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

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Old 06-23-2003, 06:40 AM
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Confused and Frustrated

My ex-wife is due to get re-married this winter and is moving in with her fiancee in Septenber. We have a 3 year old and a six year old. My ex has been encouraging them to call her fiancee Dad and explaining it that they will have two Dads. The six year old flat out rejects the idea and the three year old goes back and forth.
What is the right way to handle this? Please help
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Old 06-29-2003, 02:09 PM
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That's a tough one but.....having grown up with a stepdad my mother gave us the option to call him whatever we felt comfortable calling him. We never did call him dad unless we were out with friends and stuff. Made it easier. I don't think, just my opinion, that she should force them to call him dad. Let them decide as they grow.
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Old 06-29-2003, 02:13 PM
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Natenate,
YOU are Dad and new hubby/step-dad is something else. Your ex and her hubby to be need to be reminded of this. End of lecture.

Dinsky
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Old 06-29-2003, 02:22 PM
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Hi...

First and foremost...NO ONE should ever MAKE a child call a step-parent by either Mom or Dad!!! This only leads to resentment, by the child, for many years to come. Plus, it sounds as though you are still very active, in their lives.

However...I do have a solution. You may think it is rather strange, but I think it is one that can and will work.

Short story:

I was born in WW2, my dad was off to war. I wound up calling my grandfather *Daddy*, basically since my mother did. When, my dad came back to the States, I was told to call him *Daddy*, too. Now, I must tell you, this caused major confusion, for all concerned, most of all me. I had been calling my grandfather, Daddy, for over 2 years, so it was not *natural* for me to call him Grandfather, ok? Anywho...during this confused period, I was told to call my grandfather to dinner, so I called him Bob, that was his nickname. I must tell you, my grandmother almost HAD a heart attack. Remember, young children...NEVER...EVER...called adults, by their first names, at that time.

Bottom line, it was decided that I would call my grandfather, Daddy Bob and my father, Daddy. This solution worked for us and was excellent in my book, cause you see, I did have 2 *daddies* and I could call them both *daddy*.

So, what I am suggesting...is that your 2 children call their new step-dad...Daddy [what ever his first name is], just like I called my grandfather.

This way, you will NOT be the *ogre* or the disgruntled ex-husband and your kids will NOT feel they are being disloyal.

Just one suggestion, for someone who has been there, though not with a step-parent.

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Old 06-29-2003, 02:25 PM
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I remarried after x-h left us. The children called my dh by his first name - but very respectfully. They called x-h all the usual dad terms. I made it very clear right from the start that they had one dad, and that dh loved them very much, so they had two male parental figures in their lives.

Making an issue out of it, however, is a lose-lose situation. If they are primarily living with their mom and only see you occasionally, it will be very difficult for them. Just be sure they call you one of their dad-terms when they are with you.

I encourage you to make every effort to visit with them and have them stay with you as much as possible. If she is going to co-habit without benefit of marriage, there are a lot of things you have to have a good relationship with the kids in order to counteract!

My prayers are with you!

Cheerio!
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Old 06-29-2003, 02:50 PM
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I don't think she should cram that down their throats. They should call him by his name and if down the road they want to call him otherwise that should be their choice. I have been on both sides of this - My step-daughter was 13 and my son was 3 when I met my husband. I never told her to call me "mom" and I never told my son to call him "dad". My son started to call my husband "dad" because he always heard my step-daughter calling him that. As for my son's father he calls him "daddy" which to me is more endearing. That is how he separates the two. My husband and I have been married 7 years and have 2 children together so the "dad" thing naturally fits. As for my step-daughter, at first she asked if she could call me "mom" and I told her it was up to her. She did use it for a few months but it didn't feel right to her so she went back to using my name. I think your ex is going to create a lot of hostility and resentment if she continues to force the issue. To them it looks like she is trying to replace you and that he is trying to replace you. The "two dads" thing isn't gonna work. Only time will allow them see him as a parental figure.
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Old 06-29-2003, 03:30 PM
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I know things are tough right now. My dh and I have been together for 13 years. We both had a child when we met and the subject of the kids calling us mom or dad never entered our minds. the kids(his daughter my son) call us whatever they are comfortable with. Of course, our other four kids call us mom and dad. His daughter over the years, do to things she had no control over has decide(her choice) to call me mom. My son on the other hand calls mydh by his name(his choice) We have let the kids know from the get go that no one can take the place of their real mother and fatehr. In introdutions to friends they always say this is my step-mom or dad which ever is the case. It should not be pushed on the children. Children are very smart and will decide for them selves what the out come is.
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Old 06-29-2003, 03:48 PM
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we solved this problem in our family by calling our step dad "pop"
- I would never have considered calling him dad - I have a dad. That let me to start calling my father in law 'poppy' - a wonderful term of endearment, that our children also used. How I wish I could have a conversation with either one of my 'pops'. Good memories are treasures.
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Old 06-29-2003, 04:09 PM
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Welcome to Family Corner natenate!! Its good to have another male in the "family " !!!!


When I married my first DH (now deceased), he had a son & daughter from his first marriage. SS asked if they could call me "Mom". DH was all for that! I wasn't! So, I explained to SS & SD that they already had a Mom and it would probably hurt her if they called someone else "Mom" too. We decided that they would call me by my name until we could come up with something better. To this day, they still call me by my name!

BTW - DH's ex made a point to thank me for that! Seems that SS told her about our discussion. I just pointed out that I would not want a child of mine calling someone else Mom!

My DD calls my DH by his first name....that was never an issue or a second thought even though DD's father is deceased.

natenate - my point is - you are those children's only father! I don't think you should allow your ex to force your children to call another man "Dad". Fact is, he is not their Dad! He will be their step-father/step-dad.

Just curious...how do you feel about them calling another man "Dad" ? You didn't mention that in your original post.
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Old 06-29-2003, 04:17 PM
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The significant other of your ex-wife is NOT their father, nor should he be construed as such down the road. Legally, he has NO parental rights....NONE, no matter how much the ex desires it.
If you don't believe me, ask any Judge.

As long as you continue paying your child support, (regardless of your thoughts on the matter) ......and that you make SURE you get your visitations....and don't stop picking them up, the children will know who Daddy is......

At the same time, I do believe children should show respect for the parent's partner. Now, so as not to confuse anything.....my step son used to call me Momma Jean,..... my son called my new husband, PoppaJoe.... it is at least respectful. When they are older they can work out what to be called ....

Please please please keep the lines of communications open with your children. Call them every night to say good night and see how their day went. It's a very difficult situation at best. Try not to look at the 'significant' other as the enemy. He is really caught in the middle. If y'all can be civil, that can only benefit the children!!....

One thing I will tell you, if your ex wife starts pulling any of that visitation withheld crap, haul her behind into court asap. Make sure you don't stop paying the child support. THat is for the support of your kids, and not a bargaining tool. Every time she withholds visitation, that's what you do. You are within your rights to see your children. She must abide by the decree.

Judges view that sort of behavior in a grim manner, and if that becomes the norm, she may have to relinquish custody. YOU have the same right to try to get custody as well.

If y'all can work out shared custody, so much the better, if you live near by...... *s* Just remember, whatever you do, is for the BETTERMENT of the children and to keep them as UNSTRESSED as possible.

In any case, talk to your ex in a very CALM manner regarding who's their daddy!....


Good luck...keep us posted
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Last edited by Jeannie; 06-29-2003 at 08:13 PM.
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