Blended Families

To call me mommy or not to call me mommy. That is the question.

I've been reading a few post and have even written a few of my own and there's something that comes up a lot that I was curious about.

Some people don't believe that stepparents should be called mommy or daddy and I totally understand not making the children call them that especially if they have a relationship with the other parent. Here's my question.

1) What do you do if the child wants to call the stepparent that and is old enough to make that decision? Do you still tell them no?

2) How do you explain to a young child about stepparents? I don't believe telling them that they are a friend is a good idea because then they see them as peers when they aren't. Do you just let it go until they're old enough to understand?

3) What makes a stepparent? Marriage? What if the person the parent marries doesn't act like a stepparent but a boyfriend or girlfriend does? Who's the stepparent? 

I definitely do not believe that parents should force their children to call the stepparent mommy or daddy, but how do you navigate such a sticky situation? I was just curious on everyone's take on this.

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Re: To call me mommy or not to call me mommy. That is the question.

  • When my daughter was 5  she wanted to call my DH daddy.  We had been together for two years by then. Her BF is still in the picture, after DH,DD & me talked about it we told her it would be okay. 

    She than felt she would tell her BF, he went off on her and told her she could only call my DH daddy if she called his girlfriend mommy.  She did not feel the same way about his girlfriend and said she would not call her mommy. 

    So for the last 8yrs she refers to my DH by name and his girlfriend by her name.  I feel that it is something the child should deceide based on his/her feelings. 

  • Personally, I do not think that YOUNG step children should be allowed to call step parents 'mommy' 'daddy' or the shortened mom dad versions. BUT, that doesn't mean I don't think there are exceptions to that rule.

    I think once a child is old enough to understand the weight of the words 'mom' 'dad', and they can make the decision on their own, it can be something to be considered.

    I do not feel an 18 month old, or 2 year old, or a 5 year old is able to make that decision objectively.

    My step son asked me just before he turned 5 if he could start calling me mom. (He calls me 'hunnie', and I've been around him for 3 years now). I explained to him that I love him very much, but that I think it would hurt his mom's feelings if he called me mom. For him, that was good enough reason and said okay. If he comes back down the road say when he is 10 or something, we may revisit it. I'm perfectly happy with being 'hunnie' or my name if he ever chooses to change it. Mom is a very special word. I know I would be devastated if my daughter or soon to be son started calling another woman mom.

    I know there are SM's on this board who are called mom/mommy. And for the most part, they are the only 'mom' in those kids lives. And I reallly commend those ladies for taking on such a huge responsibility.

    I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer. I do know I feel strongly about my opinion though. (and we know that totally makes me right! ;-) ) Young children are just not able to really understand the meaning behind mom/dad. And the parents who force their younger ones to call the new SP mom or dad really piss me off. Mom and Dad are special words. I think a lot of the younger SM's (or GF's) come on here and get all butterflies in their tummy and excited that someone is calling them mom (and it's always the ones who don't have children of their own, so they themselves don't really understand how hurtful it can be to the other parent). But what they don't understand that while it may make them feel good, it's confusing a young child, and it is totally overstepping their boundaries by allowing a young child to continuously do it.

    My SS called me mom when he was 2. He did it on multiple occasions (I think just because I was a woman who was in his life half the week, and helped take care of him. That's what children see as a mom or dad ) and both DH and I (who was my BF/FI at the time we were not married) always explained to him, gently, that I was not mom. We tried to teach him my name, but he just started picking up on hunnie (which is what my H always calls me). But when he would call me mom it left little flutters in my tummy because *I* knew how special that word was. But I'm also respectful enough to realize that as much as *I* might like it and enjoy it, it's not FAIR to his BM to allow it. She carried him for 9 months. She went through labor, she went through the crying in the middle of the night, she took care of him when he was sick and taught him his first words... I can never ever ever replace her. Nor do I want to.

    In the end, I think it comes down to respect for the real mom or dad. Of course, I do believe there are exceptions.

