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'AITA for not correcting older kids who use the term half siblings for my younger kids?'

'AITA for not correcting older kids who use the term half siblings for my younger kids?'


"AITA for not correcting older kids who use the term half siblings for my younger kids?"


I have two children with an ex who sadly passed away 4 years ago. My older kids are 13 and 15. I have a 1 year old with my husband and I'm expecting our second child together.

My kids get along just fine with my husband and with my 1 year old. But they don't call him dad or her their sister, but they do say half sister. My husband doesn't love the use of half.

He doesn't care that they don't call him dad or even their parent. But he does feel like the use of half is verbally keeping a distance from her that he doesn't see as fair or right. He thinks they're all blood siblings even if it's just through one parent and sibling should work.

I don't see this as a big deal. In my experience from having friends with divorced parents and/or stepfamilies, it's not a guarantee that step and half won't be used and it's not always about not caring about people but just how you define things.

For some it won't matter one or two parents or any bio parent and a sibling is a sibling but you'll always get people who prefer the extra label because it matters to them for their own reasons.

My husband's sister, who works at the high school my oldest attends, brought up to me that she thinks it's wrong that my oldest never calls my 1 year old just his sister and that I should be correcting that.

I told her I didn't see it as something that concerning. She told me she doesn't want my 1 year old to grow up feeling like her older brother and sister consider her less of a sibling.

I told her if a big deal isn't made out of the use of half it won't make her feel that way and if it does make her question things I can cross that bridge when I come to it. She told me I wasn't being a very good mom to any of my kids with that attitude.

My husband defended me and told his sister she didn't have the right to press the issue with me, and she should learn to stay out of it. But when she was gone he told me he agreed that it should be a concern and he wasn't happy that I didn't agree.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. Half-sibling is the correct term for the familial tree relationship between your two older kids and your 1 year old. I guess I understand your husband's concerns. I guess it is possible your youngest might not understand the terminology and might assume half means, we only half love you etc.

So then why isn't the better compromise to just explain the term to your youngest (when they are old enough to become curious) and make sure they understand it just means they share the 1 parent and has nothing to do with their relationship with one another?

Why should your two older kids have to censor using that term when explaining the family tree relationships? You could argue if they are forced to explain your youngest is their sibling, that people may assume they all share the same parents and your former husband (my condolences) doesn't exist.

It's okay to use the correct terms to explain where we come from and how we are related. It doesn't make you any less of a family, unless your husband and SIL make it an issue.


Exactly, OP has the right approach not to make it a big deal. If everyone else makes it a big deal then it’ll have a negative impact on the younger half siblings. But if OP, when the children are old enough to understand, explains to the kids what it means and that it doesn’t mean that they treated as half a sibling and that it’s a term with no power to affect them, then crisis averted.

But it seems like hubbys family will make a big deal and it’ll be OPs job to rebuild confidence because OPs family can’t mind their business. NTA.


NTA. I don’t understand the obsession with blended families trying to force closeness. Your 1yo IS less of a sibling to your older kids than they are to each other. They lost their dad; maybe they want to honor their connection to one another by preserving the words brother and sister for each other. Whatever.

If they treat the baby with care and respect they’ve done all they’re obligated to do. A 1yo doesn’t care about anyone but his parents and by the time he’s old enough to care the siblings will be adults out of the house, more like aunts and uncles than anything else.

ETA: the baby isn’t less of a sibling because of the genetics. He’s less of a sibling because he’s part of a family the teenagers had thrust on them when they were much older and getting ready to have one foot out the door anyway. If they develop an unforced relationship naturally, it may end up different.


Your children’s lives were devastated 4 years ago, and you seemed to have moved on pretty quickly. I don’t mean that as a criticism, but I can’t imagine being an 11 or 9 year old whose dad died, and within 4 short years later Mom starts dating; Mom is remarried; strange guy now lives with us; Mom’s pregnant; Mom has a new baby in the house; and Mom’s pregnant again.

That’s a lot to digest and deal with. I would hope that your husband doesn’t have an issue with the fact that they don’t call him “Dad” or view him as a parental figure. And your 1 year old is their HALF sister, so your husband needs to butt out. She is not part of their dad. If your husband and his family don’t like it, too bad. I’m so glad you’re standing up for your 2 oldest regarding this.

The OP responded here:


I wasn't with their father when he died. We had broken up and I was already in a relationship with my husband when my ex died. It was still a lot for them and I won't deny that.

I slowed things down with my husband for a time while my kids got time to process what had happened. I'll always have my kids backs. No matter what happens they're my kids and I'll always do the best I can for them.


I actually feeling qualified to speak on this one. I am the youngest of 5 siblings (3 full, 2 older half siblings from my father’s first marriage). Our age split is similar to your family.

When we were growing up, there was never any pressure to use sister/brother vs half-sister/brother. All five of us defaulted to using Half s we thought that was the most appropriate term and most accurate.

As we’ve gotten older, I’m now 30 and the oldest is in their mid-40s, we just use sister/brother. But I know if there had been pressure it would’ve caused resentment early on and not allowed our sibling-relationship to develop appropriately., and we probably wouldn’t be as close as we are now if we had been pressured like your husband is trying for force on your older kids.

Your husband needs to acknowledge that half-sibling isn’t a derogatory term (unless they are using it to indicate your new children are lesser) it’s just a fact, the new children are their Half-siblings.

Encouraging your older kids to engage with the younger ones as much (edit or as little) as they are willing and comfortable with, is the best move to developing a long lasting relationship between all of your kids.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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