Make no mistake about it: Stepdad is a super important job.
Any proper father figure in a child’s life is important, and when the biological father can’t be around some or all of the time, it’s up to the new man in that child’s life to step up.
More involvement from dads and stepfathers correlates strongly with better outcomes for kids in almost all areas, this much is clear.
What’s not clear is… what should kids call their stepdad?
For a lot of kids, it feels weird to call their stepdad or step-father “dad.” Maybe it’s something they’ll be comfortable with eventually, but maybe not.
So here are the best nicknames for stepdads and how to come up with your own.
The best nickname for a stepdad is usually a variation of “dad” that’s not already taken by the biological father. Pops, Poppa, or playful names like “Daddyo” are popular choices.
The key is to choose something that the kids are comfortable with and avoid forcing one particular name choice on them. But you can present them some options and let them pick when they’re ready.
Let’s take a closer look at some more options and how to go about picking one!
How to come up with your own nickname for a stepdad
If you’re trying to figure out what your stepchildren should call you (or if you’re searching for a cool nickname for your own stepdad), but don’t want to go with “dad” or “daddy” for any reason, here are some tips for coming up with an original idea:
Pick an offshoot of “Dad”
If dad is taken, there are plenty of popular variations up for grabs like:
- Old Man
- Papa Bear
And plenty more.
Don’t forget that some people choose to use “dad” or “daddy” biological father and stepfather.
One mom on a Babycenter discussion thread says:
“I call my father ‘Dad’ and my step father ‘Daddy’ although he and my mom have been divorced since I was 7.”
Anything you might consider calling a biological dad can easily become a nickname for a stepdad.
Use a variation on his name
Older kids, in particular, may just call their stepfather by his first name.
But for younger kids, that can feel a little cold or impersonal when they’re used to calling everyone “mommy,” “daddy,” “grammy,” and so on.
One mom on a parenting discussion site wrote:
“My kids (6 & 4) call their Stepdad Maddy, his name is Matt. He is such a great Dad to them and they love him possibly a little more than their bio dad.”
“My partner(s) name is Adam, they usually just use his name but occasionally use Dadam.”
Kimberly on Babycente wrote:
“I never felt comfortable calling him dad so when I was young we came up with ‘Stad’.”
Dadam! Stad! I love it.
You don’t have to turn your name into a dad pun, but if you can add a little playfulness to it or throw a “y” at the end, it can really help it stick with younger kids.
Abbreviations make great nicknames, too.
If your stepdad’s name is Chris Jackson, calling him “C.J.” might feel a little more personal and intimate than calling him Chris.
Go with a term of endearment that means “leader”
Dads and stepdads love to feel like they’re the “head” of the family.
Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t — this is the 21st century, after all.
But in any case, any stepdad can get on board with a nickname like:
Or anything else that makes him feel like he’s the beloved leader of the family!
Use a “professional” nickname
If your stepdad (or you, if you’re the stepdad reading this!) has a cool job, it can be awesome nickname fodder.
Pick a friendly nickname
The nickname you choose doesn’t have to have anything to do with dad, or really anything!
If you and your stepdad have a friendly relationship, pick the kind of name you might choose for a friend.
Everyone loves being called these kinds of endearing names, whether they admit it or not.
Pick something from a different language
Did you know there are over 6,500 spoken languages in the world today?
Many of them are small, or are simply rare variations of a more common language, but still…
There are plenty of foreign language words for “dad” you can choose from that probably aren’t taken yet by anyone in the family.
Some of the more popular versions your stepdad might dig are:
- Padre (Italian)
- Papi (Spanish)
- Mon Pere (French)
- Abbi (Arabic)
- Vater (German)
And there are plenty more to choose from!
Let the kids choose
Finally, to reiterate, this choice is often best left to the kids involved.
Maybe that’s you reading this (Hi!) or maybe it’s your children or stepchildren.
But it’s often a terrible idea to force a specific nickname on children, or worse, to “make” them call their stepdad “Dad” before they’re ready.
If they need to stick with just the first name for a while before they become more comfortable, that’s OK.
Let them go at their own speed.
Stepdads have a really important role to play in the lives of children.
The two may not share DNA, but these men have a huge part in raising intelligent, compassionate, and emotionally healthy young adults.
The least we can do is give them a half decent nickname!
My favorites are probably the simplest: Pops has such an endearing ring to it, it would be my personal choice.
But I also really like the profession-based nicknames, if they’re applicable, like Doc or Judge!
What did I miss? What do your stepchildren call you or your partner?
Before you go, check out some related reading:
- The importance of stay at home dads
- The difference between a father and a dad
- How to be a better dad according to science
Hope this helped!