Last name borrowed from young moms group

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

So a lady asked if it was disrespectful for a woman to give her children her last name as opposed to the father's. Here's my debate question to add: is it disrespectful or wrong to have your young child (before 14yrs old when they can legally decide themselves) take their stepfather's last name if you remarry.

So ladies is a rose by any other name? When the only tie your child has to their biological father is their lastname is it wrong to get rid of that last connection when they are young and have no say? Would it be wrong to keep your child a Cole when the only family they know are Smiths?


Rachel - posted on 07/09/2011




I can give you an answer from personal experience. My sister and I have My biological fathers last name he is on my sisters birth certificate but not her father. My parents were never married and my father left before I was 2 my mom was with a guy when I was young and I called that guy DAD and still do even though him and my mother also never married. My mother got married to my stepfather who i never felt was my dad when I was 9. He was going to adopt us and even though I was young I told them I did not want to have his last name because i did not feel that kind of connection to him. So I would talk to the children about it no matter how old they are they can atleast let their opinion be known they are going to have to live with the name for the rest of their life.


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Christina - posted on 07/18/2011




Kaleigh, you can have the schools use whatever last name you want, even if it's not the child's legal last name. You put it into that spot that says, "Name your child prefers to be called."
My friend did that with her stepson. His mom pretty much dropped him off with his dad when he was a toddler and didnt come back for so long that they went to court and got custody. The boy has his mom's last name. They just started using his dad's last name for him, and he still uses it as a teenager even though he knows it's not his real last name.

Christina - posted on 07/18/2011




My stepdad adopted me when I was 8 or 9. I chose to take his last name. Judge asked me and everything what I wanted.
I think names are a very personal thing. If a dad is active in his child's life and the mom remarries, then yes, the child should keep it's last name and not take the step-dad's last name, whether that is the bio dad's last name or the mom's maiden name.
My oldest is almost 11yrs old. I never married his dad as I was a minor, so my son got my last name at birth. When I did get married when I was 19 (not to his father) I kept my maiden name for my son. Now, nine years later, I've been divorced and got remarried almost 3mnths ago. This time, I took my husband's last name. Once I did that, his dad and I talked to him, and my son decided to change his last name to his dad's last name.
As for my younger three kids, they want to have my husband's last name. Their dad had his rights taken away by the courts. As a compromise, we are having the schools use our new last name for them instead of their actual last names. In a few years, if they still want it, we will have it changed legally.

Brie - posted on 07/11/2011




yeah but legally adopting is hard even if the dad isn't in the picture... if his name is on the birth certificate then he has to forfeit his rights and he could be an ass and not do it... and it doesn't matter if he is involved or pays child support or not!

[deleted account]

Yep but you can legally adopt without the name change, Nick's already said he wants to adopt Aiden once we're married we just haven't made a concrete decision as to change his name over or not when we do, I think we will though it makes sense.

Amy - posted on 07/11/2011




If the child's old enough to choose, let them. I'm going to be sexist here. If it's a girl, obviously still let her choose, but she'll likely change her last name anyway when she marries, right?

All in all if every single relative they have is a smith, why not be a smith also. I mean, you are family and if bio dad isn't involved, certainly. If he is, maybe let all choose together. I'm not good at this one. sorry. i'd say if the stepfather is going to legally adopt or be a legal guardian - not sure how that works - than yes, but if he's not willing to, keep the old name since he has no real legal tie. Did that make sense?

Brie - posted on 07/10/2011




In my case the only way i would do that is if the dad never had anything to do with the kid and the step dad stepped up and accepted him, loved him, and cared for him like his own.. now if they see each other regularly or whatever then no

[deleted account]

My nephew has my paternal grandmother's maiden name. Yeah I know it's really removed. But my sister wants to protect him from his father (an abusive, manipulative, SOB, that was deported and isn't allowed in the country... ever). So needless to say he doesn't share a name with any of us. My sister does plan on changing her name to match, but doesn't have the money for it.

Last name things can get so overly complicated when the mother doesn't share the last name with the child. My mom had a hell of a time with the school when I was a teen because she changed back to her maiden name. At the same time my two older siblings have always had their father's name and there was never an issue.

Tah - posted on 07/10/2011




Ok..I'm at work so excuse don't think so kaleigh..if my children I had prior to marriage didn't have their fathers in their lives they would have my husbands last name..and he wanted them to...but I guess its a blessing that their fathers see them often and are involved so they have many good male role models in their lives...

