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to stand by Ds wanting to change his name?

(305 Posts)
poxyfoxy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:13:15

Ds is seven, his father and I seperated when he was just a couple of months old. I met my now husband when he was 18 months old, and he now has two brothers. He sees his dad evey other weekend.

DS has his fathers surname, but for the last year he has wanted my surname (the same as my husbands and his brothers), he just started to write it at school and at home. As a compromise I suggested that he use both names, and we approached his Dad to make sure he was happy with it. He's not, and will entertain no conversation about it.

I don't know what to do now, seems so unfair sad

AThingInYourLife Wed 20-Mar-13 12:56:45

"if I was his Dad I would be devastated with my child having the name of a man that my ex happened to meet and marry who has nothing whatsoever to do with me."

It's amazing the importance men's feelings are given in these matters while the child's mother is just expected not to be remotely bothered that none if the children she bears will ever have her name.

The child wants his name to reflect both of his families.

That's what is important here, not the "devastation" of a man who is bloody lucky the child has his name at all.

Astley Wed 20-Mar-13 12:57:59

She doesn't have her name! She has changed her name to her new husbands!

akaemmafrost Wed 20-Mar-13 13:00:19

Personally athing I agree that everyone should keep their own name when they marry and in ideal world children's names would be double barrelled --sniggers at the horrifying combinations that could ensue>> but that's NOT how it is and I was answering the OP on that basis.

WorraLiberty Wed 20-Mar-13 13:01:31

Why is a 7yr old paying so much thought to his surname? confused

Surely to him it's just the name he's always had and there are other things to be thinking about?

akaemmafrost Wed 20-Mar-13 13:02:09

And as astley said his mother STILL isn't represented in this scenario is she? So this child has a double-barrelled name representing his father and step father and mother still nowhere to be found.

valiumredhead Wed 20-Mar-13 13:02:22

Why is he 'bloody lucky the child has his name at all?' confused

valiumredhead Wed 20-Mar-13 13:03:13

I agree worra and I would investigate further why this is such a big deal for a 7 year old.

Wibblytummy Wed 20-Mar-13 13:04:31

Not much help but I know of a few examples of this going wrong. My DH name changed in his youth to his step father's name, he wanted to match his mum and new baby brother and his own dad at that point was uninvolved in his life. That marriage later broke down and his mum went back to her maiden name. My poor DH felt confused and a bit lost and eventually chose to go back to his original surname from his own father. The exact same has happened to my cousin who name changed to match her stepfather and her new siblings. 10yrs later the stepfather uptook gambling and up and left, she eventually name changed to her mother's maiden name. It's a tough choice but I think if your DS's father is still actively involved in his son's life and upbringing, he has ever right to say no.

akaemmafrost Wed 20-Mar-13 13:04:59

And then what happens when all these double barrelled children start marrying grin? How will their kids be named? I didn't think this through.

Best as another poster said. Everyone keeps their own names and children can be named after one or other of the parents.

halesball Wed 20-Mar-13 13:05:29

No-one said mothers feelings have no importance and that the fathers feelings have more importance. But if the situation was reversed and the DS lived with his dad, how devastated would the mum be if DS wanted to change his name to reflect his dads possible new partners name? Like i've said in my last post i would guess that they had a conversation about names before DS was born and chose to give him the name he's got now.

I agree with the other poster who said that if DS feels that strongly about it, he can change it by himself when he's 16.

LittleEdie Wed 20-Mar-13 13:06:48

Ae you sure it's not you wants him to change it?

AThingInYourLife Wed 20-Mar-13 13:07:46

"Why is he 'bloody lucky the child has his name at all?' "

Because he lives in a society where it is assumed that children will bear their father's name and not their mother's.

This assumption has even recently extended to unmarried women who are made to believe that they should give their children a name they can't share.

The OP thought (wrongly) that she had no choice but to give her child her boyfriend's name, rather than her own.

That's why he's lucky.

At least his name is part of his child's name. As far as naming goes his mother is invisible.

TroublesomeEx Wed 20-Mar-13 13:09:11

Astley My son's father cheated on me when I was 8 months pregnant and then kicked me out with only the clothes on my back. When DS was born, I sent him the form he could complete to have his details on DS's birth certificate and be legally recognised as the father. He didn't return them and, other than one phone call asking me for money, we haven't heard from him since.

I have known my stbxh since school, we got together when my DS was 15 months old and married 5 years ago. My husband didn't adopt him because the LA told me I'd have to get permission from his biological father for this to happen and that quite often that causes more trouble than it's worth! so we didn't bother. But when we married, our daughter had her birth certificate reissued in our new family name and my son chose to change his name by deed poll.

