Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

Can I change my boys’ names at 10 years old?

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Hi Grandma Maggie,

Is it ok to change the names of my sons who are 10 and 11? I recently got married to a man who is not their biological father and has been in my kids’ lives for 8 years now — they call him dad. He plans on adopting them next year. Their bio father is not in our lives and never has been. My 10 year old’s name is Timothy David and my 11 year old is Kaleb Christopher. David came from my adopted father who no longer talks to me. It’s been 6 years. Timothy came from my adoptive mother who also no longer talks to me. Kaleb Christopher came from mostly me but was named when I was still with their father who was abusive. I want no part of this past so I was wondering if it would be ok to name the kids as my husband and I would like them to be.

Thanks,

Shaune

Dear Shaune,

One’s name is one of the most important parts of one’s identity. To rename your sons now will give them a certain message that you disapprove of a part of them. I am very much against it. Even though you expect to be with this man forever, the reality is things may not work out as planned. What do you do then, give them new names so that you are not reminded of this man? You are an adult and must deal with the facts of your life and theirs. I am sure when you were with their bio father, there was still joy in having these boys. That doesn’t change, so think of that when you look at them and call them by name, and not how miserable you were. In addition, I would like to caution you that you might need to have the boys’ biological father sign off on his rights to his sons, before they can be adopted.

GM