Saw a video about Eva Marcille Sterling and how she has changed her daughter's last name to Sterling so that her entire family has one unified last name.
Here is the video so you can see for yourself.
I want to first say I don't have any children so my opinion is biased in that way but I have been a child. I have seen and observed some things in my life and those around me and what is most prevalent is childhood trauma. A lot of that trauma is caused by parents and environments or people that they allow around their child.
I also don't know Eva or Kevin McCall (her daughter's father) but every time I have seen Eva speak about this man it is the same exact thing. She is resolute in the fact that she DOES NOT fuck with him. He is not involved in her daughter's life nor does she want him to be. I don't know what he is alleged to have done BUT I feel that she has her reasons. Now she has a husband that has taken over as her daughter's father in every shape fashion and form according to her to where Mr.McCall is not present at all. So now comes the difference of last names. Names shouldn't matter but it does...here is my perspective of my life with a blended family.
My half brother and I had different last names. My mother raised us as brother and sister...no half business BUT there was a difference even if we didn't talk about it. I didn't notice it until I went to school and or got older with friends and they started asking questions. I always pre-faced the explanation of my family dynamic by saying that my brother's dad was dead and my mom remarried. I didn't want people to think "badly" of my mom. But my half-brother is 12 years older than me and out of the house as I got older so we didn't have the rivalry that I've heard of other siblings having.
There are many of stories from diverse parent households were it is "us" vs "them". This mentality is usually started from the custodial parent and creates a sort rivalry and indifference whether recognized or not. I've had people discuss their family issues on this with me and it's not healthy. Bottom line is the parents did a piss poor job at integrating and explaining and loving these children and now they are adults with these trauma issues. Yeah its just a last name but its so much more to it than that.
For example... I felt the need to keep explaining all of this about my mom and half brother until l was in my 20's. A friend of mine brought it to my attention as I went through my usual speech of my family dynamic that I perfected from childhood. "You don't have to defend your mother to people. It's none of their business." I felt shame about all of that. Like my family and many others, there are multiple layers to this subject.
I say all that to say that family dynamics traumatize kids in ways we don't realize. We must handle these decisions with care and not forget about the little people that will one day be adults. Having a household where everyone has different names causes separation, explanations, and embarrassment in some situations. "How is that your sister and y'all got different names?"
It happens...and I'm a child of that and have observed the trauma and confusion it causes.
I applaud Eva for doing what she felt was right. I know many won't agree but I'm for the kids. What is right for the child is all I'm about and in this case I think Eva has understood and is preparing herself for possible trauma with her daughter. I applaud any parent for thinking about their child and making sure these situations are done with care. Blending families is more than cute matching t-shirts and photo shoots. Its work and it takes talking and communication and sometimes actions like these.
Childhood trauma is REAL...you or someone you know may be recovering and healing. You could have been harmed by your childhood and as an adult have no explanation for the way you feel or act.
How can we combat childhood trauma as you move on. I have a suggestion. Please think about your kids when you move from relationship to relationship especially one as serious as marriage. Think about how the child fits in and communicate how to deal with touch situations and possibly bullying.
Also, don't just rely on what your child is saying but really pay attention to how they act and what their body language tells you. They may want you to be happy still be having a hard time with the transition themselves.
You are the parent and giving them the least traumatizing life experience possible is your job. Think about that as you navigate dating and blending your family.
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