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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hello, I would like to know the affects of changing my kids

This answer was rated:

Hello,

I would like to know the affects of changing my kids (11yo and 7 yo) surname post divorce which is just going through now.

My ex has suggested that she would like to hyphonate their name with her maiden name and my surname. So the kids will go from just 'Bloggs' to 'Smith-Bloggs'.

I understand her desire, but am more concerned for the kids well being that the name change will have an affect on their own view of their own identities.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your question

Dr. Z :

I definitely understand your concern regarding changing your children's surnames, and as I read the question it would be changing your children's surnames to include both your surname (which is what they have at this point) and add your ex's maiden name

Dr. Z :

May I ask when did you and your ex officially end the relationship?

Customer:

H Dr Z,

Dr. Z :

Hello :)

Customer:

yes,you are correct in your assumption. we have been separated for approx 2 yrs now.

Dr. Z :

And do your children make any comments or have any desires for you and your ex to get back together?

Customer:

no, they haven't expressed this... though id assume it would be every kids fantasy that this happens. My ex said she has spoken to the kids about changing their names, and shesaid they agree, but i think they are just telling her what they think she wants to hear.

Dr. Z :

It is possible that the children may want to just tell her what she wants to hear. Many children seek to please their parents. I think it is possible that the children will feel a little sad about this because then the fact of the separation being permanent will be a reality to them. But in the long run, it will not effect their identities much and actually can help make them feel closer to both parents now because they share the names of both parents. I think this was also a plan for your ex to feel close to her children because her plan was to go back to her maiden name and she wanted to still hold onto that identity of shared last names with them too.

Dr. Z :

The hyphenation will allow for the children to still identify with their mother even in the this way of shared last names, but ultimately this will not effect their identity in a negative way.

Dr. Z :

This is still a relatively new practice, so it has not been extensively studied, but has shown positive results in preliminary family studies.

Customer:

OK, yes thats good news. Yes, the kids will see this as a definete move to us being separated, though I think they have come to realise that. I may perhaps agree to the name change on the proviso that we put the kids through to councelling first to ensure they are coping with the separation/divorce in general.

Dr. Z :

It also helps children feel a common bond with both parents by sharing both of your last names and makes the separation easier in the long run

Dr. Z :

I think that is good for them to go to counseling to help them process this change, but I would not worry too much about this, I think this will be a positive thing for your children.

Customer:

Thanks for your advice... very helpful to get another opinion.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer:

I'm introducing them to my new partner this weekend (I've been with her for almost a year now)... I chat to the kids about her every now and then. The plan is to meet at a park for a kick of the ball... nothing to serious or formal. Any basic tips?

Dr. Z :

Well that is really good that you have been chatting with them about her and also are meeting in a public space, for an activity like kicking the ball. There are no firm rules here, but basically you want to go slow with introducing her, and not to push her on your children too much. Undoubtedly one or both of your children will bring up their mother, but do not let that shake you or your new partner. I think if you keep it low-key with no serious expectations as this is the first meeting it will go well. Besides they have to slowly get used to her over time. If you know that your partner has a shared interest with one of your children, you can bring that up to build rapport. But so far it sounds like you are going in the right direction with this.

Customer:

Excellent - thanks again for your advice.... I could chat to you all day, but I know you have other poss to attend to and earn your $$. I'll give you an excellent rating. Cheers

Dr. Z :

Thank you very much, I am very happy to help you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Dr. Z :

Best of luck to you :)

Customer:

thanks... see ya.

Dr. Z :

You are most welcome

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