What do you worry about most when choosing a name? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 41 Old 05-01-2013, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm considering names for our 5th child (so, yes, I've done this once or twice!) and am considering a name that I'm pretty certain would tend to be misspelled when heard (it sounds like a more common name, but a name that doesn't have the same origin or meaning). I tend to think people would be able to pronounce it reasonably when it's written, but I likely give them more credit than due. wink1.gif My 2yo DD is Eliana, which seems straightforward to me, but she often gets called "Elaina" when people read it. So we deal with some of that and it's not THAT big of a deal. Then I was looking at names of kids in a group we've recently joined and was surprised at a number where gender had to be indicated because it could not be implied by the name; others that were names I'd never heard before (though they may be common in other cultures); still others would likely be misspelled if heard.

And it got me wondering... What DO you worry about when choosing a name? That it be well known/unknown? Gender-specific/genderless? Easy to pronounce/original? Easy to spell/creative?

For me, meaning of the name and history behind it have been very important. This name I'm considering has that quality. I do prefer names that are "gendered" (as most are; I don't like boys names for girls, for instance) even though I don't like to push gender stereotypes. I want a name that goes well with my other children's names (and this one has the same ethnic origin). But I just can't decide if the spelling/pronunciation issues are too much. Or if adapting the spelling to the more common (but not ethnically accurate) spelling is better. One downside to that is the more common spelling is simply a more common name and associated with popular icons. I prefer names that are NOT common, but are not unheard of, either.

Oh, yes, the dizzying task of naming a person! dizzy.gif So, tell me about your key issues. thumb.gif

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#2 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 01:05 AM
 
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For us, it needs to look good on a business card and it needs to be easy for people to pronounce. 


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#3 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Now that's interesting! I've thought about adult/workplace appropriateness but never business cards, specifically.

I'm also chuckling because I've never been 100% sure how to pronounce your screenname, phathui! lol.gif

Love the perspective. Keep it coming! smile.gif

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#4 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 04:14 AM
 
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We go for less common (around 300 in the Social Secuirty database), but definitely a name that people recognize and know how to spell when they hear it. Absolutely no made-up names and no funky spellings.
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#5 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 07:03 AM
 
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We're for classic but currently unpopular names. We don't want our kids to have 2 or 3 classmates with the same first names. For instance we are considering Thomas for a boy (Tom or Tommy unless he's in trouble). Definitely not wildly popular these days but easily recognized. We also try hard to apply the birth to grandparent test to see if the name would fit a person throughout their life.
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#6 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 07:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by skycheattraffic View Post

We're for classic but currently unpopular names. We don't want our kids to have 2 or 3 classmates with the same first names. For instance we are considering Thomas for a boy (Tom or Tommy unless he's in trouble). Definitely not wildly popular these days but easily recognized. We also try hard to apply the birth to grandparent test to see if the name would fit a person throughout their life.

 

Saw this in new posts and had to reply. It may be regional, but I have an uncle and cousin named Thomas (Tom and Tommy), DS's BFF is Thomas (always said in full), my niece's husband is Thomas (called Thom) and the little boy across the street whom DD babysits is also Thomas (also never abbreviated). It's pretty popular around here. If you know any primary school teachers or daycare workers, you might want to ask them if it's showing up in their classrooms. 

 

Our guidelines for names - 

 

- strong and beautiful, both when spoken and read 

- preferred classic

- honoured family 

- looked good on an office desk or door nameplate but also easy to use on a soccer or hockey team

- no odd or quirky spellings 

 

At the time, it never occurred to me to exclude corporate-type names, but after meeting a few of my kids' friends named "Lexus" and something else like that (can't recall now), I would avoid anything like that. 

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#7 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 07:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EA77 View Post

We go for less common (around 300 in the Social Secuirty database), but definitely a name that people recognize and know how to spell when they hear it. Absolutely no made-up names and no funky spellings.


Yes! We went to the family tree and picked names on the tree from our great grandparent's time. Everyone can say, spell and appreciate these names.

I'm mixed on the girls getting boy names thing. I think its making naming a boy even harder lately. Boy names are getting "harsh" sounding to me... mostly cause dads are trying to make sure their son isn't sitting next to a girl with the same name in school some day.

