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half siblings, do they still exist?

(124 Posts)
FlojoHoHoHo Sun 16-Dec-12 14:19:04

Took my DCs to a music group this morning. DS dad usually takes DS but FIL died so I took him along with DD. Music lady said ah this is your half sister, what's your half sister called etc. DS confused DS knows they have different dads but has never heard the term half before. On the third time she said it, I firmly said "its sister, we use the term sister".
AIBU to find the term half sister uncomfortable? As far as I'm concerned they are brother and sister, end of.

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 14:21:10

IMO if they grow up in the same house, the full term is most appropriate, if they grow in in different houses then half sibling explains the dynamics better

but people interchange them, IMO there's no problem with either unless the teacher continued using "half" after you said they were considered full siblings

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 16-Dec-12 14:21:46

I think it depends - you've obviously got children who are all part of one family and I can see why you would just want to use the term 'sister'.

But some people have half siblings who're much older or younger, or definitely part of a separate family, and there it works. DH has two half brothers and he definitely feels that he doesn't have the same relationship to them as I do to my brothers who were brought up as part of the same family.

She probably didn't mean any harm but I think I wouldn't use that term talking about children in the same family.

kinkyfuckery Sun 16-Dec-12 14:21:48

Of course it still exists. Whether you choose to use it or not is your choice. The musician wasn't to know. Though you were right to correct her.

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Sun 16-Dec-12 14:21:48

My half siblings are half siblings. Our connection isn't the same as my full siblings. So yes, they do still exist.

charlmascaraoxo Sun 16-Dec-12 14:23:13

I referred to my cousin once as 'half cousin' (I was about 10 at the time) because we have the same Grandma but not the same Grandfather.

The dirty look I got off my aunt was enough for me to never say it again.

I think some people maybe find it quite offensive.

You corrected the woman, and she probably should never said it so YANBU.

chrismissymoomoomee Sun 16-Dec-12 14:23:40

We say brother and sister when talking about my children and my step children too. I don't like all this 'half' nonsense.

Technically she is right though, you have corrected her now and I'm sure she didn't mean to offend.

OrangeLily Sun 16-Dec-12 14:23:57

Me and DH both have half siblings and only use the term half when we explain our complex family to strangers. Just so people understand who is who and whose parents is whose. I think we have about 8 siblings of various categories half/step/full and a few cousins who are basically siblings too. smile

Asking a wee one about a half sibling is just weird. Tell her to shove it!!!

StaceymReadyForNumber3 Sun 16-Dec-12 14:26:32

My DH has half siblings and his relationship with them is completely different with his full siblings so he would differentiate between them.

But we have a ds who is a half sibling to my dd and ds1, but as far as we are all concerned he is their brother. There is only 8/6 years between them and they are growing up in one family unit.

I think the 2 dynamics are very different, but obviously the term the teacher used is not incorrect.

Viviennemary Sun 16-Dec-12 14:26:35

This term isn't used much these days. And that's a good thing I think. Nevertheless it was in common use when I was a child so I don't think anybody means anything hurtful by it. I had an older colleague who used to refer to her 'half-sisters'. People do find it offensive though. So it's probably best not to use it even if it might be technically correct.

SouthernComforts Sun 16-Dec-12 14:26:59

It's a bit strange that the lady laboured the point, but I wouldn't get upset by it. I have 6 half brothers and sisters and I refer to them however is easiest in the circumstances. Sometimes just sister, sometimes half, sometimes 'my dad's eldest son' etc. It's all correct.

SPsFanjoIsSantasLittleHoHoHo Sun 16-Dec-12 14:28:26

The siblings I grew up with yet have different dads are just brothers and sisters. I don't see them as half.

Yet if someone mentions my bio dad I say his daughter's are my half sisters. I hardly see them.

