1. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Stepdad?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by madhoca, Apr 11, 2009.

    Can you Americans out there give me some help?
    What would a kind but slightly conservative guy from the US probably expect his new 13yr old English stepdaughter to address him as? By his name? Stepdad? Dad? Pop? She lives with him and her mum.
    Any ideas?
    He only makes a fleeting appearance at the start of the novel so I suppose I could try and write around this, but I'd like to keep the scene where they're talking together, and this little detail is bugging me...
     
  2. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    Since she's thirteen, probably his name.
     
  3. rikithasta
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    rikithasta Member

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    I agree, most people I know call their step parents by their first name. However, I think it depends a lot on age. Someone who is young when his or her parents remarried might call them dad, especially if they don't see and talk to their birth father much.
    I have a friend which calls his step-father dad, at least when talking to other people. His dad lives halfway across America and he was in primary school when his mom remarried, and I know of a few other similar cases.
     
  4. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Personally, I call my step father by his first name, and I do so when referring to him when speaking with others. This is both because my mom remarried when I was 13 and because I neither like nor respect the man.

    -shrugs-
     
  5. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    Most people I know with step-parents refer to them as "Tom" or "Bill" or "Mary" (i.e. their first names). They might say once that the person is their step-parent, but the rest of the time is always a first name.
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Kids in America generally call adults by their first name unless they have a particular title or you have to be more formal, like with teachers. At thirteen, very few kids would be willing to make the switch to calling a new person "Dad" and anything more formal than first name would not make any sense to me. People in other cultures might call the person step father, but not North Americans.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree that a child of that age would be most likely to want to call the guy by his name, but it's your story and your characters, so only you can know what he [and his wife] would want the stepdaughter to call him... whatever fits your characters best is what you should use...
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks! I'd been thinking probably his name because she still sees her real father sometimes, but I wasn't sure how common this was...
     
  9. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    My son is almost twelve and he still calls his stepdad, dad, but he has known him since age four.

    I think it also depends on their relationship. If they are really close, she might call him dad while talking to him and stepdad when talking to friends. She might call him by his first name and refer to him as loser to her friends.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My stepfather was always "Neil", when I addressed him at all. But that is probably not the best model.

    I was also a stepfater, and my stepson alternated between calling me "Dad" and "Dave". This was complcated somewhat by the fact that his biological father's name was also Dave, and Cody really didn't want to refer to him at all,

    It really depends a great deal on the person and the relationship. Cody and I never were terribly close, but the truth is that he never let ANYONE get very close to him, even his mom. In general, the stepparent is not trying to push a wedge between the child and his bioparent, no matter how bad that relationship is, so the stepparent usually urges the child to refer to him or her by first name. So that is the habit the child will develop first. Sometimes the child chooses to start calling the stepparent "Mom" or "Dad", and that is a very touching moment if it happens.
     
  11. runback22
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    runback22 New Member

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    My stepson calls me by my first name and refers to me as his stepdad even though I'm more of a father to him than his deadbeat dad ever was or will be. I always called my stepfather and stepmother by their first names.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've all given me food for thought.
    When I became a stepmum, it was easier because she called me 'mummy' and her mother carried on being the Turkish for mum, 'anne'. I remember I didn't want to force the M word on her, even so, but she wanted to use it.
    I'm sure stepdads (the good ones that care) are in a more difficult position than I was due to work commitments etc. I was with her all the time caring for her and she was only 5.
    Thanks again.
     
  13. PS Foster
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    PS Foster Member

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    My stepchildren were grown and in their 20's and 30's when they starting calling me MOM.
    My step-son would say, "She's my step-mother, but she's my mom." One of the step-daughters, after her dad died, asked if she could call me mom. The other step-daughter/son I don't talk to very often and she still calls me by my name.
     
  14. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    I call both my step-parents by their first name, but maybe if they're close and the biological father is dead, then I can perfectly imagine him being addressed as Dad.
     

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