Mom Lets Her 3-Year-Old Call Her New Fiancé 'Daddy' But Feels Conflicted Now That Her Ex's Mother Forbid It

Is she protecting her son's feelings?

mom, dad, and son Hrecheniuk Oleksii/Shutterstock

When two people who have brought a child into the world decide to move and find new mates, co-parenting can become complicated. Stepparents have to be careful not to step on the biological parents’ toes and they must be aware of boundaries.

One woman recently took to the subreddit, r/coparenting to ask for advice on how to navigate the relationship between her 3-year-old son and her fiancé.

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Her ex-husband left when she was pregnant with their second child.

At that time, they also had a son who was about three years old.

Fast forward three years and the woman has settled down with a new man who she intends to marry. He came into her and her two boys’ lives when her youngest was just 1 1/2 years old, and according to her, has been “very present.”

She goes on to say that she has a close relationship with her former in-laws and that they like her new fiancé. So far, the co-parenting situation has gone off without a hitch.

The woman’s son started to notice other kids calling their fathers ‘daddy’ at daycare.

She noticed that her three-year-old had begun calling her fiancé “Daddy.” She believes this started as a result of him seeing other children at his daycare refer to their fathers in the same way.


The poster also tells readers that she had no problem with her son addressing his future stepfather in that way, since the boy calls his biological father “Papa”.

Everything was going smoothly until the holidays rolled around and the two boys spent time with their birth father and their grandparents. After two weeks with their family, the children returned and the Redditor noticed the youngest was no longer referring to her fiancé as “Daddy.”

She mentioned this to her former mother-in-law and the woman explained that she believes the three-year-old cannot differentiate between “Papa” and “Daddy” and should not be referring to his mother’s fiancé that way.


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The upset mother believes that her ex-husband’s mom is being a hypocrite, especially considering the fact that while she was with the woman’s son, he called his stepfather ‘Dad.’

However, the poster does admit that her former husband and his mother never did so around his own biological dad. She thinks this is a case of history repeating itself and they woman is simply trying to avoid having her 41-year-old son’s feelings hurt.

She asks readers for their insight on whether she should tell her child’s grandmother to mind her business or simply let it go until her children are old enough to decide on their own how to address their stepdad.


The first commenter took issue with the mother’s actions, stating, “Personally, for a child so young, I wouldn’t have encouraged them to call a new partner anything other than their name until they are old enough to understand and make a choice.”

“Obviously, it’s quite a personal choice but as another commenter said if the situation was reversed and your son was calling [your] ex’s girlfriend mommy would you be ok with it?” they continued.

This prompted the concerned mom to respond saying, “I didn’t encourage any calling except his name. He said that on his own. I just didn’t correct him. If the situation was reversed, I will just accept my son’s feelings.”

She ended her commentary with some profound words.


“If my child feels someone is worth being called 'mommy' or 'mama,' I would let him. That means that person is special and making him feel loved. My feelings on the matter are for me to deal with, I am the adult.”

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.