Posted tagged ‘family’

Who should be called “Dad”?

August 27, 2012

The Pediatric Insider

© 2012 Roy Benaroch, MD


This question was posed on a public bulletin board: “My boyfriend and I are expecting our first child together late this fall. I have a 7 year old from a previous relationship and he has two daughters from previous relationships and a 9 year old grandson. With the help of his mother he has been raising his grandson. My concern is that my boyfriend refers to his grandson as ‘son’ and the grandson refers to him as ‘dad’. Although my boyfriend is the father figure in his grandson’s life, I think that it is important for his grandson to have a clear understanding on what the family structure is and what everyone’s role is. Should the grandson be calling his grandfather dad, even with his mother in the picture and should the grandfather/my boyfriend be referring to him as his ‘son’?”


It’s a crazy, complicated world. There are many non-traditional families, with kids having 1/2 siblings and different relationships with people from different generations. I don’t think there are any “definite rules” about what kids ought to call adults in blended families, but I’ll suggest a few:

Kids ought to be respectful.

The person fulfilling the male role of raising the child is DAD, regardless of biology.

The person fulfilling the female role of raising the child is MOM, regardless of biology.

The child and the individual he or she is talking to are the best ones to settle on the “title.” Everyone else will have an opinion, of course, but belaboring this decision will not end well. Let the kid decide, and move on. Stop focusing so much on the words. Instead, focus on doing a good job in raising the child, whoever you are, and whatever you’re called.

Prolonged nursing

August 8, 2008

Isabella asked, “Are their health benefits to nursing a baby over the age of one year?”

While there are some health benefits, the best reason to continue nursing past a year is if mom, baby, and daddy are all enjoying it and would like to continue. If that’s the case, then I’d wholeheartedly endorse continuing to nurse. But if by a year someone in the family has had enough and would like breastfeeding to stop, there’s no compelling medical reason to push the issue.

Many families find prolonged nursing to be very rewarding and helpful. If you google that phrase, you’ll find some quite heartwarming stories. However, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Some babies decide to wean before a year, and fighting their desire to stop isn’t going to work very well. Other times, mom finds that she’s just had enough. I’ve also met families where mom and baby are happy to continue, but dad is hoping that nursing will stop. He might feel that he’s lost some intimacy, or he might feel “left out.” The needs of a married couple are very important to the overall health of a family, and sometimes we cater too much to the needs of children at the expense of the parent’s own relationship.

Nursing can be a wonderful experience, and one very important way to help keep babies healthy. Many families are happy to continue nursing past a year. This doesn’t work well for everyone, though, and I wouldn’t want any family to feel guilty if they decide not to continue nursing.

Food Fights Fixed: How to have a successful family meal

June 10, 2008

Eating together as a family has tremendous health benefits. Kids who regularly eat with their families do better in school, watch less television, and are less likely to struggle with obesity. They also tend to get more exercise and eat a more healthful diet, including more vegetables and fewer processed foods.

But a healthy, relaxing family meal may not come easily. Parents say the kids just won’t eat what they’re served, and get whiney and surly. Mom inevitably heads back to the kitchen to make something separate for every child, and the nice relaxing family meal becomes a frustrating experience that no one enjoys. Needless to say, those vegetables sit untouched on their plates.