Two Q's: Introducing your blended family and Label- step/ half/ 'real' etc. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 01-10-2013, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a two-parter, but about the same subject so I thought I would inquire about them in one post.

 

 

First, I was wondering how you introduce your family/ discuss your family in an introduction (say, in a mom's group, yoga class, to a new teacher, etc) where you are asked about yourself, or asked if you have any children. When I am in a place like this where it is typical to give more back story, I can easily type "I am the mom of 4 boys- I have two from a previous relationship, a stepson, and a new baby- brother to all 3." I have found when I am in one of those intro-situations, giving a lot of back story is a little awkward. I have started simply saying I am the mom of 4 boys... Though when asked recently by a stranger if my baby "was my first", I said no I have 3... but then felt weird not including my stepson. I was just curious how other moms in blended families handle these sorts of introductions and replies.

 

 

Second... We don't tend to stress labels like "step" and "half" in our home. (our boys are 5.5, 6, 6.5, and 7 mos). Sometimes it comes up, the boys just making sense of things- bringing up who's a step-whatever etc.But usually they just say 'brother.'. My stepson is in K this year and I have noticed lately this is coming up more and more (his mom is about to have a baby, so maybe identity interest is coming from that situation or her, or schoolmates...) But he's suddenly gotten really insistent on labeling all 3 of the other boys as "step", which isn't even accurate for the baby. Or saying "They aren't my REAL brothers"... I just king of let it go when I hear him say it, figuring he is just trying to make sense of things... Though in the past  we have given him previous impressions of what a bio/ step/ half sibling/parent  is, and which labels fall where in our family, so it's weird he is stuck on this 'step' thing.  Whatever. But then the other day he brought it up to my husband- his dad- who was on his laptop and clearly giving shrug off answers to his son while he worked. Stepson asks: "J is my stepbrother, right?" H: "yep" SS:"A is my stepbrother too"  "uh-huh".. SS: "Aaaand B (his half-brother) is my stepbrother too!" H: "uh-huh".  Wait. Ok, I know it's all labels, but it irked me that he reinforced his son into calling his actual biological brother "step", especially when I know at his mom's he isn't being encouraged to label his new sibling step or half, so it feels like this stigma that only bio-moms kids are his "real" siblings.

 

I suppose, too, that my real issue isn't about my stepson learning about labels, but that in a family- especially one that blended when all the kids were very young- I don't like the labeling at all. WHY should these little guys even be encouraged to separate "real" and "half" and "step" siblings when they probably can't even remember life before them? The KNOW who their bio and step parents are and are aware of the special bond they have with them, So stressing the point of separation seems moot to me. If we had adopted a baby, it would not be referred to as "step" or the like, it would simply be their brother/ sister.

 

Just wondering how other blended families see/ handle this! :)

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#2 of 22 Old 01-10-2013, 10:02 AM
 
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My family is a mix of his-mine-ours, too. This is what I do.

 

To people who I may never speak to again, but for some reason I need to say how many children we have, I say - we have six kids. I do not have six kids, but husband and I together do - which is why I say we.

 

If I need to be more specific, because these people will be in our life for a period of time, and I will be the one to mostly deal with them, I say - Husband and I have six kids. I have one in the Army, husband has three from a previous marriage - one lives with us, and I have two boys. If I have to get very specific, it's - I have one in the Army by custody from a previous relationship, husband has three from a previous marriage, I have one by birth by donor but legally husbands, and husband and I have one by birth. (Crazy, huh? lol)

 

The step/half/whatever topic doesn't usually come up, because all of the children were raised together until 3yrs ago (LONG story). But when it does, we do confirm who is a step, who is a half, and who is not biologically connected at all - but is still a sibling. It usually lasts for about 10min, then topics change and they forget why they asked. 

 

We never stressed who belonged to who - they were/are all siblings. And even though we don't all live together anymore, they all treat each other as siblings, and my boys (the youngest of the bunch) know that the older kids are their brothers/sisters. 


