Thursday, 27 December 2018

When A Child Wants To Choose Their Own Identity

A Couple of weeks ago, Tilly came to me and asked if I could call her Matilda from now on. Matilda is her given name at birth and we shortened it to Tilly because it suited her better as a baby. Matilda was a name that she could grow into. I gave all of my kids longer names that they could shorten and they then had the choice of names that they liked. Kim is Kimberley, Zach is Zachary, Beth is Bethany and Tilly is Matilda. These days, Kim prefers to be called Kimberley by her friends. Zach is always called Zach, I believe his passport says Zach too! Beth is still Beth but now Tilly is becoming Matilda. It's such a grown-up name for her and it really does suit her these days. 

The reason that I gave the kids names they could shorten was because as I was growing up, I was never allowed to be called 'Vicky'. I had to be called 'Victoria'. If my friends shortened it, they were soon corrected by my mother.  Luckily I went to boarding school so I could have the identity that I wanted. I grew up hating my own name, so when I had my own kids, I wanted to make them comfortable with who they were, I wanted them to be who they wanted to be.  

When she asked to be called Matilda, I thought of all the money I had spent rebranding the blog from Being Tilly's Mummy to Miss Tilly And Me, now here she was saying that she didn't want to be called Tilly. It's also not so easy, calling her Matilda after nearly 9 years of being called Tilly. 

I have always encouraged her to be who she wants to be, to express herself and I am happy that she has felt she could come to me and feel comfortable enough to decide she wanted to have a different name than what I called her. Children should be allowed to choose their own identity, whether its a change of name or gender, what their sexuality is. A child is never too young to make choices for their future and It's sure a sign of her becoming a young lady, she is such a lovely little girl and I am so proud that I have her by my side.

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