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Changing our toddler's first name & need some advice

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I did a thread about this topic a few days ago since DH and I were considering a change in our child's first name.  We are now sure we are going to do it and definitely know what name (this time) to use.  He is 20 months old and the name we chose just does not seem to fit his personality.  We had a terrible time choosing his name in the first place...it caused a lot of tension during the pregnancy and afterwards.


We rarely use his given first name, so I don't think it will be a big deal to him.  I have definitely taken that into account.


We do not have the option to change his middle or last names, by the way.


Please do not send advice against changing the name...we just need some practical tips.


1.  How do we tell people, especially family members? 


2.  I have thought of a "name announcement," kind of like a birth announcement.  We never did a birth announcement in the first place.  Or is letting the IL's know through the mail too impersonal?


3.  If you changed your child's name, how did you handle it?  What advice do you have for us?


Thank you, mamas.  This has been a long time in the coming and, while I have mixed feelings, it is kind of exciting because I feel that our son's "right" name has finally found him.

post #2 of 15

Hmm.  I think (as an outsider) if you just began using LOs new name in reference to him, that would be good enough.  Are you telling immediate/close family that you're doing this?  Distant family could just pick up on it or be told word of mouth.

post #3 of 15

What about just telling family individualy and directly? If it were me, I would call each person who I thought it was important to tell, one by one, and simply say-" we have decided to change ds's name to ---(whatever name you chose).  We were really not pleased with the name we chose and figured we would make the change now while he is still little. I understand that it may be a little awkward for people in the beginning but I hope you will get used to it soon- thanks for understanding!"

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

I think what I am worried about is the look on people's faces.  Isn't that dumb?  I remember when we told MIL the first name of our child when he was born in the hospital, and her response was exactly this:  "What kind of name is that?"  I don't want a repeat, you know?


I am also very conflict-avoidant (as is DH).  A letter to me is easier since I can say exactly what I want without gauging reactions or searching for the "right" words.  I don't have any family, so it's just DH's family to consider as far as telling kin.

post #5 of 15

I think the look on my face would be "Awesome! You can do that? Great!" (I know it's possible, I know people who had it done, I guess I never looked at it from the point of view that if we didn't like the baby name we chose, we could change it,too.)

post #6 of 15
I suggest calling the IL's on the phone and letting them know that you are legally changing his name because you dont feel like the name fits him and you are confident that the new one does. Everyone else will learn of it eventually, some may even think it was his name all along. I dont think you need to send out name announcements, but maybe sign all your Christmas cards (if you send them out) with his new name.

As always, my MIL advice comes from a place of great disdain, so take it with a grain of salt, but if she says anything similar to last time like "What kinda name is that" or "Great, youre going from one weirdo name to another." Id simply say something like "Well, its a good thing you got to name your own kids." or "What do you want me to change it to?"
post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

I think what I am worried about is the look on people's faces.  Isn't that dumb?  

I don't think it's dumb at all.  We all want everyone to love the names we choose as much as we ourselves love them!  (We don't even share our names before the birth for this reason!!)


post #8 of 15
Hmm... you could write a family Christmas letter (family updates, I know lots of people do this) and include the name change along with the other updates.

I also kind of like the idea of sending out a name announcement, though maybe not so formal, maybe send it via email? There are some cards here (I'm adding the link more for ideas of wording -- the inside text -- than for the cards themselves...) http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/name-change-announcements There's one that says, "Just wanted to let you know I have changed my name. And though I have changed my name, it's the same old me!" ...could be cute, along with a pic of him.

I'm crazy curious about what the new name is!!
post #9 of 15

We changed DD1's name. She was 4 though so it was easier because she would flat out tell people that was not her name anymore. The short version of our story is that I settled for a different version of the name I loved because DH disliked it. I didn't care for it as much, it was just eh to me. Only when DD1 was 4, she fell in love with that name, she never knew that I had wanted that name for her, and insisted that was her real name. We tried it out for a while and and she didn't change her mind and I of course didn't! DH got used to it. We legally changed it after a few months. Almost 5 years later, very few people even remember that she once had a different name. We never had a big announcement, just told people casually one by one as it came up that her name had changed. 

post #10 of 15

A letter ( or email?) sounds good then!

