Friday, January 07, 2011

Things My Brother said....And who is this brother you ask?

Over the last few weeks my kids have referred to their male half sibling as their brother when talking with friends or adults. Now granted they just had a visit with Z when he was here in early December and over time and distance between visits the references seem to dwindle. But as they get older it takes longer as their half sibling stays in their current memory.

It is interesting and amusing to watch how they describe who this brother is depending on the reaction they get from their audience. I have tended to stay quiet when this has occurred in my presence in order to see what they say and how the other party reacts.

Very often when it is classmates or kids at school the other kids asks who the brother is and the reply is simply my brother Z who lives in Colorado. Most kids just accept this and move on. It is usually the adults who are left more confused knowing that neither I nor the kids mom were married previously. Or perhaps they are wondering if either of us had a prior relationship where a child resulted.

For my kids referring to their half siblings as their brother or sister is now as normal to them as anything. I no longer try to correct them or direct them to another term. Whether their relationships to each other become deep, rich relationships in the long term is another matter. But for them they know and feel that they are siblings. To them at this age full or half means nothing. They just know.

I believe this is healthy for them. Knowing their are other kids out there who are part of who they are. It may be confusing to them when they enter those confusing adolescent years. But it just may give them additional anchors to work through the period of questions.

Added thoughts:

My kids have not seen T their "first" half sibling in a year so they have never said sister to her directly and I know T's mom does not use that terminology. In truth the kids all act more like distant cousins despite the terms 3 of the 4 use. Hopefully this is never a problem as the kids grow older in dealing with each other but I suspect as they get older and better understand it it will not be. At least I hope so.

1 comment:

Bea said...

It is interesting to hear how they are reacting so far. Will be just as interesting to see how it unfolds from here.