Name Teasing: Is it Dying Down?

On our message boards recently, someone–who happens to be a teacher– expressed the opinion that in the new name landscape, which encompasses so many multi-ethnic names, word names, unusual spellings and “unique” names, Greek god names, etc, etc, today’s children are much more accepting of the wide variety of their classmates’  names and therefore less prone to teasing.

And yet this still seems to  remain one of parents’ greatest concerns, as they weigh every possibility of a name’s susceptibility to other kids’ mocking.  But are we overthinking this, our references being back to our own childhoods, where there was such a thing as a “normal” name?

That’s today’s Question of the Week: Is name teasing now less of a concern?

Do you think it differs depending on where you live; is this less of an issue in places where unusual names are the norm?

Have you or your child ever been made fun of because of a name?


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54 Responses to “Name Teasing: Is it Dying Down?”

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private Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 5:19 am

Name teasing isnt always one dimensional. The name is secondary, the primary reason for any teasing is because the child doesnt fit in with his/her peers. If the outcast child has a name which doesnt fit with his/her peers then yes the bully is going to take advantage of that opportunity. Look at the media, bullying is happening alot in schools. We dont hear about the name teasing per say, but Im sure its happening. (of course we hear about bigger issues such as teasing re: sexuality & obesity). Also the internet has amped the game for bullying with facebook & utube…a preteen/teenager can make a joke about a kid and the whole school can know the joke the next day. And teasing doesnt always have to be direct, it can be a group of kids snickering about the child as he/she walks by.

In closing, I dont believe that all kids can wear unique/different names. If you put a Theodore (hey how is Theodora our Princess doing today?), Rufus (woof woof, bark for us roofy), etc… in a room full of Jakes, Aidens, Ethans and the boy is a complete social outcast then yes he may very well have some problems, but again, the name would be the secondary reason for the bullying. Im not singling out boys, girls get made fun of too!

private Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 5:25 am

Wanted to add, that yes I think this is LESS of an issue where different/unique names are the norm.

Abby Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 6:49 am

I think private is pretty much right on track. There will always be teasing, but it is less likely that an unusual name will be the spark.

There are some very different names in my family, and one of my aunts told me that it was tough to grow up with an unusual, ethnic name in the New Jersey ‘burbs in the 1960s. Now our neighborhood (outside of DC) is filled with kids with unusual, ethnic names. I just can’t imagine it being an issue today.

bcbg11 Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 8:40 am

I taught middle school and kids do try to keep bullying on the downlow so adults aren’t “aware” as to what is going on. I did see name teasing in the event that I had 2 students, one a boy and one a girl with the same unisex name. The boy was more of the target here…the kids would use it to attack his sexuality even though this was an athletic and popular, witty student. It really did start to wear thin on him and he expressed much frustration with it. The girl expressed to me that she hated having a name that could also be for a boy and wished her parents had chosen something feminine. I also saw an instance of a nice and popular girl being teased and dubbed “Icky” which rhymed with her name, so it does happen, probably not as much as it did in our day.

I agree with the person who said that the name bullying is most often secondary to bullying because the kid doesn’t fit in for some other said reason, but we’re never going to know how the kid is going to fit in until they are out there with peers in the real world. Bullying is out there and I don’t think kids necessarily tell us everything that happens. My 2 year old was trying to be friendly with a 3 year old at the bookstore the other day when the kid said to him, “I don’t like your shirt. It’s ugly.” His mom was right there and when she corrected him, he said, “Well it is ugly.” When comments like that start with toddlers, I’m not about to set my kid up for the potential even though I do appreciate a variety of names. I wish I had the guts to with some of the names I love, but I too know what it’s like to be teased and if I can prevent it to at least some degree, I will.

