March 14, 2010,
K.K. asks from Dearborn Heights, MI on June 24, 2008
What to Call Stepmother
Hello, I have a question for my sister. She has a 12y.o stepson and she does not want him calling her by her first name and he does not want to call her "mom", which is ok with her however they can't seem to find a middle ground. Do any of you have any suggestions?
So What Happened?™
OK, I guess I wasn't too clear with my question. My sister has been raising her stepson since he was 4 years old and he used to call her "My Jane" however now that he's older he finds it childish to call her that and she understands. She does not want him to call her by her first name because she has two daughters (ages 8 and 2 1/2) and thinks it would be kind of weird that their brother calls her Jane and they call her mom. I appreciate all of the useful responses however do not understand why so many people used my question to vent and be negative about a person they've never met. As a general rule I only respond to questions when I have something that may help the person and not put them down. Once again, thanks for the people with useful advice.
N.B. answers from Detroit on August 08, 2008
I have a son from a previous relationship. he is 10 and my husband has been in his life for 6 yrs. I have never suggested my son refer to his step dad as "dad". He has a dad.
One the same note, I have always told my son if he wants to call him dad....thats ok. He does on occasion. I don't think there is anything wrong with the child to refer to her by name.
Just my opinion.....some times the titles need to be earned. It's not just a name, its a feeling
C.T. answers from Detroit on July 29, 2008
Maybe "Madea" is a good alternative. Not mom or the first name but it carries respect and endearment without crossing the boundries.
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K.P. answers from Detroit on June 25, 2008
I got remarried when my twins were 5, and my son was 3. They all started out calling my husband by his name, and their stepmom (dad also remarried) by hers. Over time, because they were with my husband on a daily basis, the twins began to call him dad. It took my son a bit longer, but when he finally used dad, it was because he meant it. I never asked them to call their stepparents anything, this was a decision they made entirely on their own. My stepdaughters however, still to this day, call me by my name, even tho they were with me and my husband more than their own mom. They both have kids, and one says nana, the other says nana K.. You can't force a child to call someone mom or dad, this has to come from their heart, and to try to force it would cause resentment on the childs part. The other kids will adapt to their brother calling her by her name. Maybe they could sit down and try to come up with a name together that they both feel comfortable with. My kids actually ended up calling their stepmom 'missy mom' for a long time, so maybe 'mama jane' or something similar?
M.L. answers from Grand Rapids on June 25, 2008
I haven't read all your responses, but I also have a step daughter, and my husband and I have made sure she knows that she may choose to call me by my first name or by 'mom'; whatever she is more comfortable with. If she has that choice for herself, it makes her feel more comfortable. (She uses both, actually!- mostly 'mom', even though she has her own birth mom, too). But what matters most is that your sister and the child have a good, healthy relationship. The child needs to be able to have some comfort in choosing some things, even though the parent has the final say. Remember that a divorce situation and step parents, etc. can be hard and confusing on kids and the more comfortable they feel, the better. Sometimes it's necessary to ask ourselves as parents what really matters in the long run, as well as if certain disagreements are worth the battle...hope this helps : - )
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from Grand Rapids on June 25, 2008
When our boys were growing up, somehow I became "Mama B" to all their friends. I thought it was cute and respectful at the same time. Now that one of our sons has become a stepfather, he became "Daddy Bret" half the time and just plain "Daddy" the rest of the time.
J.H. answers from Detroit on June 25, 2008
To be honest, your sister should simply let her step son make the decision and accept whatever he decides... If he wants to call her by her first name, she should accept that. I come from a "blended" family myself and have always called my step mother by her first name. If he is forced to call her something else, he may begin to resent it. And being a STEP child is a difficult situation to begin with... But if he is given the choice, he may come up with something else that is a term of endearment (if they have a close relationship). I know it may seem disrespectful for him to use her first name since she is an adult/authority figure and he is a child but it's such a sticky situation to begin with - one that this little boy didn't ask to be brought into - so in order to help him adjust, it may be best to forego some of the formalities... But that's just my opinion based on my personal experience (your family's situation may be totally different!)
C.E. answers from Detroit on June 25, 2008
Well unless your sister things her STEP SON should call her MRS. Whatever her last name is, then she is pretty much out of luck. First of all this is her now husband's son and she is really putting a strain on making him feel like he is part of his family. She is a part of his life and needs to realize that, he may be 12, but wheither she likes it or not he is PART OF HER FAMILY. I have had my step father for ove 20 year, when I talk about him I refer to him as DAD to others, I found out a long time ago that after all the time he spent in my life, his feelings were very hurt that I would not acknowledge that he was more to me and really was.
My 8 and 10 year old address their step mother as Step Mom or call her by her name. Even I think it is silly that after 6 years they call her MISS APRIL. I told them, she is going to be around for a long time and we have a good relationship, she is a mother to them, if they call her MOM I'm fine with it. I'm their mother, and they know this, but this woman would do as much for my two as she does for hers. She deseves to be acknolwedged as to her part of the family.
I dated someone for 5 years and my kids always called him by their first name, your sister needs to pick her battles, and maybe realize she has an important place in that childs life.
S.S. answers from Detroit on June 25, 2008
That can be tricky with a 12 year old for sure! Try something creative like "super-stepster". Getting his input on a goofy title can be a good bonding time!
A.H. answers from Lansing on June 25, 2008
I guess I would call her stepmom. I am not sure what else to call her. My son calls his stepmom by her first name and my SIL's stepdaughter calls her stepmom.
P.D. answers from Grand Rapids on June 25, 2008
Does your sister have a nickname that she goes by? My step dad's name is George and I have called him Geo through the years. My step mom's name is Darlene and I always called her Dar. Maybe even just using the first initial of her first name ~ it's tough being in the situation but there is a happy medium. Key is to have them keep communicating with each other until that middle ground is found. Good luck to your sister!
L.R. answers from Detroit on June 24, 2008
hmmm this is a toughie.... I am not sure. Maybe they could come up with a cute name together.