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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm new here. I'm 27 and have a 2 year old son. My boyfriend is 28 and has a 3 year old son (he's almost 4). My boyfriend and I hit it off from the start and our kids love each other. Makes me really happy! I'm 7 months pregnant with a little girl by the way. So my son, I'll call him R, sees his dad every other weekend for a day and a half. My boyfriends son, E, alternates between his mom and dad about everyday to every other day. So R is here with us pretty most of the time. I use my boyfriend's actual name unless talking to E. Obviously E calls his dad "Daddy" and his dad's things "Daddy's." This is causing R to call my boyfriend "daddy". We never once told him what to call anyone. Just figured it would come naturally and for him to do what was comfortable. I know he's 2, but I really didn't want to tell him what was wrong or right, especially since my boyfriend and I are planning to get married within the next 2 years. Plus our daughter will be calling her dad "daddy" also. The problem is that E is getting really worked up about this. He yells about how his dad is not R's dad. I am hoping I am doing the right thing by trying to leave emotion out of my words, but I have been trying to explain it like this, "E, the reason R is calling him daddy is because he hears you doing it all the time and he looks up to you." Which R is always imitating E!

Are there any tips that anyone would like to share or advice on how to go about it in a better way?
 

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That's something for e's daddy to handle.

E is the one who spends a lot of time away from his dad, while this new kid sees him almost all the time and now he decided E's daddy is his daddy, too AND his daddy has a new baby on the way! Talk about some big changes and scary emotions! That's a little boy who is afraid he's being replaced, and his dad is the only one who can reassure those feelings.

Why do they alternate every day, and how stable a schedule does the boy have? That sounds like one of the more difficult custody arrangements.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. We've talk to each other a lot about it, but it only recently started upsetting E when it went from "daddy's room/shoes/chair" to just "daddy." It makes sense to me. So I will be sure to express the importance of talking to him. We try very hard to keep it as normal and homelike as possible for both of them.

E's parents live about 15 minutes from each other. His mom works long hours as a nurse about 3 or 4 days a week and his dad's schedule used to fit best with being able to have E on those long days. Do they worked around their jobs a lot. His dad is really concerned about how the setup has been for E. I don't have much input on that topic. I had to open R's dad's eyes that he needed him more and every other weekend was all he was willing to do. Plus my parents had a system where my sister and I would only see our dad for a week or two every holiday. I know he doesn't want to see E less.
 

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Is your boyfriend comfortable being called "Daddy" by your son? If so then I think it's fine, but you both (mostly your boyfriend) need to have some conversations with your kids about it.

I think E needs some reassurance that he is still loved and important to his dad. It might help to confirm that yes, your boyfriend is not R's dad, but R doesn't see his dad much and maybe E could practice sharing. Another really important thing is to make E's schedule as consistent and predictable as possible. I know nurses have difficult schedules to work around, but it's best for a child that age (IME) to not change houses more than once or twice a week and to always know when to expect that change. Also, since he's sharing his home and his dad with R and the new baby, make sure he has some things that are just for him - his own room, or his own chest of toys, a regular activity with his dad that the other kids don't join, that sort of thing.

It may be difficult for all of you for a bit, there's a lot of changes going on right now. So some extra patience with kids acting out is also warranted. You are obviously not in charge of the custody arrangement for E, but you can share your concern for him with your boyfriend, and even show him this thread.
 

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I agree, some consistency is best. Even if it's just small routines like the same bedtime routine at both houses, that can help.

Your boyfriend should make sure he's giving E some one on one, quality time and reassuring him that he's still very loved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, he's comfortable with it. He was the first to bring it up when we found out we were expecting a baby. He knew that R would be hearing it all the time and he said he isn't going anywhere. The boys currently share a room because I moved into my boyfriend's place, but E didn't have his own room then because there was someone else co-renting with them. Once that person moved out then the boys both got a room to share. I made a sign with both of their names on it E and R's room. I make sure R doesn't touch E's stuff Lightning McQueen or taggy, which I keep on E's bed. Having his own chest of toys/books sounds like a good idea. Sharing is still a hard concept for both of them, but it's definitely being worked on and seems like a good way to go about it. I will also encourage them to do more things just the two of them. They don't do that very often, but I always say that if he ever wants to then by all means! R and I have lots of one on on time since I am a stay at home mom. E is also only here when his dad is here and his mom isn't quite ready for me to watch E for extended periods of time. I respect that, but it definitely means he goes back and forth even more, plus daycare. As for consistency, we always do the same routine for bed. I am not sure if he has that at his mom's or not, but I do know that they try to keep each other updated in how they are going about their routines with him. Also, patience and talking is a big deal here.

I really appreciate all of the advice. Thank you so much!
 
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