Should Children Take The Surnames of Absent Fathers?

I was brought up in a culture where children always took the surname of their father, irrespective of whether he played a role in their upbringing or not. So long as he was part of the child’s DNA, he would be given the honour of having that child carry on his family legacy.

I was very much a part of that cycle. My mother is fantastic and played the roles of both mother and father brilliantly. She didn’t have the support from my father from the outset, yet I was given his surname.

When growing up I didn’t take much notice because it was the norm. However, as I grew up I realised I bore the name of someone who didn’t know me. Yes, I saw my father from time to time and occasionally spent time with him, but those times were very few and far between.

If you asked me anything about my father’s family I’d no doubt hesitate in answering, but if I was asked anything about my mother’s family I’d respond with confidence.

I always thought children should be given their father’s surname as that’s the right thing to do, but is it?

I noticed as I got older that many children bore the surname of their mother. This confused the hell out of me as firstly I thought it was wrong based on my belief and secondly I thought, surely you have a father so why deny him the chance to carry on his name?

Is it right for a father, who is absent in their child’s life, to be given the privilege of legacy and inheritance.

Society can really confuse the best of us at times! I can see both arguments, but I do understand reasons why mothers fail to grant the privilege away and there should be no judgment.

It’s not an easy decision, but I put it to you. Should children be given the surname of an absent father?

One Love…..JL Karlz 💋


  1. Karlz

    Hi Dominique. Thanks for your thoughts. It’s good that mothers can make the choice of giving their children their surnames but I totally agree with you in that it could be seen as a way of saying the father won’t be or isn’t a part of the child’s life.

  2. Dominique

    My mom changed my surname from my father’s to her surname when I was young. Her reason is that she wanted me to have the same surname as her (I had a part time father). As a girl child, I’m not sure it made that much of a difference because my name will probably change if I get married. I must admit it was nice having my moms surname (until she married my step-dad) because she was present.

    I see the value in children carrying their mothers names but it’s kind of sad if children are registered at birth because it’s like a self fulfilling prophecy that the parents won’t get married or stay as a unit.


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