One of my most-read posts of all time is a rather ancient one, from 2006, on a non-academic topic: my husband's and my decision to hyphenate our daughter's last name. She has my last name and my husband's last name, with a hyphen in between. Our decision about name order was based on which order we thought sounded better.
In 2006, I wrote about how having a hyphenated child was a good decision for us. That was six (6) years ago, when our daughter was in elementary school and shorter than I am. What about now? Is our tall teenager happy with her rather unwieldy last name? Are we all still happy with our decision?
As it turns out, yes and yes, emphatically so.
The occasional inconvenience of dealing with a name that is "too long" has thus far been more than offset by our family's unanimous happiness with our name choice lo these many years ago. I think some parents worry that giving their kid a "different" last name (even if it has elements of each parent's name) will somehow make them all feel more apart -- less cohesive -- as a family, but in fact the result can be the opposite. Since my husband and I have different last names, our daughter's hyphenated name is our family name-glue.
She knows that if she ever doesn't like her hyphenated name, she can change it and we will not be upset. It's her name and she should have a name that she likes. For a while when she was very young, when asked her name, she would give her first name, middle name, first part of her last name, and then an animal name instead of the second part of her last name; her two favorites: "kitty cat" and "hippo". It was very cute, but she outgrew that phase about 12 years ago.
So far, she really does like her long-long name. In fact, she commonly also uses her middle name along with her first and last-last names, even though this makes it all even longer, just because she likes her entire name and how it sounds. And she likes the fact that her name directly connects her to her father and her mother. She has friends who share a last name with their father but not their mother (because the mom didn't change her name on marrying), including some friends who have their mother's last name (or some other family name) as a middle name, but she prefers her hyphenated name to those options.
Also, she is the only person on the entire planet with this name, and she likes being unique in that way (and appreciates how useful that can be, for online purposes that involve one's real name). She knows it may complicate her life later in ways that it doesn't now, but that's an issue for later.
I am most definitely not writing this update to say that hyphenating is the best thing to do for all families, but it has worked for us (so far).