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Step grandparents

(22 Posts)
runningviks Sat 23-Aug-08 21:49:04

My DH's dad remarried a few years ago and while the lady he married is fine, I don't really know very well her and she's only been in our lives for a short time. My DD was born 7 months ago and DH's dad's wife keeps insisting on being called "nanny" and refers to my DD as her granddaughter. I have really, really strong feelings about who should be called gran or nanny, as I had a really strong relationship with my gran before she died and I believe that grandmother is a title which has to be earned by hard work, bringing up the parents of the child. I know I'm probably being petty, but how do I explain to her that I don't want her being "nanny"?

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 23-Aug-08 21:53:06

My mother is a step grandmother, half call her by her name and the other half call her Grandma Castle, she has never insisted in being called Grandma, DD and DS have a Step grandmother, she has never asked to be called anything but her name but then we have always addressed letters as Grandpa and XXX.

You are not being petty and although delicate then maybe you should address the problem with your father.

PortAndLemon Sat 23-Aug-08 22:01:29

I'm not sure that there is a way to do it officially without offending her. Unless you can get away with a sincere-sounding "Goodness me, you're not old and decrepit enough to be called 'Nanny'!".

But your daughter is only 7 months old. If you refer to your SMIL by her firstname at home, when you are looking at photos of her, etc., and as "Nanny Firstname" only when you are actually in her presence, the chances are that your daughter will pick up the firstname only option, and it won't look as though you're doing it on purpose.

Depends on whether you want the confrontation or not.

Cosette Sat 23-Aug-08 22:02:41

Maybe if you give her the chance, she will earn it, by helping out with your DC. My parents have both remarried, and both my stepfather and stepmother are treated as grandparents by my 3 DC. I think they have got a lot out of it, but I've probably got more - in terms of help and support.

As far as I'm concerned, my step-parents have well and truly earned the right to be called grandparents - but I did give them the opportunity to - would it hurt to allow them to be addressed by a special name? We have a different name for each grandparent.

alkar Sat 23-Aug-08 22:03:49

I don't think you are being unreasonable - I agree with you. Luckily my dads wife has always said she just wants to be called her name. She thinks shes too young for anything grandma related

BitOfFun Sat 23-Aug-08 22:06:05

I think you might be a bit harsh tbh, if she wants to be nanny then she wants to put the work in IYSWIM, so perhaps you should put your feelings aside and let her? If you don't, then she might be so upset that she backs off a bit and your dc will miss out. Good luck though, whatever you decide smile

edam Sat 23-Aug-08 22:10:23

I don't think you are being harsh. It must feel very strange to have someone you barely know insisting they are your dd's granny.

Tricky thing to raise though. Perhaps you could mention it in a 'this is a bit awkward but it feels a bit odd...' way and suggest something else?

lisalisa Sat 23-Aug-08 22:17:18

Slightly different persepctive but when my aunt remarried , her new dh brought with him his 2 kids - they became an instant family of 4. My grandmother ( who is my dad's mum and also my aunt's mum and therefore a natural grandparent to my aunt's natural children) felt very dubious about the whole thing and was sure she woudln't love the step grandhcildren half as much edtc etc. My aunt wisely warned her against showing favouritsm, counselled her on remembering birthdays and generaly imbued her with a sense of how important this marriage was to her and how sensigtive both sets of children felt in any case and that grandma wasn't to muck it up! ( Just as some background my dear grandma ( who has now passed awa and is sorely mised vby everyone) is an oldy worldy type -0 very blunt and prone to say exactly what she feels etc so aunt felt warning to be appropriate).

Grandmother was called grandma by stpe children from day 1. By about 6 months in grandma truley loved these kids and even asked to speak to them first on the phone, spoilt them rotten and stood produdly in line at their weddings warning their husband and wife to be good to "her grandhicldrne " or else etc.....

The family put a lot of it down to her being called grandma by the step children thus makeing it clear that there was no diference and not epxected to be any difference between teh natural and stp grandchildren. ~The act of being called grandma an d acting like one I believe turned her into one with her stp grandchildren . Now the family is almost seamless and a joy to behold smile

AbbeyA Sat 23-Aug-08 22:18:24

I think it is great for DCs to have extra grandparents. I have been married twice so all 3 DSs have 3 lots and no one differentiates -it is lovely. At one time we had an older lady who was almost an adopted granny.
She is going to part of your lives so it is nice to be generous. Perhaps she has longed to be a grandmother and hasn't any of her own or has no chance of having her own. Just think of her as an extra.

