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I wish kids could decide what labels they use for stepfamily members but sometimes insecure adults try to dictate the terms they use. To a kid choosing mom or dadâ€™s term is like siding with one against the other. So mom should help her son decide what to do. He could call his stepfather â€œDadâ€ when at his momâ€™s house and then respect his father by calling him something different when at dadâ€™s house. Whatever the boy decides take the pressure off. Tell him he matters to you not the labels.
Ron DealRon L. Deal is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is Director of FamilyLife Blended® for FamilyLife®, founder of Smart Stepfamilies™, and the author and Consulting Editor of the Smart Stepfamily Series
Ron, my ex-husband is telling our son that he canâ€™t call his stepfather “Dad.” But, of course, I want him to. Is there anything I can do about that?