Should I force my kids to call him Dad?

[deleted account] ( 179 moms have responded )

I have been with my boyfriend for a few years now. I have 2 kids (12 & 16yrs) from before and we have 1 together. My kids do not want to call him Dad until we get married, I allowed them to make that decision. Since he still hasn't asked me to marry him we don't know if or when that will ever be. I don't feel I should force them to call him Dad but he does and has a lot of resentment for my decision. He said I asked them to be my daughters and they said no not until we marry. Should I force them to call him dad?

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Robin - posted on 04/09/2012

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I was forced to call my stepfather Dad and I resented my Mom for that my whole life.

Carlie - posted on 04/05/2012

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And again, No. Should you decide to do this, you will lose respect from your children. Your children will also more than likely, resent you for making this decision for them. I mean, is your boyfriend your dad? No, correct? Correct.



At 12 and 16 years of age, they are old enough to call your boyfriend, respectfully, by his first name or "Sir." No one should EVER force a child to call a non biological parent DAD/MOM/GRANDMA, etc. without it FIRST being the child's decision.



I speak from experience. :)

Kirra - posted on 01/26/2012

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This is Ridiculous force your kids to call someone who isn't there biological dad to call em dad? So many thing wrong with this....

Julie - posted on 07/21/2011

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1. you should never make a kid call anyone but their biological father dad.

2. You're not even married to this guy, so he's not even their stepdad and has no right to demand they call him anything.

No offense but he doesn't sound like a very nice person the way he is rude and demanding and resentful - he sounds controlling.

Vicki - posted on 10/07/2012

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Oh, and I forgot to mention. My mom and step dad had three kids together when I was a teenager. I still didn't "call" him dad during that time period, although I referred to him as dad when I talked with my young siblings.

I can see your boyfriend not wanting the older kids calling him by his name, while the baby calls him dad, for the baby will ask questions. However, he is not their dad and shouldn't expect such a title!

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Danielle - posted on 04/27/2013

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You never force a child to call anyone anything. If they do not feel comfortable with that, do not make them do so. I am a step mom to a little boy, and even though his "mommy" does not deserve the title in ANY sense, he still calls her that and calls me by first name.

Constanza - posted on 04/01/2013

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No, of course not! Your boyfriend is being an ass, and it will drive a wedge between you and your daughters if you force the issue. They will cease using a name at all, and go without a term. If he wants to be their Dad, he has to marry you. Tell him what your daughters have said, and if he wants to commit to you, he gets the privileges that go with.

Chris - posted on 02/20/2013

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I know this is a really old thread but wanted to comment anyway. Firstly, you can't force somebody to call you Dad unless you want them to hate you and think you have a mental illness. Also I would like to know if they personally KNOW their biological father. Thats a big answer there. If they personally know their father, how can they call another man Dad? These are not 2 year olds....they are grown up. If your fiance insisted, I would think he has a problem and will never be a good "Dad" to them. Recipe for disaster that is....

Vicki - posted on 10/07/2012

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Absolutely not okay for him to make such a commandment! First of all, he's not your husband, or even your fiance! Second, you're children are plenty old enough to make this decision for themselves. Do they see their bio dad?

My daugher called my husband dad when we got MARRIED, but she met him at three, and was five at our wedding, and, her bio dad was never part of her life.

My mother remarried when I was eight. Although I met my step father when I was six, I never felt comfortable calling my step dad, "dad." My bio dad passed away when I was six, and there was no replacing him! My sister, though, who was six at the time of the wedding, did call our step dad, dad. It wasn't until I was an adult that I started calling him dad. Everyone tried to coax me into calling him dad, but my little girl stubbornness didn't allow for that. Thank goodness it was never forced on me!

Andrea - posted on 04/10/2012

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no absolutly not... and he is wrong for waning o make them call him dad. if they are not comfortble with it, then they should not be forced to. if they said when you all marry thne they will then he should respect their wishes if he doesnt then what that says is that he does not care what they think. and only what he says goes, they have no opinion. or says in matters that concern them.