And lose the kr8tv spellings, people! It's just not fair to your child.
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#8 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 07:54 AM
 
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I feel the same way as a lot of you do. We like more traditional names but hope not to choose what is currently trending and super popular right now and definitely no creative or unusual spelling of the name.
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#9 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 08:08 AM
 
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Saw this in new posts and had to reply. It may be regional, but I have an uncle and cousin named Thomas (Tom and Tommy), DS's BFF is Thomas (always said in full), my niece's husband is Thomas (called Thom) and the little boy across the street whom DD babysits is also Thomas (also never abbreviated). It's pretty popular around here. If you know any primary school teachers or daycare workers, you might want to ask them if it's showing up in their classrooms. 

Our guidelines for names - 

- strong and beautiful, both when spoken and read 
- preferred classic
- honoured family 
- looked good on an office desk or door nameplate but also easy to use on a soccer or hockey team
- no odd or quirky spellings 

At the time, it never occurred to me to exclude corporate-type names, but after meeting a few of my kids' friends named "Lexus" and something else like that (can't recall now), I would avoid anything like that. 

It must be very regional. DH is a teacher in elementary and sees all the kids from gr 4 to gr8 as well as the kindergarten class. In his 10 years he has not had a single Thomas or Tom! I met one Tom in the last 15 years through work. DH's Grampa was a Thomas and we decided we loved the name and it would be a nice nod to his roots. Thank you for mentioning your experience though, I'm sure some places they're dime a dozen. All the boys we seem to meet here have much more modern/unusual names except the few biblical names we come across
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#10 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 08:27 AM
 
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I'll just speak to the names I actually had a hand in choosing (ie, not my step-kids). It's really important to my husband to use names from our shared Irish heritage, and to use the Gaelic (non-Anglicized) spelling. That means that the names aren't always easy to spell or pronounce for Americans, but I live in an area full of recent immigrants with names that aren't easy to spell or pronounce, so I don't think that's a big deal.

Still, it's important to me that the spellings are commonly accepted -- so no looking back six hundred years for the weirdest possible spelling of Lochlan. I also don't like to use names that are commonly used and spelled differently by English speakers. My husband likes Uilliam, but I don't see how that's anything but a recipe to drive our child insane with people spelling it William his whole life. I also prefer names that are at least relatively common in the UK. I'm not looking for "weird," just to honor the amazing people in my family who came here from Ireland with nothing and helped build a great nation. (My family came here relatively recently from Ireland and Italy. If my husband was Italian, I'd be happily naming my kids Caterina and Augustino.)

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#11 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 09:28 AM
 
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When choosing our names we like to have a name with a good meaning behind it. We also choose names that aren't popular but we aren't into unique names either. We would love to use some biblical names, but there isn't one we like that isn't too popular.

I also make sure that its not a name that could be made fun of easily. Although I know it can happen anyways no matter how hard you try to avoid it.

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#12 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 10:26 AM
 
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I love reading all these thoughtful considerations.

We thought heritage mattered, but since we are Jewish and mixed-race Latina, that's not so easy.

We are atheists, so the Jewish tradition of strong biblical names felt sort of hypocritical, and the Latino names are mostly Spanish in origin, while my heritage is actually Italian/African/indigenous.

Simplicity also mattered to us, because we wanted a name that would be nice to have but didn't DEFINE our daughter. We want her to define herself.

In the end, we settled for an Anglo name that we liked because it was simple, sweet, and sounded good in all the languages our relatives speak.

We've been using it in secret for months and it feels right, so we are happy!!

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#13 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 10:31 AM
 
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BTW- if it makes anyone feel better, popular names are ranked, not usually talked about in %% and even the MOST popular names are given to only a tiny number of the population.

I don't have time to dig up the article now, but I read a while back that 50yrs ago, the most popular names were literally everywhere, while now, it's less than 1 in 50 or something like that with the most popular name.

So, the era of 10 Jessicas in one grade is over smile.gif

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#14 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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Hmmm... with us the names kind of just popped into my head. I know Chloe is a pretty popular girl name but it just came to me after our DD's 20 wk ultrasound and it wouldn't leave me alone.I think it will fit her just fine through life, no matter what she chooses. So even though it's popular it never deterred me from naming her that. 

This time the name Ezra is hitting me hard in the head and we will probably keep it since it's hitting me so strongly. Plus it means "helper" and we are my hospitals first Lotus Birth so I like to think that he is helping reform the way hospitals look at lotus births and natural birthing :D My only worry here is my VERY opinionated grandma giving her two cents when it's not needed. 

I have an usual name and I was always called something else or my name spelled wrong. I've learned to correct someone and then move on. it's not my problem is someone is too dense to pay attention. As for kid's making fun of kids...while yes some names provide an easy target, kids can be cruel. I got picked on for having hairy arms and a longer face so I was still bullied and my name had nothing to do with it. 


