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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Crystal - posted on 01/04/2010

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No, I don't believe you should force them to call him daddy especially at their ages (12 & 16 yrs.) That is something they should want to do naturally, when they are comfortable. He should understand that and respect your decision.

Keri - posted on 01/03/2010

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Please tell me you are kidding! If you are ready for your children to completley resent you & your boyfriend, force them to call him Dad! Your boyfriend isn't to worried with it or you would be married by now! "Dad" should be a special word that your children want to call him on their own.

Kimberly - posted on 01/03/2010

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Forcing the girls to call him dad may make them resentful. Perhaps, and it sounds like they have a strong belief in how a family structure should be. Perhaps their view is a spiritual one. have you discussed with your boyfriend why he won't marry you, especially since you have a child together? You didn't mention if their bio dad is a part of their lives. if he is, then that would play a major role. also, how is the relationship between the kids and the boyfriend? That has a lot to do with it too. there are many reasons that can be taken into point. Your best answer will come from the children...ask them why they don't want to call him "dad".

Heather - posted on 01/02/2010

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I feel like I was coming into this after a huge debate was finished....My BF of 12 years still hasn't the title of Dad. My children are 14 and 18 and the only thing here that matters is that they know he loves them. They do both have men that they call DAD and they have also both been remarried and none of the steps are called "Mom" either.
My second husband was the same way as your BF is and wanted my oldest son to call him Dad only AFTER the new baby (HIS) came along because he thought my youngest would be "confused" if he didn't. I would never make him and still believe all these years later that I was right. He had an active Daddy in his life that did support him and visited often. Later after my second husband and I split up I was even more confirmed that he didn't earn the "Dad" from my oldest and that is why he didn't call him that. He no longer talked or asked about the "One that was mine" and at 18 that man is only considered my ex-husband. He wanted the title but never earned the respect that "Dad" gives a man. My youngest is his son and unfortunately he doesn't fit the title anymore with him than he did with my oldest.
There Dad that takes care of them everyday, buys them food and clothes and makes sure they are safe, happy and healthy isn't called Dad but doesn't feel slighted by it in the least. He recently had his children's names tatooed on his shoulder and he has 2 children from a previous marriage also and all 4 of the kids are on his shoulder and all were proud to see it there. It was a surprise to us all since he didn't have any tatoos!!
Anyway, to conclude I will agree with all of the others and just add a bit of advice and ask your "stubborn" BF if he can really tell you what his MOTIVE is? He is the one hung up on it and he is the one that has to figure this out. Staying strong and on your childrens side is the best thing you can do. No matter what there ages if they feel strongly about something then they do have good reasons and you should listen.
Best to you.

Tracy - posted on 01/01/2010

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Absolutely not! Forcing kids to call someone "dad" who isn't even married to you is wrong. It doesn't matter if their dad sees them or not. If they want to call him dad they will, if not, that's okay. Maybe try to find some other nickname for him that they all like.

Angela - posted on 01/01/2010

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not forcing your children to call him something they are not comfortable with is not allowing them to control you. it is giving them the respect all humans deserve. even children deserve respect and the right to make their own choices on matters such as this.

Angela - posted on 01/01/2010

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NO!!! this is definitely something they will harber resentment about towards you and him for years to come. a child should never ever be forced to call another man dad simply because that man desires it. perhaps he is thinking this will bring you all closer together. nothing could be farther from the truth. although it will make his chest swell with self pride when he introduces himself as 'dad' to others, the children will not be feeling that same pride. honestly, even if you do marry, the children should not be forced to call him dad. that is something that should come to them naturally and gradually. and if it never does, that does not mean they think any less of him than they already do. the same goes for if they do choose to call him dad. that little word does not magically change their feelings nor the relationship they have with him. i have a 16 year old daughter who, unfortunately has never had any contact with her biological father (not our choice). i began dating my husband when she was 12 years old and he has been the only father figure she has ever known. she is totally smitten with him and tells me all the time he's the perfect father and that when talking about us to friends she simply calls him her dad. however, she has called him by his name when talking to him all these years and even though we'd love it if she called him dad, she says it just feels funny to say the word, even though that is how she thinks of him. we respect her wishes and her decision and would never ever try to demand she call him dad. please don't go down that road with your children. if they do not want to call him dad, there is a reason for it. which may be as simple as 'feeling funny about it'.

