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Main Forums => Second Families => Topic started by: magician on Aug 23, 2004, 07:02:41 AM

Title: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: magician on Aug 23, 2004, 07:02:41 AM
I am a stepmother to two little girls.  The youngest (3) began calling me Mom soon after her father and I married.  We consistently told both of them, when asked, that they could call me whatever they were most comfortable with.  When their mother re-married she called us and told us that she would be making the children call her new husband Dad as a sign of respect and that we should do the same.  We stated that the children could continue calling me whatever they wished.  Approximately one month later the elder child (6) also began calling me Mom.  After their mother divorced this husband (after three months of marriage) she stated that having the girls call him Dad was a bad idea and now the children would NOT be allowed to call me Mom.  She grew very angry when my husband stated that he would never tell the children what they would call me and that she would simply be confusing them.  She is now threatening to take us back to court and put this in the paperwork (that the children will only be allowed to call the biological parents Mom and Dad).  Can she do this?  It's so confusing for the children.  Thanks for your help!
Title: RE: well, I'm a stepmom too...
Post by: junglechicken on Aug 23, 2004, 07:29:45 AM
The whole name thing is sticky.  My girls call me by name.  I'm really not comfortable with them calling me Mom.  Some say that telling the kids not to call you Mom is damaging to them, and some say that allowing them to call you Mom is damaging.  Who knows.  I just know I'm not Mom.

BM, on the other hand, and her loser bf, tell the kids to call bf Dad.  I know my dh doesn't like it, but we also know the kids know *who* Dad is and *who* Mom is.  So we don't "correct" them when they slip up and say "Daddy...I mean bf...said..." or the like.  

I know there are COs out there tht do have that "name clause" in them, so yes, I would imagine she can.  You just have to make a judgment call on what is best for the kids, taking into account the fact they have to deal with their mom.
Title: RE: well, I'm a stepmom too...
Post by: magician on Aug 23, 2004, 07:39:01 AM
Thank you so much for your reply.  I've been discussing the problem with my husband, even bringing up the fact that maybe we should have the children address me in another way.  I suppose the issue wouldn't be so problematic if she hadn't forced the children to call her last husband Dad.  It worries me that they may associate the name-change with my possibly leaving just like him.  However, I assume that if she keeps telling them not to call me Mom, they'll eventually stop.  It's just a  confusing time for them with the last step-father (#3) just exiting the picture.  Thank you again so much for your take, I needed to hear another stepmother's point of view!
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: joni on Aug 23, 2004, 08:17:39 AM

I'm a SM to a 7 y.o. beautiful little girl.  My SD and I are very close.  Never in a million years would I let her call me mom.  I'm not comfortable with that and IMO, she only has one mother (regardless of what I think of my DH's Ex).

My SD calls me by the same nickname that my husband calls me.  It's very cute and very endearing.  Plus, she likes that only her and her dad call me this name.  It's very special.
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: magician on Aug 23, 2004, 08:36:08 AM
I really appreciated your reply.  As a child of divorce who called my stepmother Mom for many years, I was simply going on that prior experience.  However, I am beginning to see that many stepmom's do not allow this practice.  My question now is how to put some type of new name or nickname into use.  Should their father and I introduce this new 'name' or should I have him call me by it, etc?  Should his EX be informed of it so she can call me by it in front of the children?  I really appreciate your help :>
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: joni on Aug 23, 2004, 10:06:39 AM

I would have them call you with whatever you're comfortable.  For now, have them use your first name.  A nickname or derivation of your name will come with time, it might be a month, it might be a year.  Just let it happen on its own.  Don't push it and cause more tension in an already messy situation.

Be honest with the kids and tell them why they can't call you mom anymore.  Tell them they only have one mom and that special name is for her only.  There's no reason to disrespect the mother to their kids.  That'll only come back to haunt you.  Besides, they already know why because you can bet your next paycheck that their mother is torturing them about this.  Your stepkids will be relieved that you support this and it'll take alot of pressure off of their back.

I'm glad my situation worked out OK with my husband having a nickname for me that his daughter could also use.  Otherwise, she'd probably be calling me by my first name, which she did initially.  

I would only acknowledge the mother's wishes to cease using mom for you.  Have your HUSBAND tell her HE told the kids to stop calling you mom.  Don't get in the middle of this, this is really between your DH and his Ex it or not.  Keep your flame away from their fire.

I wouldn't offer her any other information as far as what you guys decide or what ends up falling into place.  I don't think she needs that sort of detail.  I'm sure if she wants to get it, leave it up to her kids to give it up to her.  I wouldn't go that far to patronize the BM.
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: jilly on Aug 23, 2004, 10:19:27 AM
I agree with Joni and Junglechicken. I didn't give birth to my SD so I don't feel like she should call me Mom. She calls my by my first name. PBFH on the other hand has no qualms whatsoever about SD calling her SF "Dad". There have been a few time when SD called him Dad while talking to my DH. It tears him up inside to hear her call her SF that but he doesn't say or do anything to correct her. Sometimes she catches herself and will say "Dad...I mean T."  
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: LizaLou1 on Aug 24, 2004, 06:45:22 AM
As a child of divorce myself, I always called the stepparent by name. However, I can see in some situations using mom/dad for a stepparent works best.   I am a stepmom of 2 teenage boys and they use my name.  All three of us are very quick to correct people who refer to me as their mom.

