Miriam - posted on 10/06/2009 ( 42 moms have responded )
I have two sons, age 6 and 4. Their father and I have been apart since my youngest was 8 months. I remarried and have been with my new husband for about a year and a half. He loves the boys and is very good with them, parents them like they were his own without making any impositions.
They see their Dad every weekend and he is very commited to them. When I became serious with my new husband, I told them that when we got married he would be their step-dad, and they could call him by his name, by Daddy-(+his name), or Dad/Daddy, whatever they felt comfortable with. He was their step-Dad, and yes, that they have two Dad's, (because that is the REALITY!).
One is their Dad, and one is their Step-Dad. They both parent them and love them, guide them and teach them. The difference is that their Dad has more parental rights and responsibilities, being the one who brought them into the world, and their Step-Dad has responsibilities to them as a father because he willingly chose to, when he chose me. I would not be with someone who didn't think of my children in that way.
My youngest son was 2 and a half, my oldest was 4 and a half. The youngest had an immediate bond with my husband and wanted to call him Dad right away. My older loved my husband, and called him by his name. He has just recently started calling him Dad as well.
Their Dad hates it, and won't come to games or birthdays because of it. He tells them they are not allowed to call him that, and they come to me and ask why, and are upset that it upsets him, but they still call my husband Dad. All I say is it is up to you what you want to call him.
I am not sure if this will smooth out, or if the children will become weighted down over time with that responsibility their Dad has given them of not upsetting him.
My husband also has a son from a previous marriage who has a Step-Dad he calls Dad who is very good to him, and my step-son calls me Mom. My husband is thankful for this man, as he sees how happy his son is, and well taken care of. My step-son's Mom said when she heard that he called me Mom that she didn't like it at first, but said 'no, it's ok, if that is what he is comfortable with then that's good'. I tried giving this perspective to me ex, and he just says I am disrespectful to him by letting them call my husband Dad, that I am hurting them by it because he won't be around for anything if we are, and that I am a brick wall about it!