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  • I think its tricky too, and my answer probably is weird.  I met DH when SS was 5, and he has always just called me Steph.  I think that is appropriate.  He has a mom, and although I am his step mom now, I wouldnt feel right if he called me mom, and I dont think he would either.  HIs mother married someone about 4 years ago, when he was 9, and he calls this man Dad, along with my DH.  It bugs me for some reason.  When he is telling me a story about something and refers to his dad, I find it confusing.  To me, he has 1 dad, my DH, who is very involved and in the picture.  I don't know, maybe its an unpopular opinion, but I feel like its a slap in the face to my DH.



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  •    When I started dating DH DS was almost 2, SS was 3 and SD was 4. DH introduced me by my first name and SKs have never called me anything different. I introduced DH by his first name too but DS kept calling him Daddy since that's what he heard SKs call him. We tried to correct it until we got married. It had stuck so we just let it go. DS was also calling me by my first name for a little while there after hearing SKs. In the end I guess it's a good thing that DS called DH Daddy because now he is. His BF was never too involved and now my DH has adopted him. I think it made the transition easier.

     IMO a person is only a step parent when they are legally a step parent so they have to be MARRIED to the bio parent. Before that they are just a BF/ GF. I think SKs should get to chose what to call step parents when they are old enough to understand and I think the adults in the situation should try their best not to let their feelings get hurt. Before children are old enough to understand I think adults should try to correct it for a while (more than just a few times) but if the child still calls them mommy or daddy then they should just go with it. I don't think a child should ever be allowed to call a parent's BF/ GF mommy or daddy even if they live with their parent or even if they are engaged.



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  • I think stepparents should be called by their first names. But this is a sore subject with us, as FSD calls her SF dad and my FI (her own BF) daddy Luke. And then corrects herself when she's here. Her mother has taught her that. I think the child should be able to make the decision when they're old enough.
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  • I have no problem with my Skids calling me mom. They don't, they call me by my name and that's fine too. BM told me from the beginning (2 yrs ago) that they were never to be told it was ok to call me mom, I respected that and when they asked if they could call me mom DH and I told them no.

    However, now BM says that if they decided to call her BF daddy that it's ok. She had a step-parent she called dad along with her BF dad. So DH and I have decided that if the kids ever ask again we will tell them that if they want to they can, it's up to them.

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  • 1) My step-daughter calls me by my first name and SF by his.  The four of us (BM, SF, DH, and I) sat her down and told her that whatever she decided to call us, as long as it was appropriate (no bad names) was fine and would be her decision.  I know BM would have a hard time hearing me be called mom though, just as DH would have a hard time hearing her call another man dad... So if the time arises that she wants to call us something other than our names we will probably try to come up with an alternative (for example, I have a friend whose skids call her "ommy" because she is their "other mommy"... it works for them).

    2)  We told SD that she has one family just like anyone else.  Hers is just bigger.  We explained that there were all kinds of love (the way we love friends, the way we love pets, the way we love the people we marry, etc...) and that her mom and dad just don't love each other the way people who get married do.  But they both love her the way you love your child, and they both love other people the way you love someone you're married to.  So we are all one big family, with her right at the heart.  We told her that family doesn't always get along, but they always love each other.  So we may fight with BM or she may get angry with us, but because we all want what's best, we will always be her family.

    3)  I think marriage makes a step-parent.  Even when it's unfortunate and not an earned title.

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  • The usual consensus around here is usually that as long as the biological parent is regularly in the picture, it's disrespectful to the relationship to allow the kiddo to call a stepparent "mommy" or "daddy."

    To answer your questions..

    1. What is "old enough?" And if the biological parents are both in the picture, if the child would really like to refer to a stepparent as 'mommy,' or 'daddy,' then it seems like a conversation should occur between all parties.  

    2. My DS was 4 when DH and I married. I just explained marriage to him on his level and that was that. Awhile after the wedding, DS started occasionally calling DH "daddy," so we sat down and talked about it. Since he only sees XH a few times a year, and DH parents him every day, I'm okay with it. XH has never expressed any issue with it. So I let him call DH what he wants, and he calls him by his first name half the time and 'Daddy' half the time.