Jodi - posted on 01/01/2010

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I agree with everyone else... I would not forced them to call him dad. My kids dont call my husband dad. I left the choice up to them... no matter how old they are it should be thier choice not yours or the person you are with. If the are forced to call him dad it will show resentment to you and him and they could start acting out... I would love it if my kids called thier STEP- dad, dad.... but it's still THEIR choice.... forgive me for being blunt here but as far as your boyfriend goes.... he shouldnt force them to call him dad... and he shouldnt get upset for them not either... if thier not ready thier not ready... he needs to get over it or be on his way.... I'm sorry if this sounds blunt but its the truth... he sounds like he is a little controling and thats not good on the kids..... Again sorry if this sounds too blunt...

Shelia - posted on 12/31/2009

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No, do not make them call him Dad. He isn't their Dad. Give them the ability to choose that one for themselves. They will love him and respect him more if not forced to call him Dad when they know he isn't their real Dad. It's okay for them to call him by his name, won't hurt a thing.

Jasmin Aka Heidi Smith - posted on 12/31/2009

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I was forced to call my mom's second husband dad. And, I was not allowed to call my own father dad. If I ever call him dad I would have been in so much trouble. My whole life I called my father by his 1st name until I turned 16 when my mom's 2nd husband divroced her. Even to this day I still call him dad. p.s. I now call my father daddy and he glows everytime. I have 16 yrs to make up for when I was not allowed to call him dad. So, if you please let them call him by what they choose, even if they call him Mr. So&So just don't force them to call him dad. Dad is a special word just like Mom is a special word. My kids call my husband Baba (it means dad in Arabic) and they call their father Dad or Papi but it was their choose because when my husband and I have more children they said they don't want their brother or sister to call their dad by his 1st name....Again its the kids choice.....

Kelli - posted on 12/31/2009

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ABSOLUTLY NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if he feels resentment for a decision u and ur gurls made then theres something wrote with that picture he can not force anyone to do no such thing and becuz they dont call him dad he wont ask u to marry him dont waste ur time ur kids come 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111st that man has issues.

Rebecca - posted on 12/31/2009

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It is good you are asking advice - this is a tough issue. I am remarried to a wonderful man, whom my girls (15 and 17) love, and they call him by his first name. They have a biological father, whom they call "Dad." My husband is the one at the volleyball and basketball games, the one who talks to them and takes them places, the one who protects them and is there for them every day. The fact they call him "Pete" doesn't diminish any of that. Let the kids call your partner by his first name, or an endearing nickname, but do not force them to call him "Dad." Good luck!

Tina - posted on 12/31/2009

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No, especially if their biological father is in the picture. He shoud respect their decisions. I also have 2 children from a previous reletionship and one with my current boyfriend of 2 years. Your kids are old enough to decide what makes them comfortable and what doesn't.

Ellen - posted on 12/30/2009

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I wouldn't force your children to call him dad as they will later resent you for that as they know he's not their father. Mine are at the age now that they will never call my new man their dad. My youngest lives with his dad anyways but even so he will never call him dad ever. If your man can not accept they are not going to call him dad then he doesn't really want to be apart of them anyways, does he?

Cindy - posted on 12/30/2009

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NO WAY!!!!!! Your boyfriend is being totally unreasonable and uncaring to your children. This is a sensitive area for your kids and the decision should be THEIRS...not his. Especially because you aren't even married. YOU are their parent, not him. Stand your ground and be true to your children. If he doesn't accept it, find someone else. Life is too short. Your kids are with you forever.

Ivy - posted on 12/30/2009

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NO...THAT IS THEIR DECISION... THEY HAVE THAT RIGHT...JUST BECAUSE THEIR DAD IS NOT IN THE PIC ANY MORE DOES NOT MEAN THEY HAVE TO XCEPT THE WHO EVER YOUR WITH AS THEIR FATHER...THATS A BIG ADJUSTMENT FOR THEM AS WELL AS YOU AND YOUR BOYFRIEND....TELL HIM TO TRY BEING A MALE ROLE MODEL AND FRIEND FIRST AND LET THEM ADJUST ON THEIR OWN...

Amy - posted on 12/30/2009

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Absolutely not! I did that in my last marriage, and it turned out where my daughters are resentful of it. It was a huge mistake. If he can't take your decision, respect it and not worry about it, maybe he just isn't worth it. The kids are way more important...as they say, blood is thicker than water any way! Good luck.

Lisa - posted on 12/30/2009

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If you force them you are just going to breed resentment between them he isn't their father and that may be very sensitive for them. You are doing the right thing by making it their choice because it is. I am a step child and the decision is and was always mine to make. You can't make them have feelings they dont and it sounds to me like they are just trying to protect themselves from getting hurt by making it a if you are married to him choice.

