If you are a family member or a friend of the parents-to-be and you don't like the name the new parents have chosen for the baby, you might be wondering what you can do.
The good news is that it's great that you're taking an interest in the baby before it's even born. The bad news is that there is very little you can do if you don't like the name that the parents picked out for the baby. Having said that, there are some situations where it's OK to speak up. Here we cover when and how to do this.
When there is a real problem with the baby name
If you think there is a serious problem with the baby name then it's fine to bring up this issue. It's quite possible the parents weren't aware of this and will be very grateful for your input. A serious problem is something that goes beyond you not liking it. These could be things like:
- The name means a bad word in the primary or secondary language of the area. This is rare but it can happen.
- The initials of the name spell something unfortunate, for example PMS or ZIT .
- The first name in combo with the last name make an unfortunate sequence that could set them up for being picked on at school later, for example Anita Dick.
- There is something else that the parents might be unaware of that might pose a specific problem. For example, perhaps the parents picked a name that has very strong religious connotations – but they're not of that religion and you happen to know they would not want a religious connection to their baby's name.
How to say it
The golden rule is:
Ask, don't tell
Ask the parents if they were aware of this potential problem and if it bothers them. Phrase it like this: "Were you aware that the initials of your child will be FAT? Do you think this will cause problems for the child in school later on?" Do not say: "You should never call your child that."
Baby name problems that aren't as big of a deal as they first seem
If you're worried about a smaller problem than what we just discussed above, it might not be that big of a deal. In this situation, it could well be that some people are going to love the name while others will never even grow to like it. But that is true of many baby names, so even if the couple picked a different baby name, that would still be an issue. Let's look at some of these common smaller problems.
The same or similar names in the family
For example, if others in the extended family are using - or want to use - the same name, why worry? No-one "owns" a name. There is nothing wrong with several Sarah's in a family, or several William's or several Sequoia's. If the last names will be different there is even less cause for confusion.
Certainly you may point it out if two children in the same extended family will have the same first and last names spelled exactly the same way, but again, ask don't tell. "Do you think it could be an issue that the baby will have a cousin with the same first and last name?"
In fact, especially if it's a fairly common last name, there are probably already a bunch of people out there in the world with the same first and last name anyway.
If you don't like the name
If you just don't like the name or it doesn't appeal to you (too old-fashioned, too unusual, too short, too long, etc) then there really isn't anything you can do about that either. You will just have to bite your tongue – it's up to the parents to select the name, not you. If you're wondering if it is rude to say that you don't like the name, sadly yes it's rude unless the parents-to-be asked you what you think of the name.
If they ask you what you think, it's OK to be honest, but do it from the baby's point of view, not yours. In other words, don't say "I really hate that name" but instead explain the disadvantage to the child, for example "It's such a long and unusual name that it might be challenging for other kids to say, which might make it hard socially for your child".
If the couple didn't ask for your thoughts, just focus happily on looking forward to meeting the new baby when he or she arrives. No matter what the name is, you'll love the little bundle of joy!
Remember, the real test is whether the child likes his or her name, and this is impossible to predict before baby is born. This is true regardless of what the name is: whether it's the parents' choice of name or the one you would rather give baby.
It's great that you are such a caring person that you are putting thought and effort into your feelings about the baby's name.
Rest assured that in worst case scenario, if the parents or child regret the name, they can always have it legally changed - or instead, simply have the child go by a nickname or shortened version of the name. Remember, even if you hate the name right now, there's still no guarantee that the couple and the baby would have desired your preferred name over the one they picked.
A summary of do's and don'ts when you dislike the baby name
- There are no names that will appeal to everybody out there. No matter what name the parents pick, someone won't like it. Don't take this personally if you're the one who doesn't like it
- It's difficult enough for two people: the parents, to agree upon a baby name they really like! If they solicit advice from a third person or more, they may never be able to find any name that all people like
- Do call the child by the name the parent wants the child to go by. If you refuse to call the child by the name the parents want, you risk alienating not only the parents but the child too. Once a child is old enough to understand what his name is, he may feel rejected if you tell him you're calling him "Sport" because you don't like his real name
- If you feel there is a genuine specific problem with the name, beyond you not liking it, then by all means bring it up as described in this article. But the final choice of the name is up to the parents
Congratulations on being a caring and involved individual! And rest assured this baby name won't always seem unappealing to you. The child takes on the name and makes the name their own. When the name is associated with a cute bundle of joy, it makes all the difference in the world.
As a welcome for baby, you might like to take a look at where to buy baby clothes - there I cover affordable everyday clothing, and also the more fancy types of clothing that are certain to make a splash at a baby shower.