just me. Your feelings are clearly different.
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#82 of 82 Old 07-04-2007, 04:37 AM
 
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To the person who asked about the double-standard: no I don't think there should be any difference. I think neither stepfathers nor stepmothers should be called dad or mom. unless the bio-parent isn't in the picture.

There is a reason it's in so many custody agreements (and it's not just to rile us all up ).

Before either the step- or the bio- side gets on me, I'm both. My husband's daughter calls me and her moms husband by our first names. My son calls my husband, and his dad's X and his dad's current gf by first name.

Neither of them have ever confused any of the parents with their friends because we don't have "formal" titles. The ability to assign chores and maintain order seems to have taken care of that little worry .

Growing up, I called my stepmom by her first name, and there was never anything awkward or unusual about it. My mom's husband I did call by a variation on dad, and while it wasn't an issue when I was little, it was awkward and uncomfortable as I got older and our relationship soured. I didn't like using it in front of my friends, but he had the same attitude as the PP about my using his first name. It (along with other factors) led to some serious resentment during my teen years.

And I found out later that it was very, very hurtful to my dad. He and my mom had only been sep. for 6 months, and he was still adjusting to seeing me less.
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