Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Do You Call Your Step Mother?

Remarried couples often face a challenge in deciding what children should call step-parents, especially when biological parents are still in the picture.

Considering the Other Parent’s Feelings
When deciding what to call a step-parent, it’s important to consider the other parent’s feelings. Choosing a name for the step-mother or step-father that makes biological parents uncomfortable can put the child in a difficult position. This is especially important in situations with shared custody. Children should not have to watch what they call a step-parent when they are in a biological parent’s home. It is a very rare situation when calling a step-parent Mom or Dad is the best choice. Fortunately, there are other options.

Use the Step-Parent’s First Name
In some situations, the best option for remarried couples may be for the child to call a step-mother or step-father by first name. This option works well for older children, especially those who have left the home. As long as the child speaks to the step-parent with respect, being on a first-name basis can avoid a lot of the more difficult questions that can arise when selecting a name for step-parents.

First names don’t work for parents who do not feel comfortable with children calling adults by their given names. This is not necessarily the best solution in a home with younger children either.

Create a Nickname for the Step-Parent
For adults who prefer not to be called by their first names, creating a special nickname for the step-parent may be an option. Using a nickname reinforces the special relationship between child and step-parent without threatening the biological parent who has shared custody. The nickname should be something that the remarried couple, the child and step-parent are comfortable using. It can be a form of the adult’s name, a childhood nickname the step-parent once used or a generic nickname. Ideas for step-mothers include Missy or Mimi. Pop or Poppa may work for step-fathers if these terms aren’t being used by the grandparents.

Read more at Suite101: How to Choose Names for Step-Parents: Remarried Couples Face Challenge of What to Call a Step-Parent | Suite101.com http://marriage.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_choose_names_for_stepparents#ixzz0Zlv0OTUt

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