My DD was "forced" to call her stepmother mom, to the point she was chastised when she didn't (she was five).  Her stepmother can't have kids due to a medical condition, so DD will be the only "child" she will ever have.  I didn't and still don't make a big deal about it because it makes things easier for DD.  She knows I am her mom.  I tell her the more love she gives away the more she gets back - so it's ok.

Went it came to her stepdad, I told her it was her decision on what to call him (she was 7 seven).  She started out using his name, but the older she gets (now 9), the more she calls him Dad, especially when other kids are around - go figure.

Think about using this situation in your favor.  If you decide to change your "call sign" go ahead with her idea to put it in writing (and file with the court) that only the bioparents are Mom and Dad.   Because you can bet if and when she gets married again, a new "Dad" will appear on the scene. Don't make a big deal about by saying if I can't you can't.  Just try to slip it in by saying sure, let's putting it in writing and tie her hands now.

Best of Luck


Title: Other side of that coin...
Post by: 4honor on Aug 24, 2004, 09:15:23 AM
SS is now nearly 14, I have been in his life 9 years. When DH and I decided to get married, we had the discussion about what he should call me. I am not comfortable with a child calling me by my first name I never will be. I believe it is a sign of disrespect and should never be taught (purposefully) to a child that calling any adult by their first name is OK (JMHO). When an adult tries to allow our kids to call them by their first name, it is changed to Miss Susan, Mr. John.

I offered to allow SS to call me anything else he liked as long as it was respectful, and until then he could call me Ma'am (yes ma'am, No Ma'am.) He did that for about a day, and not having developed any creativity of his own he settled on "Mom".  We made a deal that I was his "other mother" and that he was to save "Mama" and "Mommy" for BM only. I also promised that I wouldn't give him a hard time if he slipped and called me "4honor" or Mommy. This deal occurred when SS was 5. I stuck by my deal.

Fast forward 6 years. SS is having difficulties because he has begun voicing his desire to spend quality time with DH instead of BM screwing them out of time together. BM demands "family counseling" for SS and DH and her to work out the issues. During the course of it BM berates DH in front of SS for "making" SS call me Mom. Counselor asks SS what he wants to call me. He says he likes calling me Mom. Tells BM that I may not have carried him in my body for 9 months, but I have carried him in my heart for 6 years. Counselor says SS seems to understand who his parents are and she doesn't see that SS is being forced to call anyone anything. BM quit giving SS grief about what he calls me.

FAst forward another 2 years. We had the discussion with SS when BM was going to get married that what he chose to call BM's fiance was between him and Fiance. (That is a moot point now as BM couldn't hold the relationship together long enough to get to the alter.) BUT SS was grateful that he was not dictated to about what his relationship should or should not be.

Your Skids will call MANY people "mom" in their teen years, their friends' mothers, etc. Allow the kids to call each adult in the mix what the relationship can bear.  

Growing up, I had two "daddies". My father and my best friend's dad. But I had about 30 Moms. Though I had 2 step moms, I called only one Mom (and the other one I called an otherwise derrogatory word that starts with B.)

Let your Skids decide what they will call you and do not give them grief for it, cause their mother is obviously doing enough of that.
Title: Different depending on where she is
Post by: Ref on Aug 24, 2004, 09:44:14 AM
My SD told me this summer (she is 13 and I have known her since she was 5), that she can't call me STEPMOM at her mom's house. She really isn't comfortable talking about me at all with her mom around.

BM does not recognize me as person in her in her (SD's)  life and choses to denegrate anything I do.  

My poor SD. She loves me so much. She hardly lets go of me whenever she is with us. She has to hide it though, or her mom will freak out.

I would take what you can get. A name is just a name. She knows the person that is you and that is the most important thing.

I agree with the many mom's and dad's theory. My MIL is mom and my best friends mom is mom too.
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: magician on Aug 24, 2004, 10:09:43 AM
Well, it looks like the choice is gone..........the EX has already contacted her lawyer and is  trying to go back to court on this issue combined with the fact that DH is paying his half of doctor bills after insurance directly to the doctor's office.  We had to start doing this when she wasn't using the money we sent her to pay the bills, resulting in the doctor's office requesting that we pay directly.  So here's my continuing confusing question.  I know that when this name issue is put into the paperwork it is usually worded as 'biological parents' will be called mom or dad, or any derivitive.  However, my eldest SD was actually adopted by my DH when she was 1 year old.  She is unaware that her mother is now dating her bio father (mother constantly threatens to tell her but hasn't yet).  So, in the paperwork does it need to be worded that 'legal parents' will be called mom or dad, or any derivitive?  Thanks for ALL your comments and replies!
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: DeeDee on Aug 24, 2004, 09:01:48 PM
sheesh.....About a decade ago I think I found the "right idea"..

