Older children don't want step kids calling me mom

Linda - posted on 12/07/2015 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I married a father of 4 children younger than my children. The step children were disrespectful and demanding with many behavior problems. The father wanted them to call me mom but my own children were very opposed to this. My children mentored them and had great patience with their special needs. With their mother absent from their lives I was denied the step mother role. I did everything for them a mother would but was uncomfortable with them calling me mom. I believe all feelings should be considered and since I have my own children, their feelings should come before the step children on this. I'd like some thoughts on this.

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Raye - posted on 12/08/2015

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Shawnn, I agree. I called my best-friend's mom "mom" because I was over at their house a lot and she was like a second mother to me. No one in my family got offended. One of my baby-sitters when I was young was Mama Bren, and my mom never got offended that we called her that. She mothered us kids while we were with her. Neither of these relationships were as strong as the relationships Linda seems to have with her step-kids, so I don't get why she has to keep segregating what the roles of mother and step-mother should be. She may not have been comfortable being thrust into that situation, but she did the right thing for those kids.

If she's not comfortable having them call her mom, then fine. That's okay. But to say that a step-mother should be less than a mother is offensive. That's Disney wicked step-mother bullshit right there.

Raye - posted on 12/08/2015

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I'm still confused by your remarks. You say you "took on the role of biological mother" but that's wrong unless you adopted them. Only during adoption does the parentage legally change. Being a Step-mom is a legality. Your dedication to the children in your family should be the same regardless of biology. It might be fair to say that you took on more of a role than what you were expecting as a step-parent. But when you marry a man that has children (whether or not they are currently much in his life, or whether or not their bio-mom is much in their life), you should go into it with the mindset that you are going to be a mother figure to them in whatever way they need it. Those kids needed someone, and you stepped in for them. Good for you. It doesn't change the legality of you being their step-mom. And you being called step-mom, Linda, mom, or anything else won't change the love that any of the kids have in their hearts for the woman that has nurtured them. You're the Step-"mom". It's right there in the name. You have the role of mom in your household regardless of what they call you.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 12/08/2015

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Wow, so let me get this straight. You're playing "mom" to special needs kids because you married their father, and yet you don't want them to call you "mom"????

Way to step on their hearts. THEY think of you as MOM! THEY obviously feel that you do feel that role, regardless of you feeling "denied the step mother role"....which I don't understand at all, by the way, since you ARE their step mother, after all...

Furthermore, if your GROWN children feel jealous of another kid calling you mom, the ONLY response I have to that is, well...GROW UP!!!

Good grief. If I'd gotten my panties in a bunch every time a kid who wasn't mine biologically called me "mom"...I'd have been in a mental institute. If my kids had gotten butt hurt about other kids calling me "mom"...they'd have joined me in the institution.

I agree with Dove. find a compromise...but before that, make sure you are ALL on a realistic level here.

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Linda - posted on 12/08/2015

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Yes I think it is a choice. I grew up with a lot of kids calling my parents mom and dad then later grandma and grandpa. Dad was a minister. We had runaways and lost young adults living with us at least half the time. I think I as the youngest got lost in it all and don't want that for my kids. If I do everything for them as a parent I think mom-Linda is the solution. Of course holiday cards they do write mom or mother on. I think each family needs to decide for themselves.

Raye - posted on 12/08/2015

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It's really your choice on whether you would allow them to call you mom (assuming they actually want to and your husband isn't forcing them to). If you're ok with them calling you mom, then your bio-kids will just have to get used to it. I'm sorry for the losses you/they have experienced, and that you had to spend extra time with your step-kids instead of them, but you're all family now. If you don't want to be called mom, that's fine too. Go with your first name or a compromise to Mama Linda or something else. There's no right or wrong answer here.

Linda - posted on 12/08/2015

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Those kids have tons of affection, praise and day to day life interaction from me.

Linda - posted on 12/08/2015

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Yes they are special needs but I too have a special needs child with a TBI. I guess the loss is with the father not taking charge of his kids and letting them be disrespectful. Like breaking things, leaving messes, not respecting privacy and being violent towards each other. Acting so different than my kids ever were allowed. Then the father not respecting established rules. So the older kids & teens (not grown) had a separate set of expectations on them. They also felt the kids have no respect for me even though I treat them like they are mine. My kids put great effort into helping them. Even to the point of praise from school personnel including the IEP board.
I have also worked with special needs kids since I was a kid myself and know these are not behaviors that should be accepted.

Linda - posted on 12/08/2015

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I never got to know the kids before being put in a role I was not comfortable with. Mainly as the disciplinarian and advocate. They had some serious issues that were being ignored even by their father; ie. ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, abandonment issues. I took on the very demanding role required and they made great gains. But it did cost me a lot of time with my own kids which was especially difficult as we had lost my son 3 years earlier to an accident which they witnessed and they lost their dad. My kids were not far enough along in their grief process to be ready to cope with hearing the step kids calling me mom.

Linda - posted on 12/08/2015

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Thank you for your reply. That is a good idea and it did come up as my step son from my first marriage called me mommy Linda until the biological mom took it to court in 1995 and got an order for no step parent to be referred to by any form of parentage. It was painful then as I treated the child as my own. The mother later admitted that she did it out of jealousy and fear of losing him to his dad. The experience probably influences my reluctance as the mom of these four is vehemently against any reference to me as a parent to them even though she abandoned them and I took on the role of biological mother. The children wanted to think of me as that but I feel it robs them of half their heritage.

Dove - posted on 12/08/2015

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Maybe they could call you Mama Linda or some other name that you all come up w/ together that can be respectful of everyone's wishes.

Raye - posted on 12/08/2015

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I don't know what you mean when you said you were denied the step-mother role. You are the step-mother. You should not have loved or nurtured them less if the mother was around, even if some of the responsibility would have been off your shoulders.

I am a step-mom of two, and I am a mother to them when I am with them, in every way except biological. I tuck them in at night, I kiss their boo-boos, I teach them and love them. My SS has told me he feels like I am more like his real mom than his real mom (even though she is still in their lives 3 days a week). He has wanted to call me mom, but out of respect for his mother, I have asked that they keep calling me by my first name. I don't have any other children to complicate the relationship further, so I am not exactly in your shoes. But I don't see anything wrong either way you choose.

What the children call you is a personal choice, and all sides should be considered, especially what you are comfortable with. Them calling you mom would not be diminishing your importance to your natural children. Everyone knows you're not the step-kids' biological mom, but sometimes it's easier for kids to simplify the situation by calling you mom instead of step-mom or your first name.

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