kaybee3 Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 9:06 am

Depends on where you live. And the normal names have changed, but, they still exist. I think it is less of an issue in some parts of the country, especially larger, more diverse areas, but, believe that it is probably still alive and well in many areas. But, I also second the above comments, that it is probably a secondary, not primary reason for teasing…but, then again, wasn’t it always that way? for example, I am going for a somewhat unique name on my little one due in July, but, if he comes out a red head (which i would love!) we might reconsider since for some stupid reason red headed boys get teased quite a bit…

Andrea Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 9:25 am

I’d agree that the teasing depends more on the kid than the name. You can’t know if your kid is going to be fat or unattractive or shy or nerdy or have a learning disability or have Asperger’s, etc., when you name the child. An unusual name on a kid with any sort of difference is giving the bullies one more thing to taunt the kid with and it might be worse than other names in some ways because the name IS the child.

Lola Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 10:47 am

It absolutely depends on more than the name, but then, I think it always has. I was teased in school for being tall, skinny and wearing glasses. Going by my nickname (Lola), just gave the bullies a bit more ammunition. I beat my way through school, literally. But luckily I’ve had kids who are more confident & less pugnacious. Or maybe Leo, Simon & Josephine are just less “weird” today than Lola was on a kid 35 years ago!
I know for a fact Josephine’s school has a Zero tolerance policy on bullying. And Wow! do they enforce. I know of one third grader who was suspended for a week because he teased a first grader about her glasses (just happened two weeks ago). But yeah, the teasing is going ‘underground’ a bit so while I’d use an unusual name on a kid of mine, I’d try to keep it uncommon but familiar rather than uncommon and unheard of.

sadiesadie Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 10:54 am

I had the same name as a popular girl at my school and she tried to make fun,of my name. I just looked at her and told her she was an idiot because we had the same name.
Rather than not using a name because it could be teased we should instead teach our children to stand up for themselves. I don’t want to live in a world of Aidan and Isabella’s just toavoid teasing.

spotlightstarlit Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 10:57 am

I was in elementary school a decade ago where I was basically tortured by my peers. I still can’t point to any one thing, really, but my name was a non-issue. Amid all the Ashley’s, Sarah’s and Jessica’s, I was the only Gabrielle and no one gave me any grief.

I have never been a witness to any name-bullying and I have gone to many, many schools being an Airforce brat to an officer who had to move us. I think the only teasing I have seen is on TV, where they are trying to make us laugh and the teasing usually means that their name rhymes with something, not that it is an unusual name.

rbyndlrsn Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 11:21 am

My daughter’s kindergarten class is full of unusual names. Diversity of names is just something that has become the norm in the classroom. My daughter’s name is Katherine, but she goes exclusively by Katie and really doesn’t like Katherine. Her classmates have realized this and they do somewhat tease her. Now, when I pick her up from class, there is usually a chorus of “Katherine!” from the other kids, to which she will give them all an annoyed glare and the teacher will nicely ask them to not call her that. “But that’s her name” is the common response. Then the teacher has to try to explain that she doesn’t like being called Katherine and prefers Katie.

So, no, I do not think it is really the name, whether it is unusual or classic, kids will still pick on anything that they identify as different than themselves. But mostly, I think that once they know what will get a reaction from someone they will deliberately seek out ways to trigger that reaction because it amuses them.

Kalikeli Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 11:26 am

I think there is a difference between teasing and bullying. Some teasing just comes naturally to little kids. My son is 5 and goes to a progressive school in Los Angeles; there are a ton of unusual, ethnic, (and beautiful) names. He doesn’t tease any of his peers, but when we’ve discussed some names we’re considering for number 2, his natural reactions are helping to guide what names are “tease-prone” and which are not.

For example: Uma “that’s not a name!”. Camilla “like a chameleon?”. The best was Harrison, which he nixed because he has a friend with that name. When I suggested that we could give him the nickname Harry the kid almost fell out of the chair laughing. I had never thought if it as “Hairy” but my son thought I was making a hilarious joke.