Teresa - posted on 07/10/2011




In our state the step father has to adopt the children for the name change to be made and the biological father has to sign off on it. In cases where the bio-father is not available he is given 6 months to respond then the name change can take place.

I think all children should be given a choice if they are capable of making it. I was 11 when my step dad adopted me and my name changed. It was my prodding that caused the adoption. He had raised me since I was 2.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 07/10/2011




I have asked my 8year old would he want my SO last name if we ever got married and he said yes…it was a thoughtful yes.

When he is around other people he calls him Dad, he introduces him as Dad but at home he calls him by his name We never pressured him to call him dad.. he did it all his own when he got comfortable, so he does not mind to have the last name.

I think if they are old enough to understand the question then you should always ask, but if they are too young I think you should go with your gut..change it yourself or wait until they are old enough and ask them what they want

I don’t think it is disrespectful for a child to have another mans last name if he is the one in the Childs life. If the biological father is absent…he is a non Mother F-ing Factor and so there for does not matter.

Barb - posted on 07/10/2011




First off, i want to say, Jane, what a wonderful and understanding man you have. Good for him for being such a good father to his son.

One thing i know, is everything changes in time. My oldest brother has a different dad than the rest of us. When my mom and dad got married, my dad adopted craig and changed his last name. Around age 15 or 16, Dad and Craig got into a huge fight (he beat the crap out of my brother) And Craig never came back for summer visits with Dad again. Now Craig's bio-dads mom was still in the picture and would visit sometimes. Craig garnered a relationship with her and through that, gained one with his bio-dad. About 15 years ago, my brother went through the hassle of having his name changed back to his birth name.

Now granted, he only has daughters, so when they get married they will probably change their name or their children will take on the father's name, thus killing craig's last name. But he just wanted to be disassociated with anything having to do with my father.

As i said, everything changes with time. Rocky isn't the same man now as he was when Jr was born. Neither am i the same woman. Experiences in life change you over time. He was a really horrible shitty person when i left him, but now he's a good Dad, caring, insightful, helpful. Jeff was the only one in our household with a different last name after i married Doug. But then again, his father was involved in his life, unlike Aiden's dad, more like Craig's dad.

I don't think it negatively impacted Jr that his last name was different than ours, it just was what it was. We didn't make a big deal out of it, so therefore it wasn't a big deal.

As far as the Native scholarship thing goes, you can just keep the paperwork showing you changed his last name, it doesn't change the fact that he's still part native. If you decide to change it that is.

Jane - posted on 07/10/2011




At five he can indeed have a valid opinion because he is of an age to go to school and face his peers. They may want to know why he is a Cole and everyone else is a Smith. They may not care. You can certainly influence his opinion one way or the other, and as a parent it would be important that you give him enough information at his level that he can choose.

Besides, if Aiden is available to be adopted by his step-father, then his bio dad has bowed out either on purpose or has been forced out by the courts. Thus, any connection is gone.

We have two adopted kids. Yes, we changed their names when they were adopted, both at less than a year of age. However, they know what their birth names are, and they know they can change back to those if they wish because I have told them. No matter what their names are I raised them and I love them, and that won't change if their names change or don't change.

And is it really a connection if the bio father is not in his life? Are you sure it isn't you that wants that connection and not your son?

[deleted account]

So here's a question what age would you take a child's decision seriously?? If we wait until Aiden is five and ask him he might say yes but I wouldn't think a five year old capable of making any other kind of longterm decision so what age would you take that yes seriously?

Jane - posted on 07/09/2011




My husband's first wife had a son by her second husband. This is the only child the man ever fathered. He had rarely saw his son and left the mom when the son was still very young. He had no input on how my husband and his late wife raised the boy. The only thing he asked is that the boy keep his father's last name because he was the only child in that family of that generation.

So first my husband and his second wife did that, and then when he was widowed and I married him, we did the same. We explained to him why he had a different last name and told him that if he wished to change when he was old enough that was fine with us and we would help him. We also told him that if he chose to keep his dad's name, that was also fine with us. He was very pleased to be consulted, but has chosen to keep his father's last name.

Personally, I think the child should have some input to the decision, even if they are younger than age 14. I would explain both sides of the name choice and let them tell me what they want. To me this is especially the case if the biological father has had little contact with the child.

You know, it takes a man only a few seconds to become a father, but being a parent takes at least 18 years and often many more than that. Sometimes you need to consider who really is the father to the child, the sperm donor or the man who has soothed tears, cheered games, taught math, and loved a child for years.

