Baby Name Etiquette: Choosing the Right Name While Making Peace In the Family

You and your partner are overjoyed to learn that you are expecting a baby, and given that your little one will be the first boy in the family, you are excited to be able to name him after your beloved Grandpa Max. But before you even have a chance to make the announcement, your brother-in-law shows up at the next family gathering with his new dog… Max.

OK, so maybe that didn’t exactly happen. But countless variations on family naming conflicts happen all the time. You tell your cousin that you’ve always dreamed of having a little girl named Ashley, and next thing you know, she names her daughter Ashley. Or you tell Grandma Rose that you want to name a little girl after her, only to have her tell you that she’d prefer to be the only Rose in the family.

Picking out names is tricky enough, but when family politics complicate the issue, it can be downright impossible. The following guidelines might be helpful as you navigate this minefield:

Defer to the first: If someone else in your family uses a baby name that you had wanted to use, try not to be mad at them – after all, you both have the same good taste. You might consider using the name as a middle name instead. Alternatively, you could look for a creative variation: Elsa instead of Elizabeth, Weston instead of William, Anya instead of Anna, etc. If you decide to use the name anyway, be prepared for some confusion and/or resentment.

Check with the source: If you want to name the baby after someone, make sure you check with that person to make sure that it is OK. Some people would be honored; others wouldn’t. In some religious traditions, it is considered bad luck to name a baby after someone who is still alive.

Be sensitive to feelings: If you’ve always adored the name Anthony, but there is an Anthony on your husband’s side who is the black sheep of the family, don’t push for it. You want to give your child the best start possible, without reminding the entire family of a name they’d like to forget.

Don’t let others name the baby for you: If your husband is John Michael Smith IV, just about everyone will be looking to you to produce John Michael Smith V. But if you and your husband decide that you don’t want to carry on the name, you should be confident in your mutual decision (it’s your baby, after all) while continuing to show respect for his family and their other traditions.

Remember that no one “owns” a name: Even if you’ve always dreamed of naming a little girl Mia, and you’ve openly stated this fact to your friends and relatives, it’s unrealistic to expect that you can place a “hold” on this name until you have a girl. For parents-to-be, any name is fair game.

Above all, don’t forget that there are literally millions of names out there. If someone takes your “ideal” name there could be another name out there that is just as good a fit or better for your child. For ideas and inspiration, check out Just Mommies’ baby name section. On the flip side, if you’re worried that you and your cousin both named your babies Jacob; they won’t be alone – there are literally tens of thousands of other Jacobs born each year. To evaluate a name’s popularity, check out the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names (updated annually). So go ahead and choose a name that’s right for you and your family. And remember that no matter what name you choose, your baby will be completely unique.

0
No votes yet
 

0 comments

Sign in to leave a comment!

Today on JustMommies

When Your Teen Doesn’t Want to Go to College

Justin just isn't ready for college. He's not even sure if he ever wants to go to college, and tells his mom "No, not interested." What would you do if he were your child?

Baby Names from the 80s

What were you doing in the 80's? Moon-walking with Michael? Playing Pac-Man on your Atari?

P

From the Message Boards

Unplanned Pregnancy

I just don't know what to do ...

I am terrified. Beside myself. Angry, and confused. I am a 24 year old mother of two beautiful chil...

Due Date Club of September 2014

leg cramps! OWCH

I got my first charlie horse so far this pregnancy this morning!!!! Owww I forgot how much these hur...

Due Date Club of October 2014

Do you think you will have baby before, on or after you due date?

I saw this question in the Sept DDC and thought it would be fun to write out our answers and update...

Due Date Club of September 2014

The Official Unofficial Birth Plan

I met with the surgeon for my c-section today. I'm kindof nervous and a little excited now!! I asked...

Home Birth

home births

we're thinking of doing a homebirth without going into the doctor for monthly checkups, etc. what do...

» Check out the friendliest message board for moms and moms-to-be!