Simone - posted on 01/27/2012

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Marybeth,



I don't think you should ask your children to call another man their father. Especially since the children have already decided not to call him father. They can call him by his first name. I think that is how most families deal with it unless the stepfather/stepmother has been in the picture since infancy.

Stacy - posted on 01/26/2012

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NO...absolutely not. It is wrong to force them. My son does not call his SD dad.

Your BF is not their biological father and it will just cause a lot of resentment and issues. My SD calls me Mom because she is now 11 and my husband and I got together when she was 4 and her Bmom was not in the picture for a long time and is now starting to periodically see her. There are times she calls me by my first name and I am also fine with that. In the end it is not the name that counts it is the bond that you make with the child or children.

When my son talks to his friends he says for example: "yeah my dad is going to drop me off" and he is talking about his SD.

IT SHOULD BE WHAT MAKES THE KIDS THE MOST COMFORTABLE....

I hope I helped at least a little.

Evone - posted on 01/25/2012

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No sweetie..it is a honor for children to give a man that is not their father that title. I have five children and a step daughter. My boys call my husband daddy..n it was their choice..i even tried to get him by his name and they wouldn't do it. so let nature take its coarse. and if they don't decide to...its their choice too, but a child has to feel that. but ultimately your decision, but its something to think about. much respect.

Jamie - posted on 01/22/2012

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Never, I have three daughters, 19, and twins that are 17, and I have been with my boyfriend for over 10 years. My boyfriend just asked me to marry him last summer, and my girls werent calling him Dad at that point, and 2 still dont. It's what they are comfortable with, that title has to be earned. One of my daughters really has bonded with him, she isnt close with her father, but the other two are close with their dad and dont want to use that title loosly. I was forced to call my step-mother "mom" and hated both my dad and my step-mom for it. just sad.

Rosa - posted on 01/17/2012

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Heck NO! considering your kids are not old they know he's not their dad and he should understand that. I hated having to call my stepdad, dad, and I still don't. whenever he calls nowadays she stills refers to him as my dad. I know who my dad and I did not like it. If they choose to do it after you marry koodos to the kids but he should be grateful to be able to help you raise your kids. not demand such a title because he does it. Geez Men

Nancy - posted on 01/16/2012

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The decision about what to call a stepparent should be what the child feels most comfortable with. The relationships are more important.



My son was 15 when I remarried. I told him that he could choose what to call his stepdad. On the other hand, my DH's ex-wife began by forcing their kids to call her boyfriend Dad. DH got a letter from one (it was in her handwriting but the language was adult so we knew it was dictated) stating that Mom's boyfriend was more of a Dad so they were going to call him Dadd. The child also stated that I was not and would never be their stepmom or mom. They are in their early 20's now. They still stumble over using my first name because they were not allowed to call me anything growing up.



Had they visited us during the 10 years we've been married, it might have improved things. Their Mom doesn't allow them to visit.

Winnie - posted on 01/14/2012

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While it feels good to be called "Dad" I bet it is not good to force someone to say so. The kids will call him Dad when he has earned their trust.

Natalie - posted on 01/13/2012

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I'm aware that this post a little over 2 years old so hopefully you all have resolved this by now. But to help with other people in this situation I will give my opinion. You said that two of your kids aren't his but one is his. I feel that the one who is his should call him dad because he is that child's dad. The other children should call him dad whenever they feel fit......if they ever do. My daughter started calling my ex husband dad once my son started calling him daddy and I didn't correct her because he is the only dad she knows. If they do let it be when they want....not when he wants.

Dusty - posted on 01/10/2012

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Absolutely not, & your husband is ridiculous for being mad at them for it!! Even if their biological father is not in the picture, they obviously feel like the role of "dad" is already taken in their lives. If they don't feel comfortable calling your bf "dad" then they shouldn't have to. And if I were you, I would also be taking a really close look at your bf's relationship with your children! Seems to me like he treats them a bit differently than his biological child, & that's just plain wrong!

