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

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#1 of 82 Old 05-18-2007, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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. He lives with his mom, he loves her, he knows I am not his mom. As he grows older he calls me mom out of habit, but the times are fewer and farther between. This is a very tricky subject, his mother and I have never discussed. Naturally I would understand if she doesn't want him calling me mom. She is his mother I can't argue with her. On the other hand I wasn't going to tell dss he couldn't call me mom when he was just learning to talk and didn't really understand what was going on. Perhaps I should have, but for some reason I felt I would send him the wrong message if I did? All the other children were calling me mom, yk? As he grew older and was able to understand a bit more each year we discussed the topic in more detail. I am his 'step mom' he grew in his 'mom's' belly not mine. I love him and if he wants to call me mom he can and if he would like to call me by my first name he can.

So my question is about oldest dd. She does not call my dh dad. This is a no-brainer to me. She was turned 4 the year we were married, she has a dad, she lives primarily with him. You get the point. However, X-dh married a year ago. My dd calls her mom: I've said nothing to dd or X-dh. I don't want to live by a double standard. Her step mother has 3 other children, they call X-dh 'dad'. I'm really uncomfortable with it all b/c of all that I know about X. He has alot going on, for instance, social services substantiated he abused one of his step children, though he wasn't married to their mother at the time, they were just living together. (ETA: YES, I did something about it, but no criminal charges were brought.......I digress.)

Anyway, can I get some thoughts on this? 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?
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#2 of 82 Old 05-18-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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That's a tough one... I"m sure it would bother me too.
My DSD calls me by first name, she also calls her stepdad by his first name. On the other hand, my sister's DSD calls her mom.

Different kids are comfortable with different things. However, I guess you have to tell yourself that it would be wrong to steer her against it, but most importantly, is that just because she calls someone "mom", doesn't mean she forgets that you are her "real mom".

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#3 of 82 Old 05-19-2007, 02:39 PM
 
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I think it depends on why DD calls her stepmother "mom." If it is just something that she started doing, then that's cool. If the adults in the house are forcing it on her, that isn't okay in my book. She should call her stepmother whatever feels comfortable/respectful to both of them.

I call my stepdad by his first name, but when I am talking to others I refer to him as "my dad" or when I am talking about my mom and step dad, I say "my parents." I also have a relationship with my bio dad, so whenever I say "my dad," my df says "Which one?"

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#4 of 82 Old 05-20-2007, 01:03 AM
 
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I am the full time mom to my DSD. I've known her since she was 2, she is 6 now. She asked to call me mom 4 months after meeting me because she wanted a mom. I'm okay with it. Her BM (who is not a part of her life) has a problem with it. She does not like it at all and it's because it makes her feel like she is not DSD's mom. If your DD isn't being forced to call her mom then I think you should just let it go. She knows you're her mother.
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#5 of 82 Old 05-20-2007, 01:19 AM
 
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We've dealt with this one. When DH and I married, my DS was 6 and my DD was 4. His DS had just turned 3 the week before our wedding. My DD occasionally slipped and called DH "Daddy," but my kids didn't ever really wanted to call DH by anything other than his first name. SS, though, wanted badly to call me Mommy. We actively (though gently) discouraged that because we knew it would be very hurtful to his mom.

Several years later, BM moved in with her boyfriend and started encouraging SS to call him Dad. DH was bothered by that, partly because he is the only dad, and partly because he felt cheated when we'd thought of BM's feelings and she didn't seem concerned for DH's. DH spoke to BM about it and told her that it was fine if they found some other name for SS to call BF other than his first name, but it shouldn't be Dad or Daddy. Fortunately, she didn't fight him, since of course she doesn't have to do what he says! At any rate, I think SS never really liked it and preferred to call BF by his first name, which is what he does now.

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.

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#6 of 82 Old 05-20-2007, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate these responses guys. This is something that I desperately need to reconcile in my mind on BOTH ends.

As for dd, I've given it more thought and I think that the reason it bothers me is b/c: DD lives primarily with her dad, and while I see her for each and every weekend/weekly vsit, holiday visitation, additional holiday visitations, birthday visitation, summer visitations, school events, and I call her almost everynight (though I don't always get an answer), I'm not with her everyday, her step mother is. So if she were with me full time and only saw her step mom for visits I think I might feel less threatend. I know that's not fully logical, but it's true.

