Joe Boughner: The Naked Dad


My Kid Wants a New Name & It's Giving ME An Identity Crisis

It's Okay She wants it changed but also sort of isn't

Note: For the purposes of this article, my daughter’s name is Rebecca. It isn’t, really, but we’ve tended to stay away from using her real name online and Rebecca is a reasonably suitable alternative for the issue at hand.
“She’s such a Becky.”
There’s something about my kid and that name that just seems to click. People meet her and agree that, yes, Becky is somehow the most appropriate possible name for her. The kid has three given names and a last name but it’s this playful derivation from one of those given names that just fits.
She exudes Becky. She is Becky. 
Except one day she wasn’t anymore.
“I think I’d like to be called Rebecca now.”
Now, Amy and I have always tried to encourage my daughter’s independent streak. We want her to foster her own sense of identity and to be comfortable in her skin. When she wanted to grow her hair long like Auntie Meaghan, we encouraged her to grow her hair long like Auntie Meaghan.
When she wanted to wear the brightest and most clashing outfit in her closet, we encouraged her to wear the brightest and most clashing outfit in her closet.
But Rebecca? Who the heck the is Rebecca?
“Do you think this is just a phase?” I asked my wife.
“Maybe?” she offered, unconvincingly.
But here we are, more than a month later, and Rebecca she remains. She asked us to inform her teacher in the early days of the transition but otherwise it’s been Rebecca who has broken the news to friends and family alike.
And her resolve hasn’t wavered in the face of resistance or frequent slip ups.  “I think you meant Rebecca,” she’ll say patiently when one of us calls her Becky.
“Sorry kiddo.”
“It’s ok, Daddy; I know you’re still learning.”
“I’m just used to my special, funny, smart and confident Becky, kid.”
“Don’t worry Daddy, I’m still the same person.”
Sense of identity: Check.