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How do/did you explain half siblings to your preschooler?

A very long story short: DD is 3.5 and loves her 4.5 yr old half brother. They met when they were 2.5 and 3.5 but we did not tell her that he was her brother because she is very sensitive and we were unsure of where the relationship would go (neither parent was genuinly interested in giving him a 2 parent life). We told her a few weeks ago he was her brother b/c things have changed and we felt like it was time she knew. She wants to be a mommy when she grows up so I have been telling her that you must go to college, get a good job, get married, then the babies can come but because we just adopted two kittens from the same litter she has been asking questions and is about to realize that Daddy didn't do it right because he is married to me and not (lets call him) Johnny's mom. I guess I need to change my approach from "This is the one way life works" to "There are many ways, Daddy tried a different way, here is the right way"?

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:57 PM on Jul. 16, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (6)
  • Toughy. I have a SS who is 3 and then my daughter is close to being 3 (very long complicated story but it didn't involve hubby cheating) I'm sure he's confused as hell as to why he has two mommy's and 2 daddy's that leave far away. All you can say is that they have a different mommy/daddy. It's hard to explain to a child that young.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 2:00 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • I've tried explaining to my daughter why me and my brother have the same parents, but my sister has a different dad.
    I just told her that my mom and dad were together for a long time and decided to have two kids. After a long time, they decided they didn't want to live together anymore and wanted to be married to other people. That's when my mom met Papaw (what she calls my stepdad) and they decided to have one kid. This was when she was about 2 and she seemed to get it alright.
    My mom had the same problem with my 9 year old sister, explaining to her when she was young why her siblings had a different dad than her.
    She just said that she and my dad didn't get along and were better friends not being married, and then she married my step dad.

    Answer by Kiwismommy19 at 2:01 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • I would simply tell her that some kids that are siblings have different parents....not all of my six kids are biologically mine and/or related by blood, but I don't distinguish. I think sometimes parents make things more of a big deal than kids do.

    Answer by semazani at 2:01 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • i do not use the HALF word
    some young kids take it lierally and wonder what half!-lol
    i say a brother or soster with a different mom or dad

    Answer by fiatpax at 2:06 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • I don't think you have to say anything more than they are brother and sister... they don't need to know anything about "half" or having different parents... they don't think about things like that.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 2:14 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • My kids are "half-siblings" but we've never used that term. They are siblings, period. Why is it important to stress that they're half-siblings? In our house, family is family regardless of how we all got that way.

    Answer by deadheadjen at 4:34 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

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