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#3 of 22 Old 01-10-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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It can be so confusing, right?! We just have "ours" and "his," but I generally just say we have 3 kids unless there is some reason to specify, like if I am talking about pregnancy/birth etc. I will generally say I have 1 stepdaughter and 2 kids.  If I am talking specifically about dsd, I do call her my stepdaughter because, well, that is what she is! 

 

We also do not differentiate half siblings from siblings.  We were lucky that dsd's mom always referred to dd (dsd's first and only sibling for a couple years) as her sister and never as her half-sister, and was always very supportive of that relationship which I think made dsd more comfortable with it as well.  She did ask about the meaning of half-sibling at one point and we just explained it means that you share half your parents (in our case, dad), and that was it. 

 

It sounds like your stepson is just kind of feeling his way around and maybe even tryign to see if he can strike a nerve while he figures out all these relationships, especially if he is getting another sibling at his mom's house.  Is that his first sibling there?  When dsd's mom had her first child with her current husband (dsd's stepdad) it was a hard adjustment for dsd in some ways-she loved having a sister and was used to having a sibling at our house, but I think also enjoyed still being her mom's only and having that time alone. 

 

Maybe you could make a family tree with your stepson (or all the kids, really) to show how they are connected and still kind of honor the different families where they come from?  Try not to attach a negative meaning to step and half-they are just statements of fact and it is really adults/society who give them that negative connotation.  Unless your other kids are upset by it, I would really just let it go and try to be matter of fact about it and hopefully he will be more comfortable with it all and drop it eventually!   


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#4 of 22 Old 01-10-2013, 11:24 PM
 
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I never did the "half" label, I don't even think my boys have ever considered themselves anything but brothers even though they have different dads. However, now that I am with DH, it's a bit trickier because we don't have a child together; I have my two and he has one (all boys!). I also have an older adopted daughter (ex and I did foster care and she came to us when she was 16 and we legally adopted her when she was 18), which complicates things more, lol.

 

My boys and dh's son do consider themselves step-brothers, and that is fine. They are older so this makes sense; if they were younger I would have encouraged "brother" verses "step brother". Like others have said, it just depends on the situation. If it's a casual conversation with a stranger, like at a store or something, I'll say I have two kids (unless stepson is there). If it's someone I am getting to know more, then I give the whole story. 
 

When it comes to adopted DD, I do say that she is adopted because she is almost 23 and of a different ethnicity, and really can't be my bio child due to my age....well, she could, technically, if I had a kid when I was 14, lol. So, again, to strangers, I don't mention it, but to co workers and such, yes, I explain. 


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#5 of 22 Old 01-11-2013, 04:48 AM
 
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I've heard the term "The Stepmother's Dilemma" applied toward that moment when you have to decide whether to count your step-child among your own (and risk sounding like you're trying to replace his mother) or accurately call him your step-child (and risk making him feel less important/loved than your biological kids).  Since there's a term for it, you know you're not alone in worrying about it!

 

As a rule, if I don't have a significant relationship with someone, I tell them I have 4 kids and call my step-son my "son".  When a person isn't asking for/interested in my whole life history - they're just politely inquiring whether I have a house full of kids or merely one or two - I feel mean, if I make a point of clarifying that my step-son isn't "mine".  If someone is close enough (or grows close enough) to our family that they might meet my step-son's mom, or hear him talking about her, then when an opportunity arises, I'll clarify the relationships.  For example, if I'm discussing winter break plans with someone, I might say, "The twins vacation with their Dad and Step-Mom the week after Christmas and (Middle Child) visits his Mom in California then, so that week's always very quiet at our house.  We just have our baby at home with us."  That gives the person the opportunity to say, "Oh!  I didn't realize (Middle Child) was your step-son.  I always see him with you, and you're always at school volunteering.  I just assumed you were his mom."  Then I can explain, "Well, he lives with us and I feel like he's one of mine.  But his real mother is in California."

