All About Name Changes

Parenting Tips for Supporting your Child’s Identity Journey

In today’s society, a fluid identity is becoming more understood and accepted. Especially in the adolescent stages of development, children are beginning to explore who they are outside of what they’ve always been told. And with this discovery often follows a desire to change their name.

While this choice can be unexpected and even challenging for many parents, it is essential to approach it with empathy, understanding, and a willingness to embrace change. As a parent, you play a crucial role in your children’s lives and seeking to support a decision you may not understand is a big step in building connection with your child:

So why might your child want to change their name?

One common reason children may want to change their names is related to their gender identity. As individuals become more aware of their authentic selves, they may realize that the name assigned to them at birth does not align with their gender identity. In such cases, choosing a name that reflects their true self can be a powerful step towards self-acceptance and happiness.

Children may also choose to change their names to embrace or reconnect with their cultural heritage. This decision can arise from a desire to honor their ancestry, celebrate their roots, or connect with a specific community or culture. By changing their name, children can develop a stronger sense of identity and build a deeper connection to their cultural background.

Sometimes, children may feel that their current name does not fully represent their personality, interests, or aspirations. They might want a name that better reflects their individuality or reflects a change in their life journey. By choosing a new name, children can express themselves authentically and confidently.

So how do you support your child? 

First, it’s important to create a safe and open environment for your child to express their feelings and desires. Encourage honest conversations and active listening, allowing them to share their thoughts and concerns openly. Be attentive and validate their emotions, emphasizing that their happiness and well-being are important to you.

Demonstrate respect for your child’s decision by using their preferred name and pronouns. Show acceptance and understanding, even if it takes time for you to adjust. Remember, supporting your child in their journey towards self-discovery and self-expression is a testament to your unwavering love and commitment.

Consider consulting with professionals who specialize in identity and gender-related matters. Therapists, counselors, or support groups can provide valuable insights, guidance, and support for both you and your child during this process of change and self-discovery. Whether this name change is temporary or permanent, professionals can help you and your child navigate next steps.

It’s a parent’s role to support and love their child unconditionally. When children express their desire to change their names, it’s an opportunity to show your unwavering support and acceptance. By fostering open communication, respecting their choices, and providing practical assistance, you can empower our children to embrace their true selves and embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Remember, your support today will shape a future where your child feels truly seen, heard, and loved for who they are. If you’re struggling with changes in your child’s life, please connect with a member of Decade2Connect today!

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!