Should Your Child Call Their Stepparent Mom Or Dad?

March 7, 2016  |  



It’s an age-old question that still doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, but is, however, still very relevant in our culture. With blended families becoming more and more prevalent and the amount of influential adults in our children’s lives increasing, many wonder if their child should refer to their stepparent as Mom or Dad.

On the one side there is the group who believes that if a stepparent has been in the child’s life for an extended amount of time and spends a respectable amount of quality time with the child, it’s totally fine for the kid to call their parents’ spouse Mom or Dad, they are live-in bonus parents for goodness sake.

Then there is the group who thinks that it is, under no circumstance, okay for a child to use Mom or Dad when referring to their stepparent. I mean, given the child has both parents in his or her life already, they already have one mom and one dad and don’t really need to call anyone else by the endearing term.

I’d have to agree with the latter.

There is one caveat to my point—if one parent is deceased or absent, then maybe that’s something I’d consider, but for the sake of this argument, let’s assume both parents are alive and active in the child’s life.

As the mother of a two-year-old son, I cannot imagine him referring to anyone else as Mom, nope, not even his grandmother, who he affectionately calls “Mom Mom.” That’s about as close to comfort as I can get to him calling anyone else by my name.

Mom is special, and I’m sure dads feel the same.

Mom isn’t just a name, it’s a role and a gift. I brought my son into the world, have been there for every pivotal moment and love him unconditionally, so him calling someone else Mommy when he needs help, or wants a sippy cup or needs a hug is nearly unfathomable.

And his dad feels the same, so when we decided to end our relationship and begin making plans for my son’s future, we both agreed that Mom, Mommy, Dad and Daddy, and most other derivatives would be off limits to any future spouse. Those would forever be our names, our roles and our place in his life.

And I’m happy with our decision. Have I second-guessed myself, sure, but so far, so good.

I’m totally cool with and actually encourage having a nickname for stepparents. This helps to make the relationship a bit more casual, and having had stepparents myself, I can testify that the more casual, the better when cultivating a child-stepparent relationship.

So, one mom, one dad and as many influential adults as possible—it takes a village, but Mommy and Daddy should be sole chiefs of the tribe.

What do you think, mommies? Would you be okay with your little one calling their stepparent Mom or Dad? 

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