 

At a recent Back to School Night at one of my kids' schools, there was a newly-married couple.  She introduced herself to the group of parents, stating who her daughters were and what grades they were in.  Then it was her husband's turn to introduce himself and he said, "I'm (Fred).  (Judy) and I were married in (June), so now (Jane) and (Jenny) are my daughters, too."  It was so sweet.  No one had time for (or wanted to hear) details about why Jane and Jenny's biological father wasn't there, or how he felt about Fred calling them his daughters, without the "step".  No one assumed Fred was aggressively denying Jane and Jenny's relationship with their "real" dad.  We all knew Fred was "only" the step-dad, but everyone understood that, by calling the girls his "daughters", he was simply embracing the entire family he had married into and establishing that his new role in his step-daughters' life was very important to him.  

 

That reinforced to me that reasonable people won't judge me, if I call my step-son "my son" and later - if a conversation requires it - clarify the "step".  Whereas, if I always clarify the "step" - even when it's not necessary in the conversation - people might wonder why it's so important to me, to make sure even strangers know my step-son isn't "mine".

 

Now, if I have a friend (even if she's not close to the rest of my family) with whom it would be nice to discuss the stress of going back to court with my step-son's mom; or the frustration of having all the responsibilities of "Mom", yet being treated like the evil stepmother when I call my step-son out for not doing his homework... I don't hesitate to clarify the relationships.  You should never feel bad admitting that you're the stepmother, if it's germane to the conversation.  You mention a relative stranger asking about your pregnancies.  At that point, I don't think there's anything wrong with clarifying, "Although I do have 4 kids (like I said before), the middle one is my step-son, so I've only had 3 pregnancies."

 

It's developmentally normal for kids in the age-range you describe to be unclear about family relationships.  Even in a nuclear family, if the oldest sibling is significantly older and has been away at college most of the youngest sibling's life, the youngest sibling - even if they adore the oldest one - may need to be reminded that Johnny is their brother and not a cousin, uncle or family friend.  So imagine how much more confusing it is, for a young kid who has step- AND half-siblings.  And it's doubly confusing if there are step- and/or half-siblings at both parents' houses.  Naturally, it seems very clear to us that Sam has the same relationship to his Dad and Step-mom's baby as he does to his Mom and Step-Dad's baby.  But that may be a legitimately confusing concept, to him.  Naturally, our feelings are hurt when a kid seems to reject or downplay his relationships with us or our kids.  But:

A)  He may not mean anything negative by it.  Perhaps he's still trying to work it all out in his head and it just hasn't "clicked" yet.

B)  His mother may be encouraging him to think he has closer relationships with the other kids at her house than he does, with those at his Dad's.

 

Our youngest (let's call him "Jack") is almost 5 and has a lot of confusion about "brothers".  My husband and I call all our sons "brothers" and don't bother with the "step" and "half".  But from Jack's perspective, it's legitimately quite confusing!

 

A) Two of his "brothers" look alike, are the same age, share a bedroom, and frequently go together to visit their dad, step-mom and two younger half-brothers.  Jack has little to no clue about all those relationships and calls all those people by their first names.  Also, HE visits them sometimes, too, even though he knows for sure that they're not HIS parents or brothers.  

 

B) Another "brother" shares a bedroom with Jack and spends nearly all his time at our house, like Jack.  But every once in a blue moon, that "brother" leaves for what seems like an eternity, to visit someone he calls "my mom".  Jack has never been introduced to this other mother and suspects that her existence is some sort of joke or trick; that of course I am the only Mom any of them have.

 

C) My husband is older than I am and also has two sons from his first marriage, during college.  Both of those "brothers" are grown, married and don't live nearby, so for the most part we see them on the same special occasions when we see aunts, uncles and cousins.  Plus, in Jack's eyes, the oldest of these "brothers" seems older than my husband (I think because of his linebacker build).  How can a man Jack perceives as bigger and older than Daddy be his "brother"?