RHONDA - posted on 12/30/2009

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if it's not their dad I would not FORCE them into calling him dad. Let it come naturally he has to earn that title in a teenager life. It's not a easy one to earn for sure. Let them love him on their own time.

Karen - posted on 12/30/2009

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I believe it should be up to the kids, whether you get married or not! I have a 15 yr old and he calls my husband(who is his stepdad) by his name but when he introduces him he calls him Dad!

Beverly - posted on 12/29/2009

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no you should not force them kids to call this man dad. He isnt there dad and they will only resent you for forcin them to do that.If this man is good to them and your children respect him then theres no reason for the word dad. kids get hurt in mixed relationships believe me i know been there done that.if they want to call him dad they will do it in there own time.makin them do that could cause them to start hateing him.

Val - posted on 12/28/2009

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Quoting Donna:

no way! IF he wants that HONOR, then he needs to make himself a real part of the INTACT family. Not just be a pretend father.



I agree. Love the phrase pretend father. kids are not crazy, they only drive us there.

Val - posted on 12/28/2009

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NO! If they want to when you guys are married then tell him lets get married. Kids are not stupid. They know when it real and when its not. He knows what he has to do.

Sherry - posted on 12/26/2009

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No you should not force them to call him Dad, if he is truly a good Dad then they will in their own time!

Donna - posted on 12/26/2009

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no way! IF he wants that HONOR, then he needs to make himself a real part of the INTACT family. Not just be a pretend father.

Karrie - posted on 12/25/2009

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not no but hell no.... excuse the language but that is just not yours and definatley not his decision. i have two children and their stepmom and dad forced them to call her mom. they are not allowed to call me mom in front of her and it is just wrong. they already have a dad regardless if he has been in the picture or not and if you force it on them then one day they may hold it agianst you. if eventually they choose to call your bf dad on their own then that is fine but you should never force a child to call an outsider mom or dad. if he doesn't realize this then maybe you should reconsider as to weather he would be a good dad or step dad...good luck

April - posted on 12/21/2009

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Don't force them, it may be more comfortable to call him by his name since they had a dad before him(good or bad it was still their dad) My older two call my husband by his name and I'm fine with that and so is my husband.
Perhaps your boyfriend should learn to respect your children's wishes.

Chrisy - posted on 12/20/2009

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NO do not force them I just went through the same thing and I aslmost lost my kids!!!I am 40 years ofld and my children and i now live on our own again after a 4 year relationship ended due to same type of thing If he can not show respect for you to your children by marrying you then do not force them to call him dad I know it is hard to be caught in the middle of the man you love and your children but they are your children and you should Always put them first If he loves you and them he will understand if you force them and it strains your relationship with with your kids you will resent him believe me!!!!

Holly - posted on 12/20/2009

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my opinion is, absolutely no, don't force them. and BTW, if you want to marry your boyfriend ... you are allowed to ask HIM, you know! it is perfectly OK these days. especially if it's important to him that they call him dad, and they've said they WILL if he is married to you! I was widowed when my daughter was 3, remarried when she was 5, and my daughter has always called her stepfather by his first name BUT I've heard her refer to him as "my dad" to others ... that works fine for us.

Vickie - posted on 12/20/2009

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NO,NO THAT SHOULD BE THEIR DECISION, WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT ,WHY MAKE THEM CALL HIM DAD AND YOUR NOT EVEN MARRIED , WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED BEFORE YOU GOT MARRIED AND THESE KIDS , ,WAS MADE TO CALL HIM DAD , AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO HIM FOR YOUR KIDS TO CALL HIM DAD , I THINK YOU NEED TO REALY WATCH THIS GUY AND THINK LONG AND HARD ON WHAT KIND OF PERSON HE IS , GOOD LUCK BUT PLEASE PUT YOUR CHILDREN FIRST NO MATTER WHAT , HE SEEMS ALITTLE CONTROLING

Debbie - posted on 12/20/2009

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absolutley not, he is your choice not theirs so it should be their choice if & when they call him Dad that is a big step for a child . you are not married to him so that says that he is not willing to make a comittment to you , so what if things don't work out you would just say to your kids sorry Nexxxt whos your Daddy now

Tammy - posted on 12/19/2009

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No absolutely not. My daughter calls my husband dad, but my son does not. That's the kids decision. My daughter was 1 & my son was 4 when I remarried. We have been married 10 years now. My step kids call me by my first name. That's their moms decision.

Tara - posted on 12/19/2009

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As a now grown mother, who came from a family that had a step-dad (I still have him & love him very much) . . . I was pretty much allowed to decide what to call me new dad . . my biological father died 1 mo before I turned 6. It was horribly traumatic to me. . I could not consider calling another man "Dad" even though I barely remembered my own. My 1st step-father, I called him by his first name & we were never close. My 2nd step-dad is still my SD, but I call him "Pop" & have for a long time. To me that was the closest thing to dad. In fact, most people in my family have been calling him that since just after I started.