Where my dss is concerned, I have always had conflicting feelings about him calling me mom b/c I know that it probably wouldn't be a "good thing" as far as his mothers is concerned. I can totally undestand that, I always have, but it seemed so heart wrenching at the time b/c he was SO young. Now that he's 4 1/2, like I said, we've discussed that I'm his 'step-mom' and I've also told him that he should refer to his mother as 'mom' when all 3 of us are together, and not call me mom.

There is NOTHING I can do about dd calling SM 'mom'. You have no idea what I deal with, and I wouldn't dare say a word and run the risk of causing more disagreements in that home than already exists. Believe me, I rarely ever say a word if I can avoid it at all.
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#7 of 82 Old 05-20-2007, 12:06 PM
 
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I'll try to respond to this

My dd is very young and her father and I haven't been together since I became pregnant. He married when dd was a few months old but had been dating for some time before that. It is one of my "fears" that dd will begin calling SM "mom" on her own since dd is so young and just doesn't understand the dynamics yet (very much like your ss). I hope her SM will actively discourage that. DD does not have to understand the relationship with her SM to call SM an appropriate name- something other than a derrivative of Mom. If SM or ex do not stop her from referring to SM as mom- I will most certainly stop her. She has a Mommy. One who carried her in her body, birthed her, sat by her bedside while in the hospital, cared for her after surgeries, nursed her from her breast, does her therapy with her, cares for all of her needs 98% of the time. I will always be there and always be her only Mommy. Nobody else desrves that title. Just the same as nobody else deserves the title of Daddy besides her father.

A situation that comes to mind is dd's gparents. She doesn't have to know her particular relationship with them to call them Grandma/Grandpa, YK? It's all about how I refer to them in regards to dd. Understanding the relationship will come in time.

I know others here think it is OK for a child to choose to call a SM "mom" but that is simply not an option, IMO. Young children are taught what is OK and what is not. It is not OK for them to call a SP Mom or dad, and should be instructed as such.

As far as your dd calling her SM Mommy- I'd talk to your ex about that. Maybe he doesn't realize it's hurtful to you and if you talk about it he'll stop. It doesn't so much sound like that's a real possibility from your most recent reply. It's a tough situation but it is something that should have been nipped in the bud much earlier in the relationship. Really, it sounds like there were a few mis-steps by yourself on your ss's behalf and by your ex on your dd's behalf. I hope you come to terms with the situation...
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#8 of 82 Old 05-20-2007, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you've put into terms precisely what I think that my ss mom would say if approached about the situation. I appreciate your post b/c it's important to be reminded of that POV. As far as mis-steps go, I'm positive there have been a few, but in fairness, I think all of us collectively as parents, rather we see it or not, have been guilty of a 'few mis-steps'. That's why I try so hard to do what is best for the child, while still keeping the parents in mind.

This calls to mind something that has influenced me in my choice. My granny was called granny by children other than her biological grandchildren. The children that lived next door to her called her that. They were very close with her all of their lives, starting at birth or a very early age. Those children had two real sets of grandparents that loved them very much, and I'm not sure how they felt about their title being given to someone else? That situation made me realize or ponder what was actually in a name, yk? In reality, she was affectionately dubbed as 'granny' to these children and that is what she was.

I'm really not trying to denote the relationship of a mother and a child. I'm just still heavily influenced by experiencing this real life situation and the realizations that I drew from it. I think, therefore, the meaning of any title given is held in the heart of the giver, and that is why I think it is important for children to do what they are comfortable with.

As another pp said, no matter what my dd calls her SM, it doesn't change my place in her heart and the connection that we have, and even though my dss calls me 'mom' sometimes, I will always be second in his heart.

Now, having given this more thought, I think my real question to myself and to others is, "Do you think that allowing your child to call someone other than yourself mom or dad will impact your child in a negative way?"
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#9 of 82 Old 05-20-2007, 04:02 PM
 
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Custody agreements in Oregon specifically prohibit using
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the designation of "father" or "mother" or their equivalents to be used by the child with reference to any person other than his natural mother and father.
Of course, if the child comes up with it on his/her own, that's harder, but I think you should encourage something else. I'm a big fan of the first name, myself.
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#10 of 82 Old 05-21-2007, 02:14 AM
 
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When my DSS was very young his mother said to me and DH that DSS could NEVER call me mom, she has expressed it at other times. Actually what she said was " I know you may have kids (with DH) but this one is mine he can't call you mom" DSS always calls me by my name and when people confuse me for his mom out in public I always say I am his Molly his mom's name is Michelle. So as to not confuse DSS and so he does not feel like I am rejected him by saying he is not mine.

