Half Siblings Are Siblings. Period.


Our oldest daughter was ten when it happened. We were at the pediatrician’s office and her baby brother had just been born. He was with us in his car seat. The pediatrician was asking her who the members of her family were. She listed myself, her dad (who happens to be her step-father), her brother who is three years younger than her and her baby brother.


At that moment the pediatrician corrected her. “Well, the baby is your half- brother. Not your brother.”

I was completely taken aback. To this day I am ashamed that I didn’t immediately put him in his place. Instead, our ten-year-old daughter did it for me. As soon as those words left his mouth her face filled with indignation. “He is my brother. Not my half-brother. My brother! And that is what you will call him.”

Even if he had been a good pediatrician, and he wasn’t, there is no way we would’ve stayed with his office. In that moment both my daughter and I had lost any respect we may have had for him. As well as any trust in his ability to take care of us.

It was the first time that anyone had referred to my sweet new baby as anyone’s “half-brother” and it stung.

I left an extremely toxic and unhealthy marriage with my two oldest children. They were eight and five at the time. Very shortly after we met my now husband. He immediately become a father to our two oldest. All in, no looking back. They were his and he was theirs. We became a family. T

hen we added two more children. All of us together. A family. Whole. Nothing “half” about it.

The word “half” indicates that something is not whole. The other half is missing, or doesn’t exist. That’s fine when we are dealing with cake or how much cream you want in your coffee. It isn’t ok when you are dealing with human beings. Especially human beings who have siblings they love very much.

And yes, I do understand that biologically speaking we are dealing with half of someone’s genetics being shared while half are not.

However, I can think of only one circumstance where that needs to be discussed at all. Medical History. There is no other reason ever for someone to go out of their way to point out to siblings that they are not “whole.”

This is 2019. Families become families in countless ways. It doesn’t matter one little bit what those ways are. All that matters is the love they have for each other. Half siblings, step-siblings, foster siblings. To those children and to those families they are siblings.

Half Siblings are siblings. Period. There is no need to label step siblings or foster siblings either. #blendedfamily #filterfreeparents #momlife

So let’s stop labelling half siblings or any kind of siblings shall we?

Unless you are researching their ancestry or determining who may or may not be genetically predisposed to something, it’s completely unnecessary. Unnecessary and quite honestly no one’s damn business.

Calling a child a “half” anything makes them feel like less than a whole. It sounds as though they are only a half member of their family. It makes a completely unnecessary distinction.

Family is family. Siblings are siblings. As long as children are growing together in a secure environment, surrounded by people who love them, labelling those relationships serves no purpose.


  1. A lady did this to me in H&R Block about my stepson, who i refer to as my son even though me and his dad aren’t married yet. She loudly and rudely exclaimed ” Wel, you’re not married are you, so that’s not your son or your stepson, is it?” I was so shocked I didn’t even stand up for myself! I wish i would’ve had the composure to tell her to go to hell. Married or not, we’ve been together 5 years, that’s my SON.

  2. My older sister has been my mom’s daughter since day one, even though she did not give birth to her.
    She is our sister, period!

  3. I have 4 siblings, one is half, one is whole, and two are step, but to me they are just my brothers and sisters. I’m married to a man who came to me with 3 girls and I to him with a little girl, then we had a boy together, they are all OUR kids and brothers and sisters to each other, no step, half, or anything else and they love each other all the same.

  4. I have also remarried and have 3 kids between the two marriages.
    Also, I have recently discovered that I myself have 3 sisters and they have been nothing but interested in knowing me and unconditionally loving. Your article was beautifully written, and I wholeheartedly agree, thank you!

  5. Ooooh I can relate to your little girl’s experience. The same thing happened to me when I was a child in the school secretary’s office, when she had the audacity to explain to me that my siblings were only half siblings after nosily inquiring whether we had the same father. I remember correcting her, as well, just as adamantly as your little girl did her crappy pediatrician. It’s stuck with me and it stung how much it hurt. It’s not something you forget. And I’ve been defensive about it ever since.

  6. I married a man with three children. Their mom had passed away. I was always referred to as their mother. When one of our son’s passed away 25 years later a woman at the service addressed me as his stepmother. I’m certain my reaction made her wish she had never opened her mouth….. Pure stupid!!

  7. We did the opposite. When my stepson came home crying that someone had called his little sister his half-sister I was like, “What’s wrong? Did you think Daddy was her Daddy? She’s your half sister technically. We all know she’s your sister though”. Now he is seventeen and refers to the littles as his sister from another mister and brother from another mother!

  8. Good for that big sister. What a complete idiot this doctor was. I would have given him a piece of my mind. What a jerk.


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