Q & A: stepparentsing advice sought from other stepparents.

Stepparents and professionals answer questions from stepfamilies.


Stepparents’ Questions and Answers

Stepparents and professionals answer questions about stepfamilies.

As the blended family becomes more prevalent, we findstepparents giving each other advice. This is a page for stepparents and professionals toanswer questions.


Hi, I love your page and all the links. However, there was something I could not find in there. Here’s my story and question. I am remarried and I have a 7 year old daughter from my previous marriage. My daughter, Kelly, loves my new husband so much so that she decided to call him daddy. Last year when we went to buy him a birthday card, she picked a card that said, "daddy". I said, "that card says daddy is that what you want." She said, "Yeah mom, he’s like a daddy to me." I was elated, but I did not overreact nor did my daughter realize how happy that made me. Unfortunately my ex, does not feel the same way. It’s been about a year now that she has been calling him daddy. Well, this past week, she asked me if I would call daddy (my ex) and talk to him so he won’t get mad when I call Michael (my new husband) daddy. I called my ex and am very surprised to his reluctant, stubbornness and especially selfishness in this situation. His daughter wants to call Michael daddy and he insists she doesn’t; so much that she is afraid to say daddy in front of him for fear he will get mad at her and correct her. I asked him about this. I told him when we divorced, I was ready for the other mommy. Unfortunately, his last two relationships have not worked out. Ironically, I am the one who ended up remarrying. He says there is no reason for her to call Michael daddy. I say, he should be happy that his daughter loves him that much that she wants to call him daddy. They are wonderful together; they have so much fun, yet she is still disciplined and respects him. Do you have any research on this type of situation? I would love to have support when I am discussing this issue. Any help you can give would be appreciated. Thank you,


Answer 1:

As a father who is as involved as possible with mychildren who live in another state, I would say, "No way." It is a real problemfor fathers who can not interact on a daily basis but I am her only dad. I think my exwould handle it better than this. And somehow, I don’t think she would like Kelly callinganother woman "mommy." JVH

Answer 2:

In response to the wife of the little girl who wants to call her mom’ssecond husband daddy….

As a single Dad who has to deal with all the lousy issues of divorce andlost time with my daughter, I feel very strongly on this issue.

My daughter has one, and only one father, and that is me. Whether my EX hashundreds of other husbands it her lifetime, they are not this child’s father.

When it comes to custody, men are almost always on the short end of thestick. I was lucky in that I was granted 3 days a week for having my daughter. I don’tfeel that lucky because I want to have her 7 days a week-but that’s water under thebridge.

Unfortunately for single Dads, our children often spend more time with theEx’s hubby than with us. This is bad enough. Our role as father is under stress. Is itreally unreasonable to think it would greatly upset us men to have our children callingsomeone else Daddy?

My daughter has been very receptive to women I’ve met and looked at aspossible relationships. I hope and expect that my daughter will care for and maybe evengrow to love whatever woman eventually becomes part of my life. But regardless of how muchmy Jessica may care for my new spouse, she already has a mother – Mom, and I would neverquestion or threaten that title.

It is healthy for children to respect, care for and even grow to lovestep-parents. However, as long as both parents are alive and active in their children’slives, there is only ONE Mom and ONE Dad.

I find it incredibly insensitive of this woman to not understand her Ex’sfeelings. There is enough loss in divorce already. Do we also have to loose the one titlethat is the most important to us?LO

Answer 3:

In response to thequestion of whether or not a child should call the new husband "Daddy", I, as anabsent parent to my own, and a step-dad to one,can say with experience, "Men, getover your selfishness and put your child first."

If you are an activefather, (regular visits, regular phone calls, helping with homework over phone, regularletter writing, memory maker, not bound by having an attitude, over your anger, able tokeep all your promises, etc.) then you will always be daddy. But if the Child needs tocall the man of the house Daddy, then it is probably out of a natural, and innocent, need.

But remember, thesekids can be made to feel blessed. Tell them that they don’t have a new daddy, but now theyhave TWO DADDIES! And quit putting your ego ahead of their emotional needs. Be a Dad, andyou’ll never lose that place in their hearts. But let them bond with the man that isresponsible for raising them. Do it for them, don’t damage their soul just so you canclaim a place in their hearts. That you have to earn. After all, it’s just a name.

Gary D

Answer 4:

My Wife and I went separate ways nineyears ago. Our son was three at the time. He is now twelve and is doing very well. Hespends half his time with his Mother and StepFather, and half his time with his Father andStepMother. You see, he says he has two families, two dads and two moms. He says he istwice as lucky as his friends.

I think in all the pain we parentsexperience during separation and divorce, we tend to forget how our kids feel. My son wasdevastated, felt it was his fault somehow. He didn’t understand why Mommy andDaddylived in two separate places.

It took time and a lot of caring andunderstanding, but he began to come to terms with it. Began to see it was not him. One ofthe things that helped him was when he discovered he had two moms and two dads, twice asmuch love as other people had.

So today, he is the lucky one. A Dadand a Mom are always there. He loves all four, and all four love him.

My son feels happy, healthy andloved. If the choice is between this and what I see other children going through(including my stepson whose father would have a fit if he knew his son called me Dad), I’ll chose to swallow my pride a little and let my son have two Dads.

L.B.San Jose, California.

Additional information about stepparenting,stepfamilies.

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Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professional whose advice you might need to seek.

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Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professional whose advice you might need to seek.

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