What's in a Name? Your Baby's Future

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The job naming a baby usually is the responsibility of the parents. Sometimes parents choose names that are popular or common at the time the child is born. Others may give a family name to their newest offspring. Some parents decide to be cute or give unusual names to their children. Yet, children's names label them for the rest of their lives, or at least until old enough to change the names legally, or names causes confusion, perhaps allowing children to be ridiculed. Parents need to examine names and make decisions on what to name babies based on the effect of the child in years to come.

Let's examine the use of popular / common names first. When a child attends day care or school with several other children, he loses his uniqueness, his filing of being an individual. Many times he becomes confused because others give him a nickname or extension of his name to keep the different "Johnnies" apart. If three "Janes" are on the same team, the coach and other players have to be able to distinguish which Jane is being addressed. Often the child becomes his or her last name. One of my grandsons became his first and last initial, which is not a bad compromise for a boy. However, avoiding a common or popular name can be a good choice for the child.

Sometimes family names can be awkward for a child, so parents should consider what she would face in later life. If Gertrude was great-grandma's name and the parents want to honor her, maybe they could use her middle name, Emily, as the baby girl's first or middle name. Although, Gertrude at one time was actually popular, now it gives other children a way to ridicule a girl so named. Parents need to look past a child's early life to the years to come.

A name which might seem cute or cute unusual can cause a child to feel and seem odd. One father thought "Character" was funny, as other did when they heard it. His son a few years later and through his school years, did not. School mates and team mates laughed. He was the bunt of many jokes. When he was eighteen, he went to court and had his name changed. A movie star named her daughter Apple. What does that little girl face when she enters life outside her mother's world?

As parents, we need to consider not only today, but the days to come, when we name our children. Perhaps we might consider how we would feel if we had to carry those names around as our identities.

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