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Are Your Kids Close to Your Cousin? Deciphering the Family Dynamics

When it comes to family relationships, nothing is as convoluted as the connection between your children and your cousin. If you’ve been wondering about what is the relation between my kids and my cousin, this article is here to clarify things.

We will talk about 1st cousin, 2nd cousin, 3rd cousin, fourth cousin and any other cousin relationship you might think of.

The Basics

Let’s start with the fundamentals. The offspring of your cousin are technically known as your “first cousins once removed.” However, they are often incorrectly referred to as your second cousins.

What is a “First Cousin Once Removed”?

The term “once removed” signifies generational separation. Therefore, your cousin’s child is one generation away from you, making them your first cousins “once removed.”

What are “Second Cousins”?

So, if your cousin’s child is not your 2nd cousin, then who are your second cousins? The answer is simple: your children and your cousin’s children are second cousins to each other. This is because they share the same set of great grandparents.

Understanding Generations in Family Relationships

To make it easier to understand, imagine family relations like a layer cake. Each layer represents a generation. The children of siblings make up the first layer, forming a group of first cousins. Their children form the second layer, becoming second cousin to each other.

The term “removed” comes into play when you move between these layers. If you’re one layer or generation away, you’re “once removed,” and if you’re two layers away, you’re “twice removed.” Therefore, your cousin’s child, who is in a different generation from you, is your 1st cousin “once removed.”

What about the Children of Your First Cousin Once Removed?

Now, if you’re wondering about the relationship between you and the child of your first cousin once removed, you need to move two layers on the cake. This makes them your first cousin twice removed!

What are double cousins?

Double cousins are individuals who share a family relationship through both sides of their family, specifically through two sets of siblings. This occurs when two siblings from one family marry two siblings from another family, resulting in their children having a genetic relationship that is similar to that of half-siblings.

Here’s a simplified example to illustrate double cousins:

  • Family A: Two siblings, John and Mary, get married to two siblings from Family B.
  • John and his spouse from Family B have children (let’s call them Child X).
  • Mary and her spouse from Family B have children (let’s call them Child Y).

In this scenario, Child X and Child Y are double cousins because they share both sets of grandparents. They have a higher degree of genetic relatedness than typical first cousins, who share only one set of grandparents.

Double cousins can have unique family dynamics and genetic similarities due to their shared family connections on both sides of their family tree. This phenomenon is relatively rare and occurs when siblings from two different families decide to marry each other.

Relationship Charts

To better visualize these family relations, consider examining a family relationship layer chart. This type of chart clearly illustrates the different generations and how they relate to each other.

Navigating the Generation Gap

When it comes to cousins, it may feel strange to refer to someone much younger than you as a “first cousin once removed,” especially when you’ve been informally addressing your actual first cousin as “Hey, cuz.” However, this is the correct term to use according to genealogical standards.

Test Your Knowledge

Do you think you’ve mastered the cousin relationships? If so, answer this: who would be your second cousin once removed?

The Social Aspect of Cousins Relationships

While these are the correct terms to use when referring to these relationships, many families choose to adopt their own names based on family tradition or convenience. This is why you might hear someone refer to their first cousin once removed as “Aunt Sally.” It’s not about age, but about generational layers.

Some people are very close to their cousins and consider them more like siblings. In this case, it wouldn’t seem strange to refer to their children as your niece or nephew. However, if you’re not that close to your cousins, it might feel odd to call their children by a term generally reserved for your sibling’s children.


Understanding what is the relation between my kids and my cousin can be quite a challenge, but it’s important for keeping track of family ties. Remember, it’s not about age or distance, but about generations and shared ancestors. And while it’s crucial to know the correct terms, it’s equally important to respect the names that each family feels comfortable using. After all, family is about love and connections, not just technicalities.



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