I recently received an email from an adult stepdaughter that illustrates one of the challenges modern families face.
My mother remarried when I was an adult and my children were young. My mother has since passed away and my “stepfather” has remarried. What is his new wife’s relationship (? title) to me and my children? Thank you. -Jill
So here we go
The title ‘Stepdad’ is more of a title of convenience than a legal status. When divorce became more common parents remarried and there were suddenly more non-biological parents in children’s lives. There was a need to more-easily identify the person’s role in a child’s life. Saying “He’s Billy’s Stepdad” is simpler than saying He’s the man that married Billy’s mom.” The name also conveys that he’s a parent figure in Billy’s life.
- What do we call Billy’s Stepdad’s ex wife?
- What do we call Billy’s dad’s Girlfriend?
- How about her daughter?
Factors might include:
- What role she is willing to play in your kids’ lives
- What role you’d like her to play
- How comfortable you are with the title she’d like …and so forth.
- Maybe she wants to be called grandma. Are you comfortable with her using that title? That would have been your moms title if she were still alive.
- What if she says she’d like to be called by her first name only. Are you comfortable with that?