Grumpy - posted on 06/27/2011

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I'm brand new here but no you should not force them to call him dad even when you two get married. Especially not now. If he's not willing to marry you then he's not a permanent person in their life.

Heather - posted on 06/26/2011

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"Dad" is something he has to earn in their hearts (not his, or yours)
(end of story in my book)

Sharon - posted on 06/24/2011

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My father passed away when I was 4 and my mom remarried when I was 9. I always felt awkward calling my step-dad, Dad and to this day (37 years later) I still call him Bob. I always refer to him as my Dad. Even though he practically raised me and considers me his daughter, he never insisted on it. We have a great relationship whether I call him dad or not. If you daughters are not comfortable with calling him dad, then don't make them do it and if he truly cares for them and he won't make them do it either. You don't always have to be called dad to be one.

Sharon - posted on 06/24/2011

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My father passed away when I was 4 and my mom remarried when I was 9. I always felt awkward calling my step-dad, Dad and to this day (37 years later) I still call him Bob. I always refer to him as my Dad. Even though he practically raised me and considers me his daughter, he never insisted on it. We have a great relationship whether I call him dad or not. If you daughters are not comfortable with calling him dad, then don't make them do it and if he truly cares for them and he won't make them do it either. You don't always have to be called dad to be one.

Expat - posted on 06/20/2011

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Perhaps they are referring to him as "dad" to keep things simple in every day conversations with strangers. I have wuite a few friends who refer to their "parents" but dont' actually call one of them mom or dad. I would echo everyone else and say that forcing them to call your partner "dad" is ridiculous. He needs to question his motives rather than theirs.

Tammy - posted on 01/19/2010

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He really needs to respect your decision on this. Its not just about him. The bottom line is does he want his child to call some other man dad? I think not! And no your not letting your girls control you. Your respecting them like you want them to do you and him. It sounds like he has some control issues, and he's wanting to control you and the girls. And out of respect for you and your daughters he needs to stop pushing this so much. He's obssessing over it. Don't let this come between the two of you. Good luck.

LaShune - posted on 01/19/2010

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I do not think you should force them to call him dad. They are old enough to make that decision when they get ready.

Angie - posted on 01/19/2010

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hi no i dont think u should forse them to call him dad, my parents split when i was 7 and my mums new partner lived with us for the following 20 year and i would have resented her if she forced me to call him dad, even tho we were close to him, he wasnt my dad, so we just called him by his name.x

Tracy - posted on 01/18/2010

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No! It should totally be up to the kids about calling him Dad. I know this subject very well, because I was a child of divorce and I was around 12 when my mom remarried. She lived with my step father for a few year before they married, so its simular to your situation. I would have felt extreme resentment toward both of them if force to call him Dad. Your children may never feel comfortable in calling him Dad and that needs to be ok with both of you.

Sonia - posted on 01/18/2010

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I agree with you. Not until he makes that commitment. They should treat him with respect but not until he makes himself daddy official!

Barbara - posted on 01/17/2010

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forcing them to call him dad before they are ready will only lead to resentment and heartache. I had been through this with my 3 kids and it caused a lot of unnecessary heartache and fighting

Kim - posted on 01/17/2010

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No!!!!!! At the age that your children are they know what is going on and when your boyfriend makes the commitment to marry then they will know that he ismaking a commitment to them as well. He will not just be marrying you but your kids as well because they were part of the picture when he entered into the relationship. At that point they will be more willing on their own to call him dad.

I have a new husband and when we married had 3 children and you never knew what they were going to call him, dad or by his given name. They're real father was never in the picture and know that they are older they call him dad all the time and their real father by his given name. Children know who has always been there for them and who hasn't. Give them time and they will do it on their own if your boyfriend is being a father.

Debra - posted on 01/17/2010

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Don't force them to call him Dad. They were given the choice, and you have to honor it. Otherwise, you lose face and they lose faith. If he respected the kids and you the way he should, he wouldn't make an issue out of it. Besides, they all ready have a fater - even if he isn't in the picture...