He is by no means a bullying type nor does he tease others, but these reactions just sort of popped out automatically. Rearding the real, playground teasing, i think kids are searching for their identity, and anything that differentiates them from others they will use. I have what was one ofthe most popular names when I was born in the mid-70’s: Kelly. I was called Smelly, Jelly, kellybelly, etc all the time. In fact, my sister still calls me “Smell” sometimes. (it’s ok, I call her Christmas).

Basically, I think that even “common” names are prone to a little teasing, but the more important thing that we can all work on as parents is to teach our kids to be respectful of others, to listen and to know that they are being listened to.

SeekA Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 11:33 am

As a guy who grew up with a girls name I can echo some of what bcbg11 said above. It may have been my own unique set of circumstances but I found middle school the worst for that too and as bcbg11 said, as a guy at least, I found the teasing to be more aimed at my sexuality/gender. At a younger age there was some teasing, but it tended to be triggered by something specific and then just as quickly died away as a new target was found. By high school it had died down much more and there was actually a certain cool factor to having an unusual name and that carried into college, etc. I think names can make you a target, but it’s not the only factor for sure and who will be bullied is fairly unpredictable I would say. I think there are enough well adjusted people out there who “survived” school with unusual names to say that it’s less of a problem than people make it out to be.

Other Carolyn Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 11:48 am

I can honestly say that in my somewhat backwater schools with a noticeable but small POC population, girls named Fatima and Aman and boys named Jade and Dung got WAY less grief than a few girls named Lindsay and Sarah. Some of the most popular people in the school had names really out there names, and they might have got a funny look at first, but that’s really all. I’ve never known anyone to be teased for their name to the extent that it’s hurtful, except for my friend Amber who was told repeatedly as a child that she had insects in her (Jurassic Park had just come out) — this despite the fact that there were four Ambers in our school alone.

I would say it depends on your area, because although mine was a sort of redneck part of Canada we still had a strong message of tolerance and diversity being pumped into the school system. If you live in an area where you think an unusual name *might* be OK, I say go for it, because for all you know there could be some devastating event or hideously evil person named Kathrine in the next few years to take that one off the table as well. (What do you think happened to Bertha and Adolph?)

madel Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

How fortuitous you wrote this question up now! I’m in the midst of writing a personal essay on this exact topic because I am sick to death of hearing that if I name my child something terribly unique (and so far my two favorites haven’t appeared in the lists of not-so-unique unique names, so I’m not going to jinx it!) then he or she is going to get made fun of for it.

I got to thinking about it and remembered being teased as a kid…they tried to use my name, but apparently Robyn is actually pretty hard for kids…the worst I got from it was sang to (Rockin’ Robin, tweet tweet) and asked where my boyfriend Blue Jay was. These just seemed weird to me…but then again, I was more made fun of for being weird 🙂

Now that I’m older and thinking about how a name is going to impact the peanut growing inside me, I’m remembering what I observed other people doing to the other kids, too…I don’t think very many people at all got away without at least teasing on a semi-regular basis, and the ones who were bullied their names were secondary [and heck, last names are often way more fertile for harassment anyway – I have friends with the last names Honeycutt (replace the first t with an n and you know what he dealt with), Smout (rhymes with and sounds like snout), Ojala (hard j sound…jokes about getting his jollies were rampant), Higley (pigley wigley), and Nigg (hmmm…wonder where that went)].

What I tentatively concluded was that I wasn’t going to worry so much about the name I give my child because I need to accept that yes, my child is going to get made fun of, and sadly (though I’ll try to teach it better than this) chances are really high that my child is going to poke fun at others.

