I am a Bio Mom and my son is 17- we need advice in dealing with step-mom.

Christine - posted on 03/14/2013 ( 184 moms have responded )

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I am a Bio Mom and my son is 17. We live in a very small community. "Sally" has been my sons step-mom for 4 years. I have had primary custody of my son for his entire life. He refers to Sally as Sally as she is only 12 yrs older than him and they struggle to get along sometimes. She refers to him as "my son" on FB and in public. My friends and family AND my son are frustrated by this, but my son would never say anything as he respects his dad and their marriage, as he should. How do I deal with the anger and disrespect I feel when "Sally" refers to my child as "her son" ? I am looking for a new perspective to keep me from reacting negatively to her continued, as I see it, disrespectful behavior. My son has talked to his dad and asked him to sk her to stop referring to him as "my son". It is petty..I agree..butit is a constant source of frustration for us. Thanks so much for any help provided.

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Kristina - posted on 03/18/2013

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I've been in that situation as the bio mom as well and it took me months to finally realize that what name/title my sons called her, or she called them in the end you can't change biology, and the people who matter know who is who. I also feel grateful that she cares enough about them to want to claim them as children, and doesn't segregate them as her husbands children, or her step children, but feels they're as important as her own.

If I were to get remarried, I would be hurt and offended if my husband were to call my kids my wifes kids, or my step children. Not everybody needs a genealogy lesson when they're being introduced, and I'd like to know that my spouse accepts, enjoys, and loves my children as much as I do. And is proud and willing to claim them as his. Not in a way that lessens their fathers role or importance but saying they're mine too.

If your family and friends aren't happy i'm not surprised, they're biased to be on your side of the fence. I'm curious as to how much this truly upsets your son vs him trying to comfort you in your distress.

There are no perfect ways to blend families and deal with step children. And unless it's physically or emotionally hurting your child in a way that wll cause permanent damage i'd suggest taking a deep breath, calling up a friend to vent, and letting it go. Save the discussions with his dad/stepmom for times that are serious and you need the leverage of never complaining about little things.

I'm very shocked someone on here suggested using this as a way to keep your son from visiting his father. Having his step mom call him her son is NOT a good reason for keeping a child away from a parent, it's petty and damaging, and has a really good chance of backfiring.

Kimberly - posted on 03/19/2013

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Christine Salm,
Im following this post, and im wondering something...First of all. i am NOT a rude person...i think of myself as honest and considerate... .with saying that, i have been in both situations...my ex boyfriend (father of my kids, we were not married) got married and so did I...so my children had step-parents on both sides, and now my son is a step-dad....my ex husband was terrible to my children so i divorced him, my childrens fathers wife tressa was great to my kids...and yes they eventually called her mom....it bothered me at first, but....i am glad she loved MY kids....she knew her boundaries...no matter what, i gave birth to MY children, not her... my son tries his best to do everything for his girlfriends son, which i call my grandson.... as i said i was wondering something, did you expect everyone on here to just agree with you...it seems to me that you are upset with mothers on this site because you say they are rude....you came here and asked for advise, and you aRE getting different mothers opinions...not all are the same....im sorry that you take it as an attack, but you came here, we didnt look for you...we all are just giving you our point of views....like others wrote, dont listen to the rude people, but as i said before, you came to us for advice...nobody is being rude or disrespectful to you, they are expressing what they have experienced..maybe its not what you want to hear but....i really hope you get what it is you are looking for....you didnt mention how long you have been seperated from your ex or if you have a new man in your life....if you dont, maybe that is what you need to do....find someone to spend some time with...i understand in your earlier posts, you sound like a terrific mom that devoted your life to raising your son to be a great young man.....but maybe if you spent a little time worrying about yourself, this issue may not seem so important to you...i dont mean this as ignorance...i will end this by saying...my daughter passed away August 30, 2012, at age 26...she died on her birthday...so if this issue is that bad to you, i wish i had your problem.... just try to make the best of the issue...things can be worse

Carol - posted on 03/17/2013

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I was 19 when my parents divorced. They each tried to sway my love and attention in their direction. I could see that I needed to find neutral territory. I told them I loved them both, and would be no part of the fallout. Within 3 months of their divorce, they were both remarried. (Not much recovery time for us kids.) When my dad married, he wanted me to call his wife "mom". Incidentally, she was only 10 years older than me. I respectfully told my dad that he was getting a new wife, but i still had a mother, and I would call his wife by her first name. I also told him that I would love and respect her to the best of my ability because she was his choice for a mate. My mom's new husband was an affectionate person (NOT inappropriate at all, just something new for me). Neither of them had any expectations of me, but they acted like we had always been "family". Both of these situations were hard for me, but given time and space (about 5 years), I came to love both of my step-parents just as much as my bio parents. They never pressured me; they just loved me. My point is that I needed, and perhaps your son needs, to be given permission and space to define his own relationships. Rather than looking for ways to "deal with" his step-mother, encourage him to embrace the love and respect she offers him. You will relieve him of the pressure and guilt of feeling like he's betraying you, which will only make him love you more! Fast forward: thirty years later, when my own marriage failed, my husband and I agreed that if either of us ever remarried, we would choose a mate who loved and respected our children as their own, just as my step-parents had done. Of course, every situation is different, and no solution is one-size-fits-all, but maybe there is something helpful for you in my story. Try to stay positive and look for the blessing in every situation!

Cara - posted on 03/17/2013

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If it bothers your son, HE needs to be the one to say something to her. By asking your ex-husband, you will come off as petty. By him asking his dad, his dad might feel uncomfortable being in the middle.

