Mom or Dad: What Caitlyn Jenner's Kids Will Call Her


Caitlyn Jenner in a teaser for her July 26 E! docu-series I Am Cait. (Photo: E!)

She’s Caitlyn Jenner to the world, but her children will still call her “Dad” — for now.

“[Caitlyn] spoke to each of the kids separately and told them to take their time in getting used to this,” a friend of the family told People on Thursday. “She would prefer not to be called ‘Bruce,’ but told the kids that they could still call her 'Dad,’ at least for now.”

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The source added, ”Caitlyn has been really understanding that it doesn’t come naturally for anyone. No one expects this change to happen overnight. If one of the boys slips up, it’s not a big deal.“

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Cailtyn’s approach for easing the Kardashian-Jenner kids into their new reality is not unusual, according to Antonia Caretto, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist in Farmington Hills, Mich. who treats youth struggling with gender issues. “Each family has their own coping mechanism for adjusting to life with a newly transitioned parent,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “I’ve seen children who continue to say ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’ some shorten the name ‘dad’ to ‘D,’ and others who create an entirely new title. Unlike words like ‘half-sister’ and ‘step-parent,’ our culture doesn’t have a word for a transgender parent, so it’s up to each family to negotiate that.”


Caitlyn Jenner’s media debut. (Photo: Vanity Fair)

Denise Brogan-Kator, 60, of New Port Richey, Florida, who transitioned to a woman at age 38, allowed her three daughters, then ages 7, 9, and 11, to chose her new name. “My then-wife and I sat our kids down and said, ‘You know how you feel like a girl?’ Daddy feels like that too,’” Brogan-Kator tells Yahoo Parenting. “I had one request — they couldn’t call me ‘Dad’ in the ladies’ room.” Her daughters decided on ‘Dad,’ however it made for awkward moments. “We were in a piano store and my youngest called out, ‘Dad, look at this!’” she says. “The salesperson was confused, but I just replied, ‘I’ll be right there, honey.’”

Today, Brogan-Kator is a lawyer and a senior legislative counsel at the Family Equality Council and is remarried to a woman.

When it comes to the Kardashian-Jenner family, there’s another layer of complexity to both Caitlyn’s name and parental title: Kendall and Kylie are Caitlyn’s biological children who call her “Dad,” and Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney are stepchildren who refer to Caitlyn as their father, but address her as “Bruce.” During the May 17th two-part E! presentation About Bruce, Caitlyn implied that the transition was toughest on her biological children and Khloe responded, “I’ve known Bruce longer than Kendall and Kylie have if you want to put it out there!” According to Caretto, both biological and stepchildren may struggle with unique adjustment issues as it pertains to a parent’s title.

“Allowing the children to call her ‘Dad’ illustrates the respect and tolerance Caitlyn is showing toward them,” Mandi Silverman, PsyD., of the Child Mind Institute in New York, tells Yahoo Parenting. “In many ways this is a grieving process for the entire family, but it’s also a new beginning.”

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