I also figured the kids who got away with just teasing…we’re all pretty all right. So I’m not going to base my name decision on what could potentially be done with the name (no one would ever name a kid Jack if that were the case!), though I’m certainly not going to give my kid a name that makes it -too- easy (a la Chastity >.< ) 😀

madel Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Ha! I forgot to answer the question: I think that name-based teasing has probably neither increased nor decreased…popular names lend themselves to teasing just as well (sometimes easier) as unique ones and often it’s secondary. Even if the kid generally fits in, teasing is a way creating a pecking order of sorts, and for the most part it’s not harmful, nor is it intended to be hurtful (though kids are often oblivious to how easy it is to be hurtful without meaning to).

agirlinred Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I’m in high school right now, and I have never heard of anyone making fun of someone because of their name. The only place I’ve seen or heard of it is on TV or movies. Unless you’re naming your kid something like Dorcas or Hyman, I don’t see why it’s a problem. Like the post says, with the wide variety of names that are in use now, kids don’t really notice how “weird” a classmate’s name is anymore. People are WAY more likely to tease for things like the way you dress, personality quirks, the way you talk, etc.

Olivia Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

It’s definitely the child that gets made fun of, the name is just ammunition. Two kids I babysit for, both respectful and really nice kids, were telling me about kids at their school, and one name that was forever ruined for me was Toby; there is a large bully at their school who is called ‘tubby Toby’. Things like that are impossible to predict, because kids are creative and will use whatever they’ve got.

LyndsayJenness Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

To echo what someone said above, the most popular kids in my school were the ones with the most unusual names. I have no idea why that is, maybe they had more creative parents. Also, where I grew up there were tons and tons of unusual names. I never witnessed any name teasing. The closest I ever saw to name teasing was that my name is Lyndsay and there was a boy in my elementary school class named Linzer, and sometimes kids would call us by each others names to be funny. Not a big deal.

I don’t know, there really wasn’t much bullying at all at my school. There is only one person I ever remember getting teased, his name was Shane and it never came into play.

Mary Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I’ve never in my life seen someone made fun of for their name. I have seen plays on their names used for bullying (eg. Amber = The Amburglar, like the hamburglar, but that’s not mocking the name, it’s using the name to mock the person).

Gingersnap Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

As an adult, I worked with a great guy whose last name was Darling. One of the more stupid, backward men in the office simpered “Good morning, DARLING,” to him one day, and without missing a beat, he replied, “Same to you, SWEETHEART.” That was the end of that. I’m only saying this because we have to teach our children to have a ready comeback for those who would tease them about their name, or anything else. Life can be difficult and we can’t protect them from everything. They have to learn to take the upper hand.

Rachel Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I have never heard of anyone being legitimately teased for their name and only their name. Sure, kids get teased / bullied and maybe sometimes their name is pulled into that, but for their name only? No.

It’s possibly one of my biggest pet peeves when I hear “Oh don’t name your kid ____, he’ll get beaten up.” That’s ridiculous.

Sarah Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

This is going to sound bad, but I think name-teasing is actually more common among parents now (parents ribbing other parents). I see some of rudest comments made from parent to parent about the names they’ve chosen! That said, I think these days it would take a truly embarrassing name to get teased for it by other kids. That or I could see the occasional unfortunate connection resulting in temporary teasing (for example, when hurricane Isabel swept through here, I am sure some of the Isabel’s got comments. Or when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, my poor sister Monica got comments for several years).

Claire Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I was just thinking about this earlier today… I was in elementary school in the 90s, when Stephanie was one of the most commonly heard names, but it didn’t prevent those girls from hearing “Step-on-me” all the time. Maybe it’s one of the reasons the name isn’t used much anymore, I don’t know, but it goes to show you no one is immune.

linelei Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I feel teasing due to names is less of an issue now, since there is greater diversity in names. However, I think we’re missing a more important question here: why should it matter if our kids are teased about their names? Sure, no one wants their child to have trouble with peers. But as many people said, when the name is used in negative teasing (bullying), it’s not about the name. It’s about the kid not fitting in in other ways. And frankly, I’m just fine with my children not fitting in. I don’t really want them to. I put up with teasing, not about my name but about being “different”, and I turned out just fine. It hurt. I hated it. But I am glad I experienced it, because it taught me to value being ME, not being part of the status quo.

