20 answers

For Step Families Who Don't Use the Word *Step*

I've read responses on this site, where people have said that they don't refer to step relationships in their families as *step.* For instance, a mom might say that she and her husband don't refer to each other's children as step-children. They are simply "their children" or "their family."

This makes sense to me, and I don't want my son to feel any less a part of our soon to be new family when my fiance and I get married, in that he will become a *step-child.* My question is, though, how do you get around that? My son has an involved father, who is "Dad" so my fiance is not taking over the role of Dad to my son in the way of being a replacement for his bio Dad. To date, he calls my fiance by his first name and everyone is ok with that, at least for now. Although one time in passing, my son did ask if he could call my fiance Daddy... he quickly changed the subject before I had a chance to respond... and it hasn't come up again... yet. But I think it will if we have a child together, and my fiance is being referred to as Daddy for that baby. My son is 5, btw.

I can see how families with children on both sides from previous relationships can easily refer to the kids as "our kids" because collectively, they are. But in my case, my son is the only child in the situation, so if we refer to him as "our son," that not only presents him as the son of me and my fiance, but also may confuse my son... I don't know. Also, my fiance and I would like to have a child together... so if/when that time comes, and there is another child in the mix, it may be easier to just refer to them as "our kids" or "the kids" or "our family." But for now, how do we get around this? Like, if my fiance and I are talking to someone about my son, I can't say "our son," because that's not accurate, and for my son's sake, I don't want people inaccurately assuming my fiance/husband is his father, and my son having to explain differently. If my fiance is talking to someone about my son and were to say "my son," again, that's deceptive in a way, yet, I don't want him to refer to him as his "step-son." ?????

I don't know. Is being a *step* so bad?

Looking for wisdom from those families who do NOT USE STEP, and how you would apply that to my situation...


1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

THANK YOU KRISTA... that is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Tearing up a little because THAT is what I hope for for my son...

Ok, a little follow up...

My son knows that my fiance will become his step-dad, which he is excited about. They get along quite well. And it's not so much what other people think that concerns me, although that is a factor, it's how my son feels and what he thinks that matters to me, and I don't want him to feel less than a bio child being a "step" and I don't want him confused. That's the crux of it.

Featured Answers

I call one of my older, close friends my "bonus mom." Not exactly what you were looking for but most people understand 'bonus' as a postive word without much explanation.

1 mom found this helpful

My family is very blended! We have steps and halfs, but NEVER EVER refered to it that way. We were all brothers and sisters. When My mom and Step-dad got married my mom had 5 kids and he had 3 kids from previous marriages. Then they had a baby together. We were never introduced as step or half or anything like that that. There were 9 of us and we all lived together. We all called mom - mom and Dad - Dad. They always refered to us as their kids. Still to this day all my sisters and brothers are just that. No step, no half - it just doesn't feel right to us to say that. It feels like a foriegn concept or something. Hope that makes sense.

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I didn't realize that the man I call "Gramp" was not my father's bio dad until I was 8 or 9 b/c my father NEVER referred to him that way and my Gramp has always called my father his "son". My father's parents divorced when he was 3 and his mother remarried when he was 6- his father was alive until he was 17 and he called both men "dad" b/c both men were raising him as his "father". It wasn't as confusing as you might think b/c the two "dads" were rarely in the same place at the same time.

The way my dad explained it to me when I asked was quite simple- "a dad is someone who loves you and takes care of you, makes sure that you have what you need and most of what you want, tells you when your're wrong and celebrates when you're amazing. I'm really lucky b/c I had two people who did this for me."

If your fiance is treating your son as though he is his "son" then by all means, it is "our son". If your son asks about it, explain who "dads" are and that he's extra lucky to have two men in his life who love him so much.

10 moms found this helpful

I have a 14 year old daughter and my husband has never referred to her has his step daughter. Now, it is a little different for us because her real dad is not in the picture at all. Not sure if he ever will be.
When we first started dating, she was obviously just 'my kid'. But as we became more serious and got engaged and got married, he would refer to her as his daughter.

