I recently married a very kind and patient man who loves my 4 year old like his own son. I know my son loves him too but he refuses to call him "Dad" or any form of the name. This is hurting my husband's feelings. I know my son is going through a lot of transition, as we are also expecting a new baby. I have told my son that he doesn't have to call him Dad but maybe Papa or something less obvious and only when he feels ready to do so. However, he has told me, my husband, and even his little friends "that I don't have a daddy and I don't want one". I was a single parent for 2.5 years as his biological father was not involved. The main people in his life were me and his grandmother. I realize his behaviour is probably bc he is trying to adjust to a new situation but it makes me and my husband very sad. I don't want my other child to be confused as to why my son calls my husband by his first name and not "Dad". My husband would like to adopt my son but I'm afraid he doesn't feel emotionally as connected bc of this issue. What should we do? Should we seek therapy and is this behaviour normal?
The problem in this situation is not with your son - it is with your husband and you. Your son's behavior is perefctly normal. There should be no pressure on him to call his stepfather 'Daddy' or any substitute. You and your husband are responsible for how you react to this, and your allowing yourself to feel sadly about it or to have your feelings hurt is your issue to handle. You are letting your son's normal behavior influence you in a way it should not. Your husband's love for your son should not in any way be dependent on what your son happens to call him. If your husband is letting this issue get in the way of the adoption, it is an indication that the love is not unconditional. I hope both of you do some soul searching and recognize that you are making a problem where none has to exist.
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