Everyone in the community (you say it's small) knows he's your son. He doesn't call her mom, he calls her Sally. So why does it bother you so much that she calls him her son? If she treated him horribly, that is a big deal. If she's a good person and your only issue is that she calls him her son, it's not a big deal. Anyone who is friends with her on Facebook would know he's not her biological son anyway.

Sometimes we just have to accept the things we can not change. Yes, it sucks to think that someone else is a mother figure to a child that you brought into this world and you have taken primary care of... but you know you're a good mom, you treat him well, and that's all that should matter. :)

Donna - posted on 03/17/2013

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First you have to ask yourself "what are you afraid of?" I am a step mom and we have a large blended family. My step daughters calls me by my first name and that doesn't bother me. I asked they call me what ever they wish. However, they are my daughters by marriage and I think of them as my children. It is not to offend anyone but to give them a normal life. It's difficult to talk about them to others and try to tie them into the family without having to explain who they are and how they fit in. It takes a village to raise children and it is hard enough for them that there was a divorce or what ever the situation is to cope. I don't want to replace their real mother, I just want to act like a mom who wants the best for all of the kids. What I like about your son is you said he is "respectful" to her because this is his fathers wife. He sounds like a great son. I guess I am saying, "Who cares if she calls him her son?" It sounds like you are the one that has the problem, not your son. I don't mean that with disrespect to you Christine. It seems as though your son knows it upsets you and he doesn't want you to feel slighted. He apparently cares about your feelings but you need to let him know that...it is okay. Technically he is lucky. He has two moms and I am guessing two dads. Tell your son it is okay.

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Tina Marie - posted on 03/19/2013

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Please keep in mind that I haven't read any of the current 184 replies and this may not be the case at all, but if it rings true, then you and your son have some introspection to do. My opinion is based solely on your first post. My opinion is entirely from an outsider's point of view and should be treated with a grain of salt if it doesn't apply. :) If my typed words may appear blunt and direct, I apologize. -
**I'm confused. You said, "Sally has been my sons step-mom for 4 years." So are you saying that you don't want her to have the courtesy of being able to verbally receive acknowledgement for all that she has invested in your family? If that's the case, you're not being fair to her and should end the relationship instead of letting her think she's being used. If you are partners living as a couple then she has invested her life into yours, it's all or nothing. If you don't want that be honest, kind, gentle and treat her with respect, and let her go. You made that choice of including her in your family when you brought her into your life fulltime, now you're message is well... except in this area. Kinda reminds me of when kids in gradeschool would write in notes saying, 'I'll be your girlfriend but you can't tell anyone.' I'm guessing that this woman is giving up thousands of hours, financial support, emotional support freely to your son and yourself and her thanks is that she's not good enough to be acknowledged. Also, being 17 his feelings are most likely temporary and will change depending on many variables such as what his peers are influencing. Maybe this season he doesn't think it's cool, maybe he's struggling with a crush and catagorizing it. Either way it will pass, but you could seperate her emotionally forever. Do you want that? I would think about the longterm results, is it worth it, is this a reason to dissolve your relationship, because it very well could, do you want that? BTW I believe you and your son will be just fine.
Good luck and be kind.,

****Added later >>> I apologize a great for my misunderstanding of your relationship with Sally, apparently 'Bio' is to mean biological not "Bi' as I thought you intended. I thought you were speaking of your partner, not your ex husband's. In that case I would also add that I agree your son should speak to her about any concerns, alone. Then he can learn to build his own relationships with adults as he should at this age. Maybe he brought the issue to you to see how you'd react and if you let it go, I'm sure he will too. Possibly shrug and put it under the sticks and stones catagories.
I wish you well.

Lou - posted on 03/19/2013

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I just want to say, I went to sleep last night thinking about you, Christine. Though I don't know you personally, you are a special person to me, as are all you moms out there who are just trying to do what's best for your children. Now, this morning I was reading about the Lord, Jesus. Have you ever thought about this: He had a step-father. Yes, Joseph was his step-father and he respected that arrangement. While the scriptures don't elaborate on the subject, the account of Luke tells us in chapter 2 and verse 51 that he continued to be subject to his parents. That included his step-parent. What a wonderful example!
Now, I'm not saying this to say that we can follow his example perfectly, for we are not perfect. And, his circumstances were that he had a step-father rather than a step-mother. But, the principle is well worth considering. Don't you agree?
If we all do our best to follow that example closely we can't go wrong. From what I've read from most of you it seems that this is what we, for the most part, are saying. It's a matter of respecting the parent-child, step-parent-step-child, arrangement. Right?
I have been both a step-child and a step-parent. From experience I know that this can and will work, if it is applied by all involved.

Connie - posted on 03/18/2013

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I have an 20 year old "step-son" from my ex-husband's second marriage. I usually refer to him as my daughter's brother but I have called him my son. He's a wonderful young man and I'm proud to claim him. My daughter tells me that when people assume her stepmother is her bio mom, she doesn't correct them and neither does her stepmom. That makes me feel good because, 1) when my daughter was younger I know she was always treated well by her stepmom and 2) I know I've raised a child a loving person would be glad to claim. After all, I will always be her biological mother.

Josie - posted on 03/18/2013

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I don't know Christine personally, I can only tell her what I know from experience and if it helps her, then great. If it doesn't, at least she can get a little insight from another persons' perspective.

