Calling the Stepdad "Dad"

Submitted by DebiB on Thu, 08/26/2010 - 18:47

I'm actually posting this for someone I know.  He is in a situation where he has 2 young children and the mother just got married to another man.  She is telling the children to call their new stepfather "Dad" or "Daddy" which is obviously upsetting to the real father, not to mention I would imagine that this could be confusing to the children.  Of course, the common sense answer to this problem would be to talk to the mother and explain that this is upsetting to the real father as well as confusing to the children, and if she were a reasonable person she would understand and choose another name for the kids to use for their stepfather.  However...we're not dealing with reasonable.  Has anyone else encountered this issue and how was it resolved?  Would appreciate any ideas on how he can successfull resolve this issue.  Thanks much. 

This is simply what it is called.  The courts are getting stronger and won't tolerate the actions of one parent pushing away the other parent.  There are 3 things this person can do who are alienated:

1) Keep a hand written log of events (dates / times/ and what was said by the child in reference to the alienating parent). The more specific notes, the stronger your case.

2) Take the parent to court on contempt of custody (with this log updated).  In all custody agreements, along with the "rules of the court", no parent can alienate one parent or replace one parent with a step-(mother/father).

3) Have this person keep telling their kids who are their real mommy and daddy.  Over time as the children get more educated and mature, they  will come to see who the good parent and who is the bad parent when it comes to this situation.

Keep in mind that more and more psychologists, psychiatrists, and other leading health professionals are recognizing PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) as a syndrome and want it to be recognized medically as such thru (DSM-5).  Don’t fall for "mother oriented" organizations/groups that say PAS is a ploy for dads to get the kids back, more time, etc...

Its real and it happens every day!

God Bless!


What happens in this situation when the shoe's on the other foot and it's not due to the parent encouraging the child to call their partner parental names?

My partner has two sons (7 and 2), and his youngest son calls me "Mom Jen" instead of Jen. Not all of the time, and I correct him when he says it, but sometimes he will get very upset when I correct him and will yell "Mom Jen". My partner and I have never encouraged him to call me mom, but I believe it's due to the fact that their mother is neglectful and does little with them (and it was that way when they were still together). Due to isolation, the same son was afraid of new people whenI first met him, and I spent a great deal of our time with him taking him to playgrounds and introducing him to new people and children. This may be a reason for the behavior, but I am afraid that the ex will try to use it against my partner. How do I get him to stop calling me mom? I have no intention of changing my interation with him.


Mon, 09/13/2010 - 16:21

Tell your friend, "Don't be too discouraged".... unless it is therapeutic to let it all out now!  If the kids are already aware who their Dad is that's great.  The best thing he can do is not alienate them any further, by testing their allegiance.  They will ultimately reckognize his fear and insecurity for what it is...unattractive.  The courts may reckognize any legal action to addres this matter as a means to maintain power/control, which can be concluded to have been forfeited at the end of the relationship between the parents.  Or they may simply regard him as emotionally unhealthy for the children.  This dad can be strong enough to overcome their mother's new world.  This dad can be above his fear and insecurity by working on himself and his personal growth will manifest as an element of real strength under such emotionally challenging situations.  That is very attractive to children, etc. 

I went through a similar matter with my son.  It was very upsetting at first and I even challenged same by asking him why he had two (2) dads and one (1) mom.  I was trying to keep the conversation simple and mask my inner turmoil because he was about 8 yrs old.  Boy, did that ever backfire! He got upset and told me I didn't want him to like the guy, which was far from the case...I was more annoyed with his mom.  Point being, no explanation could help me recover becasue I had hurt my son's feelings for something that I had refused to master to that point.  The story didn't end there.  I grew to overcome the fear of losing my special place inside him, which resulted in my son being secure in our relationship, as I had become.  He recently told me his reason for calling the other man "dad" and it had nothing to do with any identity crisis over rme.  

Hang in there Dad 


I had the same problem except it was a alcoholic boyfreind who was Daddy and I was the "Father". I got my son into counseling which can be done through the court system (depending on your custody status) and made sure I mentioned this to this counselor as well as other Parent Alienation conduct of the other parent. It seemed to help deter the rotten behavior.