• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Ask Ashlee: Parental perspectives on name changes

Dear Ask Ashlee,

I am a single mother of a 16-year-old son whose father is the typical run of the mill, no good, lazy, not present, failure of a parent. I’m not bitter or anything like that about it, it’s just the truth and has been for quite some time. Anywho, like I said, my son is a teenager now and we have had this conversation of “a last name change” before when he was younger. At the time I brushed it off, honestly because I didn’t want to be accused of filling his head with negative ideas regarding his dad. Now that he is older and can see the kind of man [his dad is] himself, the conversation has come back to me again. I asked him why he wanted his last name changed, and he simply stated that he just didn’t want to be tied to him anymore. Will I be in the wrong for supporting this?

His Only Parent

Dear His Only Parent,

So, here’s the thing, you can probably put your mind at ease by simply removing your fear of judgment and changing your perspective. First thing is first, your son is 16 years old, which means for 16 years you have been the parent that is present, and dad has been the parent that is not. So even if he does try to create the narrative of “your mom filled your head with negative things about me”, the reality is, had he been present, he would be able to set that record straight a long time ago. That is his cross to bear, not yours. Now, I want you to change your perspective and help your son realize his. The request for a last name change isn’t about disconnecting any ties from him as much as it is about being 100% tied to you. You are his mother and the one that has been there for him, so why not have your last name and continue on the family name in which he is the most connected too? He’s 16, he understands his ask, and if he doesn’t, your job as mom is to help guide him so that he can make informed decisions for himself, now and in the future. I hope this helps!

Love & Light,


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