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When Should They Call You Mom/Dad?
When entering a child’s life, you might struggle to be more than “the guy who visits mom,” or “the woman that daddy likes.” You might end up hearing “you’re not my real mom/dad,” and you might struggle with the cold shoulder, even if you’ve been in their life for a year or two. So when should you expect that they call you mom/dad? And how can you tell?
When They Can Stay With You
If you’ve been around them long enough that they don’t mind your presence, and will actively seek you out for company, perhaps they can consider calling you mom/dad. If they’re alright with spending time with you alone, and smile when you come over, they may consider you part of the family, and might start calling you mom/dad on their own.
When They’re Young
It’s pretty doubtful you’ll ever get an angsty teenager to call you the right title, and they might even spend all their time ignoring your presence. But if they’re a young child, seven or younger, perhaps, they’ll find it easier. It’ll be a better transition to see you as a family member when they haven’t had a long time of just the one parent.
When You’ve Been Around Long
After six months, you might start getting impatient, but it’s nowhere near long enough for some kids. If they’ve lost the other parent in some traumatic situation for them, even just an amicable divorce that they took badly, it may take them years to call you that title. If you’ve shown that you plan on sticking around, and are consistently there for them in times of need, they’ll soften up to you a little more, and consider you more of a family member than a family friend.
When You Love Your Partner
How you treat your partner greatly affects how the child will see you. If you’re constantly putting their parent down, or snapping back at them, the child will see you as the big bad wolf who’s just making things worse. Being snappy or arguing while in the presence of the child will also make them less likely to take to you. You want to show them that you love their parent, and that their parent loves you. It’s important to engage in hugging and complimenting each other when the child is around, so that they know their parent is alright with your presence. It will help them warm up to you and see you as more a part of the family.
It can take a lot of time and effort to officially instill yourself as a family member in a child’s mind, and it can be difficult. However, the main thing to remember is you can’t force it. Sometimes they will never call you mom or dad. Sometimes, you’ll never be that title, or hold that honor. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be a parent for them. Even if you never get called mom/dad, you can still be there for the child, and still make a strong and long-lasting relationship with them that is as strong as a parent-child relationship should be.