Since parents today invest so much thought and effort into finding the right name for their child, we get a lot of queries asking for advice on what to name the baby, and we do try to accentuate the positive. But we also find it incumbent upon us to point out some of the pitfalls as well. So, here are what we see as the top ten baby-naming mistakes:
1. BYPASSING A NAME YOU LOVE JUST BECAUSE A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER DOESN’T LIKE IT. You’ll soon find that everyone wants to get into the naming act with suggestions and (often negative) opinions, but you’ll regret walking away from one of your favorites because someone else tries to convince you it’s not attractive or stylish.
2. REJECTING A NAME YOU LOVE BECAUSE IT’S TOO HIGH ON THE NATIONAL POPULARITY LIST. Many parents today are obsessed with tracking names on the Social Security most popular list, discarding those they fear are getting overexposed. But truly loving a name is a more important factor in being content with your choice than its standing on any list.
3. BEING TOO CONCERNED WITH A NAME’S LITERAL MEANING. So what if it means ”graceful” in Old German if it’s clunky in Modern American?
4. NAMING YOUR CHILD AFTER A CAR OR A PERFUME OR A TV SPORTS NETWORK. Naming a baby Porsche or Chanel or, yes, ESPN is taking the idea of branding far too far.
5. BOWING TO FAMILY PRESSURE TO CHOOSE A TRADITIONAL NAME. A family favorite or a name that reflects your ethnic or religious heritage can be a wonderful gift to pass on to you child, providing it’s YOUR choice and not your mother-in-law’s.
6. NOT TALKING THROUGH THE NAME DECISION WITH A SPOUSE. Too often, couples get locked in battle over their name favorites rather than talking through the reasons they like the names they do–which would almost certainly lead them to a choice they can agree on.
7. BELIEVING A NAME IS UNUSUAL JUST BECAUSE YOU’VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE. Trends change quickly and many names that were virtually unheard of by today’s first-time parents–Harper, Emerson, Sawyer–are epidemic among children of both genders. Check out popularity statistics–and keep an ear open in your neighborhood playground.
10. NAMING A BABY, NOT THE CHILD OR ADULT HE OR SHE WILL BECOME. A diminutive like Jojo or an endearment like Precious might be cute for an infant or toddler, but it’s better to choose a name that will serve your child on the more formal occasions of his or her future.