So will my son Salem’s name get made fun of, with him being called a witch or something? Certainly, at some point. But I believe he will come out of it stronger and more confident in being himself regardless of what others think, because of any teasing he may encounter.

private Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Sarah Says:
March 16th, 2011 at 2:20 pm
This is going to sound bad, but I think name-teasing is actually more common among parents now (parents ribbing other parents). I see some of rudest comments made from parent to parent about the names they’ve chosen!

I AGREE COMPLETEY and you make a VERY good point!!! Its a bloodbath on internet message boards!!! Whether it be pretentious parents cutting down parents who do put thought into names and just so happen to like trendy names or vice versa.

Jenny Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I think younger generations (and I might include my 30 year old peers in this) actually LIKE exotic names.

When I see something flowery, I think of Disney princesses. When I see something Latin, I think of Harry Potter. I only think ‘weirdo’ if the kid is actually a weirdo.

I will judge the kree8tif spellings, but I judge the parents. (And not to their faces.)

M Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

As long as you don’t name your child a name that is “asking for it” I don’t think name teasing is common. For example, if your last name is Weiner don’t name your baby Richard or Oscar.

GracePheiffer Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I just wanted to add that as a teacher’s assistant, I have never heard a child tease another child because of their name, other than adding ‘poopy’ to the front of it.

Jade Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 8:50 pm

To be honest, I have always wondered why parents think so much about the bullying aspect when they name their child. I have never really seen anyone teased for their name to much. My sister, Brogan, gets some negative comments every once and while (“Yeah, but what’s your first name?” “Broken, why would someone name their kid Broken?”) but nothing really extreme. As someone said before, kids now are really accepting of unusual names. When I think about what I would name a future child I barely even think about the teasing part.

Megan Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I am a Kindergarten teacher and have never heard teasing related to students’ names. Students spend a lot of time on character education now and are usually pretty tolerant of differences. Even when I was teaching under my maiden name (which was VERY close the the word “stupid” I never got any snickering about it).

babynamesrule Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Kids made fun of my name all the time. It was just too unusual for them. But most of them were pretty ignorant. Now people tell me my name is unique. So, a polite way of saying, not my style.

corsue Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I’m a teacher and what I’ve seen is that names that can be turned sexual are the ones that draw the most attention. Examples are Richard (cause of the Dick nickname), Peter, Regina and Gina(vowel sound changes to rhyme with vagina), etc. I’m drawing a blank, but I know I’ve heard others. Often they rhyme with something sexual. Usually, kids give others nicknames that are used to tease. I teach in a low socioeconomic school so maybe that can partially explain it, maybe not. Just my 2 cents.

daisy451 Says:

March 17th, 2011 at 9:14 am

I’ve never witnessed any serious name bullying, and the kids who were targets were always bullied in other ways. My concern is really more with the associations that will carry through adulthood. For example, Rufus rhymes with Doofus. It’s not a difficult leap to make, and for some it may be among the first things they think of when they hear the name. Do you really want it to be the first thing people think of when they hear your child’s name? Whether or not they’re bullied for it, the association will still be there and I’d rather not have the first thing someone associates with my child be negative or funny in any way.

Becks Says:

March 19th, 2011 at 12:06 am

Nope. I never heard a peer being teased about their name in my entire school career, and I was never teased about mine (although– I had a plain Jane of a name– Rebecca Ashley, which was so horribly common that I ended up with two stepsisters with my same names, resulting in years of toying with different nicknames and spellings for myself before finding the “me” in my name).

Honestly, kids have much better methods of mocking their classmates than using their names against them. The kid would have to have something truly outlandish (like a boy named Llewelyn or a girl named Nyquil) for it to really even register.

I for one quite like both unusual but feminine names (like Tallulah or Amelie or Violeta) and I also like unisex/boy names that I think sound pretty for a girl (like Brady or Jonah or Jameson). I just think that there are more vicious things that kids will latch on to beyond whether or not you name your kid unusually or not. It’s just not worth worrying over.

Olivia Says:

March 22nd, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Oh, I feel the need to add this: in middle school the only kid who teased me about my name (Olivia) was a boy named Fritzi. The strange thing is, I never once thought to mock him back for his name.