 

Jack often dismisses all this confusion by insisting that only the twins are "brothers".  There's no denying they're a unit!  Sometimes, he has claimed he and my step-son are twins, too, because they share a room.  But obviously they don't share as many similarities as the twins, so he doesn't stick with that theory.  Usually, he declares that NONE of them are really "brothers", except the twins.

 

I consistently reinforce that they're all brothers; that you don't have to be twins or share a room or have everything in your life seem the same, to be brothers.  I also remind him that it hurts the other boys' feelings when he tells them they're not his brothers.  I acknowledge that he may just be confused and not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, but when his brothers hear him say that, they think he doesn't want to be their brother.  I ask him to think how he would feel - knowing I'm his mom - if he heard me say that I wasn't?  I also let it roll off my back and remind our older 3 not to take it personally.  But your step-son will take longer to figure things out, if you don't explain them to him and "let it go" when he's confused.


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#6 of 22 Old 01-11-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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My husband just introduces the kids as his, with no explanations. The more detailed explanation isn't any more awkward, and is sometimes less so, once you've known someone for a while. The way the kids ages are for us, once someone knows there isn't a biological connection between DH and some of the kids, it's obvious who's who.

 

I can see how this might not be practical in a family that has a shared custody arrangement... if you're going to have to explain next week, you may as well get it over with. I might just say something like "We're a blended family and there's 6 of us including parents."? so no one gets singled out.

 

The only time the big kids have talked about the baby being their half-sister was to jokingly fight over who gets to claim the top half and who gets stuck with the bottom half, after their biological  dad used the term on skype one day. I've noticed that he just says 'sister' now. 


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#7 of 22 Old 01-11-2013, 10:45 AM
 
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I often wonder about this myself.  Like PPs have mentioned, I tend to be "all inclusive" when first being asked by a stranger / new friend.  "I have a six year old son and an eight year old daughter."  But then if they ask about schools or something, I have to clarify.  "My son goes to X school, but actually my step-daughter goes to Y school where her mother lives."

 

It's more confusing to people I think because my son calls my DH "Daddy" and DH completely claims him as "his son."  [DS hasn't had any communication with his bio-dad in a year now.]  And DS and DH look enough alike that no one would think that DH isn't his bio-dad.  DS lives with us full-time.  DH goes to his school and sporting events (even without me), etc.

 

Now with DSD, her mother is a different ethnicity than I am, plus she calls me by my first name.  I figured we would eventually be asked if she was adopted and that just happened a month or so ago. 

 

DSD is also more mindful about referring to DS as her "step brother" while DS refers to DSD as his "sister."  I don't correct either one of them.

 

I'm PG now and we are referring to Baby Girl as their sister; I will not use the term "half," but again, I have a feeling DSD will want to "classify" Baby Girl as her "half sister" whereas DS probably won't care. 


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#8 of 22 Old 01-11-2013, 05:06 PM
 
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The only time the big kids have talked about the baby being their half-sister was to jokingly fight over who gets to claim the top half and who gets stuck with the bottom half...

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#9 of 22 Old 01-11-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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My husband introduces the boys as his sons.   My oldest 2 are by a different father but my DH feels they are his too.   My older 2 boys father made it an issue to call my ds3  HALF brother and it really pissed my older 2 off.  They said "he looks like a whole baby to me I dont see any HALF baby around here".  My youngest has no clue ( he's 4) that his brothers have a different father.  They are just brothers.


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#10 of 22 Old 01-11-2013, 09:37 PM
 
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I have a daughter from a previous relationship and DP and I have a 5mo son together.  I usually just say "we have two kids" or "I have two kids" and he claims my daughter as his own, as well.  Not in an effort to deny her bio dad, of course (she and her bio-dad have a working relationship, but my DP is a much greater influence as we are with him every day and she, at 6yo, has seen her bio-dad just a handful of times), but just because he's much more of a parent to her.  I think when he is alone he probably explains it to friends/co-workers/whoever, but when we are together, we don't really tell the backstory.  We just have two kids.  The only snafu is that she still calls him by his first name (no big deal, but I'm sure it confuses people!), but with our son calling him "daddy" (or us calling him "daddy" in front of our son, rather), I have the feeling she will be calling him "dad" at one point or another.  