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 14:28:50

I think as a generalisation (but not always), half siblings connected through the mother are usually more like full siblings, and half siblings connected through the father are more likely to mainly live in different houses so usually full sibling isn't accurate at all for them - with exceptions of course..
and if they are connected through the mother with a huge age gap, so grow up in very different dynamics and not necessarily the same house, then full sibling doesn't describe it either

The people you share your home life and upbringing with are more like your full siblings (even if they aren't and are actually step/half siblings or cousins), so IMO there is definitely a place for the half-sibling term as it can describe a certain dynamic

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sun 16-Dec-12 14:28:53

Of course the term still exists! It will exist as long as people have children with different partners.

It sounds like the lady was trying to make polite conversation, not make a dig. You can't change the fact that they are half siblings, even if you choose not to refer to it at home.

mrsscoob Sun 16-Dec-12 14:32:15

Rude and unnecessary. Especially if they are young siblings that live in the same house.

I suppose yes the term can be useful when describing family dynamics to other parties but not to two little ones with their Mum confused

I have a "half" brother and have never referred to him as such (until just then wink) he's my brother even though I was an adult when he was born.

kinkyfuckery Sun 16-Dec-12 14:33:59

Rude and unnecessary. Especially if they are young siblings that live in the same house.

How on earth was it rude? It was factual, no?

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 14:36:19

to call it rude is to imply there is something wrong and shameful about not sharing both parents - i.e. that it's an insult to not share the same parents

- not a great message for the kids! who presumably KNOW that they share one parent and have different mums/dads!

Pantomimedam Sun 16-Dec-12 14:39:41

Sorry to hear about FIL.

Music lady was a bit rude. I only use the term about my youngest sister if it's relevant - explaining that we have different Mothers but the same Father.

ivykaty44 Sun 16-Dec-12 14:41:01

my dd's have a brother who has a different mother, he is a whole person and a whole brother, both dd's adore him and he is their little brother and always will be

Pantomimedam Sun 16-Dec-12 14:41:04

it's rude to harp on about it and rude to keep using the phrase when people dislike it or children are confused. Which I imagine would have been apparent to the music teacher from Flojo and her ds's facial expressions.

Shelby2010 Sun 16-Dec-12 14:41:09


If you were having a conversation that required an explanation of the family set up, then in that context it's fine. But that's hardly the case for 2 small children attending a music group with the parent they have in common, so she was being a bit weird.

Maybe the music lady fancies your exP & was checking he was available?!

MammaTJ Sun 16-Dec-12 14:43:35

My DD1 has an older sister, who is her Dads child. She also has a younger sister and a younger brother who are mine.

When I was pregnant with DD1 her sisters mum kept saying that the baby would only be her half brother or sister. Knowing her mum had been steralised I said 'This is the only sibling you are likely to have, it is up to you if you want to be a full sister or a half sister, but neither of you is half a person'. They are incredibly close now at age 28 and 17.

Obviously when I went on to have two more children with my DP after my cheating bastard husband left me marriage broke up, my DD just accepted them as brother and sister.

I do think it is unnecessary in this age of 'blended families'.

ChristmasKnackers Sun 16-Dec-12 14:44:29

We call ours brothers, although oldest is aware of term 'half brother' as he was corrected by a TA at school sayings "no, he's your half brother"... Thought that was a bit rude, but theme people are rude, aren't they!

TrillsCarolsOutOfTune Sun 16-Dec-12 14:46:01

Of course it still exists.

You can use "sister" casually but "half sister" when you want to be specific about your level of genetic linkedness.

You sound a bit overly sensitive about it - is there a reason for this?

zlist Sun 16-Dec-12 14:47:15

I have one maternal half-brother and two paternal half-siblings and two step-siblings. I only call my maternal step-brother my brother as he is the only one that lived in the family home at the same time I did (and also the only one I keep in contact with). The rest I factually refer to with the steps and halfs added so I can see why you are a bit but out by it. Thinking about it I don't think I would like it if people referred to my brother as anything other than my brother.

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