Leslie Owen Says:

March 22nd, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I teach in an area where kids are named Chandelier and La–a and Shithead. I remember one student told me her sister’s name was Shalocka and I said, “Sha-whatta?” and the poor kid got called “Sha-whatta” for the rest of the year….I have noticed however that the kids in honors and AP classes have more standard names.

crazynamegirl Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I have a vvvvveeeeeeeeerrrrrryyyyy unusual name that rhymes with something funny. I am in middle school and I’m sort of a social outcast. Have I every been teased about my name? Nope. Then again, I go to a prissy school with a lot of cultural diversity that is one of the best in my state. So I guess all of these factors even out. I think parents worry ttttttoooooooooo much! You can name your kid pretty much whatever you want in modern America. Trust me. I went to a really bad school before and nobody was teased because of their name there, either. I’m not saying you should name your kid Dickie or Shithead (those would set your child back in many areas of their life– I mean cmon, we are all sane here, right ?)but if you want to name them Fatima or Rufus GO AHEAD!

NatalieRose Says:

March 24th, 2011 at 1:13 am

What even counts as teasing? My parents were ahead of their time and named me Natalie Rose in the 70’s. Truly half of the girls in my class were either named Amy, Jennifer, or Melissa. And 7 of them had the middle name Marie. I was considered very weird in school, not because of my name, but I was always confident and thus basically bully-proof. Classmates over the years called me Gnat, mosquito, natty-fatty (I was super thin), bratty, tattley, natallica, catty, noodley, chattily. I always took it as creative word play, no matter the spirit in which the nickname was given. My closest friends adopted many of the above names and called me by them endearingly for many years. So was that teasing? I think kids should sometimes get creativity points for noticing what they do about names, and maybe that’s all they’re doing but the person on the receiving end can decide whether or not to feel victimized. Everything is new and exciting to kids, so when they seem to belabor the obvious, such as “your name rhymes with doofus,” it’s probably because it doesn’t seem obvious to them.

Custard Says:

March 26th, 2011 at 10:28 am

I love love love the name Violet for a baby girl…. but part of me worries she might get called ‘violent’ or ‘violin’ or something instead….

I suppose any name can be turned into something mean. Waily Kaylee, Fat Matt, Anne the man etc…..

I got teased for my surname, which starts ‘Mc’, so I got called ‘McDonalds’ or ‘McDonalds Hamburgers’ a lot. No, my surname isn’t McDonald but I guess anything that starts ‘Mc’ to a kid means ‘McDonalds’. It wasn’t too bad compared so some other kids who had it worse!

Mainly in my school it was surnames…. someone had the surname Wearne, so they were called Worm. Someone else was Firstname Mogg so they were called ‘Firstname the Dog’. Really awful when you look back at how hurtful some kids can be!

Vesey Says:

April 2nd, 2011 at 11:29 am

Kids will be teased if only in that I secretly like you way.

When kids or people are teased they do seem to go after the name or surname but I can’t think of a single person who was teased because souly because of their name.

Especially in elementary your world is so small that you really have no idea if a name is weird or unique or old fashioned. I remember someone saying a kid named Sloane would be ridiculed because its a toilet brand, a third graders not going to know that most adults don’t even know that John or Lou are more a common association with Sloane and they aren’t ridiculed

My names Victoria, and I was made fun of a bit at the end of elementary but no one ever brought my name into it until I threw up at lunch and became Sicky Vicky & Vomitoria I hated my name then but even if my name was unrelatable I’m sure they’d just call me Barfarella or something.

Now I love my name. Other than that anything close to making fun of my name has been pretty playful. Every so often when I introduce myself they’ll ask what my secret is like they’re the first person to think of it. But do I hate my name because of that, no!

I am in my 20’s and was born in Staten Island New York that did have a lot of ethnicities and during middle school moved to suburban Florida and and in both places I never saw anyone making fun of strange first names. Surnames is a different bag though.

