This patient support community is for discussions relating to the challenges of parenting children (age 6-12), including physical development, handling school & classes, emotional development, cognitive development, and games and activities.
My son is 6 yrs old and recently he asked if he could call his step-dad Dad. I said he can call him whatever he feels comfortable. I've been with my husband (his step-dad) since my son was three. My son's biological father is extremely upset and feels very betrayed and hurt. He feels it is not right for him to call him dad that he is his only dad. He feels that the name dad is sacred and it is disrespectful to refer to someone else as Dad. His biological father is very much a part of my son's life, so this situation has become an issue. He wants me to sit down with my son and explain that it's not right to call his step-dad Dad. I do not want to hurt my son or confuse him in anyway. My husband and I have a daughter together and another baby on the way. I believe my son is just trying to feel a part of the family and I'm not sure what the right thing is to do..
It is your sons life and his wish to call his step add Dad seems reasonable, he could call him step dad John and add the name to it I agree with you your boy is trying to have a family, maybe you could explain this to his Bio dad ,if he loves his son he will realise it would be a good thing .
That's a touchy one. I agree that the child just doesn't want to feel like an outsider in his own home. I would be concerned that it could possibly cause him to be conflicted regarding loyalty to his own father who is active in his life. Seems to me there could be some middle ground that reflects his stepfather's important role in his life without exactly duplicating what he calls his father. Would he be open to Pops, Poppy Bill, or Papa Bill (whatever his name is)? Anything that denotes relationship, to meet the child's need, because he's probably too young to figure that out for himself.
I've seen 2 of these situations close up. In one, the 10 year old son was forced to call his new stepmother Mom, much to the pain of his terminally ill mother. His father's intent was to help him transition during his mother's passing, but instead it put a child in a place of guilt. In the other case a boy about the same age was told by his stepfather (that he hated) that he must call him Dad, even though he lived with his biological father. It got ugly. End result, to keep the peace he agreed to call him Pops, but just avoided calling him anything whenever possible.
Your son's situation is different in that his stepfather is in the father role in the household, and another child in the household calls him Dad, and your son wants this. In a perfect world the biological father could rise above his sense of betrayal and be thankful his child is blessed with someone else in his life worthy of this title. But to be honest, I think that would be difficult for most parents. One question to ask yourself, how would you be if your son one day wants to call a stepmother Mom? Best wishes in figuring out how to handle this in the way that is best for your son.
That's a really tough situation. A dad's role is very sacred. The name "dad" is part of that. I have two step-sons that call me dad and it makes me feel great. Their bio dad is not in the picture, so it's not an issue, but as their "dad" when my wife and I first got married, it was a little disheartening to be called "daddy tony" (their name for me at the time). I really wanted them to be "mine" and their bio dad was not part of their life in any way any more. They eventually came to call me simply "dad" and it felt so good.
On the other hand; I have 3 children myself and to think of them calling someone else "dad" twists my stomach. (luckly my ex-wife is now a lesbian, so unless she get's a super butch girlfriend, I don't have to worry about them calling somone else "dad")
But, yes, your ex-husband has a very reasonable argument that you and him need to discuss for the benifit on your children. For him to hear that the kids want to call someone else "dad" can be very challenging. It's a threat to his fatherhood and very few other things can be as hurtful to a good father. Even a father with few links to his kids could be expected to be hurt by this, but will need to understand it, and how important it is for his kids to have a sence of family with the parents they are living with now.
On a similar note; My bio father was not close to me for the longest time, and not even so much now. My step father was my "dad" for all purposes I could relate to in my life. He was only my "step-dad" in name, when I was explaining how my brother and I had different grandparents. I remember one time he introduced me as his "step-son" one time and it kind of made me mad, because he was my "dad". He came into my life when I was barely one year old though, so it may be a totally different situation than you have. Even after my mom and him divorced he was my "dad".
But, the main point is that someone seriously taking the role of "dad" has a claim to that title. I would have to add that, I really mean a true role, with the unconditional love of a father to his children regardless of blood, or lack of blood between them.
This turned into a bit of a long post. I guess, because it's actually a very important theme to me, both as a son and father.
Good luck with however you go with this. It's not an easy situation...
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