Things to consider for a baby name

It’s an extreme example of the impact a baby name can have on people – and Baby Sussex herself will inevitably draw a lifetime of scrutiny and comparisons to the Queen of England. So no pressure there, then! Another high-profile baby name that made the news recently is Elon Musk and his partner’s naming of their new baby son as ‘X Æ A-1’ (pronounced ‘X-Ash-A-12’). A child’s name can have a profound effect on their lives and relationships, so it’s as well to consider a baby name very carefully!
baby names

So what about you?! If you’re currently mulling over the list of possible baby names, or even have a name picked out for your new baby, here are a few things to consider.

A surprising number of parents regret their chosen baby name

  • Some parents opt to name their baby after the hottest Hollywood or music stars of the day – so names like Demi, Carrie, Drake and Blake are fashionable for a while, with several children at school with the same name. (There were 5 kids called Jason in my own class at age six, 3 called Darren and three named Amanda!)
  • Some parents feel pressured into continuing a family tradition of naming a child, but if both the mother and father have this family tradition, someone may feel that they have ‘lost out’ in the baby naming, or it may even upset one side of the family.

When your child goes to school, will other children taunt them over their name?

David Bowie famously named his son Zowie. Zowie Bowie. As soon as he was old enough, the kid had his name changed legally. If you choose a ‘unique’ name for your child, or one that has an unusual spelling (such as ‘Rybekkah’ or ‘Ribehkah’ – pronounced ‘Rebecca’), the chances are the child’s life will be spent being asked to explain, spell, or correct their name, in both spoken or written form. And nobody will spell it correctly anyway! If you don’t wish this lifetime of explaining their name on your child, consider swerving the temptation to get too creative with name spellings.

Find baby name inspiration from your family history

If you are at the stage of wondering where to start thinking about names, your own family tree can be a great source of inspiration. Naming a child after grandparents, or even great-grandparents is a lovely way of connecting your family’s heritage with its future.

Similarly, your culture will have plenty of significant names to refer to and give you some ideas. This includes prominent figures in literature, history or the arts.

Be sure to research the meaning of names you like!

Many people have found out too late that their name means something comical or vulgar in another language. In a region where we have so many nationalities, it’s a good idea to do some basic research to find out if your chosen baby name is going to cause some embarrassment down the line. For example:

  • The name Chloe’ sounds like the German word ‘Klo’, which is colloquial for ‘toilet.’
  • When said aloud, the name ‘Nick’ sounds like a vulgar French slang word for…um…’sexual intercourse’.
  • The name Cara, while popular in many countries, sounds much like the Arabic word ‘khara’, which (putting it politely)  means poo.

Think about possible nicknames

Kids can be both imaginative and cruel when it comes to name-calling, especially if they can get inspired to twist someone’s name into something derogatory. At school, we had a teacher called Mr Grazey who was quickly dubbed “Mr Greasy”, and then simply ‘Grease’ for short. One poor schoolmate named Virginia went through most of her school years with some of the letters of her name tweaked around to form a word used in anatomy.

Try recalling your school days and thinking about the nicknames given to other kids and bear in mind that children can be mean about these things! You could also run possible names past your friends and see whether they can come up with any nicknames that you might want to steer away from.

Do a final check on your baby’s initials

I had a friend at school called Carol-Ann Wallis. Her initials spelled ‘CAW, so unsurprisingly, she went through her school years nicknamed ‘Crow’, later (inexplicably) morphed to ‘Crabby’, and then simply ‘Crab.’ This is a mild example of the unfortunate possibilities that initials can spell, so do be careful to consider this issue!

The most important element in naming your child is raising your child to be a self-assured, proud, achieving kid and confident in how special and wonderful they are,  meaning they are less likely to be bothered about what other people think of their name!


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