I had my sk's call me by a nickname that no one else did but in OUR circles...(i.e. the children and who the children introduced me to or the children had dealings with)

Dh's ex had huge issues with sk's calling me mom...but this was never an issue in our family because sk's never called me mom..

However dh's ex actually pettitioned the court for the sk's to call me something other than the "nickname" they used for me claiming it emotionally damaged her because they kept slipping up and calling HER by MY nickname LOLOLOLOL. (poor kids though)

After three years of no visits from their bm..younger sk will call me Mama or makes sense, I've been taking care of her since she was a year old....AND bm messed it up by teaching her a song called, "Die MY NICKNAME, Die". *heavy sigh* My sk's refer to me as "mama" when speaking to her, but call me by my "nick" most of the time.

I am not hurt at all by it..and it is a source of relief for them...One of them once said, "I'd rather have a "My nick" than a mom any day of the week, because moms can hurt so much.

I dunno, me and all my sk's have our nicknames...mine probably sticks the most.  I've learned than nicknames, are often a term of endearment and often mean a great deal more than a label. I never set it out to be this way it simply happened.

Would it help your sk's if they decided on a nickname for you? It may be a was of softening the blow to them.  (one of my older sk's called me M&M for a month...she said it stood for "mammoth mama" LOL I told her to make a "wide load" sign for me to hang on my belt...then she corrected me that the mammoth meant the amount of love in my heart..and not..the size of my behind.  

Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: heather2662 on Aug 25, 2004, 10:43:55 AM
My husband told me an amusing story the other day that I think I should share with you.......

One of the guys he works with told a story about his kids calling the SM, "mom" This made the BM furrious and she got a court order for it to stop. (I didn't know such a thing could happen)

Now the kids (on there own!) call the SM "the pretty one"...
I wonder wich one makes her more mad? LOL

Heather-IL Step Mom
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: magician on Aug 25, 2004, 10:56:11 AM
Heather, I really needed that!  I haven't laughed so hard in days!  Thank you.......
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: tdhuffman03 on Aug 27, 2004, 05:17:55 PM
that has got to piss off the BM indeed....
Title: As a stepmom myself this is what we ended up doing...
Post by: wendl on Aug 27, 2004, 09:04:04 PM
Many court orders state that only the natural parents may be referred to as Mom or Dad.

We too had this problem, when dh and I married we told all the kids (his and mine) that they could call us whatever they wanted.

Mom and dad divorced when yss was 18 months I bet dh whne yss was 3, and married him when yss was 5.

Anyways yss started calling me mom and his mother got soo mad.

So what we did was all sit down and wrote down a list of names (fun ones we all thought of) this way we could pick a name and all the kids (his and mine) could refer to us as the same thing.

SO the boys decied Shma for me, this way I am not takng the MOM name and have a fun name of my own.


**These are my opinions, they are not legal advice**
Title: RE: Stepparent Issue Question
Post by: true on Aug 27, 2004, 09:11:14 PM
Hey there,

Well lets see I am the cp, the "MoM". We recently went throught a court hearing, the ex asking for custody of our children. I have had physical custody since my youngest was approximately four months old. The ex is now on his third relationship......divorced now twice living with his latest for quite some time. We both share the same "First Name" I was pleasantly pleased when he found this newest SO as she was much older than him and felt that he found a "mother" type figure that he needed to guided him through life. Thrilled acutally.
Fast forwarded to this last summer of the previous few, there is much spending going on, such as arrive for summer time with Dad and both children get 36 inch flat screen tv's for the bedrooms. I dont have that kind of cash to compete but I also refuse to "compete" as well.
The court hearing happened he was given additional time during the summer, even though our youngest needs "transistional" time prior to school starting. (she is currently receiving and and particpates in an IEP program at school.)
She has been quided and her words now sound much older than her vocabulary and has started calling me by my first name and the SO as "Mom". On the telephone you could hear the comments from the adults in the background. They encouraged my youngest duaghter to call me by my given first name. I find this type of behavior unacceptable. I understand that children grow to love their step parent very deeply as I am a product of a divorced family. I dont believe that using my name and MoM in the negative that was created as acceptable behavior. I donot behave in that manner with my children in regards to their fathers SO. As parents we all need to find the right place with each other and deal more effectively as a group as parents rather than placing our children to choose "sides" between parents.

Title: RE: Other side of that coin...
Post by: wendl on Aug 27, 2004, 09:11:56 PM
I couldnt agree with you more, my son is a pre-teen many of his friends call me mom, and I remember growing up I too called many of my friends parents mom and dad, as well as grandma, I have know my bestfriend for 23yrs and have always called his grandma (who raised him ) grandma, and my son now does.


My son too calls his friends mom or dad when he is at their house, he refers to my friend who he has known since he was 3 as his other mom (lmao and he acts on his normal behavior there, not all good like some kids while at friends house, he shows his true colors, her son does the same to me.

**These are my opinions, they are not legal advice**