What Should Step Kids Call Their Stepmom?

When two families start a new household, the transition can be hard. The relationship between a stepmother and children can be particularly challenging and will take time to define. Stepchildren might not know what to call you initially, but every family is different. Discuss your titles and roles with your new partner and family.

A mixed family unites different households and experiences. Family expert and author Wednesday Martin writes at PsychologyToday.com that the relationship between a stepmother and kids is typically more complicated than a relationship with a stepfather. Tension might result because children feel loyalty to their biological mother and feel that loving their stepmother is a betrayal to her. Joint-mothering with the kids' mom and having her speak to them can help this circumstance. It is important to understand the dynamics of the relationship and not take any anger or rejection personally. Many children need time for this life-changing adjustment.

First Name
In Western society, it is considered appropriate for children to address an adult by her first name in many cases. Your husband-to-be will have likely introduced you to his children by your first name and it is acceptable if they continue this once you are a family. Being on a first-name basis helps to begin your relationship on a friendly level and reaffirms that you are not there to replace their mother.

The title of "mom" is special for most children and they do not use it lightly. If your stepchild is calling you mom, he might immediately see you as a maternal figure. This is especially common with younger children and toddlers. However, his biological mother might feel slighted by this and ask that he not call you mom. If your stepchild insists on calling you mom, gently instruct him to address you with mom or mommy, followed by your first name. If your stepchildren do not have a biological mother who is present in their lives, they might prefer to call you mom. If this is acceptable with you and your husband, let your step-kids call you this, as you develop a motherly bond with them.

Martin notes that the most complicated relationship can be that between a stepmother and a stepdaughter. This is because she might not only see a stepmother as someone who is trying to replace her own mother, but who is also taking her father's time and attention away from her. The website Family Education recommends that you expect to become a friend to your husband's daughter but allow the biological parents to deal with issues about visitation, discipline and finances. Find common ground such as helping with school work or enjoying a hobby or sport interest together. Avoid talking about her private relationships, particularly about her mother and father.