    3. I do kind of think that it takes marriage to be a stepparent. That layer of legality makes a big difference IMO. Beyond that, however, I think boyfriends and girlfriends can absolutely act like parents. But legally, and in terms of what most people would understand conversationally, they still aren't stepparents.

    Like a lot of issues in blended families, this is going to vary widely based on the situation. There's no one-size-fits-all answer.  

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  • When I first began dating my DH, SD was very young.  She called me mom on many occasions, but she also called both of her grandmas mom as well.  She just figured that we all took care of her in a motherly way when she was around, so we must be mom.  It wasn't something that lasted long because my DH and I both referred to me by my first name when speaking to her.  SD is 9 now and once and awhile slips and calls me mom, but she also slips and calls me dad Smile.  I definitely think there are circumstances where step parents should be called mom or dad, but when the bioparent is actively involved, I have a harder time with it. 

    I will say that at this age, if my SD felt strongly about it, I would not correct her if she wanted to call me mom. 

  • Unless the other biological parent is dead I don't think SP's should allow step kids to call them mom or dad, they're not, and unless they have been adopted I just find it inappropriate.
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  • My husband and I have full custody of his 4 children.  they call him Dad, they call their biological mother Mommy, they call me either by my first name or Mom.  Everyone is happy with this arrangement.  there isn't a 1 size fits all answer to this question
  • I don't agree that marriage makes a stepparent and maybe this is because I have seen a lot of situations where the man that marries mommy is just there and doesn't do anything to help raise the children. Now this doesn't mean your freak of the week is a stepparent either. If you're together and you put in time with the child and really stepped it up, I think you should be able to say hose your stepkids. 

     I agree that if the other parent is around they shouldn't call the stepparent mom or dad, but at the same time if the child wants to call them that there's nothing wrong with that. Granted the other parent doesn't mind. I think the other name is a good idea. Maybe the child wants to call the other parent something other than their name especially if there are other kids calling the other parent mom or dad.

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  • So Jay you are ok with your dd calling bd's girlfriend Mommy? I know marriage license doesn't mean it's forever, but boyfriends and girlfriends change a lot more frequently. I think if the birthparent is active in the child's life it's not appropriate to call stepparent mom or dad.
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  • My SS is almost 4 years old and he calls me 'Stina (when he learned my name, Christina, he couldn't say the whole thing and it stuck).  I think this is perfectly fine.  I'm not his mother and I would never want to suggest to him that I am.  At one point my husband tried to explain that I'm his stepmother and in his 4-year-old mind that turned into, "I have 2 mommies," and THAT didn't go over very well.  So we decided not to explain anything else about stepmothers to him until he starts asking questions of us... clearly right now and for the next few years he's just too young to be expected to understand anything other than his 'Stina loves him just like his daddy loves him.
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  • Just like the variety of opinions here, I think every family is different.

    What works for some, doesn't work for others.  I think as long as a decision is made out of love and respect for the children and adults you can do whatever you please. 

    We went through this with my SDs.  They wanted to call me Mom, but we came up with a special name after their Mom explained to DH and I how upset she would be if they called me Mom.  I think she has softened in this as the kids have said some things to me that have indicated as such.  They slip up frequently and call me Mom, but just as much as they call me by their teachers name.  I believe they will probably start calling me Mom full time once DH and I have a baby, and so I've explained to them (as I will do again) the power of words and how calling me Mom can hurt their Mother's feelings.  And besides, I love my special name.  I'm not their Mom, but I am their step mom and I deserve my name!

    I think it's disrespectful, however, for step kids to call you by your first name only.  Their teachers are called "Mr." or "Mrs", Aunts and Uncles have, well, "Aunt" and "Uncle".  By being a step parent you are (hopefully) choosing to take an active part in the upbringing of a human being (no matter how big or small your contribution) and I think a respectful and thoughtful name needs to be developed for that role.