Kate Says:

June 25th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I’m just gonna butt in here, but I wanted to agree with Vesey. Some of my best friends growing up were called Gavin, Oisín(Osheen), Eoin(Owen),Sissy, Darley, Sylvian, Hazel, Meabh/Maeve and Niamh(Neeve). Granted, I live in Ireland and these names (With the exception of Sissy and Darley) are not too unusual, still I’d never heard of another Gavin, Oisin, Eoin or Meabh. Also there was a girl moved to my clss in 3rd form called Fionnula and we all thought she was called Vanilla. I’d just accepted these as normal names; yet it was ME who was made fun of as a child. My name is Kathryn but I used to get “KitKat” or “FatKat” and I now go by the name “Kate”.

What I am trying to get at is, it won’t matter about the name (As long as it’s not sexual realted-Dick, Peter, Gina, Lucy etc); it’s more to do with personality. My nicknames were mostly affectionate (except FatKat-that was bullying, but was only part of the bullying and I wasn’t picked on because of my name). If the child is different, they will become a target, regardless of their name.

The only problem I have with names are the ones that are made up to sound cool, such as “Kyler” or “Kayden” or “Jayden” etc or ones with Uneek Spelleens; however, if there is meaning behind them, then make sure the child is aware of it and can hold their name confidently. For example, there is little girl in my son’s nursery called Bloheen (Blockeen)who is chinese by ethnicy. She ad my son were playing and when he introduced her to me, I (ofc never hearing the name) said “That’s different, what a pretty name” to which she held her head up and said “It means flower”. It made me think “Wow, this little girl, who is already different being the only chinese girl in the nursery, is so confident and proud of her name that there is no way she will ever be bullied”

Like everyone’s said, the name does not define a person and if they are being bullied they should either tell someone and move on, or alter their name into something they prefer (like Kate).

Well that’s my ranting.

Bree Says:

July 4th, 2011 at 4:53 am

I don’t think the teasing is becoming less of a concern. The kids are just keeping it low. My real name is Brighton (like the Ski resort and Brighton Sheffield from the Nanny) and I HATE my name. I have been bullied constantly by my peers in very creative ways just so the teacher wouldn’t know. I would walk thru the halls and someone would walk right past my teacher and wave and say “Have a BRIGHT day Brighton!!” And she didn’t even do anything. She just said I should get over it. I wasn’t so smart in math, so people would call me Not-so-bright Brighton. I have been desperately trying to find a nickname and I tried to get everyone to call me Andy (Which was my middle name) but it backfired. I mean, what could be a nickname for Brighton? Bright? Brig? Nope, I just go by Bree now.

Kaye Says:

August 28th, 2011 at 11:52 pm

I have a very unusual name. I have met a grand total of one other person with it and heard of a few others, and I’m fairly sure I’m the only person with my last and first name. Obviously, Kaye is not my first name. I generally don’t post it on the internet as it’s too unusual. I was also a very unusual kid in middle and high school. A decent few people tried to tease/bully me. They gave me crud for being a nerd, different, whatever. I was tough though, and pretty much ignored them. Their problem, not mine. The point is that never once was my very unusual name taken into account. I cannot remember a single time that it was used against me. So I’m basically seconding what most people have said: If a kid is teased for his/her name, it’s only secondary. And a kid with a “weird” name can be teased aplenty with no mention of their name. I personally love my unusual name and have no intention of letting bullying stop me from using whatever name I want for my children.

cmd Says:

November 22nd, 2011 at 10:56 am

i don’t think that name teasing is dying down. i have a pretty run-of-the-mill name that looks great on a resume and has a great nickname. i was never picked on for my name and i would hate for my child to be picked on for his/hers. i completely understand the desire to give your child a unique name, but i think its even better to give them the encouragement and support to become a unique, confident individual.

tina fey had a great bit in her book about looking good on camera that i think is applicable to baby-naming. she said that there’s nothing wrong with demanding that your makeup, lighting, etc. be done right, because if they’re not, it will distract from what you’re actually trying to do on stage. i think the same is true of names. a unique name can be lovely, but if its a bit too unique, it can certainly become a distraction.