Now, my children are also facing a divorce (their dad & I). . I would NEVER ever FORCE them to call another man or woman mom or dad. They HAVE their biological parents, & that is their mom & dad. They may never feel comfortable calling another person dad, & their feelings on that should be respected.

Jacqueline - posted on 12/18/2009

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marybeth: thank you for sharing, i'm trying to look at this from his stand point, but it's really not clear what that is, but i think he is hung up on the title, because in his mind he is dad and them calling him so shows unity, but them having no reservations about calling him dad is being overlooked, they just want the unity and the respect as well, forcing them to call him dad: in my book is not right. they are willing to - he has to show him he's willing too, children long for mom and dad or a mom and dad, and they want to make sure he isn't going anywhere, prove to them that marriage is a beautiful thing and it's about love, unity, and devotion, your children clearly know this whether or not they are aware of it. it is very unfair of him to try to make you feel a way, for not forcing them, but he is not thinking this through either, i'm praying for you, happy holidays

Andrea - posted on 12/18/2009

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no absolutley not! if they were younger then maybe because they would probably not understand the difference but they know that he is not their dad. and what kind of man is he for resenting you for not making you making them calling him dad they are you kids not his.. see if you were to make them call him dad they were resent you for that and i dont think they would even call him dad anyway if they did not want to. im speaking from experience .

Dayna - posted on 12/18/2009

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never make a child call some one dad he has to deserve this first and the child has to trust him the child will make this disition on ther own and as long as thay are respectful of him then this is all you need to do thay are older and can make this disistion on there own.

Fiona - posted on 12/18/2009

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no dont force them,, i i have 2 kids to previous marraige nd we have one together,, their birth father is not in the picture and my man chose to take them on as his own, over time my kids asked me if they could call him dad, it has to be their decision especially with their ages, if u force them theyl resent it nd could cause u some problems.

Jen - posted on 12/17/2009

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No! Don't force them to call him dad! My mom and step-dad did that to my siblings and me. It was fine after a while for the younger kids, but for me (I'm the oldest) and the sister just under me, it was heart-wrenching and felt like a betrayal to our biological father even though he wasn't in our lives anymore. We were extremely resentful toward both of them because of it, and it strained the relationship more than it should have. In fact, we hated him for it. We felt like our step-dad was trying to replace our father, and that made us feel like a part of us was inferior in some way. I have 2 children, and they call their step-parents (my boyfriend of 6 years, and their dad's wife of 6 1/2 years) by their first names. Let them know it's welcomed, but in my opinion, calling someone mom or dad should be the children's decision, and shouldn't be expected of them, let alone forced. As soon as someone's forced to do something, it suddenly becomes the LAST thing they want to do.

Heather - posted on 12/17/2009

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Quoting marybeth :

Thank you ladies, for all your advice. I am not really sure why he is so hung up on the title. He tells me that I am letting the girls control me. I have reminded him that when people say dad the word is referred to him. They just do not call him dad to his face. They love and respect him just as much. He is very stubborn in his ways and I just can
not seem to help him understand.


Marybeth.... Get him to read this thread.... Maybe then he'll start to see that it has absolutely nothing to do with "respect" and "control" and everything to do with "trust" and "comitment".



 



Good luck to all of you. And remember : Blended families are lucky, they know right from the start that they have to work to keep it working.

Heather - posted on 12/17/2009

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NO!

He may never "EARN" that title.

If one or both of your girls decide to call him Dad it will be because they FEEL he IS their dad.

Forcing it is just wrong IMHO.

Leigh - posted on 12/17/2009

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My dad has been my dad since I was 14. I call him Terry, his name. He gave me away at my wedding and my children call him grandpa.

My father I call daddy and I saw him when my sister died, my grandmother died and when my oldest son died. my children call him Mr Carey.

Nicole - posted on 12/17/2009

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I think that is someting for the kid to think about if he show them love and care for them the way he need to.They will think of him as a dad with out u or anyone else to tell them.

User - posted on 12/16/2009

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They'll call him Dad if they want to. Forcing anything on a teen usually causes rebellion and a stinky attitude. When he becomes dad to them in their heart, they'll show it.

[deleted account]

Absolutely not!!!!They are old enough to make that decision for themselves and if you try to force the issue then they may end up resenting one or both of you for it.They seem to feel very strongly about their decision.I really would just let it be for now.

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