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  • I always find it interesting how often people think it is ok to make that decision without consulting the other parent and yet know how many of those people would be upset if their child called another person by their name.  I think it's pretty horrible to decide that it is ok for your child to call your (general your) spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend Mommy or Daddy without taking into consideration how that would make the actual Mommy or Daddy feel.  IMHO if the parent is acting like Mommy or Daddy then no one else gets that name even if they are stepping up in the role, especially if they are not married b/c if you have not yet made that commitment then it is too easy to walk away.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
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  • My son (technically stepson) calls me mommy. He was just 2 when DH and I got married and his BM passed away when he was a baby. He started out calling my my name and then one day switched to mommy. It was weird for me at first (since I felt bad for deceased BM), but I got used to it. To me it is natural to call him my son and for him to call me mommy. Granted there is no other 'mommy' in the picture. DH's family had a hard time with it I think because they kept encouraging him to call me by my first name. Ironic thing is they are kind of a pseudo family to DH not his actual family. It pissed me off at first that they didn't think of me as his mother, but I got over it as soon as I heard him say "hi mommy." Sweetest sound from his mouth :)
  • 1)  While there are some exceptions to the rule, I do not believe that a Step Parent should use the Mom/Mommy/Mother or Dad/Daddy/Father titles.  Unless the bio-parent is not in the child's life, our roles are not to supplement your spouse, not appropriate a role that is already there. 

    2) Which brings me to question #2.  The role of StepParent is a true role.  Your job is to help PARENT the children, while they reside under your roof.  Just like a teacher has a "special" role, with special tasks and therefore special level of respect, so does a step parent.

    HOWEVER, this means that the step-children have special roles in your (the stepparent) life too.  They are more than the average child from down the street or even your nieces/nephews or god children.  As the offspring of the man you married, they SHOULD be more important.

    3) Honestly, there needs to be some sort of legal connection for the title/term. And if your married partner does not act like a stepPARENT, then you need to do something about it.

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  • My DD calls my DH (her SF) "dad" or "daddy" or "daddy Jon". She calls her BF "dad" or "daddy" and sometimes to distinguish when she's telling a story she will say "daddy Mike". She's 7 and I have been with DH for 2.5 years.

    We told DD she could call DH whatever she felt comfortable calling him. She called him "Jon" until one day out of the blue he said goodbye to her before running some errands and she yelled from the yard "Bye Dad!" The was just after she turned 5. We talked her later and explained she didn't have to call him dad and she said she knew that but he acts like a "very best daddy" to her so she wanted to call him dad.

     Her BF lives about 2.5 hours away and doesn't make a big effort to see her (every 6 weeks or so on average - for the record he moved away from her when she was 1.5 years old). He and his fiance have a son together who is now almost 4. They told DD she had to call BF's fiance "mom" because it confuses her brother if she calls her by her 1st name - this just started about 6 months ago. DD confided in me she doesn't like calling her mom because she's got 1 mom and 1 stepmom, not the same way she has 2 daddies.). I told her it's okay to call her by her 1st name if it makes her uncomfortable to call her mom and had a discussion with them that it's not appropriate to force her to call her anything she doesn't want to. BF got mad because she calls my DH dad and "it's not fair" etc. DD continue to call his fiance by her 1st name and I haven't heard anything else about it.

    **Just for the record, if DD WANTED to call BF's fiance "mom" I am okay with it. I even told DD that before they brought it up in case she was thinking about it on her own. Each time I brought it up, she shakes her head and says "No, you are my only mom".

     I truely think it's up to the child. DH is more in DD's life than her BF. He does more for her and truely WANTS to be around her. He loves her like she's his biological child. In our situation, this works for us.

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  • image meygan1228:

    My DD calls my DH (her SF) "dad" or "daddy" or "daddy Jon". She calls her BF "dad" or "daddy" and sometimes to distinguish when she's telling a story she will say "daddy Mike". She's 7 and I have been with DH for 2.5 years.

    We told DD she could call DH whatever she felt comfortable calling him. She called him "Jon" until one day out of the blue he said goodbye to her before running some errands and she yelled from the yard "Bye Dad!" The was just after she turned 5. We talked her later and explained she didn't have to call him dad and she said she knew that but he acts like a "very best daddy" to her so she wanted to call him dad.

