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Can a step parent legally force a step child to call him or her mom or dad?

Catawissa, MO |

My son and I reside in MO and his father and step mother reside in IL. My son has expressed to me that he does not like having to call his step mom "mom" but no matter how much I discuss the matter with our son's father he still is forced to call her "mom." Knowing good and well that forcing our son to call his wife "mom" would very likely build further resentment for the woman, what else can I do to get my ex-husband to understand? Shouldn't the choice be our son's?

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

There is no legal requirement with regard to what a child calls his/her step-parent. You may want to have your child meet with a counselor to talk about his issue with regard to what he calls his step-mother and attempt to come up with a strategy that will resolve the issue for him. I realize this answer is not what your were wanting to hear.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response. I was actually not surprised that there is no law against this, but was also seeking any additional resources I could find to help my son through this. I have tried numerous times to discuss this with his father, but sadly to no avail. I guess the future will only hold the true answers as to how this will turn out for my son and his step mother. Thank you again.

Asker

Posted

I've read that you can put it in the court order that the other parent is NOT to encourage the child to call the step parent mom/dad especially if the mom/dad are actively involved in the child's life. I personally think it's wrong and don't want my kids calling their step mom, mom.

Asker

Posted

Unfortunately the parenting plan was put into place about 2 years ago and at the time this was not a situation I had anticipated. Granted that I do not like the woman, I will still support my son if he wants to call her mom. I am just worried because it is something that should be his choice, not his fathers. The really disturbing thing of it, is that both his father and I each know what it is like to have a step parent brought into our lives and it took my ex-husband almost 3 years before he was ready to call his step father "Dad." He has told Cameron that if he does not want to call her mom then he is not allowed to call her by her name either. Finally if that is not confusing enough, My ex tells me that the reason he is insisting on our son calling his wife "mom" is so that our son can feel like part of their family, however, our son's place in their wedding was as a ring barer( of which position was also held by one of her sons) while her son, who is the same age as our son, was one of his fathers groomsmen. My son still gets upset at moments by this.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

Asker

Posted

I agree that it should be the child's choice whether or not they want to call their step parent mom/dad but they should not be encouraged or forced by the other parent especially at such a young age. Only when the child is old enough to understand (at an age where they could be heard by the courts which is about age 13) should they be allowed to make that decision to call their step parent mom/dad. I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my step kids (if I had any) calling me mom unless I knew it was 100% their choice to call me mom and even then I think I would be a little uncomfortable with them calling me mom if their real mom was actively involved in their lives. The only way I wouldn't feel uncomfortable is if their mom was OK with it.

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