DEAR ABBY: "Randall" and I divorced three years ago because of his infidelities. (We have one child -- a son -- who is now 7 years old.) Randall married the last of the women with whom he was involved during our marriage, and now he has instructed our son to call her "Mom."
When I confronted Randall about this, he denied that it was his idea. When I casually asked my son who encouraged him to call her "Mom," he replied, "Daddy did."
The latest absurdity is that Randall now refers to ME (when talking to our son) as "your biological mother." The boy lives with me, and I am the one who takes care of him on a daily basis and gets him to school, where I am a teacher. I read to him at night, take him to the doctor and dentist, and make sure he is well-groomed, fed and clothed properly. I am always there for him.
I have considered talking to Randall about this most recent label he is trying to assign to me, but he would be more likely to listen to someone other than myself regarding the possible damage and confusion to our son that could result from this behavior. -- MORE THAN A BIOLOGICAL MOM
DEAR MORE: Most experts agree that what the child calls the stepparent should be left up to the child. Forcing a child to use a name or title with which he or she is uncomfortable will only breed resentment and anger.
Insist that your ex-husband sit down with you and your son and explain that you are his "Mom" and his second wife is his stepmom, and he (your son) should choose a name to call her. Then check with her to be sure it's acceptable.