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by Abigail Van Buren

Relatives Refuse To Acknowledge Family Members' Hyphenated Names

DEAR ABBY: Our two children (ages 4 and 1 year) have hyphenated last names. It works well and the names sound elegant together.

My husband and I have made this known in the family and have discussed it when asked about it by various family members. However, over the last four years our choice has been ignored by two relatives from separate sides of our family. They persist in using only my husband's last name for correspondence and gifts. He has suggested returning the mail as "addressee unknown," which I think might come across as rude.

Is there any way of having our children addressed correctly by relatives who seem to want to ignore their real names? -- NEW YORK MOMMY

DEAR MOMMY: Before doing it your husband's way, try this: Have another chat with the non-compliant relatives, who may come from a different generation. Explain that you gave your children hyphenated last names for a reason -- that you want to be equally represented -- and the omission of "your" name hurts your feelings. If that doesn't work, then go back to plan A because you don't want your children to be confused.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics