Category: baby name remorse
We all understand the magic and thrill of the baby naming process—whether you’ve named a baby or have just dreamed of doing so, poring over name lists, choosing your favorites, and arranging first-middle name combinations is fun and satisfying and ultimately one of the first important decisions you ever make for your child. What a gift and an enormous responsibility to be able to choose a person’s name! It can be stressful too, yes, and we’ve all heard stories of name regret and read strategies to help avoid it, or manage it and move on, or start afresh by changing the name, but in every aspect of this process—the planning, the dreaming, even the regret—the focus is almost entirely on the namer (you).
But what of the child receiving the name?
Though none of us would choose names for our children that we think they will hate (on the contrary, we choose names we think they will love, because we do), we all likely know someone who doesn’t care for their name. It’s easy enough to sympathize with a peer or even someone else’s child who doesn’t like their name, but how heartbroken would many of us be if the name we carefully and lovingly chose for our beloved baby was later rejected by that child?
I think there are things parents could do that might help their children recognize and embrace their chosen names.
By Abby Sandel
Sophie – who blogs at The Young Mummy – welcomed daughter Betty, a little sister for Bobby, on January 14th. Two weeks later, Sophie and her husband announced that they’d made a mistake. Betty is now Florence, Flossy for short.
That’s not name regret. There’s a difference between these relatively minor annoyances, and the unshakable feeling that you’ve given your child the wrong name.
It sounds like Sophie quickly realized that another name from her original shortlist would suit her new daughter better. When that’s the case, a name change – especially for a newborn – is usually pretty straightforward.
Other families report starting their name search anew when their child is a few weeks or months old. If there’s pressure to choose a name before your baby arrives, that’s nothing compared to the challenges of choosing a name for a three-month old, as family and friends continue to use the name that you’re working so hard to replace.
Here are nine tips for changing your child’s name:
By Abby Sandel
When it comes to naming, plenty of new parents hesitate. “What if she hates her name?” they ask.
We name strangers. There is an excellent chance that your child will find his name too ordinary/too weird/too traditional/too crunchy/too hard to spell/too something at some point.
But I am here to tell you that even if this happens – if your child so thoroughly dislikes the name you choose that she pursues a legal name change – you have not failed.
I’m one of those kids, one who disliked her name at five and 15 and 25, until I legally changed it as an adult.
My mother’s name is long, lovely, unusual. A family name dictated by custom. My given name is a rebellion against all that. Short, simple, very common. Easy to say and spell.
It turns out that I was meant to have her name; and she, mine.
Much has been written lately about the pros and cons of using a unique name. People choose to do it for a variety of reasons – family heritage, creativity, believing it will provide an advantage later in life, to show others our beliefs and hopes for our little ones, or in some cases–mainly celebrities– for the limelight. But then there is the downside – possible mispronunciation, other children poking fun, feeling different or standing out in the crowd.
My daughter is 17. I think she’s great. It’s not mutual. She is, after all, a teenager and as such holds me accountable for all the crimes I’ve committed against her over the years. These include just about everything I’ve done, everything I should have done and the various ways I embarrass her in public. It’s all very age appropriate, or so I tell myself, but there’s one offense she cites that I can’t shrug off:
I named her badly.
Elizabeth Stern Shepherd–Barron. That’s what we (my husband was co-conspirator) called her. This was our logic: Elizabeth, because it’s a classic that pays homage to two notable queens as well as one of the greatest heroines in literature — clever, funny, beautiful Elizabeth Bennett. For a middle name, an exciting concept for me as I don’t have one, we chose my maiden name, Stern, to remind her of half her heritage and to serve as a strong contrast to her last name, my husband’s double-barrelled Shepherd–Barron.