The title "Mommy" "Daddy".

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2006
The title "Mommy" "Daddy".
Tue, 12-05-2006 - 9:05pm
Is it okay to encourage or allow children to call their stepparent Mommy or Daddy?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-01-2003
Tue, 12-05-2006 - 9:22pm

Depends on the age and situation...

Ours is that DD was 17 months when DH entered the picture. BD had left me when I got pregnant, and didn't see DD until she was 6 months old, then it was every few months that it would be before he saw her again.

DH and I got married when DD was 2 and some change, and she began calling him "Daddy" (his name is Nick, and for a while he was a lovely combination of "Nick" and "Daddy"...which was "Ddddick" lol), and we didn't coach her nor tell her "No, call him Nick", since BD was barely in the picture.

Now we've been married for nearly a year and BD is just now wanting to MAYBE start visitation this coming May/June, so DD is very much attached to DH. In her 3 years of life, BD has seen her 20 times...DH has seen her every day that he isn't working since we got married.

Anyways, I think there is no "right/wrong" answer for this question...if a child is raised by married parents, and they divorce when that child is 9, the mother remarries and she and her husband coach the child to call the new stepfather "Dad", I don't think that is right.

Just as I don't think it is right if a child calls a stepparent "Mommy" or "Daddy" on their own free will, and the offended Bio-Parent tells the child they are wrong for doing so. If they have a problem with it, the two bio-parents should

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2006
Tue, 12-05-2006 - 9:31pm
I agree about "behind the scenes" talk. I think you have a very unique situation. It's far different than a child who has a well established father who visits from the get-go. I think your situation is pretty black and white, no gray area there for me!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2006
Tue, 12-05-2006 - 10:11pm
It doesn't bother me either way. My dd's dad died when she was a baby, and she calls my DH Dad/Daddy. He has earned it. My ss initially wanted to call me mom, but he was older, and his mom is *somewhat* in the picture, so I told him that it's probably better if he just calls me Jackie, to show respect to his mom, and no matter what he called me it wouldn't change our relationship or my love for him.
Avatar for nmillerhhi
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 12-05-2006 - 10:39pm

It depends on the situation. Here are some examples from my own family:

In my sister's case, she divorced when her youngest was an infant and her oldest was 3. Their father has never been seen since. Her BF has been with her since not long after that and they've been together 10 years. The youngest has never known another father and calls her BF "Daddy". The older one remembers his father vaguely. He calls her BF "Daddy" or "Dennis". I think this is fine.

My nephew was with a girlfriend for much less than 2 years. She had 4 children, all with different fathers. Their fathers had custody of them. The youngest was about 6. They insisted on the children calling my nephew "Daddy". My sister called them her grandchildren. I believe this was very wrong. These children had Daddies who had custody of them. The children were older and this was not a long term relationship.

My DS was 8 when I divorced. His father lost his visitation rights and disappeared soon after that. I remarried when my DS was 15. I introduced my DH to him as "Jeff" and that is what I refer to my DH as when speaking to my DS. I have heard my DS refer to his stepdad as "my Dad" when speaking to his friends. He refers to us as "my parents". Mostly, he calls my DH "Jeff" but occasionally calls him "Dad". We never comment on it, leaving it completely as my DS's choice.

When my DH was divorced from BM, his 3 kids were between 6 and 10. DH has lived out of state most of the time but he pays CS, calls at least weekly, sends gifts, sends extra money, visits when he can, etc. BM moved her BF in shortly after the divorce. They insisted that the kids call her BF "Daddy" or "Dad". One of the kids told my DH at the time that they had a new Daddy now. They are now 14-20. BM refers to her now DH as "your Dad" even in front of DH and me. Her DH has said to my DH frequently that they are "my kids" and has refused to allow DH to see them on many occasions. The youngest even uses her stepdad's last name as hers, including on emails to my DH. I feel this is more than just wrong. It is terribly wrong. They have a "Dad" and he is very involved with them.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2004
Tue, 12-05-2006 - 11:02pm

I don't think this is a "yes/no" or "right/wrong" issue. I think each family needs to decide what works for that family.

IME, my two youngest SK's started to call me "Mommy" after I had been in their lives for about a year. Honestly, it made me uncomfortable. I asked them why they were calling me that and they said because I was just like a "Mommy". I told them that was sweet, but that I thought they should call just their mom "Mommy" and we could just keep calling me "Stacey" (which is a-whole-nother issue, because I really don't like children addressing me by my first name, but whatever).