I think that if someone has issues with Step child calling Step parent by mom or dad it should be gently discouraged. Occassionally DSS will call me mom just like I will call him my DS's name. We have goofy time and act like we are not sure who is who but I think it is important to respect mom and dad's wishes in this regard.

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#11 of 82 Old 05-21-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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Oh but Step grandparents and aunts and uncles are the same for all. They are considered the same as bio-grandparents and if Family wants a relationship with DS they have to have same relationship with DSS.

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#12 of 82 Old 05-21-2007, 09:31 AM
 
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I'm curious...several of you have mentioned that you do not agree with stepkids calling the step parent mom or dad. A couple of you have said you absolutely forbid it (not just in your own situation but you think it is wrong wrong wrong). So is this across the board? My birth parents are alive but I do not know them and I don't call them mom and dad. I call my adoptive parents mom and dad. DSD's bio-maternal side of her family has next to nothing to do with her and has been that way since birth. So because her mom is a slacka$$ parent who births children and then tosses them away she should never be allowed to call me mom? Because her BM is alive? Well tough. Being a parent is defined by a heck of a lot more than just giving birth or supplying DNA. Great for all of you who are active in your children's lives..I realize that my statements here do not apply to your situations and most of you gave your opinion specifically about how you do it but a couple said it was wrong across the board. Maybe some of you need to think outside of the box.

The day Angelica wants to stop calling me mom could come and that would be fine. Of course it would hurt me because I love that child like a mother. It is her choice. She decides what she wants to call her BM (her first name) and she decides what she wants to call my grandparents (grans and grandpa). What it comes down to is who she is around more. She has a relationship with me and my family. She has no relationship with her bio family and that is the bio family's choice. So she is just supposed to be motherless for the rest of her life? I don't think so.

To the original poster, I'm sorry you're in this situation..it sucks and I'm sure it has hurt your feelings. I can def see how you might feel a bit upset about her calling her SM mom because she is around her more. I really think you should focus on the positive though...If she likes the woman enough to call her mom then the SM must be doing something right. Hopefully she is being a great SM and a positive role model for DD. Consider yourself lucky! You do have the right to stop her and if it is something that bothers you then you should stop it. You have the right to create boundaries. Also, I saw that you commented on keeping your mouth shut...I know it's none of my business but why?? Is it not your household too? We all go through rough times but laying down and "taking it" will not fix anything and it will create a pattern where you are not a part of your household anymore. If you don't stand up now, if you don't create the boundaries now, it might be 20 times harder to do it next time. Maybe I'm stepping over lines here but I wish you the best and hope that you find the answers you need here.
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#13 of 82 Old 05-21-2007, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To the pp, I totally understand where you are coming from. I've tried to practice the 'never say never' policy myself b/c who knows what situations life will bring. I look at each situation individually and try to make choices accordingly. I can totally understand why you dsd needs/wants to call you mom. I would think that her own mother might understand as well, though I'm sure it's still hard.

I assure you that I do speak up when it's absolutely necessary, but speaking up often doesn't accomplish anything. XP refuses to do a thing I say or even consider it if it's not his idea. He is a very bitter, insecure, selfcentered person. I know that sounds harsh, but I assure you I don't say those words out of bitterness myself.

I choose to forgive XP intentionally everyday. I try to remind myself that while he is gravely wrong in our situation, one day we will shed the struggles we carry in this world, and then we will have perfect understanding, perfect love, and live perfectly in harmony together. I'm sure it sounds trite to some, but in my heart it's what I truely believe.
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#14 of 82 Old 05-21-2007, 10:18 PM
 
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I think a lot of it has to do with custodial relationships...and this came out in the posts. Children are more likely to naturally call the custodial "parents" be they bio or step "mom" and "dad" especially if there are other children involved. I don't think we should force children NOT to call someone something just as I don't think they should be forced TO call someone something.