In any case, if a child is available to be adopted by a step-father, that means the father's rights have been terminated by the courts, either voluntarily or for cause. That means the child can and should be named for the man who raised him/her.

[deleted account]

Okay well for my situation my son is 3 and has a speech delay due to his autism so I'm not really sure how to go about asking him. He calls Nick daddy and he's the only father he's known, I know Nick would be honoured if Aiden chose to be adopted and he respects the role Aiden's bio father has genetically speaking but at the same time he feels like its his responsability to put it on paper (if you can talk the talk...) and he worries Aiden will feel displaced growing up with a different name so do I. His other concern about adopting Aiden is that he doesn't want to ruin Aiden's chances for college funding through Indian affairs which might happen if we change Aiden's name. His biological father isn't involved at all but we both hope one day he smartens up and Aiden can have a relationship with him, not likely but we wouldn't refuse him if he did want to be involved so long as he got his subtance abuse issues, criminal activity and abusive behaviour corrected or at least under control and could be a positive influence in Aiden's life. My fiance and I have been discussing it back and forth for about a year weighing pros and cons of waiting or changing his name when we're married this fall. Our daughter has his last name as well so that would make Aiden the odd man out. Now we don't plan on lying to him but Nick does raise him as his own and with Aiden being so young and not having any memory of his bio dad I don't want to make that later discussion any more complicated than it needs to be, at the same time I don't know how he would react to keeping that association his bio father has a lot of issues and I know from someone elses situation they always had ill feelings being tied to their bio father by their name when he had never known him and it caused them a fair bit of issues.

Nick and I were both adopted, Nick's situation he has a great relationship with his dad none at all with his bio father and he feels like it was a waste of time for him to go so long with a name he despised when he would have rathered his stepfathers name all along. My situation I despise my stepfather but have a relationship with my biological father and the only reason I signed the papers was because I was pushed to by my mother who didn't want me to be the only one not with the same lastname. This is another reason why I'd love to ditch my lastname out of Aidens not just his bio fathers, I hate our lastname and of course its my bias speaking when I say neither my fiance nor I have a positive association with my exs last name, so theres the push factor. Nick's stepfather is an awesome guy and set a great standard, he's half the reason nick is the way he is so we both have good feelings when it comes to his lastname, and theres the pull factor.

So the options are we can leave his name be and let him decide when he's older or we can change it now before he's even known any different and save the conversation until he's old enough to comprehend it. My son's lastname right now is actually hypenated (I know terrible) with mine and his bio fathers, I know someone who chose to keep her maiden name as opposed to changing her childs but I'm old fashioned and I think it would be disrespectful for me not to take my fiance's name and since Aiden's name is already different than my own seems kind of silly. Also a good thing to add would be that I know Aiden's bio father wouldn't care if we changed his last name, with sole custody and a court order stating that he has right to information only with regard to Aiden I don't need his permission (yes checked with my lawyer) but that does give you an idea of the dynamic in this situation.

As it stands we aren't in a rush to decide we're just weighing pros and cons. We just want to make the best decision for Aiden because it isn't about his bio dad's feelings nor my fiance's nor mine its about what's going to be best and easiest on Aiden in the long run.

A little side note here with Aiden being obviously native (nick beth and I are all for arguments sake white), and autistic am I setting him up by keeping his name different as well, I'm all for celebrating diversity but does this cross the line and set him up to feel alone in his own family?

Anyway I just thought this would make a good topic for debate in general. Continue :)

Kellie - posted on 07/09/2011




When I was pregnant my Partner asked me who's last name our daughter would have (we are not married). I looked at him like he was crazy and said your's you idiot. It had never occurred to me to give her my last name.

I must be old fashioned LOL but I believe a child should take the Fathers last name, unless of course there is a reason such as the mother fleeing an abusive relationship or the Father will not in anyway be in the child's life. But that's me, what last name you give your child really isn't my concern. I don't think it's disrespectful to give a child the Mother's last name, it's just not a decision I would make.

As for adopting a Step Parents last name, that would depend on the circumstances. Is the Bio Dad still in the picture? If he is then IMO yes it would be disrespectful to their relationship link. If the Father was out of the picture never to be in it, then no I don't believe taking the Step Parents last name is disrespectful.

But with all that said, in regards to adopting a Step Patents last name why can't the child be asked? Kids aren't idiots and you can, in most cases, child proof a question so that they can understand whats being asked.

Failing all that, do as you choose at the time, names can always be changed in the future by the owner of said name.

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