We have now split up - he also cheated on me so I kicked him out - and there will be no reconciliation. But he is still the children's dad. He pays maintenance for both children, he treats them equally, he has contact with them both - together and individually. He is my son's 'dad'. And (whatever I think of what he has done over the last 12 months) he has earned the right to that label.

The children will never have another 'dad'. They will never call anyone else I ever date by anything other than their name.

Your issue is one about mothers introducing a series of dads than it is about a step parent adopting or a child taking a new surname.

FWIW, in the OP's case, I can see why your son might want to change his name, but I'm not sure he should - even to add it on. I would be incredibly hurt if I were his father and I can fully understand why he has said no.

TroublesomeEx Wed 20-Mar-13 13:10:31

Oh both children had my surname until I married and then they kept the same name as me.

Should I ever get married again, I wouldn't take on another name. I'll keep the one I've got.

Astley Wed 20-Mar-13 13:10:37

She is invisible because she has chosen to take on another mans name. So her son wants to be the same as everyone else. She could have kept her name and then he probably wouldn't feel so left out and secondly might have chosen to double barrel with her name.

AThingInYourLife Wed 20-Mar-13 13:12:39

As to why a child might think about his name? hmm

FFS kids are smart, they think about stuff

My cousin decided to change her name to her mother's at around that age.

My aunt was a bit perplexed, but to her daughter's 7 year old mind it made sense for the girls in the family to have the same name and the boys another.

Luckily her Dad wasn't a spoilt twat who needed to mark his child with his name until another man claimed her.

50BalesOfHay Wed 20-Mar-13 13:13:35

I think the test for this is to ask yourself, 'if his father had a wife, who kept her own name, would I be happy for my child to have her name added'. If the answer's no then don't do it. Just be firm with your 7 year old that his name is the one he was given by his parents.

MarianneM Wed 20-Mar-13 13:18:20


Your DS's father is - massively.

Why are people so bothered about such things?

I understand your DS. I did this when I was a child - changed my name to my stepfather's (and mother's). No-one made any problems.

AThingInYourLife Wed 20-Mar-13 13:19:11

'if his father had a wife, who kept her own name, would I be happy for my child to have her name added'

No, that's not the same.

The same would be

If my son had been given only my surname at birth, and later his father married and changed his name to his wife's, and had two more children with that name.

Would I tell my child that he was not allowed to add the name of his other family to his existing name?

50BalesOfHay Wed 20-Mar-13 13:25:07

OK, that way round then, AThing. The principle's the same, you have to ask yourself how you'd feel about it.

Latara Wed 20-Mar-13 13:31:07

YABU; he's only 7 so this could be a passing fad which will cause unnecessary anguish to his birth father.

I would just be firm & say no, he can't change his name then explain why.

Btw - I think children should take their mother's surname if unmarried; & i disagree with women name changing on marriage - but i'm a feminist & that's just my view.

It's too late for that in your case; it obviously means a lot to his father & that's why i'm saying YABU.

fluffyraggies Wed 20-Mar-13 13:31:34

Yes, children do think about this sort of thing. Especially at the OPs DSs sort of age - when they start to think about 'fairness' and 'rightness', and wanting to fit in.

It's a mine field, changing names to match step parents. I have a different name to my DCs. When i divorced their father and returned to my maiden name my youngest DD asked if she could change too. I gently explained that my name did not affect the fact that i'm her mum, and that her name at birth is her name to keep for as long as she wants it. She was ok with this.

I've re married now and changed my name again. I'm glad the DCs are happy with my ex's name. It has no bad feeling connected with it for them the way it has for me.

FryOneFatManic Wed 20-Mar-13 13:45:21

I don't agree that the father's feelings must override the DS's feeling about the name.

Just because he is the bio father doesn't mean he is the only man who can love that child.

After all, by that logic someone who actually adopts a child wouldn't be able to change their name.

To me, a name is just a way of identifying yourself. I get perplexed by the number of people who go on about wanting the same name as the family, etc.

My DCs have their father's surname, yes, but we did discuss it beforehand, and had some valid, if sad, reasons for this. I do not intend to ever change my name. (The sheer hassle of changing address when we moved house was enough to put me off changing the name, even if I wanted to, as it's sure to be worse).

Kendodd Wed 20-Mar-13 13:48:31

What a mine field last names can be.

If you could go back in time my advice to you (and all women) would be- never change your name for a man. If you have children with a man you are married to or in a relationship with, double barrel the children's names. Never change them, the children have a right to both parents names and it's up to them to change them if they want when they're adults.

My cousin has had about five different last names and her two children have had four during they're childhood. Both children (now adults) have gone back to they're birth names. Madness.

I await my flaming.

FryOneFatManic Wed 20-Mar-13 13:51:48

No flaming from me. Even my mum, at the age of 69, has recently said if she had her time over again, she'd not change her name.

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