Since DP and I got married, the girls have, at times, referred to him in the third person as their father or stepfather. They don't call him Dad, but after baby comes and I'm calling him that, it might become more natural. And if it does, well, what of it? He has taken on that role, and though their biofather sees them a few weeks a year, if they choose to accept him as their daily dad I just don't see what's wrong with that.

On the other hand, I guess I also wouldn't be too bothered if they started calling their stepmom "mom" while they are with her, and when they wanted to send her a mother's day card, I was thrilled that she's made such a strong impression on them (I've been getting mother's day cards daily or multiple times a day a week...). Maybe I just don't feel threatened? It sounds like it's a situation where someone feels their role is threatened, then they don't want the kid to say "mom" or "dad" but it really should be about the children, not about what makes the parents happy. At least, that's my opinion
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#15 of 82 Old 05-21-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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While I think that if they don't want to call their step parents mom or dad, that should be honored, I think that it would be great if they did feel like it.


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"Do you think that allowing your child to call someone other than yourself mom or dad will impact your child in a negative way?"
I would hope that if my children had to spend much time with their fathers new wife/girlfriend that they would feel taken care of and loved enough to want to call her mom. It is very hypothetical since it has been almost 2 years since thier dad has even come to see them.

My children have rarely been away from me overnight. But, especially when they were just little ones, if I was going to leave them with someone, it was going to be with someone I knew they would feel comfortable with in a motherly way. Someone whose lap they could curl up in, someone they could wake up in the middle of the night, or even sleep with, someone who was there for them. I would hope they would feel that way about any mother figure they would have to spend lots of time with.

I do think that the age for kids to fall into calling a step parent mom or dad is over very young (like I would be surprised if my 6 and 7 year old would start it with a person they would meet now), but I believe that feeling of support and love can still grow even at much later ages.

If you have a family that is parent, step parent, kids of parent, then new baby; it seem like it would be harsh to deny those older children to call you mom or dad. In very blended families where there are several layers of parenting and moms and dads it would be less noticeable, but when that step parent becomes a parent for the first time to a newborn, it can be such a difficult transition anyway. And there is much more of calling that parent mom or dad, while they are falling in love with the new baby, I can't imagine telling child that they can't say mom or dad if they want to.
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#16 of 82 Old 05-21-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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When my ex remarried, there was apparently a discussion regarding what our kids should call their stepmom (until then, they'd called her by her first name). She and their Dad suggested that they call her Mom when with them, as that would be less confusing for her kids (2 years younger than ours, who were 8 & 10 at the time). My kids politely declined, saying that they weren't comfortable with that.

One area of contention that they (our kids) have is that her kids call my ex Dad. They have a very involved father themselves, and it really upsets both of ours a great deal. As the younger said "they have their own Dad - Dad is OUR Dad."

Just something to consider.
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#17 of 82 Old 05-22-2007, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ahh, thank you all so much again. The recent post have revealed much of my own feelings during the time when my dss was a baby and I had a baby of my own that was dh and I's first child together. There are alot of perspectives to be considered here and I hope that this post has at least provoked thought in all of us.
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#18 of 82 Old 05-22-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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my son is only 2 1/2, and dp has 2 daughters who don't live with us who are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2, and they have all made slips with calling us "mommy" or "daddy". it is especially hard for my son since he is always hearing dp called daddy by his son. they are always reminded, gently, of what our names are. I don't think there's anything wrong with reminding a young child to call you by your name. it's what you would do if a child who was not yours or not even your step-child, right?

my ss asked if he could call me mom. I said no. mostly because I've only been in his life for a few months. so I wasn't comfortable with it. to be honest, I could care less about his mom's feelings.
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#19 of 82 Old 05-22-2007, 12:23 PM
 
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While I was 11 when my father remarried, and I rarely called my stepmom, mom, I can't imagine how put down I would have felt if she had said, "please call me E__." Again, especially after she finally had her own kids when I was 15 and 17. Even then I understood that things were going to be different when she had her "own" children, but I can't imagine how it would have felt to have been pushed out of that relationship on the rare occasion I called her mom. Yikes.

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it's what you would do if a child who was not yours or not even your step-child, right?
It depends on the situation. For one, you are in a mothering or fathering position. I know that when my boys decide what kind of father they want to be thier stepfather will come to mind. He fixes bike tires, and plays catch, tells them to go to bed, and gets up set when they throw rocks near car. Not that thier own father would never come to mind, but I imagine dh would come before grandpa or a neighbor or thier brother when they are thinking about good and bad things that fathers do.

