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Why Do I Feel Rejected By My Son Wanting To Use His Father's Last Name?

I am an unmarried mother of one, my son is now at an age where he can apply for an ID card and he's brought up the topic of wanting to use his father's last name. I don't know why this feels like rejection but I got emotional about it and still don't quite know how to handle it.

Just the other day he was a baby, I was changing his nappies and have been with him for every single day of his life yet today he's this tall man who's telling me he wants to take on his dad's surname. My first thought was why? What's wrong with my surname?! Did his father tell him to say this?! It brought down a rush of sadness.

I know I should be mature about this, look at this from his perspective (which I just can't do right now), whatever it is but I am honestly struggling to bring myself to this level of calm and maturity. The reason he gave is that he wants to have the same surname as his siblings.

And yes I know our culture (or is it tradition? I get confused) says - if a father has paid damages then the child may take on his surname kodwa isn't it more normal when it happens when he's a baby rather than now? Is there a traditionalists who can explain the importance of doing this? I know a few people who have changed surnames in their 30s but I never asked, though I assumed, it had to do with connecting with their fathers or mothers.

I don't know how to handle this...and am not sure who to ask so if your guidance would assist.



2 comments on “Why Do I Feel Rejected By My Son Wanting To Use His Father's Last Name?”

  1. ill speak from experience - my late father didn't pay for damages when he knocked up my mom with me and wasn't there during my childhood days whilst my mother raised me however it was only when I was about to do Std 6 now grade 8 that I asked that there be a search for my father. I immediately stayed with him and at some point , he brought the subject of changing my surname to his but my maternal family didn't agree though I was excited at the idea of having his surname - remember , i was just a kid so it kind of sounded cool. Fast forward , I got to know my dad and didn't like that he didn't feel like he owed me answers for his absence and when the subject was brought up again. I declined and said I loved my surname and therefore it should remain as is.

    My point is - you don't really have control over this. If this is what he wants - then let him do it. I don't think it's rejection at all - it may only be rejection when you try to convince him otherwise cause he might feel he has to choose a side and I'm certain that's not what you want. For me , the fact that my maternal family didn't agree wasn't going to stand in my way and I'm grateful that they delayed the process cause perhaps I would've regretted my decision at a later stage. I now only have my dad's surname on my wrist in a form of a tattoo. Otherwise , i hope you get better

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