Okay, it’s is the dreaded question. It’s the subject that dredges up emotions you didn’t even know you had. So let’s look at this and figure out what to do about this monster in the closet.
You want to be your child’s everything. We all do. It’s normal but still unrealistic. This isn’t yet a perfect world. But the name Mom and the name Dad are revered names in parent world. It represents all the love you have for your child and all the love your child has for you. It represents that special bond no one else is supposed to be sharing with you and your child. But is that really what you want?
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If your child has a stepparent, don’t you want your child to have the best of both worlds? The word Mom and the word Dad is like a magic word in the hearts of adults. It touches our hearts like no other. It makes us protective of that child who took the time to utter that special word into our hearts. It makes us want to guide them and be there for them through the toughest of times. So, maybe you might want to reconsider sharing such a sacred name with the one who will have your child under their care when you are not able to be there with them. It’s okay. Love doesn’t have limits on abundance. Your child can love two of you.
Go ahead and explain to your child that their stepmom or stepdad won’t be taking your place, that there are different kinds of Moms and Dads. Children can also be worried about things like that. So go ahead and explain to them that you want them to have the best of both worlds because they mean that much to you. Tell them it’s okay if they decide to call their stepmom ‘Mom’, or their stepdad ‘Dad’ if they decide they love them enough to do that. Because if they do love them enough to do that, you know they are being well cared for when you’re away.
When you explain these things to your child, not only do they understand the situation more clearly, they understand how much you love them. They know you’re concerned with their wellbeing and whether or not they feel at home with your ex and his or her new husband or wife.
With that said, there are probably times when it is not appropriate. For instance: if the ‘stepmom’ or ‘stepdad’ isn’t actually meeting the requirements of stepparent at all. Because maybe your ex is rebounding and going through a string of relationships, and they’re not married, and chances are this one will be replaced by someone else pretty soon. Under circumstances such as these, it might be better to suggest to your child that they call them by their first name, or some cute, agreed upon nickname that can be passed from person to person until your ex has had a chance to get over you and settle down with someone else.
Whatever the circumstances, make sure to discuss these matters not only with your child, but with your ex as well. So that everyone knows how much you care, and that you are only looking out for the best interests of the very child that both of you cherish.
If it’s within your comfort zone, try discussing these matters with the new stepparent or significant other. They will most likely appreciate being included in family plans. You’d be amazed how understanding people can be when they are a significant part of making things work out for the best.