In many other situations where a child comes to really depend on you, there is often some kind of pet name that comes with that relationship- Aunt, or Granny, or Sis. Something that says this relationship is important. If mom or dad really bother you, then it is probably worth thinking up some other special name. I did babysit a little girl for about a year, and while she didn't talk much (she was just 15 months when we stopped), her family already had a special name they called me. But I don't think I would have corrected her if she called me mom along with my boys, and I don't think that her parents would mind.

Then there are the times children my boys are playing with call me mom, or L's mom, just because they don't know my name, then I do tell them my name, but not for a kid who means it.
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#20 of 82 Old 05-22-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by katydid317 View Post
my son is only 2 1/2, and dp has 2 daughters who don't live with us who are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2, and they have all made slips with calling us "mommy" or "daddy". it is especially hard for my son since he is always hearing dp called daddy by his son. they are always reminded, gently, of what our names are. I don't think there's anything wrong with reminding a young child to call you by your name. it's what you would do if a child who was not yours or not even your step-child, right?

my ss asked if he could call me mom. I said no. mostly because I've only been in his life for a few months. so I wasn't comfortable with it. to be honest, I could care less about his mom's feelings.
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I can't imagine how it would have felt to have been pushed out of that relationship on the rare occasion I called her mom. Yikes.
Yeah, at least for me personally, I would never reject a child giving me such a gift of love as to acknowledge my parenting role, nor would I expect DH to if our daughters ever chose on their own to call him "Dad." It just doesn't seem quite right. I had a stepmom when I was a child, and do now, and neither was loving or parenting to me, so neither would ever be anything in my mind but their first names. But under different circumstances (perhaps if my dad had married this amazing woman he dated for about 5 years, who I loved and was really a part of our lives) I could see it going differently. And if I'd been put down, it would have hurt. Hard.

FWIW, I don't correct other neighbor kids if they call me mom, unless they seem to be asking my name. Then I consider it more a title than a name, if that makes sense. Like dd1 through much of pre-k called her teacher "Teacher" because she had trouble pronouncing her name. No insult, no problem, nothing to bring attention to.

But to each his own :
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#21 of 82 Old 05-22-2007, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I swear this is better than therapy and so insightful. It has helped me to reconcile and that is what I so desperately needed to do.

When I talked to dd about calling SM 'mom' I let her know that it was okay with me if she wanted to do it. I felt like it was important for her to know that I understood after she explained why. After talking to her I realized that ALOT of it had to do with feeling like she belonged. My heart breaks for her.......but I know that she knows she is desperately loved and that she can ALWAYS depend on me and that I will always be there for her.

I acknowledge that SM is very important in her life. It might not be fair that SM gets to do all the things that I should be doing, but life's not fair. In many ways SM is an angel sent from heaven, yk? It makes my daughter feel like she fits to call SM 'mom' and to me that is the most important thing.

Like many of the pp's said or tried to illustrate, dss calling me mom wasn't just a mistake. I have been and am his mom. I may not be THE mom, but I am a mom. He has two moms. My role is not exactly the same as his 'real moms', I may not be AS important, he doesn't prefer me to her, but he needs and depends on me and I love him very much. He is part of my husband and I am reminded how much I love my husband each time I look at him, just as I am when I look at my own biological children.

Our family may not be conventional, but we are a family none the less, and I think we have done a wonderful job of adapting to our unique situations and I know that all we have done has been done with great thought and love. May not be perfect, but we're learning as we go........
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#22 of 82 Old 05-22-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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I'm glad you feel better! This place can be very helpful. You get so many point of views and so much information. It's always nice to hear from people who are going through similar things as you. I know this forum has been a big help to me. Anyway, you sound very insightful. Good luck!

Elizabeth
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#23 of 82 Old 05-23-2007, 11:06 AM
 
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I might be in the minority on this, but I don't believe what a child calls you is indicative of how they FEEL about you.. it's just a label.

When I was young, I called my aunts "Aunt Lisa," "Aunt Alice," etc. because that is how family always referred to them in front of me, but as I got older, they called them by their first names only because I knew they were my aunts and they didn't have to say, "Aunt Alice," but only "Alice" and I knew who they were talking about. I, as an adult, started calling them Alice, Lisa, etc. and dropping the labels myself. It wasn't to dismiss them as family- but why add another name if I *knew* how they were related to me?

