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Parents Give Twins Different Last Names

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Twins have enough in common. Do they really need the same last name?


Single Mom Seeking: I was recently chatting with a pregnant mom who just found out that she's having twins.

Like any other couple, she and her husband have been talking every night about names. But it's not what you think.

You see, this mom-to-be kept her maiden name when she got married. "I like my name better than his," she explains. "Mine is really easy to spell -- a strong English name -- but his is one of those butchered-on-Ellis Island last names that you have to spell every time you say it."

Which led this couple to discuss: whose last name should their twins have?

Here's what they came up with:

"We'll give one child my last name and the other child his."

"I think this is a great compromise," she says. "But I worry about the backlash from our traditional families. Have any of you done this?"

This got me doing a bit of research. A number of mothers chatting in online twin forums seem to hold the same viewpoint: don't give your twins different surnames.

Why? These moms say that twins have an especially close relationship, and giving them different last names could jeopardize this.

I did chat with one dad who said that he doesn't have twins, but he and his wife gave their kids two different last names. His daughter got his wife's surname, and his son got his. "Everyone was happy with the compromise," he says.

Have you ever heard of this? One kid getting Mom's last name, and the other getting Dad's?

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61 comments so far | Post a comment now
Trigeia Twin August 20, 2009, 7:59 PM

As a Twin we will have to say that that is not a good idea! Their is alot in a name and your Twins are not just two kids they are twins and you should treat them that way. Your twins are very special… Here is your first vote, Its a Twin vote and we vote for you to have them with the same last names


Jamie August 21, 2009, 8:28 AM

Twins don’t naturally have a “special relationship” My bro & sis are twins and aren’t close at all - everyone thought my sis and I were the twins because we’re so close. My husband is a twin and is very very close w/his twin. My aunts are twins and they aren’t that close. It’s depends, like any siblings, on how they are raised. SO I don’t think its a twin thing, but a sibling thing and I would think it was strange to have sisters and brothers with different last names unless they were step-siblings.

Natalie August 21, 2009, 9:49 PM

Why can’t they just hyphenate the last name? I think it’s strange to give twins different last names. Plus it’ll be more confusing for them growing up. Families are supposed to be a blend of everything, not one getting one name, and the other getting a different name. And to explain to their friends that their twin has a completely different last name? Those kids will get made fun of so badly.

Anonymous August 23, 2009, 11:29 PM

seriously, what an asinine concept!
there are so many siblings in my region who WISH they had the same last names but because of different parentage they don’t and this person is willing to cause confusion just for “kicks” It seems selfish to me.
Keeping your maiden name after marriage is a personal decision, Im traditional so I don’t get the whys, but still their decision.. the kids however, name them after the dad…… or mom.. but for goodness sake.. keep it the same

haha at least its funny

Bridget August 24, 2009, 4:15 PM

I don’t mean to sound naive but I have no idea why everyone is so sure that these twins will be made fun of. Children learn from their parents. Assuming that parents, including the ones on this board, are mature and sensitive about the situation then there’s no reason that kids will think anything of it. A problem will only show up if the parents of the twins’ classmates and friends are rude and judgmental about the decision. None of us plan to be that way around our children, right?

MM September 19, 2009, 11:42 AM

Go for it. I think it’s a great way to honor both parents.

Christine December 19, 2009, 3:41 PM

As a now 39 year old idential twin i think this is a fantastic idea! the bond is strong by nature and to think simply having a different name would distroy the bond is laughably absurd. the problems created by people who are insistant that twins must be exacts are disturbing to most of us. we are individuals who spend most of our lives trying to be seem as separates. dont worry about our bond, i promise its stronger than our last names.

gloria December 27, 2009, 10:52 AM

As parents who each kept our own names, we have two children with different names. We didn’t match by sex, as others we’ve heard about have done, we used my name last to have the anti-patriarchal gesture come first. Our first child has my name, our second child has my partner’s name. And while they are not twins, suggesting that they are somehow not as close b/c they have the last names is ridiculous. Do spouses who have different names have a relationship that is not as strong? (I’m sure, sadly, some would say yes.) And we do considering this blending - our household is made up of both names.
And while my name is my father’s and grandfather’s, for one of my kids they are passing down something from their mother.

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