Christine, I am not a step-parent, but I am a step child. I always knew the difference between parental units. I knew and accepted that my stepmother didn't really take a liking to me because I was a result of my father's infidelity. When my mom allowed me to go on a vacation with my father his wife and my two half-siblings, I was excited. I love my half-siblings (who are both older than I). The thing is, I new my mom would be hurt if I called my step-mom 'Mom'. My dad just gave me a nick name to call her, so I wouldn't feel uncomfortable. So while on this vacation, my step-mom, found herself constantly having to explain who I was. She would refer to me as 'Joe's' outside daughter. She even emphasized that she only has two children. It kind of hurt my feelings, but I guess she was still hurt and bitter too. In the end, we never really got to that point of her accepting me as a daughter, even if I sometimes called her 'mom'. But I guess it all stems from the truth behind the situation and the relationship between all parties.

As another mom mentioned, you should have your son speak to her, in a civilized tone of course, letting her know that he's uncomfortable with it. If she doesn't fix it, then it's something you all have to come together to work out. Good Luck!

Andrea - posted on 03/18/2013

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As stepmother I call my stepsonmy son. I love him want him to know qualifiers don't exist in our relationship. Heavenly Father forbid something happens to my husband, he will still be my son. If his biological mother doesn't like it, that's too bad, its not about her. As a parent in a blended family I have seen first hand the manipulating children subject their parents too. I have also heard my stepkids say what they think the other parent wants to hear.
Does your young man really care, or is it he feels he is being disloyal to you by accepting her claim on him? You will always be his mother. "Sally" cant replace you, but she can love him.

Lou - posted on 03/18/2013

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Christine Salm, Honey you hit the nail on the head when you said earlier that the mature thing is to be kind to unkind people. This is a teaching of long ago by Christ himself. He taught to do to others as we want them to do to us. This counsel works very well. If we are kind to others, be it the disrespectful step mom, the rude posters on this site, or anybody else, we will in the end be the ones to benefit the most. Who knows? our kindness may someday rub off on those unkind people!
Your main objective is likely to keep your son from suffering any further harm from this type of behavior. Also, keeping him reminded and reassured of your love and concern for him is of prime importance.
Always remember: If you are inclined to do something that is positive toward your son, don't let anybody discourage you. Be the good mom that he has always known, do what's best for him and don't worry about what others think about it. He will thank you and always respect you for it.

Linda - posted on 03/18/2013

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WOW! Bet you weren't expecting that huh? I don't think I would have responded to this post if I wasn't a step mom or the mother of a child with a step mom in the picture. I hope you work it out... My husbands ex doesn't even know that I don't refer to the girls as my "anything" nor her grandchildren as my "anything". I do that more for them then her but I do it for her too. They are "my husbands daughters and my husbands grandkids" and I love them all very much so it isn't about love at all. Its about lack of consideration....she should have asked him first how he felt about it...thats love and respect...she probably just doesn't get it and unfortunately you are probably gonna have to live with it until he sets her straight. He is old enough...he'll find the words soon...surely. Best of luck...and I'm new too so I hope you'll stick around and ignore what my neice would call "the mean asses".

Andrea - posted on 03/18/2013

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Christine, I apologize if my earlier post was in any way rude or hurtful to you. That is not why I responded on here. Since your son has a problem with her calling him her son, then he should talk to her about it, he is almost an adult. I in no way meant that you are petty or do not want to share your son, but if you bring it up to the step mom, you may come across as such. He also should not have his dad do it, as his dad my not have even told her how your son feels, if that is the case she is not even aware of the problem. I do still think you should be proud that she would want to call him her his son.. too often step parents don't want to deal with another's offspring, more often then not they try to find way to have the child stay at the other bio-parents home..
I did see one of the later post from you where you stated she only does it to spite you and your son, one of the things he can do, after he has talked to her, is when she tells some one that he is her son, is to correct it right then and there. Nicely of course, but firmly...after a few times of being corrected in front of people she'll quit..
Again I do apologize

Amy - posted on 03/18/2013

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Christine, let me apologize for the rudeness of others who don't have a clue, for this is a sticky situation ... You and your son should both have a sit down with his father ... If after a spell there are no results then you should have a sit down with the both of them ...
Your son is of age to make the decision if he isn't comfortable, to not go over there and choose to visit with his father one on one ... If it comes to the latter, maybe they will get the point (dad not seeing his son like he would like to) and something will finally be done ...
Good luck!!!

Christine - posted on 03/18/2013

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Shirley, I wish you would have read my other clarifying posts. I thought that you implying I have an issue with her age or how I feel about my divorce was so rude. Wow people sure grow a pair when they post to someone they don't know. This is not the site for me. Words can hurt...perhaps that is your intent along with a few others. Jeesh, I came looking for advice, not to listen to people sling insults and make assumptions, very sad. Again thanks to all who tried to be helpful.

Shirley - posted on 03/18/2013

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First let me say that you and your son should be thankful that she loves him enough to want to call him "her son". A lot of parents complain about step parents that ignore and/or treat their step children differently than their own children. This lady has accepted that her husband came with a son and she accepted that son as a part of her family. she is in no way slighting his bio-mom. she is just showing respect for the bond between dad and son.
Your son at the age of 17 should be man enough to accept the fact that he has two women in his life that care about his welfare, his mom and his step-mom. He should be honored that she cares enough about him to consider him a part of her family, a big enough part to consider him to be her son as well as the son of her husband! One day when he finally matures he will understand this and will be grateful that she cared enough to call him son. I just hope that you can get over the divorce and your husband remarrying someone so much younger (this seems to be the main problem) and let your son accept his step mother and her role in his life.