     Her BF lives about 2.5 hours away and doesn't make a big effort to see her (every 6 weeks or so on average - for the record he moved away from her when she was 1.5 years old). He and his fiance have a son together who is now almost 4. They told DD she had to call BF's fiance "mom" because it confuses her brother if she calls her by her 1st name - this just started about 6 months ago. DD confided in me she doesn't like calling her mom because she's got 1 mom and 1 stepmom, not the same way she has 2 daddies.). I told her it's okay to call her by her 1st name if it makes her uncomfortable to call her mom and had a discussion with them that it's not appropriate to force her to call her anything she doesn't want to. BF got mad because she calls my DH dad and "it's not fair" etc. DD continue to call his fiance by her 1st name and I haven't heard anything else about it.

    **Just for the record, if DD WANTED to call BF's fiance "mom" I am okay with it. I even told DD that before they brought it up in case she was thinking about it on her own. Each time I brought it up, she shakes her head and says "No, you are my only mom".

     I truely think it's up to the child. DH is more in DD's life than her BF. He does more for her and truely WANTS to be around her. He loves her like she's his biological child. In our situation, this works for us.

    We lived about 6 1/2 to 7 hours from SD and we drove to see her every 2 to 3 weeks for Friday night until Sunday afternoon from the time we moved until she came to live with us unexpectantly (sp) 8 months later and then we continued to do that drive every 2 to 3 weeks for her to see her Mom until her Mom moved across the country and then saw her ONCE every year and a half!  A parent should make a real effort and 2 1/2 hours should not equal every 6 weeks so that is one of those exceptions IMHO that Ilumine mentioned.  The person with the deceased BM, situations like J&A where BM has no custody, etc.  My issue is when the parents are truly involved...and I also think that some people justify the amount of involvement in their own heads too.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
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  • My youngest SS was 3 months old when DH and I got together. As he was learning to talk he would call me mama and we would correct him and say "no Amy" and he would say "no mama" he would even do this to BM. She was ok with it though b/c it wasn't as though we weren't correcting him or telling him to do this. She's even admitted to me that all 3, especially the youngest, don't know any different than having 2 moms. Oldest SS7 calls me Amy, SD6 calls me Step-Mama, and SS4 calls me Mom, Step-Mama, or Amy. he hears everyone calling me something different and doesn't really know what to call me. I like many PP, tell him to call me whatever he is comfortable with.
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  • 1) What do you do if the child wants to call the stepparent that and is old enough to make that decision? Do you still tell them no?  My SD who is 9 decided just recently that she was going to start calling me "Mommy Leigh".  I didn't correct her.  I think it's perfectly fine if she decides that on her own.  Now, if she had decided that and then her MOTHER was offended by it, THEN I would correct it and just say "Your mommy's feelings are hurt when you call me mommy too.  How about you call me _________"

    2) How do you explain to a young child about stepparents? I don't believe telling them that they are a friend is a good idea because then they see them as peers when they aren't. Do you just let it go until they're old enough to understand? My stepkids were 3 and 4 when I started dating their dad. at that time we explained "This is daddy's friend".  Then, when they were 4 and 5 and we moved in together we said "This is daddy's girlfriend".  Then when we got engaged we said "This is going to be daddy's wife".  We explained that I'd be like an "extra parent" and I had the same functions in their life that their mom and dad have.

    3) What makes a stepparent? Marriage? What if the person the parent marries doesn't act like a stepparent but a boyfriend or girlfriend does? Who's the stepparent? I think a stepparent is anyone who "parents" the child and is in a romantic relationship with the child's bio-parent.  So as DH's girlfriend, when we were living together, I often watched the children while he worked, or I would have to give "punishments" (time outs or whatever) and I helped with homework, etc...I considered myself a "step parent" because I was parenting.

    I definitely do not believe that parents should force their children to call the stepparent mommy or daddy, but how do you navigate such a sticky situation?  I am a fan of being honest with the kids.  They know they can call me whatever they are comfortable calling me (as long as it's not a hurtful name, LOL).  I never force anything on them.  If they choose to call me "mommy leigh" then so be it.  If their mom is hurt or upset by that I will just be honest with the kids "your mommy's feelings are hurt because she feels like "mommy" is a special name just for her, how about you call me ______ instead".