My own (7 yr old) nephew calls me both "Aunt Manda" and "Manda" and each is fine with me. When he drops the aunt label, I don't feel like he loves me any less- he is just calling me what he hears others call me. We do this with nicknames for people as well. He also calls my sister's boyfriend "Dad" or "Daddy" and explained it like this, "I don't know my own real dad. I know you aren't my dad, but I hear Maddy (his dd) call you dad, and it's easier than saying your name, so I just call you Dad for a nickname."

I think if kids are getting confused, it is a different matter altogether- for example- when my sister lived with my parents and my nephew was calling OUR dad (his g-pa) Dad, it bothered me because I was afraid he really didn't know that OUR dad wasn't HIS dad too, which I thought was really strange and felt almost incestuous to me. However, if it's a matter of step-parent, they are filling a parental role when the biological parent can't be around and they are the Mom or Dad in that situation and it's up to the two of them to decide on an appropriate name.

*If* my dd's bio dad was in the picture and was married and she called her stepmom "Mom" or by her first name, I feel that it is detrimental to that relationship for me to interfere and say, No you cannot call her such-and-such name. Just like she calls my mom "Granny" - no one else in our family has ever used the title of Granny, always used Maw Maw, but I'm going going to interfere with that because it is between my dd and her grandmother to approve that name, NOT ME. And no matter what she CALLS these people it does not change the fact that she loves THEM more or less, or loves ME more or less.

Kids in daycare call their providers MOM all the time- it just slips out and is easy to say. They know who their mommies are though- no doubt about it!!!

Manda

::Mommy to Pixie : 9-3-00 and Peri 11-15-07
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#24 of 82 Old 05-25-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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I'm glad you worked everything out and are feeling good about it!

My two cents:

As a general rule, I think adults mostly need to butt out of the relationships the kids have with the other adults.

Obviously, I don't mean if something abusive is going on. But when it comes to things like names, titles, family traditions, etc. MYOB is a good rule!

The adults were the ones that decided to divorce and then remarry, which results in the kids having to struggle with all kinds of new situations, defintions and relationships. The least the adults can do is not interfere with how the child is handling things as long as nothing harmful is going on.
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#25 of 82 Old 06-03-2007, 08:32 PM
 
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I am glad you came to a solution that you are happy with, OP.

I am a stepmom and my dsd has always chosen to call me mom. Before dh and I were married, she would always ask and ask and ask (she was 6 when I first met her). I told her maybe she should try another name like Mimi or Candy or really anything else. She tried half-heartedly, but nothing ever "fit" for her.

When we got married, however, after we all had said our vows and were hugging, she looked up at me with tears streaming down her cheeks and she said, "Can I call you mom now??" And I told her yes.

For my situation, I decided to "allow" her to call me mom for the following reasons:

1) At her bio-mom's house, she was allowed to call her mom's partner "moms"
2) My dh and I knew we wanted to have several more children and we did not want her to feel left out or different in any way to "our" kids
3) It's truly the name she chose for me. It did not change the way she saw her bio-mom at all. I am just "mom" at our house.

Anyway, we always try to respect not only the parents in the situation, but the needs and wishes of the child. Had her mom not allowed the name "moms" we may have not allowed, "mom" for me - but since they were ok with it there, it didn't seem fair to dsd for her not to be able to call me mom at our house when that's what she clearly wanted. It's been 4 years now and she knows that she can change what she wants to call me anytime. But for now, she is choosing mom.
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#26 of 82 Old 06-04-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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I left this totally up to my child. His bio-Dad and I divorced when he was just over a year old, and by the time he was two I began dating my DF. My son is now 4.5 years old and calls DF a combo of his first name but sometimes lately has also started calling him Dad.

I have always been very honest and told my son that he has a Dad, who is not able to be around right now. (My x has been MIA for about 2 years now) I tell him DF loves him, and he can call him what he wants to.

Just in the last 6 months or so he's started calling DF Dad about 1/3 the time. I'm ok with with it, becuase it was totally his choice.

Candacepeace.gif, Married to dh   guitar.gif, Mom to ds (8) biggrinbounce.gif , Gavin candle.gif (9/30/10 - 12/19/10) and cautiously expecting our rainbow1284.gif 4-29-12

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#27 of 82 Old 06-13-2007, 04:43 PM
 
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I wish I could gove some refreshing insight, but I am lost in it myself. I am going through this right now and it's really hurting.

