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Step-Parenting Ask other step-parents your questions about being a step mom.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 06-29-2003, 06:50 PM
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I think your ex should be ashamed of herself. Your children have one Dad, you, and they shouldn't have to call anyone else Dad. If you weren't involved in their lives that may be different, but how confusing can this be for them?

I couldn't even call my inlaws Mom and Dad while my own parents were alive.

I hope you can get this across to her. She may have a new husband, but the kids have a new step-father not a new dad. Maybe the "Papa so-and-so" would work if she doesn't want them to call him by his first name, but not "Dad" or "Dad so-and-so".

Don't give up on this for your kid's sake. You are DAD.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 06-29-2003, 10:07 PM
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My ex and I separated when my son was just 6 months old. I have moved on and met someone, Joe, when my son was 1 year old. My son is now 4.

I have always maintained that my son has one daddy. That is my ex.

I thought it would cause less confusion. I was sort of right. It has caused a bit of confusion for my son in a way I never imagined.

See. My ex is a great father. And my Joe is a great father figure. Though even he keeps healthy boundaries about who he is to my son. It didn't seem to matter.

When my son was 2 to 3 years old, For awhile he would call daddy, joe and joe, daddy. We had to continually correct him and after awhile he finally got it right.

After spending 3 of his 4 years with Joe and I, My son is now questioning on a regular basis how Joe fits into his life. And wonders sometimes why he can't have all three of us in the same house all the time. Why can't daddy live with us mommy?

At pre school, the kids see more of Joe than daddy. and My sons friends ask, is that your daddy? My son gets indignant and says Thats NOT my daddy! but then in the car asks, What is Joe mommy?

So, I explained that he was his step daddy. And he got a big smile on his face.. Oh.. I didnt know that, he said. It seemed to settle things for awhile. but then later he asked. Is Joe my step daddy? and I would say yes. and he would look confused.

We are still working on it. he did give two fathers day gifts this year hand made and identical. My sons request. And two cards but one he added step to the daddy on the front.

In a way, It is like he has two dads in his heart. He loves them both. I dont want My son to feel bad about that. It's a blessing. He has two great men for roll models.

And Daddy is ok with it two. Daddy and Joe have become friends and they help eachother with parenting. We all do. All for One and One for All. Giving tips and talking out the struggles we all have. It works for us.

Thats my story. As for you and your situation. I am going to assume that your ex is trying to Do what she thinks is the best for her children. To have them love you both equally so they wont be confused or feel like guilty when they find themselves loving you both. If you're both great guys then it will happen. I think thats unavoidable.

I dont think that anything will save a childs confusion though. Not having both parents together is confusing. No matter how much you sugar coat it. But at least she is trying. How ever misguided she may be.

I would try to acknowledge that you know she has your childrens best interests at heart but are not sure its the right approach. Then suggest that all three of you go to a councelor or class that can help give you ideas of how to deal with the issues the best.

It keeps you from looking like the heavy and everyone will benefit from it. It will also give you a good safe neutral place to talk it out with them.

Some Cities have classes called Putting The Children First, or something similar. You might even ask your attorney. It can be court ordered if she is reluctant.

Good Luck. I hope it works out well for all of you.

Last edited by Middleagedmommy; 06-29-2003 at 10:11 PM.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2003, 04:33 AM
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My grandson had the same situation. My daughter never forced him to call her husband Dad/Daddy.

Now my grandson calls his biological father Dad Jason and my daugher's new husband Dad Curt. Seems to work for both Dads and my Grandson. Also saves alot of confusion because now my daughter and her husband have a little girl.

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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2003, 08:25 AM
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"Oh, what a tangled web we weave!"

I guess this is one of the reasons Dr. Laura says that when you have children and divorce (or the spouse dies) you shouldn't get involved with anyone until the child is grown and out of the home. I believe that parents should devote their lives to their children and put their own lives on hold. Children need special attention when their parents are divorced (or one died) and raising them should be the ONLY thing on the parents agenda.

I had an aunt who was divorced when her daughter was two. She never remarried and I think only dated someone one time and said forget this. This was in the late '30s. I don't think she trusted men because her ex had an affair and married the other woman right away. This didn't happen too much in those day. She spent the rest of her life working and devoting time to her daughter and later her grandchildren. They were very close and perfectly happy. (My cousin's dad moved a couple hours away and she saw him occasionally but he wasn't really part of her life.) This cousin is my age and I spent a lot of wonderful times with both of them as I grew up. My aunt did fun things with us--skating, camping, week long trips to the mountains in the summer, etc.--that we would never have done if she had remarried. Even my parents didn't do these thing with us. I was close to my mother, but I still envied my cousin's relationship with her mother.

You gave your kids life so make THEM your top priority without the stress of bringing outsiders into that life. Sure, some second marriages work out great for the kids, but many of them don't.