People are always gonna have reactions to other peoples' decisions- people like to gossip and have big reactions and all that! but eventually it fades out and they move on to the next thing. hope it goes well for you!

Do you think if your MIL didn't like the original name that she may actually be happy about the change?

post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post
 Everyone else will learn of it eventually, some may even think it was his name all along. I dont think you need to send out name announcements, but maybe sign all your Christmas cards (if you send them out) with his new name.

If I got a Christmas card from someone I know, whether close or distantly, whose son was called Zack and the card was signed Love Thomas I would definitely be like WTF??!! I'm sorry but that is just bizarre if you ask me ~not that you're changing it but to just act as if he was never called anything else. In my mind it would be cleaner and clearer just to announce it however you choose but officially (although I would definitely call close family and frineds to tell them). I think it's a great idea to send a family holiday newsletter, or just add in the announcement to your holiday cards, or send a separate announcement either by post or email. I would also announce that sort of thing on Facebook.


Good luck! And don't fret too much over it, even if you get a few weird reactions, in time those won't matter to you and you'll forget this whole thing ever being stressful and your son will carry on with his correct name.

post #12 of 15

My sister changed my niece's name when she was 6 months old (which is, I understand, quite a bit younger--but we were certainly all used to calling her by her given name).  She just told us that she was thinking about changing it, gave us the new name she was thinking of changing it to, and about a week or two later, told us she had, in fact, changed it.  

Be prepared for people to feel like they could NEVER get used to the change.  But they will.  I remember repeatedly slipping and calling my niece by her original name, and getting frustrated at being corrected, and thinking, she will never be *anything* but "Annabelle" (her original name) to me.  She's 4 now, and thinking of her as Annabelle seems absurd.  

Good luck--changing his name now will likely be a little bit of a hassle, but in the long run, I think you'll be glad you did.

post #13 of 15

 If it was me; I would hire an officiant, throw a "naming ceremony" party, with cake and presents, and pretend like this was the plan all along. Brazenly send out the announcements, and invites and hope for the best.Sheepish.gif

post #14 of 15

I would tell your parents/in-laws in person or on the phone, and extended family via letter or email. I'd probably use the announcement letter to pre-emptively explain that you thought long & hard about the decision and that you both feel good about it.


It sounds like there's a decent chance your in-laws will be tactless, but what can you do? It's out of your control. They'll probably grumble about it for a little while then get used to the new name and get over it. As others have suggested, if your MIL was rude about the original name then she may actually welcome the change.


Good luck!


Oh and I'm curious about the new name too... shy.gif

post #15 of 15

We did this.  We had a renaming party for our relatives.  It actually took place about  a year before we got the legal name change done.  I really wanted to be sure before I made it legal that we were happy with the decision, but if I had to do it again I'd do the legal change first...for some reason my husband and I felt like we couldn't call him by the "new" name until it was legal.  (which was silly because the "new" name was his former middle name and the name we called him was a nickname only.)  So that's my other advice, before you even make the announcement start calling him by his new name.    I liked having a party for it, but you can also just send out an announcement.  You can print one up if you never did a birth announcement that is kind of nice, but a simple letter is also okay.  Do make an announcement though, it's really not that big a deal.  I thought my family would think I was nuts so I just said "hey you might think I'm nuts" and that kind of defused it all, people were mostly supportive.  I just wish I had started using it sooner because it is a little hard for people to switch from his nickname to his new name, but on the other hand that would be true if we were calling him "Buddy" when his name was William, and people do that all the time and then eventually transition to their child's real name when they start school. 


I would go for it if fear of what other people will say is all that is holding you back.  Make sure you really want the new name though, start calling him it and make sure it's going to stick. 

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