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Should he call him dad?

(20 Posts)
puska Mon 28-Feb-05 23:06:45

hello i am new on here so please bear with me as i'm not sure of the lingo! I have a 4 and half yr old son from a previous relationship (doomed from the start). I havent been with his father since he was 6 months old and was lucky enough to meet my now husband and we got married in Nov 04 (sorry for the life history!) Anyway a couple of weeks ago my son asked about having 2 dads? in a round about way we talked about him having a 'real' dad and a 'step' dad, he does still has bi weekly contact with his 'real' dad. He asked me if he could call my husband 'daddy' i said that if he wanted to he could and left it at that. My husband is posted away with the armed forces until August so has no idea about whats happening here in his absence. My problem is that my ex has been on the phone tonight saying that he is not happy about our son calling my husband dad,(he spent sat night with his real dad and must have mentioned it) he thinks i should have discouraged him from the idea after all he is only 'the man i married' and that he only has 1 dad.... i am in turmoil because as usual with him i am not doing things right by his son, i did say that i could understand him being upset but if its what our son wanted then i wasnt going to discourage him after all my husband spends lots of time with him working a their relationship doing boys things etc, he loves him as if he was his own - please help am i going mad??

soapbox Mon 28-Feb-05 23:13:18

Puska - the only honest way of answering this is to ask you how you would feel if your DS's dad met someone else and your DS started calling her mummy.

I'm inclined to say that as a pragmatic solution could your DS call his birth dad 'daddy name' and his step dad 'daddy name'.

I can understand why your ex might not like that though - I don;t think I would like my children to have another mummy!

Easy Mon 28-Feb-05 23:13:50

I think it is very touching if your son wants to call your husband Dad, It suggests a closeness.

But I can see that his bio-father might not like it. Can you talk calmly and rationally to your ex? If so explain that your son will find it more comfortable to talk at school/nursery about his 'dad' like friends do.

If that's too difficult, can you encourage some subtle difference, such as Dad, and Daddy, or Dad Bob (or whatever your dh's name is).

Difficult situation I know. I'm a stepmum, but my stepchildren didn't live with us, so it's not quite the same.

puska Mon 28-Feb-05 23:35:44

Hi thanks for your views - i will suggest the different names , i think i'll will suggest good old 'daddy/dad' and 'dad name' for my husband i hope it will make my ex feel a little better, i did try to understand it from his perspective, when the whole thing started it was because my son wanted to know if his dad got married would he have 2 mums? i have to say i was taken aback by his question and said well yes i suppose he would have. I do wonder where he gets these questions from - school i suppose! Thanks again

ScummyMummy Mon 28-Feb-05 23:40:08

Hi puska. Don't think you're going mad at all- this must be a difficult issue for all blended families. Of course you want your son and your new husband to be as close possible and I imagine hearing your boy calling him Daddy feels like lovely proof that everything is going well for you guys as a family unit.

However, I must say I am really strongly against children calling step-parents/foster parents etc mum or dad, especially if their birth parents are still around and involved. For one thing, I think it's really confusing for the child. He has a father and his father ISN"T your new partner. Stands to reason he should call your new partner something else. It's not something you want to be having painful conversations about when he's bigger really and even now you can bet he's picking up on your worry over this and on his birth father's anger/sadness. It's something that ideally should be made very clear in a low key, non-fraught way right from the start. This can be done in a positive, normalising manner, I reckon. "No, S isn't your daddy but he loves you just as much as if he was. And your Daddy loves you loads and loads too. So it's kind of like having two daddies but only one is your birth daddy and he's the one you call daddy." (Actually that sounds a bit confusing now I read it back but I hope you get the gist!)

I get the feeling from your post that your ex gave you a very tough time and that you have a difficult post-break up relationship but I must also in fairness say that I do sympathise with him on this one. I know it must be hard for you to consider his point of view and maybe you don't even want to- wouldn't blame you if things were crap between you- but I guess imagining it the other way round might help. Would you be happy for your son to call another woman mummy? Say your ex found a new woman and she started playing some sort of step-mother role in his life? I have to say that I'd find that situation pretty heartbreaking, personally.

sansouci Mon 28-Feb-05 23:46:04

From sad experience, don't call anyone "daddy" who isn't the real thing. My mother forced me to call her new husband Daddy & it caused considerable damage to everyone involved, even 30 years later.