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#11 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 07:40 AM
 
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VocalMinority gave a good description of how I handle it, as well. I count them all as my kids, and specify only if there is a reason to do so. When I do, I offer as little explanation as the situation calls for... for example, when my husband is away for the weekend with my step-daughter I might say to an aquaintence that he's "visiting his eldest." If someone knows I have a 10-year-old and wants to clarify what school she goes to, I say "She's actually my step-daughter and she goes to school where her mom lives." I've never had anyone who felt like I'd lied about it or deliberately misled them, usually they say, "Oh, I didn't realize..." and I acknowledge that I don't tend to specify or differentiate.  

 

Likewise, my kids don't use "half" (they don't have any step-sibs) at all. I don't think they actually know the term, come to think of it. My step-daughter is just their sister, sometimes their sister who doesn't live here all the time. However, they are all clear on who everyone's parents are and who has the same or different parents (though there have been times we have to clarify a bit when they get confused). Sometime there is discussion about "Step-parents" and "real" parents, and we've introduced that the word "real" might seem hurtful because it implies "fakeness" as the alternative, and that "mom" or "dad" is sufficient to designate biology. 

 

There are sometimes really cute misunderstandings about whether my husband's ex is my (bio) kids'  step-mom. And you know what I WOULD like a new word for? The relationship between my bio kids and their half-sister's half-brother at her mom's... there's no blood relationship, but they consider him part of their family in some way, but don't have any word to describe it besides "M's brother at her mom's house"... but they want a word to describe what he is to THEM. But I digress...


I grew up living with my mom and step-dad, with a "full" brother and a "half" brother. My dad was very much part of my life. I have never considered one brother "more brother" than the other, so I have never specified unless I needed to for some sort of clarification. I also don't clarify which "mom" or "dad" I am talking about unless I feel like it is necessary... it's usually entirely beside the point and doesn't make any difference to what I am saying... so if I am telling a story, "my dad" might mean my biological father or my step-father.  I would have been hurt if my step-dad only claimed my half-brother as his and specified that my brother and I weren't really his. I never thought either step-parent was trying to replace the biological counterpart by claiming me as theirs. We all knew the biology of our relationships, but that had very little to do with our actual relationships. I grew up firmly believing family is family, and more parents or more siblings just means more people to love you. 


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#12 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the feedback- VocalMinority I would quote your whole reply... But it would make this post very long!  The first part about "The Stepmother's Dilemma" is definitely part of it. My SS's mom and I aren't on the best of terms and I know she is sensitive about certain things and this is one of those grey-area issues- a little part of me is worried she would be put off or offended if she discovered I was "telling people her child was mine", but I equally feel she could get offended if she discovered I was singling him out/ labeling him as not part of my family. Sheesh. I identify myself as his parent- when he is in my home I do all a mother would do for him and son't treat him differently than my other children. It would also feel unfair to me to *not* count him if people asked, because it's a reality, he is one of my children :)

 

You all helped ease my mind about counting him as one of my children in general introductions/ discussions, I do the same as many of you- if there is a reason/ appropriate opportunity to define individual children and their relationship to me, I do. often I have to if people actually see the older 3 because they are all 6 months a part and all in the same grade! (6.5, 6, 5.5).

