A Handy Guide to Those Mysterious Blended Family Acronyms!

Welcome to the internet, where no one can type out more than 1 or 2 characters anymore! (Or, in the case of "HCBM", sometimes up to 4.)

I toss around a lot of acronyms on my site because that's the standard online lingo for discussing stepfamily stuff. But in case you're not familiar, here's a quick reference acronym list:

  • BD: Bio daughter (the biological daughter I had before I met Dan)

  • SD: Stepdaughter (Dan's biological daughter with HCBM)

  • HCBM: High conflict bio mom (SD's biological mother and Dan’s ex)

Other acronyms I use but less often:

  • CO: Custody order and/or visitation schedule according to the official court paperwork

  • DH: Dear/darling husband

  • EOW: Every other weekend, referring to the custody schedule

  • HCP: High conflict person/parent

  • PAS: Parental alienation syndrome

If you're elsewhere online, you'll likely see these tossed around (although I don't use them much here):

  • BD = Bio dad or bio daughter, depending on context. (To avoid confusion on my own site, I use BD only in reference to my biological daughter.)

  • BF = Boyfriend

  • BM = Biological mom

  • BP = Biological parent

  • BS = Biological son (also DS)

  • CP = Custodial parent

  • CS = Child support

  • DD = Dear/darling/direct daughter (used instead of BD)

  • DF = Dear/darling fiancé/fiancée

  • DS = Dear/darling/direct son (used instead of BS)

  • DW = Dear/darling wife

  • FH/FW = Future husband/wife

  • GF = Girlfriend

  • MIL/FIL/SIL/BIL = Mother-in-law, father-in-law, etc.

  • NCP = Non-custodial parent

  • OH/SO = Other half/significant other

  • SD = Stepdad or stepdaughter, depending on context (To avoid confusion on my own site, I use SD only in reference to my stepdaughter.)

  • SF = Stepfather

  • SK = Stepkid(s)

  • SM = Stepmom

  • SS = Stepson

  • STBX = Soon-to-be ex

Other notes on stepfamily acronyms

If you see one of the kid abbreviations with a number next to it, like SS7 or BD12, that indicates the kid's age. So SS7 = 7-year-old stepson and BD12 = 12-year-old biological daughter.

Sometimes people will write 'BD' and 'BS' to indicate 'bonus daughter/son' but most online groups discourage this. Just gets too confusing, especially if the original poster ("OP," for anyone looking for yet more acronyms) didn't clarify to begin with.

A word on high conflict co-parenting

The fact that we need an abbreviation strictly for exes who are high-conflict really says it all.

Dealing with a high conflict ex can come in many forms, whether it's eyeroll-worth drama, more serious issues of neglect or abuse, or even parental alienation like withholding visitation and turning the kids against you and your partner.

If you're dealing with a high-conflict custody situation, Bill Eddy is the go-to guy for expertise. Dude started out as a counselor, then realized to truly prevent damage to the kids of high-conflict divorce, he needed to interrupt the abuse cycle much earlier so now he's a lawyer. He offers classes and training on his website and has authored a stack of books on Amazon if you're looking for help.

Any questions? Let me know!