And if your son was being brought up by another woman, how would you feel about him calling her "mummy"? Makes you think, eh?

puska Tue 01-Mar-05 14:46:02

hi again thanks for the messages - i do understand, i am worried that you have missed my point that it is what my ds wanted, not what i or my husband wanted - we had never even thought about it or discussed the potential of it ever happening. so on the basis of it being what ds wants i am going to back him x

ggglimpopo Tue 01-Mar-05 14:56:35

Message withdrawn

ScummyMummy Tue 01-Mar-05 18:23:46

Totally understand it's what ds wants to do, puska. I would still not encourage it personally and would gently remind him that his step dad is not his dad if he persisted. I have no experience of this at all though- it's just based on gut instinct and some of the reading I've done. Maybe some people who've been in this sort of situation would be better able to advise? You can "bump" the thread every now and then and try and catch them online.

gothicmama Tue 01-Mar-05 18:36:32

if he wants to let him just be clear who is the actual dad maybe your husband could be dadxxxx and his bio dad could eb dad

Nelli29 Wed 02-Mar-05 10:20:32

Hello and welcome puska

My husband (of 6 months) has a daughter of 6. We have been together for 2 years and after alot of ups and downs with his ex we have a not perfect but settled arrangement. We have my sd every other weekend and she loves spending time with me and her dad. SD mother is also remarried. My husband is an active, caring father and I know each situation is different but I know that if my sd called her step dad 'dad' or 'daddy' it really would break my husbands heart. She is very clear who her mum and dad is and although I understand that its lovely that your son feels that close to your husband I just think there is a danger it may cause more harm then good in the long run.
I know that if my sd wanted to call me mum, although I would be flattered, it wouldn't feel right.

aloha Wed 02-Mar-05 10:37:59

I would discourage him. I am a stepmother and am called by my first name, my sd's stepfather is called by his first name. I know my husband and his ex would both be very upset if she were encouraged to call her stepparents mum and dad - though of course if she makes a mistake and calls either of us mummy or daddy we don't comment of make a big deal of it. It doesn't mean she isn't allowed to love us

aloha Wed 02-Mar-05 10:39:51

Even if it is your son's idea to call him dad, I would still discourage it. Make it clear that he is loved by his stepfather and can love him back without having to call him daddy. Måybe he thinks that if he loves him and wants to be loved he SHOULD call him dad?

Roo77 Tue 12-Apr-05 21:02:25

Hello, don't know if anyone can add anymore to this, my problem is similar but different too!
My babies father has never seen her, he left me when I wouldn't have an abortion. He blatently wants nothing to do with her at all.(at present anyway) I have since got together with an old friend and he loves both my daughter and me. I know he is going to stick around and we want to have other kids too. My baby is still young and is just starting to learn to talk. Should I teach her to call him daddy...that is what role he will be in her life and he loves her like he is her real biological father. However, the real father is out there and may one day, (perhaps) clean up his drunken lifestyle and decide he does want to see her. Would that cause confusion all round. She will know that new partner is not her biological dad...won't be pretending he is.
I just want my infant to be happy and contented. And I guess I do want her to have someone she can call Dad too. Any advice!?

jojo38 Tue 12-Apr-05 22:40:34

Can I just add...
I agree to not encourage this dad thing. Your dh should be happy while explaining to your ds that he has a "daddy" and he (dh) is "like a dad" but can't be called the same name as "daddy" because it will confuse him(dh) - put the onus on you both, not ds. Ask ds to choose another name for dh, or use his real name?

Its not a bad thing any of you have done, and your ex does have a point too. Your ds is young yet, but when he is old enough to make a rational choice, then is the time to let him do so. Its difficult but it will be ok in the long term, for all concerned.

Good luck and happy families.

Frizbe Tue 12-Apr-05 23:11:54

We had the same thing with ss when he was four, he decided (for about a month) that he wanted to call me mum, so we rang his mum and told her what was going on, just so she didn't think we'd done it on purpose. As I say he grew out of that idea within the month...he still calls me mummy on occasion, but usually when he slips up! I'm usually mummyxxxxx now or if he's feeling particularly funny step mummy! to which I always answer - Evil of course! (he's now 7)

joash Tue 12-Apr-05 23:17:57

Going against the grain here, but ... From personal experience, I can't see what the problem is. It's much easier for the child at school, etc if they have a mum and dad- just explain to him why he is lucky enough to have two dads.

A parent is not necessarily only the one that is responsible for you biologically - it is also about the people who are there for you day-in and day-out - that's what I would call parenting.

MamaMaiasaura Tue 12-Apr-05 23:41:54

puska - i think it should be up to your ds what he wishes to call his step dad. Your attitude seems spot on by saying ds could call your husband what he wanted.

MamaMaiasaura Tue 12-Apr-05 23:45:25

oh and btw through personal exp - my sisters kids call step dad 'daddy' thro choice and have a good relationship with real dad and i call my step dad 'dad' too and i didnt even grow up with him.

My ds referes to my dp by his first name which is fine and what he is comfortable with so it depends on individual.

Nelli29 Wed 13-Apr-05 08:46:18

roo77 Just wanted to say that and I don't mean to sound hypocritical as every situation id different but in your case roo I think it would be perfectly reasonable for your daughter to call your partner 'daddy' the 'father' obviously needs to take a good long look at himself and is not interested in his responsibilities. If you have confidence in your partner and are happy to explain things when your daughter is old enough I think it would be nice for her to grow up with a mummy and daddy!!!

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