 

I do consider him my son and I have been his stepmom for half his life now, and for most of his clear memory (none of the boys seem to recall "life before"- when we were with our exes etc). I'm sure with my SS it is a phase of him trying to figure things out, the only time it bothers me is if he's using it as a device ("you're not my real brother" to hurt feelings, or, just yesterday, when talking about his friend's big family, "I don't have ANY brothers or sisters" ... At least that was an opportunity to clarify things! My response to that was "what! you have Three brothers, and a new brother or sister on the way. The baby is your brother, and J and A are your brothers because we live together and are a family." He was fine with that. I suppose I got stressed about it because when I heard my husband tell him (not really paying attention) that the baby was his "stepbrother", I knew it was going to come up again in some way- my ss has been experimenting with concepts, story-telling and identity lately and it usually comes in at least twos- trying/ asking something once, then trying/ reaffirming again.

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#13 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 10:26 PM
 
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My family has never been much for specific labels. I grew up with half siblings that were step siblings to each other. We have all always been brothers and sisters, with no further clarification unless someone wants to know what I mean by "my sister's father" or something. lol My kids have a half brother on the other side of the country somewhere. I don't think anyone has ever referred to them as anything other than brothers and sisters, unless explaining why they never see their brother. Dh is a step parent to my kids and definitely follows their lead as far as labels. Dd calls him "Dad", always. Ds always refers to him as "Dad" to others, and usually directly...but sometimes calls him by his name too. Dh's role is more like and adopted father than step (actually should be by the end of 2013, too), so it's not quite the same as someone that already has a dad involved. Dh refers to the kids as his kids, and if anyone asks (they almost always ask "are they your kids") he will say they are his, but not by biologically. I imagine if their biodad had been any kind of positive part of their lives before he passed, it might be a little less cut and dry, though. 


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#14 of 22 Old 01-13-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post

 

And you know what I WOULD like a new word for? The relationship between my bio kids and their half-sister's half-brother at her mom's... there's no blood relationship, but they consider him part of their family in some way, but don't have any word to describe it besides "M's brother at her mom's house"... but they want a word to describe what he is to THEM. But I digress...

I always say this too!  It is so weird to me that dsd has siblings who barely know each other and aren't related.  My kids certainly know who her "other" brother and sister are and we buy them bday and Christmas gifts, but the lack of relationship and title for it is so strange to me.  I would love to hear if there is a name for this floating around!


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#15 of 22 Old 01-14-2013, 03:59 PM
 
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I always say this too!  It is so weird to me that dsd has siblings who barely know each other and aren't related.  My kids certainly know who her "other" brother and sister are and we buy them bday and Christmas gifts, but the lack of relationship and title for it is so strange to me.  I would love to hear if there is a name for this floating around!

 

This doesn't apply, but I would like a term for what DSS's mom is to my unborn baby.  DSS thinks that his mom will be a step-mom now, and while the rest of us are going along with that (we all get along fairly well, all things considered) I know that she wouldn't be the step-mom, but wonder what (if any) is the appropriate term for her. 

 

Thanks for the term "Stepmother's dilemma" - it fits perfectly to what I feel when asked if I have any children!!!  I live in a small community, so I don't want it to get back to the bio-mom that I'm "taking credit" for her son, but it's a 50/50 split, and I do all the mom things when he's with us.  Anyway, thank you, having a name for it somehow makes it a bit better!


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#16 of 22 Old 01-14-2013, 06:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scruffy too View Post

 

This doesn't apply, but I would like a term for what DSS's mom is to my unborn baby.  DSS thinks that his mom will be a step-mom now, and while the rest of us are going along with that (we all get along fairly well, all things considered) I know that she wouldn't be the step-mom, but wonder what (if any) is the appropriate term for her. 

 

Thanks for the term "Stepmother's dilemma" - it fits perfectly to what I feel when asked if I have any children!!!  I live in a small community, so I don't want it to get back to the bio-mom that I'm "taking credit" for her son, but it's a 50/50 split, and I do all the mom things when he's with us.  Anyway, thank you, having a name for it somehow makes it a bit better!

good point!  That is another confusing one.  We usually refer to her by her first name or just as "dsd's name's" mom and my kids haven't really questioned that.  You'd think by now there would be names for all of these extended relationships. 