NotDoingTheHousework Sat 23-Aug-08 22:18:42

Message withdrawn

yummymummy1405 Sat 23-Aug-08 22:18:56

We have the same problem except dh's stepmum keeps insisting ds (2)calls her lala lucious. We do NOT encourage this btw

TheFallenMadonna Sat 23-Aug-08 22:23:49

My parents are divorced and mymum has a new partner, who was in place before my children were born. They call him by his first name, and my parents are Grandma and Grandad, but it was brought home to me how they feel when DS has a friend around for tea and we were talking about grandparents, and I said DS had two grandads. He went a bit quiet, and after his friend had gone he said "you said I have two grandads, but X is a gradad isn't he- a special sort of grandad). And of course he is to my children, who love him, and for whom he has always been around, even if he hasn't for me and my siblings.

So I suppose it doesn't matter what they are called, and if you have strong feelings about it then you should do what you think is right. But the title is not the be all and end all as far as the child and their relationship with the adult is concerned.

PortAndLemon Sat 23-Aug-08 22:33:14

That is a good point -- FIL's wife has a very significant role in DS's life and I know DS thinks of her in much the same way that he does his "real" grandmothers. As it happens she wants to be called by her first name anyway, so there's never been any issue.

You maybe need to sort out in your mind whether the title of Nanny is about having "a really strong relationship" with the child (you seem to think this is significant, given that you mention the relationship you had with your own grandmother in your OP) or about hard work bringing up a parent of the child.

CarGirl Sat 23-Aug-08 22:37:40

Well it sounds like your step mum wants to be involved and do all the things that a Nanny would do. My MIL treats my eldests dd (her step gc) the same as all her bio gc and is called nanny by all.

In your dc eyes provided she is interested in them they will love her and want to spend time with her and not care whether or not she is biologically related.

zippitippitoes Sat 23-Aug-08 22:43:03

well i think it isnt disimilar to parents my kids always called xdp his name

and then dgs called him that too

i think a first name is best but i wouldnt lose sleep if she wanted to be called grand,a carol or whatever

either she will be part of his life and she will earn the right or she will move on and that will be it

cant see my bf willimg becoming a grandad tho my dgs is 4 but bf is 31

blue smnoke on the horizon smile

AbbeyA Sat 23-Aug-08 22:43:36

You say that you had a strong relationship with your grandmother before she died-however it grew-you didn't have a strong relationship when you were 7 mths old!!
Your 7 mth DD has (hopefully)many years to grow into a strong relationship with this lady. You say that a grandmother has to earn it-with the best will in the world you need to give her time!

runningviks Sun 24-Aug-08 21:25:11

Thanks for all the advice. It's really helpful and nice to know that other people have made this work. I find it difficult partly because we only see this lady twice a year because she lives so far away. I agree that I didn't have much of an idea of my relationship with my own gran at 7 months old, but I saw her 3 or 4 times a week until she died, whereas that won't happen with my DD.
We're off to visit them this weekend and I think Portandlemon was right in saying I need to get everything sorted out in my mind.

AbbeyA Sun 24-Aug-08 22:14:07

Why not suggest calling her 'nanny xxx' and insert her name where xs are? Would it be a compromise and make her one step removed for you.
Just a suggestion-you might think it doesn't make a difference.

thejoyofpie Mon 25-Aug-08 02:25:19

My kids call my mother's partner by his first name, and my dad's partner by her first name. I am a stepmum called by my first name by my stepkids, Any other way would seem strange to me. With mum's partner, he will refer to "the grandchildren", not "my grandchildren". He is a better grandparent than either of my parents, he is so loving and fun. However, it just seems incorrect to call him grandad. This is making my family seem a bit of a mess, but anyway, I had a stepgrandfather, and was supposed to call him grandpa, but because he was horrible to me I called him "old N" from an early age.

thejoyofpie Mon 25-Aug-08 02:32:20

In your situation I would just call your father's partner by her first name around your DD, and she won't pick up the "nanny" name no matter how much it is encouraged by other people. I wouldn't confront the issue head-on, as it could lead to a hurt feelings. This is probably passive aggressive, but I'd take the long road, and just not let the name stick. My dad's wife would never want to be called grandma, probably because she's only about 8 years older than my older sister!

chefswife Mon 25-Aug-08 02:40:12

on my dad's side of the family, it's very traditional... nanny and grandpa. on my mom's side, i have an uncle who is only 6 years my senior and i do call him uncle because, well, i can't seem to say. mom's dad was grandpa * (last name) and her mom was grandma * (abbr. first name) and her mom was grandma * (abbr. last name). they divorced before i was born and grandpa married a woman 2 years younger than his eldest daughter (my mother). my sisters and i have only ever called her by her name. they tried to get us to call their kids uncle and aunt but that was just a bit strange. we never call them that. i call my mom and dad (rip) by their first names on the occasion as well. if you're not comfortable with it then just ask that you would rather your dd call her by her name. simple.

chefswife Mon 25-Aug-08 02:42:27

actually, i agree with thejoyofpie that dd will pick up whatever name you call her.

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