Is it wrong of me to want my son to call my fiance Daddy?
My fiance and I have been together well over a year. I recently went through an international divorce. My son has only seen his biological father for 6 weeks (during a visit) since he was 12 months old. My son is now 2 1/2 years old and the person who has been raising him with me since 17 months old is my fiance. We are also expecting our first child together shortly. My son will see his biological father every summer starting at the age of 4 1/2, but his father lives in another country on a different continent, so the father figure in his life will obviously be my fiance. We don't want my son to feel left out when the new baby calls him Daddy, so we are encouraging him to call my fiance Daddy. However, I'm getting a lot of mixed reviews. My mother has this vendetta against my son calling my fiance Daddy. She says it will confuse him when he sees his foreign father and he will lash out, etc. But I feel as long as we explain things to him and always be honest with him, it's a good decision. Every time we make progress with my son calling him Daddy, my mother twists it back to just "Josh" because she cant' stand the idea of a step-dad being called Dad. Am I wrong to want the one man who will be a constant in my son's life to call my fiance Daddy? He doesn't even know his biological father!
Blended families and remarriage are tough. I can understand your want for your child to call his step father Dad, and have one complete family, but it's important to understand that your son already has a father. Yes, it's fine for your son to call his step dad "dad" and his real father "dad" or call his step dad "Josh"- but ultimately, it should come from your son. It's our goal, as parents to provide security, stability and boundaries for our children.
Teach your son that Josh is his step dad, and that's it's O.K. to call him "Josh" or "Dad"- as long as he remembers that he has a biological dad that he will visit, during the year. It's great that your son has Josh to love him, but calling him "dad" doesn't mean that the love is any stronger or greater.
I wouldn't waste your time arguing with your mom, she's right that Josh is his stepdad, and that can't be disputed. Leave the matter alone, educate your son about his parents and step parents, and let him naturally call Josh whatever feels right to him.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC
Blended and Step Family Expert
Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
I'm with your mom on this one. I think she is right. I don't think your son will be confused at all - you are projecting. You don't seem to respect your son's ability to manage the situation of having a "real" father and a step father. What is wrong with "Josh" after all? Looks like you'd get a lot of peace in the family by acceding to your mother's wishes.