These days too many women bring guys into their home without marriage. The more that come and go, the harder it is for the child. No wonder the kids these days have little regard for right and wrong or have decent moral standards.

OK, soapbox is put away for now.
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Old 06-30-2003, 09:18 AM
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I remarried when my oldest boys were 5 & 2.....It was a confusing time for them & I can remember when I first brought Steve home, my oldest told him that he already had a father & didn't need another one - We kind of chuckle about that....now. My kids have always called Steve by his first name & it has worked out great. I was kind of nervous when my ex got remarried as I didn't want them calling her mom. I didn't have to worry though, they call her Margaret & realize that I am their mother and no one else could ever take that position in their lives. It's so hard in this day & age with divorces & remarriages....In the ideal world, we would all be married just once forever, but this isn't the ideal world & ultimately the children always get hurt. I guess the easiest thing to do, is just love our children to death & let them know how important they are instead of getting upset about our own feelings......We as their parents just need to love them unconditionally & also need to show them how much they mean to us - They will know who their "real" parents are, regardless of what they call the other person in their lives.......Just my thoughts
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Old 06-30-2003, 01:25 PM
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Hello, I am glad that this is resolved. Alls well that ends well.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2003, 05:13 PM
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This is in response to Juniorsmom...

Quote "I guess this is one of the reasons Dr. Laura says that when you have children and divorce (or the spouse dies) you shouldn't get involved with anyone until the child is grown and out of the home."

I can only speak for myself. Everyone has their reasons for divorcing and re marrying. I dont really feel comfortable sharing why Justins daddy and I got divorced but I can say Justin and I are better off.

I was very lucky. I found a great man. Someone who is loving and stable and supportive. I do believe God lead me to him. As much for Justin as for myself.

I am glad my son will see that there is such a thing as a stable loving relationship. That is something he would not have seen if I had not divorvced. He also would not see if I lived alone with him till he was in college.

Aside from the repercussions of living with a single parent, which I have heard is also not ideal for children, there is the economic side of things.

Quote"You gave your kids life so make THEM your top priority without the stress of bringing outsiders into that life. Sure, some second marriages work out great for the kids, but many of them don't. "

If I were to stay single for the rest of justins childhood I would have to work and put my son in daycare for extended hours. I would hardly ever see him.

His daddy would still only see him on weekends. That is, if he doesn't work overtime on Saturday or Sunday. So my son would have very little contact with either parent.

We would be living slightly above poverty level on what my ex is able to pay in child support and what I would be able to make at $7 and hour doing retail sales. Which is about all I ever made. and all that to pay the daycare center to raise my child.

Quote "I believe that parents should devote their lives to their children and put their own lives on hold. Children need special attention when their parents are divorced (or one died) and raising them should be the ONLY thing on the parents agenda. "

Right now I am an at home mother. My son IS my life and gets my full attention thanks to that "outsider" in my and my sons life. I could not do that alone. I thank God every day that he has made it possible for me to devote my life to my son.

Quote "These days too many women bring guys into their home without marriage. The more that come and go, the harder it is for the child."

I think most people that divorce do believe in marriage or they wouldnt have done it to begin with. So you cant really compare divorced people with those who never marry.

I do agree with you that there should not be a parade of men in and out of the home. Children become attached and then for them to leave and another one pop up, they cannot learn how to have lasting relationships.

I did date a little after my ex and I broke up but I would not even consider letting my son meet them until I was sure this relationship was going to be one that lasted.

Joe was the only one that ever met my son. Then I had to make sure that Joe was going to be able to handle parenthood for the long haul.

I believe people should set high standards In partners and look at the whole picture and not just at whether they are romantic or sexy people. Children must be the first consideration in choosing a life partner. Will they be a good parent? and will they be there when the going gets tough?

Quote "No wonder the kids these days have little regard for right and wrong or have decent moral standards."

Now this I take issue with. I think that there are a lot of people in this world who don't put their children first. Who do a lot of bad things. Things like drink and smoke and do drugs and cheat on their wives and husbands. All this within the context of being moral and upstanding married people.

I dont think that immorrality is exclusive to divorcee's. Its a sad part of the human condition.

My son knows god and prays. My son knows illegal drugs are bad, and not to cross the street alone, and not to swear and he knows the golden rule and he knows that people who want to spend their lives together get married. Even at 4 he knows this.

He may be confused about having 2 men who parent him. But its not the worst thing in the world. There are a lot of worse things he could be exposed to.

Last edited by Middleagedmommy; 06-30-2003 at 05:24 PM.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2003, 05:33 PM
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People divorce for different reasons.. Through it all, we hopefully TRY to make things as easy as possible on the children. Having relationships right after a divorce is not a good idea. You need time to heal, to put priorities in order and to learn to stand up for yourself and take care of you and your children.

Child support is for the CHILDREN not for spouses.