Stacey - posted on 03/18/2013

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I'm a step mum and my step daughter calls me by my first name as from the start I've asked her to call me what she is comfortable with and her mum is a very special person to her and in my eyes you only ever have one but I will always try my very best to do the job of a mum while she's with us , this is some times very difficult when trying to explain to other people who don't know us who every one is try explaining this to him and that family's these days are confusing I'm sure she don't want to upset him

Kimberly - posted on 03/18/2013

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Christine Salm,
I posted to you earlier...and now i just went and read some of the posts...i dont think the women on here are trying to sound mean or hurtful to you or your feelings...
When you posted on circle of moms, you kinda opened yourself up to everyones opinions and feelings...not that you have tolike or listen to all, but they are telling you how they feel.... if its something negative they say, just move on to the next one..thats all...you know after i posted to you, i called my friend..aka Tressa my kids step mom and told her what i posted...she almost cried and thanked me...sometimes a step parent can be a blessing..others are nightmares....my son is a stepdad, and he brings the love to his stepson that he was taught by me...my son also had a stepdad (my ex husband) who was a total jerk to him..thats why i divorced him...but my son is a great stepdad and dad to his daughter...its like a tongue twister...lol...but in the end, if love and respect are shown to our children by a step parent, dont worry what they are called...when the step parent starts to treat our kids badly, then react...hope this helps you...good luck

Beth - posted on 03/18/2013

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I am a step mom and I have always let my step daughter take the reigns in what she calls me. It has been about 7 years and her biological mom has since passed away and she has recently started calling me mom. I have told her since she was 8 years old that she could call me whatever she was comfortable with as long as it was nice. There were tensions when I first came into her life and she refered to me as her step mom. Her bio mom was very upset and her and her mother both attacked me when I had done nothing wrong. i definetley think it should come from your son and not you since it is about their relationship. I also saw some of the comments about kids not always liking being refered to as a step child, especially if there are half sisters or brothers in the picture that live with both mom and dad. That is our case and I can definetley say it was a tricky situration after my bio son was born as far as making sure it didn't hurt my relationship with my step daughter who I love as my own. Give the girl a break, being a step parent is hard especially if you have no experience being a parent in the first place. I am sure there were times people thought i was doing or saying something offensive when it was actually just my own insecurities or a misunderstanding. Good luck

Rena - posted on 03/18/2013

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I was/am a step mom, and I did and still do my utmost to be respectful of the bio mom. My step kids came into my life as teenagers, and I always encouraged them to call me by my name....I am not their mom. When my step kids had children we decided that the grandkids would call me Nana, as they already had a grandma, and that has stuck. I think your 17 year old should speak to his step mom about this, and then let it go. She may feel very insecure in her relationship with both the son and his dad, which is neither your issue or your sons, However, if she is a caring person she should take your son's feelings into account and refer to him as 'my husband's son'. Good luck! Blended families are never easy!

Dianne - posted on 03/18/2013

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As a mother of a young son I know how upset I felt when my son called my ex's gf mommy but giving his age at the time he had no idea. I told my ex and his gf that she is not his mother and THEY had to be sure he didn't call her mommy and had to teach him her name. They both agreed.
Now if stepmom is going around saying 'my child' and the son is uncomfortable and has also told his dad how he is uncomfortable with that and nothing has changed and he doesn't want to talk to stepmom then bio mom needs to tell dad that is not acceptable. First because son doesn't like it and it is very inappropriate to say my son if he hasn't agreed to being called that. After all his feelings should be considered as well as he is 17.

Christine - posted on 03/18/2013

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Thanks to everyone for your help. The relationship between my son and his step-mom is not a deep or strong one, they have very little interaction. I have no control over that. She purposefully posts "my son" to get a rise out of me but worse out of my son. That's silly and I think as long as "We" don't react she may just give up. It is up to me to be mature and model a good attitude to my son. I'm confident I can do that and the wonderful insights you have shared will help as well. It is unfortunate that on a site called "circle of mom's" there are so many mean and rude posters. I was hoping that wouldn't be the case. I hope to come back again for the great advice and kind words received from the majority. Thanks Ani for your support..... I guess all we can do is continue to be kind to unkind people....they really do need it the most. ;) God Bless!

Andrea - posted on 03/18/2013

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I don't really see what the problem, so another lady calls your son her son, she is 12 yrs older then him, while it has been brought to the attention, that yes a 12 yr can be a parent, I don't see this as a problem, unless your ex slept with a 12 yr girl. If your son has a problem with it, and not just because of you, family or your friends, then he should be one to talk to her, nicely. Not Dad and Mom.. but him. For you to bring it up to her, its going to look like your being petty and do not want to share your son with her. You should be proud that you have raised a child some one else would love to claim as their own. My husband is my children's step father, and everyone of them call him dad. They don't introduce him as their stepfather, simply dad... That is their doing. If their real father should marry and my kids call his new wife mom, that's fine with me, because I know I'm not being replaced, I will always be their mom. I simply have reinforcement and another person to love my children..

