The other day I was having a visit with a fellow adoptive mom at her house. Her teenage son went into instant defensive and deny mode when she asked him to return his iPod that he was grounded from. He started yelling and calling his Mom by her name. He turned to his father for sympathy using the names “she” and “her” when talking about his mother. He pouted, yelled some more about “how unfair she is”, then stormed off defeated.
I could tell my friend was frustrated and she asked for my advice. (My kids are a few years older and we’ve been parents longer so I guess that makes me the expert). I went on to explain to her why we don’t allow our kids to substitute anything for our name. The only names our children are allowed to use at our house are Mom & Dad.
I remember early on when we were parents Ryun thought it was a little overboard that I ALWAYS insisted on being called “Mom” when the children talked to or about me. He quickly saw my point when our eldest (then six) continually used the words “she” and “her” to take away my influence. He would say things like “She doesn’t let me do what I want” and “why do I have to listen to her?”
She and Her does not hold the same authority as “Mom.”
This especially important when raising older adopted kids. You are not the only parent they have ever known. If they were foster children they have most likely known several. The title of Mom and Dad lets the child know that you have signed on for the job and all that it entails. If they choose not to use those titles it puts the power back in their court. They will think of you as their equal not their superior. You chose to be their parent and in return they should give you the respect that goes along with the title.
The title of Mom and Dad = BOSS. Older kids especially tend not to like that. Too bad.
Funny enough I was fourteen when I realized the importance of the word Mom. A friend of mine was arguing with her mother because she wouldn’t take us to the mall. We lived in the country so any shopping or civilization was at least 30 minutes away. It was a yucky rainy day so, her Mom said “no,” but that didn’t suffice for my friend. She responded with “You are such a b***h.” What the what?!? I was a kid and I knew that was deplorable.
You may not always agree with your parents, but they deserve the respect of being your parents. Yes Mom, Mommy and Mother are all acceptable, but no first names, no pet names and especially no pronouns. I tell my kids “I don’t care if you’re 70 and I’m 100, I’m still your Mom.” It just happens to be the same phrase I heard all the time when I was a kid from my Dad.
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