Dani - posted on 01/17/2010

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I wouldn't! My parents got remarried when I was 8. When I was ready and comfortable, I started calling my step-dad, "dad". In the following years, I became close to him, almost as close as my real father. I had both of them walk me down the aisle when I got married. To this day, I consider them both my dad, I love them both very much. I would suggest giving them time to make that decision. Forcing them, I'm guessing, will cause resentment.

Cyndy - posted on 01/17/2010

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NO NO NO NO - If you force them to call him dad, they are going to resent you and him. They need to continue naturally developing their relationship with him. I didn't want my stepkids to feel I was trying to take the place of their mom so they called me by my first name and as long as they were respectful of the adult position I represented in the household (because the reality is I was not their mom), that was fine. Part of being a step parent is that you have to take a back seat, make sacrifices and be the adult. Have you all set down and talked about why it is so important to him to be called "Dad" and why they don't want to call him "Dad"? If everyone understands where the other is coming from maybe a compromise can be reached that everyone can accept.

Eileen - posted on 01/17/2010

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No! I don't think you should force them to call him dad, if and when they are comfortable with calling him dad then they will. On the other hand, they may love him as their dad but not be comfortable with having to adjust to a new title and therefore may not call him dad, but yet feel he IS their dad and love him as their dad . Suddenly having to change a name or title is not easy to do or to get used to. I don't know if their biological dad is in the picture or not but if he is they may feel a loyalty to him or may feel they are betraying him. If the biological father is absent then how can they be sure this guy will stay in their lives? he is not married to their mother, how can they decide to start calling him dad and then he may just leave one day. There is a lot that goes through these kids minds, the uncertainty is not easy to deal with. I say let them do it on their own when and if they are comfortable with it. Try to help your husband understand the children and accept their decision.

My husband raised my son from the time he was 7 yrs old, my son has never called him dad, even though his biological father was never there for him. However, my husband raised him as his own, he showed him love and understanding and was there for him through good times and bad times. Today my son is 32 yrs old today and he loves my husband as his dad. He knows and respects my husband as his dad, and greatly appreciates him for it. Good Luck with your family!

[deleted account]

At their age it would cause a great deal of resentment in them if you attempted to force them to call him dad. The kids have a point as well, what kind of committment is the boyfriend making to the family? Why should the kids trust him even after you are married? Step relationships are tenuous at best, forcing anyone into an uncomfortable situation doesn't "bring them together" it forces them apart.

Isabelle - posted on 01/17/2010

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Absolutely not. He is not and will never be their dad. Why should they call him dad after a wedding??? I think that this is very absurd for someone to demand this from your children. They already have a dad, no? It will surely come to stand between you and your children. Allways show you are on their side, who else have they got?

[deleted account]

My opinion is a resounding NO! I have two children (12 and 4) and I have been in relationships in the past and they NEVER hinted on calling the guy dad. Their dad is a dead beat, the oldest hasn't seen him in years and he's never even seen the 4 year old. Well, I got back with my high school sweetheart. We got engaged and THEY asked him if they could call him dad and they have ever since. We'll be married 1 year next month. If they never wanted to call him that, I would've never forced them. We plan on my husband legally adopting them as soon as we have the extra money for a lawyer and he will LEGALLY be their dad. I think your children (especially at their age) will resent him and EVEN YOU if you force them to do that. His wanting to force them to call him that sounds immature. I don't know him (of course) personally and he could be the greatest guy on earth. But, if he continues to push the situation... put your foot down. YOU are the one that gave birth to them and he has no legal rights. Even if you marry if something should happen to you then the "new dad" still has no legal rights without adopting them. It's times like these that we need to look at the BEST INTEREST of the children.. not of the boyfriend. As much as you think he will be there with you forever, he's not even asked to marry you. Tell him it is not an option to request that your children make this type of commitment when he can't make a commitment himself. That's called selfish, overbearing and unrealistic. Best of luck in your decision. You must be a very caring and loving mom to ask for opinions on here. I feel like you know what the right thing to do is. Otherwise, you wouldn't ask other people what you think. If you second guess it, you're probably thinking in the back of your mind that this isn't right. I wish you the best and hope I was of help. God bless!!!

