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I have been with my wife for 6 years. Her kids all had children of their own while we were married. They are still little with the oldest being 9 and the youngest 3 months, then 3 & 4.

The oldest asked me one day whether he should call me grandpa and I told him he can call whatever he wants but if wanted to call me that he had to ask his parents. They all call me by my first name. I feel it would be a blessing to be called Grandpa. I love all of them and when they come over, they are so excited to see me and ask for me. The parents and my wife call me and the grandchildren best friends when it comes to parties or holidays, and when my wife talks about them, she always calls them my "grandkids" or "grandkids".

I have been around when the little ones ask how many grandpas do they have and they make sure they know my name does not come up. I know as they get older they will get more curious, but it does hurts to feel like "the guy" that married mom or grandma, even to family or close friend.

I feel like I'm not part of the family, but I will lay my life for those kids. When they come over, I always go out of my way to entertain them and play things they love, superheroes, cars, catch, hide and seek, build a BMX ramp etc. When the kids are bothering them, they tell me to play with them and they know I will, because I love them with all my heart.

How should I express this to my wife?

  • I would like to give an answer but I think it would be helpful to know how your relationship with your wife's children is. Do they harbor any hate towards you for example that would stop them from referring to you as grandpa to their children? – Xander Oct 13 '17 at 10:35
  • I have always had a great relationship with the my step kids, the only one i have trouble with is the young pre-teen, little ruff with him. The 3 and 4 year old tell me they love me and I do the same back, interact with them both a lot when they come over they address me right away cause they know i will act silly with them. The parents always say go ask him cause they know i will di anything for them. When I’m depressed or feel alone the grandkids are the only ones that can change my mindset. – Justuraverageguy80 Oct 18 '17 at 18:34
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What if you simply let them call you "Grandpa" and if the parents have an issue, then deal with that. I feel bad for the babies whose little hearts were just told "no." The job of all the adult parties is to raise those children in a loving and safe environment. Adults who have a different agenda need to take it to a therapist.

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  • I don't see any reason why they can't call you grandpa. My son has lots of people in his life who are not remotely related to me or my husband, but because they love and care about my son, and are frequently around, we call them "auntie" or "uncle" or "granny". I will say we have a different way to refer to each person so it's less confusing for him (e.g. He has a Grammy, a Mimi, a Granny, and a GiGi) – MAA Oct 14 '17 at 19:58
  • "Adults who have a different agenda need to take it to a therapist" -- while I agree, this is rarely a constructive way to approach it with the adults in question. – Acire Oct 18 '17 at 20:38
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This is a question that comes up a lot for blended families, and there is never a perfect answer. Titles means very little to some people and very much to others. Here's a similar question from the opposite perspective of yours, for example.

But you didn't ask what to be called, you asked how to bring up the question. And that is about as simple as what you did here: just tell everyone involved how you feel. You love them, you value the time you spend with them, you feel it would be a blessing to be called Grampa, you would feel more welcomed and included in the extended family.

If there's pushback, be willing to accept that. It's OK to ask why (respectfully) to help you understand their perspective -- there may be just as strong feelings that you shouldn't get that particular title, for whatever reason. You may also want to offer compromise titles (Pop-Pop or some other nickname) that would feel more familial than just your first name. But ultimately, all you can do is express your feelings honestly and hope that is well-received.

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