I have raised my kids and been the primary parent always. And now we live 3,000 miles from their bio dad.

When my DH came into the picture, DS1 was 4 and DS2 was just over 1 year old. So he's been around them since they were little. The boys chose to call him dad and we were okay with that. Though we did tell them their bio dad might be upset and we told my ex we didn't encourage it.

Their bio dad had a royal fit for YEARS! But he's finally over it as much as he can be. I am sure it hurts, but he did say that he understood because my DH is the primary father figure 24/7. However, in the midst of his fit, he had his new wife tell the kids they could call her mom. It never stuck, it just irked me.

See, she's a nut job and she made it clear she didn't want to be their mom. Ever. And she doesn't take good care of her own kids, let alone mine.

But recently my 8 year old has been calling her mom. I held it in for a while but finally lost it one day. I was just so hurt. I told him that I birthed him and I raised him and he's never been with her longer than a weekend. That if he were living with her full time I might be able to see him calling her mom, but that he doesn't. I softly told him that it truly hurts my feelings when he calls her mom and that it IS up to him but it makes me uncomfortable.

What's more, he has been going to people who don't even know he has a step-mom and telling them "My mom is having a baby in June." People are coming to me wondering why I don't look poregnant or (if they know I am 15 weeks pregnant) they are wondering if I am losing the baby.

We're in a small alternative school where everyone knows everyone, so people are confused. I don't care if they know he has a step-mom, but he's confused everyone and I have to smooth it out. That just adds to my irk.

Why now? Why suddenly calling her mom? And why when I've told him it hurts my feelings?

I feel like I am being immature about it and yet I cannot see straight when I hear him call her mom. We've gone through HELL because of this woman being in my ex's life. Maybe she's grown up a bit now suddenly (I figured she would relax when I moved 3,000 miles away from them), but that doesn't stop me from remembering everything we've been through the last 7.5 years.

And even though the mature me would say, "who cares!" the conscious me says that if he can also call her mom, what have I done wrong? I've not done enough to earn that name for myself? Ouch.

Sorry to hijack the thread! I just know how this can blindside you!

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
"Well behaved women rarely make history"
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#28 of 82 Old 06-13-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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GinaRae, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I was wondering what your reflections are after reading the other posts on this thread? Especially ones related to how the child might feel?

I admit, while reading your post, I'm feeling pretty bad for your son. It must be really hard to be burdened with his mom's feelings on this...not that yours are irrelevant, but that he's somewhat responsible if you feel bad (or to make choices to help you feel good). I know you're conflicted about it...but it just seems kind of wrong to me, especially as your son has already had a "precedent" that step-parents aren't called "step." Maybe instead of making it "I feel bad when you call her mom because I gave birth to you" "it's confusing for other people when you say "my mom x" and mean your step mom, could you be more clear when talking to others?"

I don't mean to sound harsh...I know it must be really hard...but at the same time, maybe your son gets more out of the relationship with his step mom than you realize, and for him, it could be important. Or maybe just fitting in with her family, or maybe just wanting to be "normal." Maybe if you talked to him about why he is suddenly calling her mom, rather than how you feel about it, then you could empathize more with him and his feelings rather than your own?
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#29 of 82 Old 06-13-2007, 10:04 PM
 
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A therapist recommended to us that my stepson have a special name for me. Not my first name and not mom. He calles me "elle" as in L for larissa. It works for us so far.
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#30 of 82 Old 06-14-2007, 03:33 AM
 
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Jster,

I tried talking with him, I really did. I handled it well even when I was cringing inside. I probed gently and asked all the right questions. But nothing. So i spoke up.

At this point, my dear son seems to be in his own world and really, I don't think he "gets" much of anything I am saying (unless I say, "Let's go swimming" or "Do you want some dessert?")

It's going to work itself out, even with my bad behavior (which thankfully wasn't THAT bad!) and I just needed to vent here and think about things a bit. Unfortunately what was said was said. But again, he doesn't seem to be concerned. THAT concerns me in a whole other way, so I guess there's more to work through.

Question is, do I drop it or keep probing to find out why now?

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
"Well behaved women rarely make history"
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