I grew up in a blended family due to my parents marrying one another after previous marriages, then having me. They both had children from their previous marriage, which one, my older brother, lived with us. My older brother and I are literally night and day. He is 6’4, 250 lbs, and I am 5’7 140 lbs. It was very evident when you saw us together that we weren’t full blood brothers, but the fact is, I never saw or considered my brother my step brother. We would hear many phrases that discouraged us from seeing one another as brothers versus stepbrothers. Here are 3 phrases to never say to blended families.
Your children don’t look alike. My little sister and I look like twins, but then my older brother looked nothing like us. I remember the moments when people would say to my parents or even to us, “You all look different”. It made us look at our brother like he wasn’t one of us. The goal of blended families is to become one by celebrating the similarities not the differences.
Do your children ever see their “real” parent? My brother’s dad wasn’t in his life, so my dad treated my brother as he was his blood son. Just because you can have a baby doesn’t make you a “real” parent. The insinuation that a step parent isn’t as legitimate as a biological parent is disheartening. There are many step parents taking full responsibility for the role they play in their step children’s lives. Parenting is a commitment that requires sacrifice, love, and time. From our view, my dad was just as much as his, which made him his real parent.
Are you step siblings or half siblings? Technically, a step sibling is one who is joined by marriage with no blood relation, and a half siblings shares one parent biologically. In a blended family you don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t belong so the term step or half can create a divide between two people you want to see accept and embrace one another. When people would ask me growing up, “Oh, he is your step brother?” I would quickly reply back with, “No, he is my brother”.
Blended families are beautiful, but they do require those on the outside of the family to better understand the dynamics in order to promote unity. My parents made it a rule in our home not to use any negative phrases that would cause division among us. Since we had to watch what words we used to one another we surely didn’t want to hear it from others.
BMWK: Have you ever heard these phrases before? How did you respond?