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#17 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 07:42 AM
 
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"First, I was wondering how you introduce your family/ discuss your family in an introduction (say, in a mom's group, yoga class, to a new teacher, etc) where you are asked about yourself, or asked if you have any children."

 

 

Second... We don't tend to stress labels like "step" and "half" in our home. (our boys are 5.5, 6, 6.5, and 7 mos). Sometimes it comes up, the boys just making sense of things- bringing up who's a step-whatever etc.

 

Hi, I can relate to a lot of what you posted.  I have a two kids who are biologically mine, and two who live with me 50/50 who are from my husband's first marriage. Our kids are step-siblings, full-siblings, and half-siblings.  Their ages span from infancy to middle school.  Of all my kids, I expect my four y.o. step-son will be most concerned about defining the relationships. That's because the older ones already know and understand, and the youngest is the product of my current marriage, so I expect he'll accept all of this as totally normal. ;)  

I think the thing to do is just keep explaining the technical terms to them when they ask. They are just trying to know what it's technically called. They are learning.  They'll make up their own minds how they feel about each other.  I grew up with half-siblings and a full sibling, and a step-sibling, and I wanted to know, but the real sibling relationship was still there just like I imagine it would have been without other parents involved.

 

To answer your questions, 1, I don't clarify unless I think it's helpful.  To complete strangers, we're just us. A family of 6.  But sometimes I explain a little or all of it.  

 

Here are reasons why I expand on our situation:

1. in defense, when people make a big deal out of our family size. (sad, but true)

2. to explain a scheduling conflict. step-kids are here half the week and that makes it a challenge to have play groups, etc

3. this might be covered in #1, but sometimes my 4 y.o. step-son introduces me to people as his "other mom" and I don't want people thinking I'm in a relationship with his bio-mom.  attention to 

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#18 of 22 Old 04-04-2013, 09:23 AM
 
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I know this thread is old, but I was browsing here today and wanted to add a slightly different perspective. I have no step children. Our family consists of DD who is 7 and from my previous marriage, DS who is almost 3 and a product of my current relationship with DP. DD's bio dad and his wife are expecting a little one, so soon DD will have two siblings. DD lives with us and goes to her dad's every other weekend, but her dad is quite involved in her life and she spends longer times there in the summer and on school breaks.

 

When DP and I go out with both of the kids in tow, he always introduces them as his kids. He also talks about her to co-workers or friends and refers to her as his daughter. He doesn't elaborate unless more questions are asked, or we're having a specific conversation that involves the topic. If someone comments on the kid's looks, we might elaborate. DS is a spitting image of DP and DD is a spitting image of me except for her blond hair and blue eyes which she gets from her dad. DP and I are both dark haired and so when someone says, "oh where did she get that blond hair!?" we like to just answer, "from her dad" and giggled a little when people look confused for a moment until they figure it out. lol.gif

 

As the 'bio' mom to both kids, I do want to throw out there that I don't take issue with DD's step mom claiming her as her child, or introducing her that way when they're out and about. DD calls her mom sometimes I think, and she calls DP dad, or dada or by his name. She calls her bio dad an exclusive Daddy and that's reserved for him and Mommy is reserved for me. But her step parents are still her parents. She's a lucky little girls to have so many adults in her life loving her and caring for her. So all you step mom's and dad's, I say claim away. Your step child is your child. End.of.story. As for half siblings, DD has a brother and soon she will have a new baby brother or sister. I don't think we've ever muttered the word 'half' in reference to her siblings and I hope her bio dad and step mom won't refer to her new sibling that way either. I think it would make DD feel bad, and less a part of that family unit.


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#19 of 22 Old 04-07-2013, 07:09 AM
 
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Hey scruffy! I guess you've had your baby now! Congrats!

