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what are step parents called?

Started by twistedtmama, Jun 29, 2011, 06:21:58 PM

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What is everyones opinion on the child calling their step parents mom/dad.

Kitty C.

That can be a hot debate between CP's and NCP's......

All I can tell you from our experience (CP and NCP) is that it's different between DS and SS.  In DS's case, he was born with a ready-made step-mom (long story).  When DS started to talk, he couldn't say 'step-mama'...it came out 'Ep-mama'...and it stuck!  He's 22 now and still calls her that, LOL!  He's pretty close to her and I'm glad that he still feels comfortable calling her that....she even signs her cards that way!    DS's dad died in 2002.  And DS has always called DH by his first name.

In SS's case, I came into his life when he was 3 and he calls me by my first name.  That's what his Daddy called me, so that's what he called me.  We had an issue when SS was 5 with last names.  Apparently when BM got remarried, SS thought that his last name changed, too....and BM never corrected him.  That came to a head when we saw that she'd labeled SS's toy bag he brought to our house to include her husband's last name.  DH put an immediate stop to that.  To be honest with you, I'm glad we just automatically used my first name...BM would have gone ballistic if SS called me mom, too.

About 7 years ago, we were camping with both boys and DS asked about doing something and SS answered 'If Mom will let us'.  I whipped around and looked at SS....he has a little grin on his face, he didn't do it by accident.  But he also knew better even then (he was about 9-10 at the time) that his mom would hate it.  It's happened a few times since then, but I realized he only did it when DS was around, because that's what DS calls me...I think it was because it made SS feel more a part of the family.

IMO, it can be such a volatile issue that a suggestion I would make is to ask the bio-parent how they feel about it, whether it be a first name or even a pet name.  But if that's not an option, I would stick to first names....very young children might find it easier to have a pet name, though.  But I feel that, out of respect of the bio-parents, step-parents should never be called Mom or Dad or insist a child do that.  Once the child becomes an adult, what they call a step-prent is up to them, even if it's 'Hey you! 
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


Step-parents should not be called by parental titles.  The only exception would be IF the bio parent was out of the picture VOLUNTARILY for at least two years.  I call my stepmom by her first name in general.  I'll call her "mom" if I'm speaking directly to my siblings via her (I was raised by her and my dad so I was in the same household as my siblings 100% of the time).  I refer to her by her grandparent name if I'm speaking to my kids or my niece and nephews. 

I call my birth mother by her first name.  (She left when I was 3 and was out of the picture consistently starting around age 8 or so.)  My cousins call her by a nickname that she has tried to get me, my brother and our kids to call her but none of us are comfortable doing so.  It's a nickname that our youngest cousin (17 years younger than me) started calling her when she was little because she couldn't say her name (odd, my other two cousins had no problem pronouncing her name but whatever . . .) 

It's easier for the kids to sort that relationship out themselves without complicating it. 

My ex's wife forced the boys to call her "mom" and they now refuse to call her anything, including her first name.  I never made a big deal out of it and told them that a title didn't define our relationship that the love was there regardless of what anyone was called.  They would get in trouble if they messed and called her by her first name or told someone that she was their stepmother. 
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!


I feel that no child should be forced to call a stepparent anything. As long as it's not disrespectful, it should be the child's choice.


Quote from: bloom6372 on Jun 29, 2011, 10:15:01 PM
I feel that no child should be forced to call a stepparent anything. As long as it's not disrespectful, it should be the child's choice.

And that's what usually starts the debate....

A very young child isn't "choosing" -- they are parroting what they hear.

And have no clue about all the emotional implications that their "choice" or rather "parroting" brings down the road and all the confusion about loyalties and conflict that is attached.


I met my SD when she was 3 years old. She calls me by my first name. As she got older and Ex and I had kids together she would slip and say "mom" because the her sisters called me mom.

My girls now call my DH by his first name but will get him "dad" cards and gifts for his birthday and fathers day. With friends they will say my parents BUT their father has not been around for 4 years so DH is slowly taking over that dad part.

It is a process and when you first meet child (and you are just dating their parent) you should not be called mom or dad. So...when you get married or move in together to ask the child to now switch the name to mom or dad...kinda hard, especially if they are older. My Dh just started saying "my daughter" when referring to my girls. It is nice but it took the 3-4 years for the blended family to feel right and them to feel comfortable enough.


My husband has been in my sons life since he was almost 2 years old. Bio dad is very inconsistent and is constantly in and out of my sons life. He sees my son every 5-6 months, he cancels constantly because he supposedly has better things to do.

My son calls my husband dad. It was never forced. Bio dad gets mad about it. But what do you expect when your constantly absent from your child's life. My husband supports, raises and does everything for my son. His bio dad does nothing.


Hmm... If he met your husband at 2 then he should of been calling him by his name at the beginning.  At what point did your son change over to "dad"? (and at that point, you should of talked to son about how he already has a "dad" and your husband loves him very much but is his step dad and not dad and we both call him XX)

Many of us here have dealt with parent alienation and having child call someone else mom or dad is one part of it. If father was totally out of the picture for years then if someone is there to fill that role, great. But this child has a "dad" (may not be the best one but you chose him). Put the shoe on the other foot, what if he showed up to next visit with a fiance and he told your son during the visit, she was his new mom? and to call her "mom".

Families do it differently and it sometimes all are okay and sometimes it gets into a legal match. Many people have in their court papers that no one else will be called "mom" or "dad" except bio parents.


He met my husband when he was 1 and a half. Even before my husband was in the picture he didn't call his bio dad, daddy. He always refered to his dad by his first name. It's because bio dad would disappear in and our of his sons life every 5-7 months and not be heard from, so him and my son never bonded or formed a relationship.

If he showed up with a fiancee and my son called her mom it honestly wouldn't bother me. A child can have two moms and two dads just like a child can have two sets of grandparents thats my opinion. I am happy my son and husband formed a bond, it just means he feels close to his step father.

Bio dad called his step father dad, growing up so he is being hypocritical.


I have been in my SS's life since before he was born. I do call him my step son even though we aren't married yet. I am called by my first name (or his version of it since he is just now talking good). Sometimes when he comes from his BM's he slips and calls me mom. I don't make a big deal of it because it's adjustment time. I'm sure he goes back and calls her by my name too. lol He knows and most times will correct himself. Sometimes I do correct him. It's just not a big deal. I will not be letting him call me mom though because I know it would highly piss BM off and no need for that. She does enough of it already. :)

My son calls my bf (of 4 years) by his first name.