Carol - posted on 03/18/2013

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I am a 'stepmom', as is the woman who married my former husband(father of my child) and the woman who is the former wife of my current husband(mother of his children). Each of us, myself, my wife-in-laws and their respective spouses, have no problems with the steps referring to the bios' child or children as "my child" or "my son" or "my daughter". I was informed many years ago (by both stepchildren and professional counselors) that in referring to the chidren as "step" children, we were making them more insecure in an already tenuous situation. Some children are actually hurt when the step parent is all too eager to let everyone know that this is no child of theirs! Step parents are just as much a parent to a step child as any bio parent (in an ideal situation). All adults should meet regularly and discuss things; i.e. discipline, types of punishment or reward, type of religious or secular education, whether or not the child should attend church; and if so, what church, etc., etc.... ALL PARENTS, step or bio, should present a united front to the child or children; even if they still disagree on particular topics. I love my stepchildren as if they were my own; my "wife-in-law"and I do not simply discuss the things listed above, we are dear friends. I initiated this type of relationship with her because I love HER children. I also love her! She is a part of my husband's life as the mother of his children. You will never convince either a bio or a step child that you really love them if you can't at least try to love their parent. If you harm or hurt the child's bio parent you are hurting them as well; they are both a part of each other with a bond that NOTHING can break. Be thankful that there are more people in your child'slife to offer love, support and guidance. I have discovered that in loving more good is created in EVERYONE'S life. Best of luck to you & may God Bless you.

Tina - posted on 03/18/2013

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1st try not to let it bother you. 2nd your son is 17 yrs old, empower him to let his step mom know how he feels in a loving way. He has the right to tell her he doesn't think of her as a mom and she should not call him that if he doesn't want her to. But if it doesn't bother him don't let it bother you. You know that you are his mom and he is not a child and can stick up for himself. I always let my step daughter call me mom or my name. It is her who has to live with it and I for one would never let her think that I could take the place of her mother. I feel that what she want's is more important then what her mother or I think is the right in what she calls anyone.

Kimm - posted on 03/18/2013

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I really like that you are being an adult and wanting your ex and his wife to be adult about this. I am the other mother to my two step daughters. At 17 your son knows how he wants Sally to refer to him as. I like the suggestion that his dad, him and Sally sit down and he voices his concerns. It sounds like you and your exhusband are doing a great job bringing up your son.

Reanne - posted on 03/18/2013

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Don't ever feel like you are petty or out of place when it comes to dealing with step -parents, if she is not told that her continued behaviors are upsetting you as well as your son she will only continue as if nothing is wrong, let your son know that it is not disrespectful for him to ask her to refer to him as step-son as it is the proper term, she may or may not realize she is hurting your feelings by usurping your title, hopefully Dad will step in and convey to her that she is being disrepectful, if she does indicate that she is doing this deliberately then just ignore her and remember that she is most likey feeling insecure about her place in your family

Laci - posted on 03/18/2013

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I have 3 step kids..I call them mine! I love them and would do anything for them..But with that being said if they would prefer I didnt call them mine I would! Its hard being a step parent..You want them to know you love them but you never want to over step! I also have a son of my own and I dont think he is very fond of his step mother,but he does the same as your son respects her(sometimes more than others)...I guess I would say he, your son, needs to tell her how he feels! he needs to say it in front of his father and very respectful to her...maybe...I like you but I prefer you refer to me as your step son for now and lets see where our relationship can go. I have only known you for a short time and I am not comfortable with being called your son.. if she is any kind of woman..or mothe..r she will respect his wishes! Good Luck!

Melissa - posted on 03/18/2013

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I grew up with two step-parents that were awesome, they never asked me to call them "mom" or "dad" and alway let me know that it was my choice to do so. They did call me their daughter for things like school and doctors, only because we had a horrible experience with a doctor when my "step-mom" called me her step-daughter. I love both of them and I am great full for the respect they gave me while I was growing up. AND that is what it sounds like your situation has come down to. If my step parent had done something like that and I didn't like it, I would sit both my dad AND my step mom down and let both of them know that I respect their decision to get married but I deserve the same respect from them. I don't want people walking around thinking my mom has been replaced, and I don't want her trying to replace my mom. It sounds like that's what she's trying to do, and if she can't respect my wishes then I can't come over anymore.

Michelle - posted on 03/18/2013

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Hi Christine. I am glad that you are willing to let go of your anger and disrespect toward your ex-husband's new young wife. It sounds like your son may be having difficulty dealing with her as well. Have you though about therapy for your son and yourself? A talk session with someone might give you more insight to yourself, your emotions, and your reactions with this new person involved. Seperate from yourself is your son. He may be dealing with other things that he feels he cannot tell anyone else. You could try to look at her side of the situation. Maybe she cannot have children or loves children and she is just saying "my son" as a way of feeling closer to your son (her step-son). My dad was not really involved in my life when I was growing up. But his new wife was awesome. When I asked her why she was being so nice to me, she responded, "I can either be the nice step-mom or I can be the evil-step mom. Which would you rather have me be?" At that, I accepted her ways of loving me. Even though her ways of loving were different from my mom's way of loving, I was okay with it. I am not saying she was better than my mom, but simply, different. The space between my mother and step-mother may have made my situation a little different to deal wth at the time. I was young, like your son. When you learn more about yourself, take the time to reflect on your behavior and emotions, then you can truely have a relationship with this woman, and it will better the life for your son. He will know the power of love and relationships, and how no matter how different people are, deep down, they do what they do because of love. Not because of revenge or anything negative. I wish you the best of luck! I don't normally come on here to post, as I am very busy with work, school, and family. But something drew me to read your post and respond. Have a great day!

Ani - posted on 03/18/2013

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I have to repeat you mean spirited women who are attacking the birth mother are horrible. It is her son that has the problem and you witches are ugly to the mother? Shame on you.

