Who has the legal right when it comes to naming babies? Mother, Dad or both??


I remember picking names like Keith, Ava, Aracelli and Carmen as dream names for my unborn babies, only to be hit in the face when I was much older that the husband picked the baby names.

A Ghanaian mother and her son
Photography : @sorce_photography

You can imagine how I felt when my partner said he wanted just local names for our babies, I just could not believe he felt my input was not needed.

First of all, who made this rule and secondly, can men understand that picking a name is a reward for carrying these gifts?  

Different countries, tribes and religion have specific rules about how children are named.

In Ghana, the father usually picks the name for the child together with his surname.

However times and emotions have changed this old narrative, couples decide together to pick names for their children with the mothers ultimately finally choosing the name with the child carrying the father’s surname as required by tradition.

No one wants a child with a name they hate, prior to marriages, name choices are often discussed by the soon to wed, with some couples choosing who will pick the first name and who the middle name if either of the couples does not like a name, it has to be changed.

 Some partners have argued about their distaste for foreign names and have decided to give complete local names to their children. (With their sudden Sankara spirit for a taste of local goods only). 

Credit: Babies By Bazaal

When the father of the child is stuck on naming his children without the wife’s input, resentment is sometimes generated. Why should the woman go through the stress of carrying a baby and experiencing all the woes that come with motherhood and be prevented from picking a name for her baby because her partner wants a particular name for the kid? 

Now my question is, what does the law in our country say (I really could use a response)? 

Is the father of the child having sole authority to name the child without input from the mother?

Why do most husbands feel child naming is a task just for them? Why does tradition prevent the mother from naming her child?

Who does the staff in the hospital ask for a child’s name? Following the tradition in Ghana, the father picks the name, legally, who has the right to?

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are the views of the contributor and do not reflect the views of the organization



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