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#15 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 03:56 PM
 
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I have an usual name and I was always called something else or my name spelled wrong. I've learned to correct someone and then move on. it's not my problem is someone is too dense to pay attention.

So true. I was one of those ten Michelles per classroom growing up, and I still get people asking me how to spell it - or calling me Melissa! Luckily my name is special to me so I don't care! smile.gif

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#16 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 04:21 PM
 
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I like plain, ordinary names. Every child is a unique and special creation, giving them a name that no one else has isn't going to make them any more special.

 

For me, it was important to pick an international name. We travel a lot and I found as a kid it's easier making friends with a common, easy to pronounce name.

 

I also google the name and make sure nothing weird comes up. I have two friends who, as another friend pointed out to me, gave their kid a porn star's name as the first and middle name. It's still not clear to us whether they did it on purpose lol... but everyone googles their own name, what will the poor kid think when she googles hers?

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#17 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 06:54 PM
 
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Names just jump out at me... I just know it when I see a name to consider and I am not going to name my child until they are actual born and spent time with them and know if the name matches the person. Our last name is already really unique (Raedwulf... pronounced "red wolf") so any name no matter what kind of sounds like a Harry Potter character (which doesn't bother us!) The name I have come back to over and over again is a very unique name, with a history in latin. I also keep my eye on names from cultures I feel connected too (such as Balinese culture since we spent a lot of time in Bali and first planned having a family there) and / or names from our family heritage (Welsh, Scottish, and Polish Gypsy make up our family bloodlines). I think because of all these factors I cannot see us ever settling on a 'classic' name but whatever we go with, I know we've selected it with a lot of care and consideration to its meaning and the sentiment behind it. 

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#18 of 41 Old 05-02-2013, 11:33 PM
 
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I like "word" names, like August, Jade, Violet, etc. Not necessarily those in particular but names that are also words - vs names that are just names like Karen and Michelle. My husband has a hand-me-down name, so we gave it to our boy - and like someone else mentioned it's one that will last the test of time, from baby to grandfather. Classy!

Our other choices for boy and girl names were more on the unusual but not difficult side, and definitely nothing that is trending hard. For instance, a boy pick was Dax, since we both only ever knew one Dax, but apparently it's becoming popular lately and we have that fear of X number of kids in school with the same name (even though that's becoming less). I also have shied away from TV/book names even if I love them, because goodness knows there will be a ton of Daeneryses and Aryas coming up (in fact, a family member just named his daughter Arya).

I think as long as you don't name your kid something normal and spell it in such a way it is not at all recognizable, or name them something really really weird (Hashtag, Dovahkiin), any name can be a good name!


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#21 of 41 Old 05-03-2013, 06:18 AM
 
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Have you seen this article? 

 

71 Names Banned in New Zealand 

 

The author starts out mocking the name Apple, which is not on the list. FTR, I've always kind of liked "Apple" because it's sweet and fresh, even though I would never use it. I know Gwyneth Paltrow was ridiculed for it and I know that despite that, it became horribly trendy. If Cherry is accepted (anyone read Cherry Ames novels? and there is the actress Cherry Jones), then Apple doesn't seem quite so terrible. 

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#22 of 41 Old 05-03-2013, 07:06 AM
 
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We like names that are not super common but easily recognizable too. We do the resume test - how would the name look on a resume. Similar to the business card test, or birth to grandparent test. I also really love naming after a relative that has passed that I was close with. It's a family tradition to do so and we believe that some of the spirit of that person will live on through the child who shares their name. We recently lost a cousin who died suddenly at 48 and if we have a boy this time I plan to give him his name as a middle name at least. I was very close to that cousin so this would mean a lot to me.

I tend to pick names and then look at meaning second - not always ideal. I love the thought of having a beautiful meaning, but DH is SO picky with names that by the time we find one we both like we just stick with it.

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#23 of 41 Old 05-03-2013, 09:34 AM
 
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I also have shied away from TV/book names even if I love them, because goodness knows there will be a ton of Daeneryses and Aryas coming up (in fact, a family member just named his daughter Arya).

That's why my husband vetoed my favorite boy name this time around: Fionn. He doesn't want people to think we're just huge Adventure Time fans.

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#24 of 41 Old 05-03-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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I forgot to mention before, this is a great site for names: http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com

 

If you pick a name, there is a Considering this name? tab which has some extra info about the particular name, including a Descriptions on how this name can be used for name bullying and Were you bullied a lot because of your name? section which is awesome...