[deleted account]

My opinion is a resounding NO! I have two children (12 and 4) and I have been in relationships in the past and they NEVER hinted on calling the guy dad. Their dad is a dead beat, the oldest hasn't seen him in years and he's never even seen the 4 year old. Well, I got back with my high school sweetheart. We got engaged and THEY asked him if they could call him dad and they have ever since. We'll be married 1 year next month. If they never wanted to call him that, I would've never forced them. We plan on my husband legally adopting them as soon as we have the extra money for a lawyer and he will LEGALLY be their dad. I think your children (especially at their age) will resent him and EVEN YOU if you force them to do that. His wanting to force them to call him that sounds immature. I don't know him (of course) personally and he could be the greatest guy on earth. But, if he continues to push the situation... put your foot down. YOU are the one that gave birth to them and he has no legal rights. Even if you marry if something should happen to you then the "new dad" still has no legal rights without adopting them. It's times like these that we need to look at the BEST INTEREST of the children.. not of the boyfriend. As much as you think he will be there with you forever, he's not even asked to marry you. Tell him it is not an option to request that your children make this type of commitment when he can't make a commitment himself. That's called selfish, overbearing and unrealistic. Best of luck in your decision. You must be a very caring and loving mom to ask for opinions on here. I feel like you know what the right thing to do is. Otherwise, you wouldn't ask other people what you think. If you second guess it, you're probably thinking in the back of your mind that this isn't right. I wish you the best and hope I was of help. God bless!!!

Melissa - posted on 01/16/2010

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No, when they are ready they will call him dad, and they may never, however they may come up with another word of enderement, my children call their step father "pops" and he is happy with that. But it definately takes time and is something that cannot be forced, it's an earned respect. Unfortunately for step-parents they have to work extra hard, more so than a biological parent.

Amy - posted on 01/16/2010

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personal experience "NO". and you should also wonder why he feels they should be forced to. doesn't sound right to me!

Andrea - posted on 01/16/2010

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no never if they respect him they will do it off their own back but at the end of the day they only get 1 dad (he might not be worth alot but to them they have to find out for themselves ) the name dad doesnt mean any thing unless they deserve to be called it . gd luck

Andrea - posted on 01/16/2010

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no never if they respect him they will do it off their own back but at the end of the day they only get 1 dad (he might not be worth alot but to them they have to find out for themselves ) the name dad doesnt mean any thing unless they deserve to be called it . gd luck

Sheri - posted on 01/16/2010

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Absolutely not. They will call him dad when they are ready. I agree with Becky, if you or he forces them to call him dad then you both will be on the outs with your kids. I do feel however they should refer to him as dad only when they are talking to the child you had together. for instance "go see dad" or "dad is calling you" You don't want the child you had together refering to him by his first name and that will happen. My daughter was 12 years old when I married my husband and she didn't call him dad until he adopted her. That was 2 years after we were married. Good luck.

Amanda - posted on 01/16/2010

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I would say absolutly not. When he marries you , he is making a commitment to them also. Maybe this is also how you hold your wedding. Because he is not only marrying you but your girls too. When you marry me, you are making a commitment to me and my girls. I would never force them to call him dad even, after you marry. However, I think they would be more willing once this commitment is made.

Rosalind - posted on 01/16/2010

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I have been with my man since my youngest, age 16, was 4 years old. I do not force them to call him dad and they dont readily call him dad. They call him by his name, but the do it with respect and love. He is the only dad they know. When push comes to shove, they call him dad, which lets him know that they do consider him dad even when they don't call him dad. What's really going on with him? If they love and respect him, what's the big deal. Me and my man aren't married after all this time. I don't know if we ever will, but I don't put stipulations on any of them calling him dad. They know he loves them and that HE IS DAD!

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