3 moms found this helpful

We have older kids we brought into the relationship and younger kids we made together. They are all our kids but I differantiate his or mine in conversation for claritys sake. When my husbands' son (that's how I refer to him) introduces me to people he calls me his step mom, but he does it in such a loving, proud way that it makes me feel great. I introduce him as My favorite step son. He's my only one, so I hope that way he will know I'm proud to call him that. I took his lead and followed it.
With the younger kids, there is no step involved. They will grow up in the knowledge that mom and dad and big borther and sister are all one big family. There is no step in thier vocab. The kids certainly aren't step brothers and sisters. Either you're a brother or your not. There's no half or step. But when it comes to parents, assuming the name mom or dad kind of devalues the bio parents role. I know I don't want my husbands new wife calling my 18 yr old her daughter. If she did, my girl would correct her - hey I have a mom!

3 moms found this helpful

I would ask him. He's 5 - he will have feelings he can talk about it. He may change his mind as he gets older, but if you let him have a say now, it will make this easier as time passes.

I love my "Bonus Mom" but it makes me uneasy when she calls me "her daughter". I have a Mom all ready. But I was grown when she came into my life and I might feel differently if I'd been 5. I don't know. Or I might just say "my step-Mom."

I call my step-brother "my brother" but that's a bit different. It's not like the fact that I all ready had a sibling meant I couldn't have another. My brother, by the way, is my "bonus Mom's" son....and he was 10 when he came into my life.

My step-Dad also has a son who is not and will never be my brother - not my step-brother either. And I do love my step-dad, but he was obviously a prettty horrible Dad (I don't normally blame parents for how kids turn out but he is very enabling with his son & obviously always has been).

I don't think "step" is bad and I don't think special names are bad either, and if your son wants to call both Dads "Daddy" and someone is confused, well, so be it.


3 moms found this helpful

I think each family has to work this out. In our case, I have a 15 year old step daughter that I've known since she was 3. Her mom and dad share joint custody and have since she was 1. She doesn't call me "mom" because she has a mom who I don't want to "replace" and somehow feel that wouldn't be fair of me to ask to be called "mom". She's always called me Deenie - which no one else does, so it's special to us. We all get along well and since her parents are very involved in her life - the step-parents go by our first name. It works for us.

Also, I say I have three kids (I have two others) most of the time. Sometimes, it comes up that she's not biologically mine, but I agree we are one family - they come in all shapes and sizes.

I know it works as she posted on her facebook one day that she's very thankful for many things... one was being part of the (listed the four last names of her parents/step parents) extended family. That was proof : )

Good luck and know it will work out and do what is right. No need to force anything. It's not what you call it, it's how you treat one another that makes a family!

3 moms found this helpful

We're a blended family. I see no need to explain our family dynamics. My fiance is dad (even though he's not bio dad to the girls, my son we had together). You can absolutely say 'our son'! Why not? My fiance has step-families, and calls his stepbrothers his brothers, step mom is mom, step dad is dad... I guess I've never known anything other than that, but I never stopped to think about it. When talking about my MIL and step MIL, I just say 'the mother in laws', plural, and only address it if someone looks REALLY confused. No matter what, you're still going to be 'mom' to a certain extent. Use whatever you're most comfortable with, more important, use what the KIDS are most comfortable with. If you two have a baby, those children will all still be siblings. I don't go around saying all 3 of my kids are half-siblings!

Congrats! :)

2 moms found this helpful

I never refer to my step children as children. I always say I have X number of kids. If asked more specifically I say that XYZ are my step children, but I claim them as my own. For the most part everyone knows that they are my step children so this isn't an issue for us. I also have let them decide what they want to call me. This is a difficult subject, but most families are having to address this issue. I am eager to see what kind of responses you get from your question.

2 moms found this helpful

Well I dont have a step family at all (but i have a step nephew) my sisters husband has a child to another women and i just call him my nephew. IF i am asked I would just say well biologicly he is not but he is my nephew i love him like one and (if i saw him) treat him like one. talk to your son and your ex about it and see what they think and if they are okay with your soon to be hubby saying my son when talking about him

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