Baby Naming Today: The Person Makes the Name
A Word to the Fathers
Some women begin dreaming of names for their unborn children as early as age three and grow up with favorite names or ideas of how they will name their babies. The expectant mom is also hormonal (I can’t stress this enough!), and that means she is particularly sensitive to everything—especially conflict. While you may have some very strong opinions about baby’s name, try to be sensitive to the mom-to-be. Often men want to avoid unique names for boys, but keep in mind that more unusual names didn’t hinder Arsenio (Hall), Stone (Phillips), Ashton (Kutcher), Tiger (Woods), and Kelsey (Grammer). So, try to keep an open mind, Dad.
A Word about Siblings
There’s a balancing act between keeping an older child involved in the pregnancy and not setting him up for disappointment because you didn’t choose his name for the baby. If babies’ siblings chose their names, there would be plenty of Barbies, Shreks, Doras, and Nemos being born—not to mention children’s wonderfully creative invented name choices! Undoubtedly, kids will hear you discussing names amongst yourselves and will naturally have suggestions, but make it clear from the beginning that naming baby is big business (tell them their own baby-naming stories), and is a decision ultimately made by Mommy and Daddy. Do be sure to listen to your child though, because you never do know where that perfect name might originate—and if it does happen to come from a sibling, it can be all the more meaningful.
A Word about Grandparents (and Other Well-Meaning Friends and Relatives)
Your well-intentioned parents and in-laws will inevitably have opinions about your child’s name, whether it’s concerning a namesake or a style of naming they find comfortable. Assess how much pressure they are capable of putting on you and make a decision to put the rules in place before discussing names with them. The rule may be that you are going to keep your name choices confidential until your baby is born, thus, not allowing any outside influences. You will inevitably get unsolicited name suggestions from relatives and friends, which you can politely respond to with, “thanks for the suggestion, we’ll keep that in mind” (whether you like the name or not!).
Naming a child after a beloved and possibly deceased relative is certainly a strong and sentimental desire, and something you may consider. Many parents who choose to incorporate a namesake do it in baby’s middle name or find a variation of the namesake that suits their taste. If that compromise is not possible, keep in mind that no matter what name you choose, Grandma and Grandpa will fall in love with your little one at first sight and most likely forget there was ever an issue with the baby’s name.
There are many important considerations you’ll want to ponder throughout your naming journey, but this shouldn’t cause you or your partner stress. On the contrary, naming a child is a process, which should be enjoyed, cherished, and ultimately celebrated.
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