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#25 of 41 Old 05-03-2013, 10:45 AM
 
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About the bullying and teasing issue, sometimes you just cannot predict the fall-out from a particular name. DS has a neutral name, well-known as a surname but it's also used as a first name (think MacKenzie or Taylor, although it is not either of those). It seemed fairly bully-proof - no obvious derogatory aspects to it, no double-meanings or other problems. When he was 6, we moved to a new town where it was also unfortunately the name of a large factory that employed many locals. There was a rather ugly little rhyme used in the schoolyard to tease the children of the factory-workers. The rhyming part was for the product, not the name. Of course, it was one of the first things DS heard when he started school. 

 

I think it's a good idea to avoid obvious possible sources of teasing but children will often find a way. They are creative little so-and-so's, after all. 

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#26 of 41 Old 05-03-2013, 11:04 AM
 
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I like "word" names, like August, Jade, Violet, etc. Not necessarily those in particular but names that are also words - vs names that are just names like Karen and Michelle. My husband has a hand-me-down name, so we gave it to our boy - and like someone else mentioned it's one that will last the test of time, from baby to grandfather. Classy!

Our other choices for boy and girl names were more on the unusual but not difficult side, and definitely nothing that is trending hard. For instance, a boy pick was Dax, since we both only ever knew one Dax, but apparently it's becoming popular lately and we have that fear of X number of kids in school with the same name (even though that's becoming less). I also have shied away from TV/book names even if I love them, because goodness knows there will be a ton of Daeneryses and Aryas coming up (in fact, a family member just named his daughter Arya).

I think as long as you don't name your kid something normal and spell it in such a way it is not at all recognizable, or name them something really really weird (Hashtag, Dovahkiin), any name can be a good name!

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#27 of 41 Old 05-03-2013, 11:24 AM
 
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I forgot to mention before, this is a great site for names: http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com

If you pick a name, there is a Considering this name? tab which has some extra info about the particular name, including a Descriptions on how this name can be used for name bullying and Were you bullied a lot because of your name? section which is awesome...
Great site, thanks for the link!
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#28 of 41 Old 05-06-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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After reading this thread, I was feeling a little worried about our kids not having traditionally American names. I even asked my husband if he thought employers would hesitate over a resume with a name they didn't know how to pronounce. (Considering my husband has worked for several international companies with many employees who have come from all over the world just to work here, he thought my concern was silly, LOL.) Visiting our local grocery store yesterday made me feel better. Multiple people with British accents (including the cute Scottish stockboy!) A mom speaking loudly to her daughter in Italian. Muslim women in hijabs. Indians and Vietnamese. Not to mention Americans of all colors and creeds. I love living in such a diverse place! smile.gif

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#29 of 41 Old 05-06-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by michelleepotter View Post

After reading this thread, I was feeling a little worried about our kids not having traditionally American names. I even asked my husband if he thought employers would hesitate over a resume with a name they didn't know how to pronounce. (Considering my husband has worked for several international companies with many employees who have come from all over the world just to work here, he thought my concern was silly, LOL.) Visiting our local grocery store yesterday made me feel better. Multiple people with British accents (including the cute Scottish stockboy!) A mom speaking loudly to her daughter in Italian. Muslim women in hijabs. Indians and Vietnamese. Not to mention Americans of all colors and creeds. I love living in such a diverse place! smile.gif

I have to say that the "easy" names criteria has some serious xenophobia and ethnocentrism attached to it that I really hate, even as I picked a very American name.

I think if we had some deep common heritage, justifying a more interesting name would have been easy, but really, being in this anglophone country is the only culture we have in common.

So, I don't know. It's tricky.

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#30 of 41 Old 05-06-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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My husband and I both have very unique names, and so we agreed early on to pick names that would be just slightly common - we both love our names, but we do understand the struggles a more difficult name can bring.  That being said, our biggest priority was the origin of our name choices and what they mean to us culturally.  I am Persian, and my husband is Jewish.  We felt it was important to give our children one name from each of our cultures - Persian first name and Jewish middle name for a boy, reversed for a girl. 

 

That being said... we had the first names picked almost immediately (Cyrus for a boy and Norah for a girl) and TOTALLY petered out when it came time to think of a middle name.  I'm 17 weeks pregnant, and since we find out the sex of the baby in 2 1/2 weeks, we just decided to revisit it then, when we only have to think of one middle name.  :) 


Moni - 31 years old, married for 4 years, and new momma to Norah, born October 16th, 2013! smile.gif
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