Should my daughter call her stepfather "Dad"?

Amy - posted on 10/22/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Let me start by telling everyone a little bit about myself. I am a 22 year old mother to a lovely 13 month old girl. Her father is not in the picture (he committed suicide at the beginning of this year.)

I have started a relationship with a wonderful man whom has been very loving, helpful, and supportive right from the start. Recently, I decided to introduce him to my daughter after giving it a lot of careful consideration. They clicked immediately. My daughter thinks he is the best thing since mashed bananas and he loves her and already treats her like his own child. Basically, things are working out very well and I can see this becoming a permanent arrangement (marriage has been discussed but we aren't going to rush things for obvious reasons.)

For some reason, my daughter has recently began calling my boyfriend "dadda". I'm not entirely certain why this is (I've never called him that and he definitely doesn't refer to himself as that.) We have been trying to get her to call him by his actual name but have had zero luck. This incident has made me wonder about the future and whether or not I should have my daughter call my future husband "daddy" when I get remarried. Obviously, if she's old enough to understand at that point I'll let her make the call herself. But if it happens in the next couple of years I'll likely have to make that call for her.

I do plan to tell my daughter about her real father down the line either way (that's a whole other can of worms. I don't even know how I'm going to manage that.)

It's a messy situation all around. Opinions?

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Sarah - posted on 10/24/2013

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At 13 months many babies will call men "dad".....just as they will call many women "mom" They are just learning and see all women as mom as that is what you are and all men as dad. As she grows this is when she learns the difference between you as mom and every other woman out there as someone else. Same goes for dad. I think there is nothing wrong with her calling your HUSBAND dad. He will be her dad, maybe not her bio dad, but he is still her dad. And yes I do think it is important for you to tell her about her bio dad (as you stated you are planning on doing).....that is part of who she is and it is important for her to know that. As far as her calling your BOYFRIEND dad I would correct her with his name. You don't want her calling every boyfriend you have dad. Even if this boyfriend becomes your husband until he has made that commitment to you and your daughter I don't feel it is right to call him dad. Again right now she is just doing it because he is a male, so an easy correction of his name is an easy and simple fix. Dad is a VERY special name and it should be saved for that VERY special person....just like mom is a VERY special name and you would not want other women being called mom unless it was a VERY special person.

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