When You’re a Friend

February 22, 2018
FamilyLife Blended® with Ron L. Deal

Label Wars

February 23, 2018

“Ron, my ex-husband is telling our son that he can’t call his stepfather, “Dad.” But, of course, I want him to. Is there anything I can do about that?”


I wish kids could decide what labels they use for stepfamily members but sometimes insecure adults try to dictate the terms they use. To a kid choosing mom or dad’s term is like siding with one against the other. So mom should help her son decide what to do. He could call his stepfather “Dad” when at his mom’s house and then respect his father by calling him something different when at dad’s house. Whatever the boy decides take the pressure off. Tell him he matters to you not the labels.


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About FamilyLife Blended®

FamilyLife Blended® provides  biblically-based resources that help prevent re-divorce, strengthen stepfamilies, and help break the generational cycle of divorce.

About Ron L. Deal

Ron L. Deal is the Director of blended family ministries at FamilyLife®, and is the author/coauthor of the books The Smart StepfamilyThe Smart Stepdad, The Smart Stepmom, Dating and the Single Parent, and The Remarriage Checkup. Ron voices the FamilyLife Blended short feature and is one of the most widely read authors on stepfamily living in the country. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist who frequently appears in the national media, including FamilyLife Today® and Focus on the Family, and he conducts marriage and family seminars around the countryRon and his wife, Nan, have been married since 1986 and have three boys.

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