OddCreature Says:

November 24th, 2011 at 2:59 am

Not sure what it’s like elsewhere in the world, but here in Australia it’s a bit of a cliche that only bogans give their kids yooneek names. So in parts like Western Sydney I think there’s probably plenty of name-related teasing going on. “Your name’s Talera? Your parents must be bogans!”

mrs.bmp Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 9:22 am

I teach 2nd grade, and although I see kids teasing/bullying, it usually isn’t because of the student’s name. I’ve had students named
1. Princess
2. Passion
and haven’t heard teasing about those. Our district even had a student names
Le-a (actually prounounced ‘Lu dash uh’ 🙂

I’m not worried about teasing as dh and I think about baby names (but we are thinking about pretty ‘normal’ names, however)

PinkPandasNotRedPandasmeow Says:

July 21st, 2012 at 9:48 am

No way. A friends last name is Puu, and her daughter is mercilessly teased everyday and it has even gotten physical. And you teachers can’t say anything about this – kids are smart, you know! They’d never do something “mean” in front of a teacher…

TheFutureMrsB Says:

August 10th, 2012 at 6:13 am

I have to agree, it’s the kid and not the name. A name just adds to it if there’s something already there to be picked on.
We tormented my boyfriend all the time in middle school. But his name went from Martin to on days he was really whiney, Martina. Or just because he was so hyper he was called Spaz a lot. He got Fartin once from a friend during our sophomore year. But it wasn’t his name, it was because he was way too hyper and complained about everything.

TheFutureMrsB Says:

August 10th, 2012 at 6:16 am

Sidenote: I’ve yet to hear Hugo, Sergio or River Snow be made fun of for their names.

StrixOniro Says:

August 22nd, 2012 at 8:20 am

I think it depends on the individual name, and of course, the child who wears it. At my school (I’m in middle school/junior high) you might get teased if your name was: Justin (Justin Bieber) Anything containing or sounds like ‘Fat'(Fatima, etc. Basicall anything starting with Fa and unusual.) But name teasing really isn’t a huge deal unless you name your kid something really asking for it. For example, If your last name is Meiner, don’t name your kid Oscar. If your last name is Pope, I would advise not to name your kid Romy, Romulus, or anything containing Rome.

StrixOniro Says:

August 22nd, 2012 at 8:25 am

Really, most name teasing comes from siblings. My little sister Miranda called me Geeka from the time she could talk until she was about 5 or 6. (My name is Rebekah)As payback, I now sometimes call her Mr.Anda, and it drives her nuts. (The story behind that nickname is that once at school they signed a paper that would be used as a shirt design, and on the shirt, some letters didn’t show up. All that showed of the i was a dot, so it looked like Mr.anda, hence the nickname Mr.Anda)

Tallia Says:

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:01 pm

My name is Killashandra, never had a problem other than no-one having a clue how you say it :p

Netta5187 Says:

April 24th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Unusual names seem to be the new normal. Or at least it’s developing that way. I’ve meet lots of kids with lots of interesting names (lailanie, diya, turiq, isard, Athena, Aton, Aura, zara, taino) and none of them have faced teasing or bullying. I think as long as name isn’t offensive (Nimrod and Shithead)or vulgar (Dick and Jezebel), the kids will be safe from name-teasing. I has an uncommon name I never liked and I was never teased for it nor was I popular! I was more of a quiet type.

frankie97 Says:

May 4th, 2013 at 11:01 am

I just saw this post and had to comment. My name is Frances Irene and yes, I was teased. I was nn’d Frankie since middle school and was alsays expected to be a tomboy or jock. Needless to say, I am the most prissy and feminine kind of girly girl there is! Always wanted a more feminine name. Kids can be cruel with references. I’ll be using a different name once I begin college. Hopefully, a new beginning.

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