 

We have a blended-esque situation where some friends of the family are in the process of trying to adopt my son's much younger half-sibs. Our solution has been to give this couple the aunt/uncle designation, and cast all their kids as "cousins" of our kids. I think this is something that might work in a civil post-divorce situation. For sure, it seems hugely important to find a way to acknowledge the fact that we are all extended family to each other. 

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#20 of 22 Old 04-08-2013, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MammaB21 View Post

 

As the 'bio' mom to both kids, I do want to throw out there that I don't take issue with DD's step mom claiming her as her child, or introducing her that way when they're out and about. DD calls her mom sometimes I think, and she calls DP dad, or dada or by his name. She calls her bio dad an exclusive Daddy and that's reserved for him and Mommy is reserved for me. But her step parents are still her parents. She's a lucky little girls to have so many adults in her life loving her and caring for her. So all you step mom's and dad's, I say claim away. Your step child is your child. End.of.story. As for half siblings, DD has a brother and soon she will have a new baby brother or sister. I don't think we've ever muttered the word 'half' in reference to her siblings and I hope her bio dad and step mom won't refer to her new sibling that way either. I think it would make DD feel bad, and less a part of that family unit.

Thanks, we tell dsd that he's lucky, too.  And we don't say half sibling, either. 

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Hey scruffy! I guess you've had your baby now! Congrats!

Thanks, healthy boy on March 23rd.  love.gif  DSD is happy to be a big brother but quickly realized that his brother isn't much fun yet.


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#21 of 22 Old 04-09-2013, 03:48 PM
 
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Personally, I don't point out that my step-kids are "step" unless it's important to the conversation. Sometimes I still don't. I've been known to say things like, "My son is going to his mom's house this weekend," or "When my daughter was born, her mom had this problem..." Sometimes in pregnancy conversations I've been known to say, "I had my first two the easy way, with a white dress, cake, and lots of flowers." Or I've said, "My daughter was three when I became her mom."

I just always feel like people assume that kids live with mom and "step-mother" just means "Daddy's wife." But I've raised my kids from toddlers to teens; they live with us, and I'm their primary caregiver. Their mom is not around as much as I'm sure she would like to be.

We don't really use the step and half labels, either. My six-year-old daughter is the only one who seems to really have an issue with it, which I think stems from jealousy. The oldest two have another brother and two sisters on their mom's side, and one of the girls is about six, and my daughter *really* wants to be close to her. Unfortunately it's not really feasible since we live so far apart, so she gets upset and says things like, "A is not my *real* sister. She's just my step-sister." I usually say, "No, she's your half-sister, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that she loves you, and that makes her your real sister."

I hope my kids grow up seeing that blood relation is not that important. More than half my family is not "blood related" to me. My dad is adopted, I have a step-dad and two step-brothers (not to mention step-grandparents), plus my step-brother has a step-daughter, and not to mention my husband's whole family (who are all awesome)! Love is what matters.

Michelle, wife to DH, and momma to DD16, DS15, DS12, DS10, DD9, DD7, DS5, and baby girl born Christmas Eve 2013!
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#22 of 22 Old 05-05-2013, 07:39 PM
 
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I generally start out with stating we have a blended family of 5 almost 6 kids...stepdaughter, my three daughters and son, and I'm expecting our first daughter together. 

 

For purposes of our actual family dynamic, my stepdaughter is 23 years old, has never lived with "us", I did not play a role in her upbringing, and she lives 3 states away.  My daughters are 11, 9, and 5, and my son is 3.  In most situations where I would be talking about how many kids I have and their ages and such, I honestly didn't bring her up until after I got pregnant. Not because I wanted to exclude her, but when I would be talking about how many kids are running around the house during the day, or the parenting challenges of handling different ages-a 23 year old woman doesn't generally factor in.  That being said, now that we're having a child together, and she is this child's sibling, I always count her in when asked about our family size. I hope that doesn't sound unkind of me, it's just that we honestly don't have that much constant contact with her, but now that I'm going to be having her one and only sibling, it's changed how I think of DSD in my daily life.


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