Elisha - posted on 03/18/2013

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It doesn't seem like anybody's asked her to stop yet. There are feelings, there have been discussions, but no mention of whether or not they involve her. All I can think to advise is to simply ask her to stop. It may hurt her feelings, as it may feel like she's trying to be part of the picture and you're just shoving her out, but if there's a line there that parties would prefer not crossed, she should at least know that line is THERE before we worry about whether or not she'll be disregarding it.

My sister in law is in a blended family right now, and her oldest daughter has begun referring to the fiance as "daddy", despite her biological father being in her life as well. It is causing some problems on the biological father's side, and I believe that's valid. Names are very personal and mean so much for such short words, but there has to be some discussion on what to call each other when the relationship is step vs. biological.

Regina - posted on 03/18/2013

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Yes Christine Simbulan, I am sure they could have a healthy relationship without all of the labels, especially since he is 17. I think the fact he is a teenager sort of puts the "son" off the table. He has obviously been the son of his birth mother for a long time. My intention was never to hurt anyone's feelings but to merely take the feelings out which I am sure as a step mother or birth mother is so difficult!! I think it would be hard for all parties, including the step mom!

Sue - posted on 03/18/2013

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It sounds like she is trying to exert her 'power' and by your son refusing to acknowledge her referral, is a knock to her arrogance, which she obviously doesn't like. If she really cared for your son and his dad, she would accept your sons feelings and change her referral to him as such, as she could obviously see the discomfort he has. It will only cause her further conflict to continue this behaviour and she needs to stop being so forceful and arrogant in her address of your son.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/18/2013

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***MOD WARNING***

I have already deleted posts due to personal attacks, and name calling. Please refrain ladies. If this continues, I will shut this thread down, and warnings will be sent out.

Thank you
~MoD Little Miss~

Christine - posted on 03/18/2013

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Regina. I am currently only a student and working as an intern, but am looking to specialize in family counseling and therapy - and you can ask any of my course instructors if the tone of your posts would be considered helpful or hurtful, and they would certainly not approve of your approach :)

I agree that SOME of it has to do with feelings of insecurity and jealousy, but your harsh comments are not beneficial to this discussion. And as I said in my previous post, while in SOME situations the child may want to the stepmom to call him her son, Christine's son is 17 and should have a say in what the boundaries are within his realtionship with his stepmother. They can still have a healthy relationship without the labels.

[deleted account]

Maybe you should try to turn your anger. It's not healthy to always be angry and since you want to pick your battles in situations like "Blended families" (I'm in one so I definitely know about the battles) maybe you should try to look at the good in this situation. I know it's easier said than done, but it sounds like she may be the type who seeks praise. Saying he is HER son makes everybody on her page say things like "Oh you're such a good mom" and such when he does things well. Maybe I'm wrong as I'm not in your exact situation, but instead of getting angry, have you tried just brushing it off? Maybe it makes her feel better that she can pretend she is in your shoes. I don't know what her page is saying, but maybe is it possible for your son to ignore what she says? Or maybe just make it so you both can't see her posts?

Christine - posted on 03/18/2013

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While I haven't read all of the comments, I would just like to say that I think that your feelings are valid. I'm separated from my daughter's father (we were never married), and while he's never been with any of his girlfriends long enough for my daughter and I to be in this situation, I always dread the day that he meets some girl who's gonna try and push my buttons.

I would also like to point out that while what I've read from the comments all has some truth to it, none of us can really make any assumptions since we don't know "Sally" or Christine Salm or even her son for that matter. Every family goes through things differently, but the bottom line should be how the son feels about everything.

Are you allowed to feel jealous as the bio mom? Absolutely. Is the stepmom allowed to refer to your son however she chooses (within reason)? Unfortunately, you can't control her actions. But I think people aren't giving the son enough credit. He is 17, not 7. I think the core issue here should be figuring out what he wants and ensuring that he isn't simply saying it bothers him so as not to upset his mom and/or her side of the family.

"Sally" has been part of his life for 4 years now, and again, he is 17. It sounds to me as though he fairly well-adjusted to the divorce and that "Sally" does not have any kids of her own. While she may or may not (again, I don't know her personally) have good intentions, if your son does not feel comfortable with her calling him "her son", I think she should lay off the labels and call him what HE wants to be called. If this whole problem is truly about her 'good intention', she'll be able to let it go and settle for just treating him like her own without having to upset everyone; because it's one thing to call him her son, and another to actually show him love as though he is hers. "Sally"'s efforts as his stepmom, as well as her relationship with him, do not rely solely on how she addresses him. Unless your son feels as though his relationship with "Sally" is lacking, or if "Sally" has (or ever chooses to have) children of her own and starts neglecting your son, I see no absolute NEED for her to call your son hers. He is not a child and knows who his real parents are, and both you and his father are involved in his life. Therefore, he should have a choice - or in the very least a say - in what his stepmother calls him.

My partner is in his mid-twenties, and to this day, he does not appreciate when his mother's boyfriend tries to act like he is his biological father. This is to the extent that he even gets upset when her boyfriend calls our son his grandson. My partner's younger brother, who is 18, has very strong feelings against their mother's boyfriend, and, despite any affection that the mom's bf may show, acts very hateful towards his alleged stepfather (as much as he tells him that he cares for him like one of his own sons).

