Category: baby name opinions
One question we’re asked frequently by interviewers: Are names destiny? Does the name you choose determine who your child becomes and how their future unfolds?
Some name sources certainly promise that choosing the right name can be an important factor in determining whether your child is successful in life. And some studies have suggested that some names can help your child earn higher grades in school or be judged as more attractive or live longer, while others can set them up for a life of crime.
Madonna has been quoted as saying that she always felt her distinctive name set her up to be a star. And Italian baby naming books make character and life predictions — honest, happy, lucky with money — based on the names.
The question of the week: how honest are you about names?
In all of our books and here on nameberry, Linda and I are dedicated to telling parents that their baby’s name is their choice and theirs alone, that they should tune out well-meaning relatives and friends and, yes, even strangers who criticize a name they love.
But what about when expectant parents ask for advice about names? What about when they ask you? Do you tell them what you really think, or do you keep your harsher opinions to yourself?
Denizens of the nameberry forums are often experts at the diplomatic response to names they’re not crazy about. “Not my style,” is one very nice way of signaling thumbs down about a name.
Some people say that, when asked, you should give your honest opinion on name possibilities before the baby is born, but stifle yourself once the name has already been chosen.
Others say that negative opinions on names, no matter when or by whom or in what tone they’re offered, are always offensive.
What do YOU think? C’mon, now, tell us the truth…be honest.
Thank you all so much for participating in the latest nameberry survey.
We were really gratified that more than 600 of you responded and demonstrated how expansive the nameberry world has become: in addition to the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, answers came in from Brazil, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and United Republic of Tanzania–as well as a number of “unknown locations.”
Some of the results confirmed our assumptions about how you’ve approached naming your children, while others were quite surprising. One question that was of particular interest to us was ‘What was your prime source for choosing a name’? It was almost a toss-up between baby name books and the internet. 29% of you voted for books 26% for the internet in general, and 11% for nameberry in particular (not too shabby since we’ve only been in existence for a little over a year!). Other top answers were the family tree, ‘my own imagination’ and books/movies/TV/music. But for those out there who think celebrities and their kids’ names are a major influence, that certainly doesn’t hold true in the nameberry world: only two people checked that one off.
Now for the other results:
- A majority (69%) began thinking about names when you were children or teens, the next largest group (12%) as soon as you began trying to have children.
- Most of you spent a lot of time thinking and talking about names. For 58% it was a favorite topic of conversation, while 22% spent every minute of the entire nine months and beyond.
- 67% of responders had some disagreements with their partners about names but were able to find a number of names they both liked; only 6% made the name decision on their own.
- In terms of family pressure, for 54% the decision was left to the parents-to-be, for 41% family members made many suggestions and were outspoken when they didn’t like one of your ideas; only 5% experienced a lot of pressure.
- And how did you respond to outside advice? A whopping 80% listened to others’ ideas but made their own decisions.
- Answers were split about using names from the family tree: 17% named the baby for a family member, 9% used a variation of the name to suit their taste; 46% used one as a middle name; 29% did not use one at all.
- The final decision was made most often (38%) by the last few months of pregnancy; next highest (18%) as soon as you saw the baby; the fewest (12%) agonized until a choice had to be made.
- Ethnicity was not a major factor for most: 62% said it was not important, 30% it was somewhat important, only 8% said it was essential for the name to reflect their ethnic background.
- When it came to a name’s literal meaning, 64% knew what it was but didn’t consider it a major factor, 21% didn’t care about the name’s meaning, while for 15% it was a prime factor.
- Biggest problem in choosing a name? For 40% it was deciding among all the names you liked, for 35% agreeing with your partner on a name choice.
- The tellingly large segment of 36% kept the name a secret until after the birth, while 27% debated their choices with family and close friends, 21% talked about names with anyone who was interested, and 16% said they and their partner made the decision alone and announced it before the baby’s birth.
DON’T FORGET—Part Two of this survey will be coming soon.
You know a lot about us, so now it’s time for us to find out a little more about you.
Please note that this is a two-part survey, so be sure to move on from the first to the second.
Here’s Part 1 of the survey.
Don’t go away! Here’s Part 2 — even more fun!
Future surveys will explore your attitudes and feelings about names and naming. Thanks for participating!!