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  • I feel that each situation is different. As a SK myself there was one point where I was told to call my SM "mom" and I told my Father hell no! So, I call her by her name and when it involves my younger half sister I say Mom to not confuse the littler one.

    My SO has two children. SD asked me last year what she was suppose to call me. So, we asked her what she thought and she said Mom. I sat down with her and explained that she has a great Mommy who loves her very very much and that it might hurt her feelings right now. So, she either uses my name or call me "Me". She recently asked again and I asked her what she thought and she said that maybe when I have a baby she will call me Mommy then. We talked about why then and such. She is a pretty smart cookie. I let her know that I love her very much. Then she heard me on the phone to a GF of mine and I refer to them as my bonus children. So, last night she started calling me Bonus. So, we will see if it sticks.

    I agree it depends on each situation. I also feel that children should decide when they are older. It comes down to the relationships and what they feel comfortable with at that time.

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  • After reading through this thread in the hopes that I would find some answers for my situation, I have come up somewhat empty-handed. My DH and I are in a particularly unusual situation; He was married and divorced with three kids. He is the custodial parent to his three kids and their BM lives about 1,500 miles away. The original custody agreement gives her ample visitation, however due to her lack of involvement and location, she really only sees them once a year in the summer and calls when she feels like it. In her defense, there are periods of time where she calls almost every day, however; she has gone over two weeks without calling one more than one occasion. Our dilemma lies with calling me, their SM, Mom.

     The kids are under the age of 10 and have asked before if they could call me Mom or Mommy, to which we explained that it might hurt BM's feelings. The issue we have is the fact that she is extremely uninvolved in their lives. We personally don't care either way, but I am more of a mother to them than she is (outside of the obvious biological connection) and my DH agrees with that. The point is, no matter what the circumstance, BM would never be okay with them calling me that simply because they are her kids, regardless of how much of a mother she actually acts like towards them. The kids are the ones that want the change, and as happy as that would make me, I would never push for it just in spite of their BM.

    DH was raised in a blended family and was always told that out of respect for his biological parents, he shouldn't call his step-parents Mom or Dad, but the situation was different since all parties were actively involved in the children's lives and lived within fifteen minutes of one another. Since we raise them together and BM has little involvement in their lives, would it be wrong to let them decide for themselves at an appropriate age? It hasn't been discussed with her and we don't think it's not a conversation that would go well regardless of how its brought up. Should she really have that much say in the matter if she has excluded herself from their lives all on her own? When the custody papers were being drawn up, she didn't blink an eye when DH wanted custody... She willingly gave the kids up with no fight whatsoever. They might be her biological children, but I am the person raising them and I am the person they identify as their parent; to them 'Mommy' is more a name or a title for BM than what they actually identify her as. 

     I'm sorry for going on and on, it's just a confusing situation and we want to get some answers from people who might be in similar situations. We're also worried that if we do allow them to refer to me as Mom and their BM does decide to come back into the picture years from now, she would make a big fuss about it and make everyone's lives miserable, not to mention confuse the kids.

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  • image karleegirl:
    So Jay you are ok with your dd calling bd's girlfriend Mommy? I know marriage license doesn't mean it's forever, but boyfriends and girlfriends change a lot more frequently. I think if the birthparent is active in the child's life it's not appropriate to call stepparent mom or dad.

    This is true, but I just don't think boyfriend/girlfriend should be written off so easily. Like I said it would depend on if the other parent was around and how long the boyfriend/girlfriend was around. I've just seen so many times when "stepparents" weren't stepparents at all and didn't even care about the kids. Now this doesn't mean the kids have to call them mommy or daddy. I just feel like they should be like those are my kids too. Maybe not hold as much weight as if they were married to the parent, but not just demeaned like oh you're just a boyfriend/girlfriend. 