In contrast, my daughter (who is 5), views things very much in black and white. My partner has been involved in her life since she was 1 year old, and we never encouraged her to call him 'Daddy'. She knows her bio-father is her "Papa", and he spends a lot of time with her. However, things have changed more recently, with the new addition of our now 9-month-old son. There was certainly the discussion with my daughter regarding who my partner was to her. Even though she was only 4, we gave her the choice - one that will always remain open - to call my partner "Daddy", so that she does not feel left out with her half-brother living with both "Momma" and "Daddy", whereas she only sees "Papa" during his days of legal access. She rejected the idea and has continued to call my partner by his first name. Nevertheless, my partner continues to treat her as his own, without feeling the need to call her "his daughter" - and you know what? There are moments where he is more of a parent to her than I am, even without the formality of a label. When she went to go get her 4-year-old immunization update and freaked out as soon as she realized she was going to get a needle, he comforted her while I was rendered relatively useless and froze on the spot, unsure of how to deal with her tantrum in the clinic waiting room.

So really. If all "Sally" is trying to do is show her love for your son, but he really - REALLY does not want her calling him "her son", then everyone needs to sit down and talk about it. Because nothing is 'petty' as long as it's dealt with maturely. And while "Sally" should not be discouraged from showing that she loves your son, she must respect any boundaries HE HIMSELF may have before her own feelings.

Lise - posted on 03/18/2013

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I think that "Sally" feels better about herself by saying he is her son. I understand that this might be frustrating to you, but I think that it is better to leave it alone. There are so many things in life to get frustrated about, this is a small issue.
My oldest daughter had a step mom as well, she never said my daughter was hers, but I know she had issues with the way I handled my daughter. I ignored the comments. Who cares! I knew she had her own issues and if it made her feel better to say things, then so be it. Let Sally feel better about herself although you did all the work.

Christine - posted on 03/18/2013

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Let me clarify. I am a very involved mom. "Sally" makes no effort to help with rides to appts. for my son or attend his ballgames or even help him with a load of laundry (he can do his own very well BTW). So I am not an absent or un-involved bio-mom. I welcome any insight Sally might have, but has yet to provide any. The answers here that assume things are really not helpful. The personal experience's are wonderful however. Thank you. Toniand Ani, you are great! Regina.......um....I think if you are attempting to be helpful...your approach is ineffective and aggressive at best. Thanks to all who provided kind and sincere feedback.

Kimberly - posted on 03/18/2013

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i had the same situation so many years ago, and i felt like you.... but then i realized i am blessed to have her(Tressa) in my childrens (Richie & Heather) life...Tressa loved my children and still does...she has since divorced my ex but her and i stayed friends...when my niece (Jessica) was losing her child about a year ago due to a drug addiction, Tressa stepped in and took jessicas child in so he didnt go into the court system....now she may be my great nephews new mom...and i am proud to say that....then in august, my daughter Heather passed away...Tressa put a beautiful dvd together for me to play at Heathers service, in a couple days...what a great friend Tressa is....so if your ex's wife calls YOUR child hers, be happy ...she obviously loves him so much that she feels that he is a part of her....if you make it negative, so will he and all YOUR friends and family....Question, would you be happier if she didnt want to bother with him???? Then there would be a different type of negativity... That wouldnt be fair to your son, your ex, or his wife...believe me, i know its hard to hear someone else call him her son when you birthed him, but.....im sure it is out of PURE LOVE NOT DISRESPECT...embrace it, she may one day be a great friend to you, like tressa is to me..Tressa and i have been through a lot together, good and bad but we are still together as great friends...i wouldnt trade her for the world, even when she drives me crazy.....i hope this helps you to see a different aspect of your situation.....pleaselet me know how things turned out....

Christine - posted on 03/18/2013

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Carey, I left my ex long before he married Sally. PLEASE don't make assumptions. "Sally" has had very little responsibilities or for that matter expectations placed on her. She has many issues with my son. It is my hope that all of us(parents and step-parents) can create an environment for him that fosters respect and stability. Boundaries are the issue here. I welcome any insights from "sally" about my son. You can never have too many people to care about you.

Melissa - posted on 03/18/2013

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Is she nice to your son? If she is, you should be thankful. A lot of step parents do not view a child from a previous relationship as part of their new family.

Lou - posted on 03/18/2013

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Christine, I step-mothered four children who lived in our home until they were in their mid-teens. The youngest was only 3 yrs. when her father and I married. Before we got married she and her three older siblings (aged 5, 8, & 11) began calling me "Moma" on their own. I even told them they should not do so. They would not stop. It took time, even living in the same home, for me to begin viewing them as my own. Eventually, I did begin to refer to them as "my son" & "my daughters". Mostly this was because I was the 'mom' they lived with. Their mom was very upset about me even being in their lives, not to mention how she reacted to their referral to me as "Moma". I told them that they were blessed to have two moms. It was my choice to help their father raise them. And, it was a choice I'd never change if I had the opportunity to do so. The three youngest (each in their turn) decided in their mid-teens that they had somehow missed out on something and became convinced that it was my fault. They became quite resentful toward me and decided to leave our home to live with their 'real' mom. They began, at that point, to call me "step mom". I guess this was meant to hurt me, and it did. However, I have dealt with my feelings. I hold nothing against them, nor against their 'real' mom. She gave them their birth. Then, she deserted them. At some point in time they came to see that they should show appreciation toward me for being there when she wasn't. They came back to me and thanked me sincerely years later.
My point is, my dear, life is just too short to allow such things as anger and disrespect, whether from the bio parent or the step parent, to put a wedge between you and your child(ren) and other people who you care about, such as your current husband.
I must say, it is very commendable that your son shows such respect for his father and his marriage. This speaks volumes on the values that YOU have instilled in his heart and mind. You have evidently done a wonderful job!!! Pat yourself on the back and don't let anyone or anything make you feel that you are less of a mother than you would be if this situation did not exist.
Also, tell your son how much you appreciate his love and respect for you and for what you have done in raising him to be such a well respectable young man. I have two bio daughters from a previous marriage and was the only parent in their lives for the 1st ten yrs or so of their lives. My current husband and I also have a son. He just turned 21 in Nov. and has only lately left the nest. He and I have the best of the best, relationship-wise. It appears to me that this is also the case between you and your son. Do everything in your power to keep that! Stay positive and keep him positive in his thinking toward you as well as toward his father. This will take you a long way in dealing with any frustrations over this pettiness concocted by the step mom. Most importantly, you will guard your love and respect for your son. That means more than anything!