That was four years ago and every now and then, they will slip in a "Mommy" directed at me. Now I just let it go.

DH wishes I had let it go from the first time they did it. He likes that they feel close enough to me to use that name with me.

I don't know what their mom would think.

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-03-2006
Wed, 12-06-2006 - 2:30am

My DSD started calling me Mommy when she was 3yrs old. She hadn't really spent much time with her BM from around age2 to age3 while BM lived a couple states away. Visitation was sporatic at first, but we encouraged a more stable EOW (which was in the custody agreement) and the EOW has flourished and continued over the last two years.

DSD was calling me Mommy and calling BM by her name. I really didn't like that because I didn't want it to make BM feel bad, but the child wasn't doing it to be mean she was just a babygirl. So when ever DSD would say "am I going to Jane's house tonight?" I would simply respond with "yes honey, your going to your mommys house." with that she started calling BM Mommy-Jane, but she was older, so I would say "you mean your mommy?" now she only says Mommy when referring to BM usually, but sometimes she still says Mommy-Jane. I have gone through the 'you came out of your mommys belly', and the 'Im your stepmom' stuff just so she doesn't confuse because I over heard her tell someone that she had been in my belly. I had already told her before that BM is her MOTHER, so I don't know why she told the cashier at the grocery that she was in my belly. Kids, huh? She's clear on it all now though.

BM said she's fine with it so long as she's called Mommy and not just Jane. Which I completely agree with her that she should be called mommy, she gave birth to the child. I am a mother to her as well, in a different way. I didnt give birth to her, but I am raising her. (SD acts so much like me that it even annoys me sometimes haha)

It did get confusing though when she was talking to other people, family etc, about "My mommy" they didn't know if it was BM or me.

For the record I NEVER NEVER NEVER asked or goaded SD to call me Mom or Mommy. When she started calling me that at first, DH and I discussed it and whether we should allow it or correct her. We decided to just make sure that she was clear and that she understood that her BM was her Mommy/Mother and that I would just respond to her whether she called me Mommy or by my first name (which she never has).

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2004
Wed, 12-06-2006 - 10:11am

I agree with the posters who say, "it depends".

All situations are different. It isn't appropriate in my children's situation due to the involvement of the mother and their ages at divorce and dad's remarriage. If the bioparent is deceased, I do feel it appropriate and in other special circumstances.

In fact, it upset my youngest greatly to be pressured to call her Dad's new wife, "mommy" or any version thereof. She calls her by her first name. I don't think SM likes this. It also upset my daughter for them to push her to call SM's parents grandma and grandpa.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 12-06-2006 - 10:14am

Since BM is the CP and I'm the long distance SM, I wouldn't encourage SD to call me mommy. Would I allow it??? Hmmm... I'm not sure. I tend to think that SD should call me whatever she is comfortable calling me. SD knows I am a mommy to DS, but she also definitely knows I'm not her mommy. She calls me by my first name right now, but she'll reference me as mommy with respects to DS. "DS wants his mommy" or something like that.

That seems to work best for us.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2004
Wed, 12-06-2006 - 10:56am

The children should NEVER (IMO) be forced or pressured into calling their SP, Mommy or Daddy.

I don't understand why anyone would do this. It baffles me.

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-14-2005
Wed, 12-06-2006 - 11:38am

I don't think it should ever be purposely encouraged but in some circumstances I can see allowing it but generally I think there are pretty rare circumstances that warrant it.

My DH's ex-wife left him when their daughter was only a few months ago. Within less than 1 year of leaving him she was living with another man and pregnant with his child. DH always exercised visitation but he was devastated that another man would be involved in his childs day to day life and afraid that she would become much more attached to this other man. Obviously this was a very realistic fear given that the other man would have more day to day contact than DH would. Honestly, in this particular situation if BM had allowed her SD to call her bf 'Dad' I think that would have been pretty awful. And I could understand why she might be tempted since SD was living with and seeing him more often then DH and also since she had another child on the way who obviously would be referring to bf as Dad. But DH really needed that 'Dad' distinction and deserved it. He never wanted BM to leave and to have SD in his life only part time. Thankfully BM never did that and actually she and that bf eventually brokeup so that really would have been messy if he were 'Dad' and now he's completely gone from her life. DH is the only Dad and always has been, thankfully IMVHO.

I guess in the case where the BD/BM leaves and is never involved again I can see where the stepparent might become Mom or Dad (this actually happened with my own 1/2 brother) but otherwise, if the bioparents is still involved, I really think that distinction should be reserved for the bios.