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  • image Jessys_Girl:

    1) What do you do if the child wants to call the stepparent that and is old enough to make that decision? Do you still tell them no?  My SD who is 9 decided just recently that she was going to start calling me "Mommy Leigh".  I didn't correct her.  I think it's perfectly fine if she decides that on her own.  Now, if she had decided that and then her MOTHER was offended by it, THEN I would correct it and just say "Your mommy's feelings are hurt when you call me mommy too.  How about you call me _________"

    2) How do you explain to a young child about stepparents? I don't believe telling them that they are a friend is a good idea because then they see them as peers when they aren't. Do you just let it go until they're old enough to understand? My stepkids were 3 and 4 when I started dating their dad. at that time we explained "This is daddy's friend".  Then, when they were 4 and 5 and we moved in together we said "This is daddy's girlfriend".  Then when we got engaged we said "This is going to be daddy's wife".  We explained that I'd be like an "extra parent" and I had the same functions in their life that their mom and dad have.

    3) What makes a stepparent? Marriage? What if the person the parent marries doesn't act like a stepparent but a boyfriend or girlfriend does? Who's the stepparent? I think a stepparent is anyone who "parents" the child and is in a romantic relationship with the child's bio-parent.  So as DH's girlfriend, when we were living together, I often watched the children while he worked, or I would have to give "punishments" (time outs or whatever) and I helped with homework, etc...I considered myself a "step parent" because I was parenting.

    I definitely do not believe that parents should force their children to call the stepparent mommy or daddy, but how do you navigate such a sticky situation?  I am a fan of being honest with the kids.  They know they can call me whatever they are comfortable calling me (as long as it's not a hurtful name, LOL).  I never force anything on them.  If they choose to call me "mommy leigh" then so be it.  If their mom is hurt or upset by that I will just be honest with the kids "your mommy's feelings are hurt because she feels like "mommy" is a special name just for her, how about you call me ______ instead".

    An 'extra parent'. I like that. We have a 4 year old and we've been wracking our brains trying to figure out how to explain to her DH's role. We tried to say she has 2 daddies but BF didn't like that too much.We didn't tell her to call DH daddy, but just tried to explain that she has 2 daddies now and she's lucky because she has 2. We're trying to respect his feelings but its so hard since he's not really stepping up to be a father. He just kinda babysits on the weekends, but whatever. 

    This whole situation is confusing, so we kinda have just left it alone for now. Like everyone has said, when she gets older we'll explain what stepparents are and if she decided to call DH daddy thats totally up to her. 

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  • image StephnMatt101008:

    I think its tricky too, and my answer probably is weird.  I met DH when SS was 5, and he has always just called me Steph.  I think that is appropriate.  He has a mom, and although I am his step mom now, I wouldnt feel right if he called me mom, and I dont think he would either.  HIs mother married someone about 4 years ago, when he was 9, and he calls this man Dad, along with my DH.  It bugs me for some reason.  When he is telling me a story about something and refers to his dad, I find it confusing.  To me, he has 1 dad, my DH, who is very involved and in the picture.  I don't know, maybe its an unpopular opinion, but I feel like its a slap in the face to my DH.

    I'm in the same boat iwth my SD. She calls me by my name, and calls her stepfather Dad. To me it is just weird. She'll be telling me something her dad did and I'm all confused and I have to ask if she means my DH or her stepdad. It bothers me, but DH calims it doesn't bother him, so I don't make a big deal out of it.

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  • We essentially left it up to the kids. When my husband and I got married my step daughter was 5 and she wanted to call me mama. My step son was about 2 and he simply called me by my first name. Now he is 8 and calls me mama. He started that on his own a few years ago. The kids are comfortable calling me that and have always seen me as another mom figure in their lives. It just seemed to fit. I personally think you should leave it up to the kids.
    Welcome to our world little one!

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  • I am Mom/Mommy and my daughters SM is Mama. It hurt at first but she loves her, she mothers her, and she is an extra Mom. It isnt about me it is about what is best for my little girl.
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    [color=#FF0000]Mom to 5 girls 23,22,18,9,7 and one sweet Wonderboy almost 4[/color]
    The Chaos of Six!
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