Kids' Surnames a Dilemma for Hyphenated Parents

Does baby get 4 last names?
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 27, 2011 1:45 PM CST
Parents with hyphenated last names face a quandary when naming their kids.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If you’re Smith-Jones and your husband is Johnson-Miller, do you give your baby four last names? Growing up, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow often faced similar questions, she writes in the New York Times. Her parents were of a generation that sought to emphasize gender equality by hyphenating their kids’ last names; now those hyphenated children are having kids themselves, and wrestling with surnames for their own children. “Reproducing while hyphenated brings inevitable quandaries,” Tuhus-Dubrow notes.

She sought out fellow hyphen-bearers to see how they addressed the problem. Some simply went traditional, giving their children the father’s last name. “It was the best of bad options,” says one mom. Others did the opposite, passing the mother’s name on to the children. Still others combined their names, so that Stubbs-Dame and Jeyapalan became Jeyadame. “What did our parents expect us to do when we reached this stage of our lives?” Tuhus-Dubrow wonders. As one parent explains, "We figured that was your problem."

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