Parenting Secrets with Dr. Michele Borba: The Surname Game

One of the biggest parenting dilemmas used to be choosing our kids' first names. We'd spend hours leafing through those thick baby books trying to find just the perfect one to fit our little one. These days that "Name Game" is far more complicated: many parents struggle with choosing the first and last name for their child. And that's because of the dramatic change in the concept of family.

More than half of all children will live in a single parent family at some point in their childhood. Many parents will remarry, and those vows often bring new members to the family (translation: your spouse's kids). But there are other family configurations as well: step families, blended families, adoption, same-sex parents, foster parents, single parents, moms using career names; divorced moms reverting to maiden names, and grandparents raising the kids. Those family tree school projects we did back in grade school sure would be a lot more complicated for some kids these days. "The Name Game Dilemma" has become so common, that the Today show asked me to offer parents advice on a recent segment.

If you are in this situation -- or about to be -- here are a few parenting secrets to help you make the best name choice for your child:

Think ahead. Remember, your child will probably carry that name at least until the age of eighteen (at which time he may choose to legally change it). So fast-forward to those school years and and think through any possible complications that might result from your name decision. Then choose what is best for your child both now and later.

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