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What If People Hate Your Child’s Name?

Do you love your child’s name? Does everyone else hate it?

Baby-name blogger Laura Wattenberg has received a lot of attention for publishing a list of “The Most Hated Baby Names in America.” Wattenberg used an informal method of researching internet discussion forums and other sites to determine what names are widely disliked by parents today. Wattenberg’s findings may or may not surprise you: the most hated baby names in American are also some of the most popular baby names in America. Names like Aiden and Madison are very popular today, and were high on the most hated list as well.

About the same time I came across this list, I also read a post in a parenting forum from a distressed mom. She had shared with friends and family a few names she was considering for her unborn child, and they had told her they hated them all. She and her husband loved the names, and now she was unsure about how to proceed with naming her child. Should she give her child a name that everyone hated?

If anyone has an opinion about baby names, it’s me. I’ve been an educator for years, and through my students have been able to observe the latest trends in baby names. When I was pregnant, I had a definite list of names that I was not naming my baby; either I’d seen the name too much, thought it was too popular, or a particular student had ruined that name for me (fellow teachers, you know what I mean). I’ve seen it all, from the traditional to the completely weird.

However, I simply can’t imagine telling someone I hated their choice of a baby name. I mean, who does that? Sure, the name may not be to your taste, but it’s not your child. Sometimes a name doesn’t sound great on paper, but when you meet the child, it just fits. And new moms are anxious about enough things; criticizing their choice of name adds one more thing to the list.

My taste in baby names tends toward the traditional. Both of my boys have traditional, maybe even old-fashioned names that we picked because we liked the meaning and because they were biblical. Our names probably seem boring to a lot of other parents, but we love them, and most of all, we feel that they truly fit our boys. I have no regrets about the names we chose for them, even if they aren’t particularly unique or trendy.

The advice given to the mom in that parenting forum by the other posters was almost unanimous: don’t tell anyone the name you’ve chosen for your baby. I didn’t do this with my boys, but I think it is good advice. It’s much harder to criticize a name when it’s attached to an adorable little face. And if you don’t tell anyone the name you’ve chosen, you’re not locked in. If the name you’ve picked doesn’t seem to fit your little bundle of joy, you can change it without anyone ever knowing.

How did you choose your child’s name? Did you share the name before birth? What was the reaction of your friends and family? Let me know in the comments.

Crystal Paschal is our general contributor giving us great posts across all topics. Crystal is the owner and founder of It's Fundamental, a children's book blog. She also blogs about family life at Mom For Less. You can find It's Fundamental on Facebook, and follow Crystal on Twitter at @Mom4Less.

3 Comments

  1. rockle

    March 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    if bronx mowgli is not the most hated name in america, then the list might be a fraud. (but there are a lot of names i don’t like, myself.)

  2. Prime Parents Club

    March 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    We had one rule about naming our daughter: no stripper names. Other than that, I don’t really care about what people think about what we named her (which was Ella, btw).

    If I were pregnant and getting a negative response from people about what the name we picked, I would develop some mildly snarky reply to shut them up.

    It’s your kid; it’s your name. Stop caring what others think. :)

    /jackie

    • Crystal Paschal

      March 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      I think “no stripper names” is a good rule to follow. I personally wanted to avoid the “last names as first names” trend that is popular with boys today, but I don’t have a problem with others doing it. It’s just not my style.

      One of the replies on the forum I was reading suggested saying, “What an odd thing to say to me?” when someone made a rude comment about a baby name. I like that approach.