But the one thing most people can't get into their heads, is that the the next significant other, or husband, is NOT the parent of YOUR children. The parent is your EX. That is what confuses the kids most. ..If you don't like your ex being "daddy", well, it's like Judge Judy says, You picked him, You chose to have children.

Do you know the Reason most second marriages break up?
It's the children. So, before you subject yourself and more importantly, your kids to another 'failed' relationship, think long and hard. The lesson they should learn is that Mom worked hard, and took good care of us. You teach them responsibility by YOUR actions. What you do, will repeat itself in your children down the line. Be very careful. It's not easy to balance 'the new guy' in your life, and the attention your kids need.

On the other side of this, you can't totally devote your life to your kids. Any mental health professional will tell you this is NOT a healthy thing. You need companionship of others, male and female. But be cautious and sure before y'all move in a guy. Be sensible, be a good example, and enjoy life, learn to respect your self and work for yourself. Many people, even married with children, go to work and manage. You can too. It can be done.
And once you have your life in order, things will be much better and much easier. Do not ever be totally dependent on any man for your survival. If you don't have a skill, get one. Even if things are good at home. God forbid, something happens to your husband, an illness or death, you'll be prepared to take care of things. There are many free courses and agencies to help you get a good job.
If you don't avail yourself of these opportunities, it will certainly set a bad example for your kids.... I'm not condemning anyone, I'm trying to tell you there is help if you want it, and encourage you to seek assistance if you need it. You can do it!
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Old 06-30-2003, 06:34 PM
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I am not sure but the way this thread is going we may have to move it. I think its getting away from the original question. having said that. I felt I need to reply to Jeannie.

I dont understand why so many people see stay at home mothers to be too dependent.

I think you missunderstood what I was trying to say about my situation. I would always do what is necessary for my son. I did not and would not just find a husband just for monitary reasons.

I love this man. And so does justin and my ex even likes him. I found someone who would be a good father and got the benefit of being able to stay at home with my son. There is a big difference.

I also did not jump right into a relationship. I did date a bit. but was not "looking" as such. once I did meet him though I did have to make a decission. Say no because I didnt wait 10 years first?

As it was it seemed better for my son that he would grow up knowing Joe had always been in his life than waiting till he was 11 or 15 or never. I think that would be very hard on a child. I truly feel that god lead me to Joe when I was supposed to meet him. I am sorry if you dont believe that is possible.

True, Joe could die. My sons daddy could die. I could end up raising my son and struggling. I could end up paying for someone else to raise my son and give him just " Quality time" I know people even married do this. I would rather not if I dont have to but if things change I will. I would always do what ever it took for my son.

And if god forbid I lose Joe. If that did ever happen, I won't try drag another man into his life now. He is too old. and I dont believe in revolving relationships dispite how it may look.

And as for child support to be for the child, Yes it is. Thats how we take care of them feed them cloth them etc. I would work to make my own support always. If I had too. As it is now Joe supports me. I do not use my sons child support for my own support.

That is why I said economically if we lived on my income along with child support we would be poverty level. My income for me and my son and child support for my son. I would never use it for my own self. we would survive. My son would always have what he needs.

And as for public assistance. I have never needed welfare and I would never go in welfare unless that was the only way I could feed my son and that would only be till I could find work. I have always found work. It may never have paid a lot. I am not uneducated. I have an AS degree. Though degrees dont mean much these days. Or helpless. I am not and never will be helpless. I just love to be a wife and a mother. I thank god I can do that.

Also, My Ex is a great daddy. I picked him Your right. and I have not regretted that. When I said that he would not grow up seeing a loving and stable relationship. That was not to say he was a bad man. I guess we hear what we want to hear in things. I really didnt want divorce. I believe in lifetime commitments. sometimes we have no choice. The choice is made for us.

Oh and though I am an at home mother who spends her life devoted to her child. I read. I do graphic arts. I help out at the preschool. I have friends and I go out when I can. I keep up on current events and I live a well rounded life. I think mentally I am doing ok dispite what you might think. And my life IS in order.

And I have a skill, I can sell anything. And I have done management before but it has been awhile. I can do what I need to do. I am happiest as a mother and I think my son benefits from my being at home.. I have worked my whole life in retail until I became a mommy. I may not have made alot but I always worked.

And now, I work very hard. Even if I dont get paid for it. My son will know that women can do what ever they want to do in this world. Be a firefighter. A carpenter. President. Or even a mom at home taking care of their children. We all have value. Even if we dont get paid for it.

Lastly, dispite statistics we are determined to not end up in a failed relationship. If we lived our lives statistically we would be to afraid to walk out the door in the morning or take a shower.

This is Joes first marriage and as far as he is concerned it will be his last, and it will be my last one too.
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:50 PM
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Middleagedmommy.... nothing I said was directed to or at you.
My comments were 'in general'.

I see nothing wrong with stay at home moms. There is also nothing wrong with being prepared if some tragedy besets someone. *smiles*
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