I received an email earlier this week from a parent in a blended family who was asking me about what kids should call their step-parents. This is such a great question. Let me tell you what we did.
I think in an ideal world we want our step-kids to call us mom and dad. For the adults in the blended family, our hope is to eliminate the lines that divide us so that we seem and feel like a traditional family. The reality is, your step-kids already have a mom and a dad. Even if one of their parents is deceased or absent, that role of mom or dad has already been filled. It is important to ask yourself in this situation, what is most comfortable for the children?
As you will recall from previous posts, Roger and I met as a result of Adam and Christian's friendship. Also, Roger was a teacher where the kids went to school, so when we began dating, Christian only knew to call him by his formal name, "Mr. C." On the other hand, I grew up where good adult friends of the parents are called "Mr or Miss First Name", so I would be Miss Stacy, and that is what Alex and Adam called me. It worked fine while we were dating.
When Roger and I got engaged, it seemed a bit formal for Christian to continue to call him Mr. C. I mean if we were going to encourage the bonding and blending of our family, 'Mr' is pretty formal for someone who sleeps in the next room. Christian and I began to discuss some options. For whatever reason, Roger seemed kinda formal too. We tossed around a few ideas, Rog, Big R and finally I suggested "RP" using Roger's first and middle initials. Well, it stuck. Roger is forever RP to Christian. It's nice. He has his own affectionate name for Roger. It's not dad, but it has that same cozy appeal.
After we got married, Alex and Adam, dropped the 'Miss' and just started calling me Stacy. It took Adam awhile, but he finally got the hang of it. Its not real fancy, or anything special, but it works and its what they feel comfortable with. I tried to get them to call me Super Stacy, but it just didn't seem to stick. I guess that will just have to me be my secret superhero name.
Really, the names your children choose to call their step-parent is whatever they feel comfortable with. Don't force them to use mom and dad if they don't feel comfortable with it. Remember, they have a mom and a dad, and as the step-parent, we're not here to replace that parent, we're here as a bonus parent.
Conversely, if your step-children do feel comfortable using mom and dad, go for it! It's a nice feeling as a step-parent to know they think highly enough of you to give you that treasured name.
If you have a question you would like to address in a future post, always feel free to leave a comment or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your information will always remain confidential. Remember, if you have a question or concern, chances are others have the same question, so ask away. We're all in this together!