Take It From Me: How to Not Go About Naming Your Baby (Guest Post)

April 1, 2014

How to Not Go About Naming Your Baby (Guest Post)

When it comes time in a couple’s life to start thinking about names for a baby, it’s an exciting day indeed. In the almost euphoric anticipation of the arrival of this newest member of the family, sometimes young parents can get carried away. In the quest for uniqueness, individuality and creative expression, some children end up with some pretty strange monikers. An important factor to keep in mind is that this name will shape the child’s life, experiences, and will remain with him or her for the duration of his or her life. It’s important to remember that your baby will one day be setting off to school where other children will be looking for any reason to dislike, make fun of, or bully your child. To say that a child with an outrageous name is an easy target for bullies is like saying that the sky is blue. 

So what are some of the pitfalls that young parents run into? First and foremost, while a good sense of humor is important in a family, it should never be the foundation of an important decision like naming a child. There have been countless children who have been forced to go through their school years with names that are just bizarre. For example, there were two children named “Swag” in 2012, three children named “Butt” in 2010, two children named “Hotdog” in 2012, six children named “Butterbean” in 2013, three children named “Phone” in 2013, and, strangest of all, in 1995, thirty four children were named “Freak.” That list goes on and on. Clearly, all of these poor children had parents who thought they were downright hilarious. Why they thought expressing their sense of humor in the naming of their child was appropriate, may never be known. One thing is nearly certain: all of these kids had a difficult time with bullying in their school years.

Whether you are considering baby girl names or baby boy names, it’s important to remember that relevance is critical. Uniqueness is valued by many but without a positive relevance to the culture, it is a recipe for disaster. One way to ensure that you are on the right track while naming your little boy or girl is to ask yourself if the names you are considering are simply unique or weird. Here’s something that if you don’t already know, you need to learn it – children do not want to be considered weird. Individuality is definitely a positive trait in a child but, when taken too far, he or she may be ostracized by their peers.

On the flip side, relevance can also be taken too far in the other extreme. Naming your child after a well-known celebrity with a unique name can have its own negative effects. For one, even if you are a fan of that celebrity, you have no idea what he or she will do in the future. Associating a child with a person who is in the spotlight is playing with fire. For example, if you were born in the 70’s and your parents named you Uri, after Uri Geller, that probably didn’t turn out so well when public opinion changed in regards to his alleged abilities. Worse still are celebrities who become known for their debauched lifestyles or for criminal conduct. It doesn’t matter if the person seems like a living angel now as you have no idea what direction their life will take in the future. Not to mention the fact that our culture has a tendency to try to destroy its heroes. Be sure to keep all of this in mind for your child’s sake.

The best bet is to look through popular lists of names for boys and names for girls. Find something that strikes you and your partner. Perhaps, it’s a name that a close friend or family member shares. If uniqueness is important, you can look for a name that hasn’t been used in a long time. Another option is to try alternate spellings of popular names. However, beware when changing the spelling not to make the name difficult to pronounce on a first read. Remember, you have plenty of time to make the right decision. The name will remain with your child for the duration of his or her life, so make it a good one.

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