Christine - posted on 03/18/2013

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REGINA, I am new to circle of moms and after seeing the disrespect, rude and unprofessional comments made on my initial post, many by you. I think I may unsubscribe. There is absolutely no chance you are practicing as a social worker with the feedback you provide. There were however, many great responses that were very helpful and I appreciate a new perspective. Assumptions are a dangerous thing Regina. Judge not lest you be judged. Good luck to you.

Aimee - posted on 03/18/2013

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I am so sadden by some of these responses. I wonder if she were your best friend and referring to your son as her son if you would be bothered by it as much? Or is it because she has a role in his life that you don't 100% agree with? I remember being uncomfortable with my step mom referring to me as her child -- but that stemmed from two things 1) knowing that it would upset my mom had she ever heard her say it and 2) it was normally men who would follow by you are to young to have children this old (she was much younger then my dad) . Take a step back and think this through are you the one making your son uncomfortable with the 'title'?

Regina - posted on 03/18/2013

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Ani Stubbs, you have way more issues than Christine Salm could ever have!!? Why would you call the moms cows? I realize is Armenian culture there is a big tabboo with divorce but here in America it happens and more times than not, 60% now and believe it or not children's feelings should come first as they are not adults! The mom did say it bothers her son but again MOST 17 year olds do not care. They pick up the feelings of their mothers. If a mom hates the dad often the children will say they do too. I do not know if you just need to get out more, get some counseling or take a chil pill! Give Sally a break! She is young and trying to be a new mom to a teenager. How difficult is that? No matter what she does women could get mad at her. She is the second wife and younger:)

Cynthia - posted on 03/18/2013

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If FB is the frustration, just remove her from your news feed. What other people think of you (or your son) is not your business (says some famous person I'm not going to bother looking up.)

I am a stepmom. All of the children live in our house. How horrible would be if I seperated them out?

Elsje - posted on 03/18/2013

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Tell me Jennifer and Kelly you both sound like wonderful mothers what do you call a good step mom? I think the step mom's that are vary good with the step children most have a better thing to be called. My step children calls my "our other mother" and that is the most wonderful thing to me. I am always open for conversation with the Bio mum because we always end up saying we all have a part in shaping the children in a positive way for them to have a fourfold life. That is our job as parents.

Jennifer - posted on 03/18/2013

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I agree with Kelly m. Your both lucky to have a woman who would be proud to call him son. Your his mom that will NEVER change in his mind (personal experience). It is VERY HARD for the child to be in the middle of this b/c he DOES NOT WANT to hurt either of his parents or Sally for that matter. If he does feel THAT strongly about it which I suspect he doesn't then that's different but I just don't see the harm in this other than getting some feathers ruffled. I've BEEN on both sides as an adult, child and step mom. I call my EX stepkids my kids to this day because that's how I feel towards them AND have a great rel with their mom as well. No one can dislike someone that GENUINELY loves their kids it doesn't make sense!! LoL you sound like a very loving mom so don't let this bother you if possible!!;) Jen

Kelly - posted on 03/18/2013

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I can offer a perspective on this from 2 different sides. I grew up as a step-child to someone who did not ever want children himself and treated my sibling and I as burdens he had to put up with in order to be with my mother. My biological dad is deceased and this whole situation hurt me greatly. My stepfather never referred to me as his daughter and I guess I grew to never expect to be addressed or treated with such a loving label. I also am now a step-parent that shares equal parenting time with my husband's ex-wife and her new husband. When I became a wife and step-mom my stepchildren were 8 and 11. Even though it has been very challenging to be a step-parent I have always treated them and loved them as if they were my own and called them my son and daughter to show them that I love them. I would feel like I was somehow setting them apart from their half-siblings that their father and I have had together by referring to them as my step kids and to my bio children as my kids. It is VERY VERY hard to be a stepmom and if you are looking for any reading material about the biological and psychological attributes of being a stepmom read the book, "Stepmonster." (Which is also what I jokingly and lovingly refer to myself as sometimes around my two biggest kids.) A child's PRIMARY bond will always be with thier biological mother, the one who carried them for 9 months and then their secondary bond is with their father. Coming into the scene as a "replacement" mom automatically sets a child up to want to defend the parent that they have the primary bond with, which is the mom. If "Sally" is trying her best to treat your bio son as a son then good for her and I would hope that you would encourage her to keep up the good work, but if she is just referring to your bio son as her son and then complaining about him on FB then that IS DISRESPECTFUL and demeaning behavior that should be stopped. I would help your son try to accept the situation as best as he can. It's not easy to raise a teenager for any bio parent, let alone for a step-parent. Hope this was helpful!

Fiona - posted on 03/18/2013

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I think yer all being a bit harsh...i dont think your jealous or possesive atall, to be quiet honest i would be fuming if someone else was to go around and say my son was their son, taking his age into consideration aswell its not like she has been around all his life. If it was me i wouldnt be long putting her in her place, but thats just me. Hope you get it sorted x

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