New Nameberry post up!

A piece I wrote for Nameberry posted earlier this week, with a new angle on the topic of name regret: Baby Name Remorse: Helping Your Children Love Their Names (Avoiding name regret, junior version).

I’m sure many (most?) of us would be upset if any of our children decided they didn’t like the names so lovingly and carefully chosen for them, so I wanted to come up with some strategies that might help avoid that. I’d love to know what you think of my ideas! If any of you have experiences with this — not liking the name your parents gave you, or if your kids have let you know they don’t like their names — I’d love to hear that too!

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19 thoughts on “New Nameberry post up!

  1. I know a couple of old ladies who still hate their names or suffer from name envy (of a sibling with a prettier name). One actually legally shortened her name and vowed never to use a long name on her children, but even the shortened version is something she only tolerates.

    I also know a lady who hates her husband’s name because it sounds like an old man and man who really wishes that his wife’s name were more feminine, which of course isn’t what she wants to hear.

    No matter how much you love the name, I do think that is important to try to avoid one of these situations by choosing a name that is at least somewhat socially acceptable/familiar. Of course, you can’t please everyone, so maybe it’s worth it to some people?

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  2. I’ve always struggled with my name. I have an androgynous first name (a family name) and my mothers maiden name as my middle name. Neither name lends itself to a good nickname. I didn’t felt right about changing my name completely, as it was chosen for me with love, but when I got married I did choose to change my middle name. Changing my middle name gave me some ownership over my name, which helped me a lot.

    All of this made me take great care choosing names for my children. I have two daughters and one son, all of whom have traditional names with a strong saint/biblical connection.

    In my teen years I gave my mom a very hard time about my name, which I deeply regret now. I have apologized to her, but this is a sorrow that I hope to avoid with my children.

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  3. My oldest daughter and I both have name regret of her name. Her middle name is Ruthm@rie and she was named for my sister in the monastery – Sr. Ruth Marie. Five years after my Ruthm@rie was born, my sister received a formal dispensation from Rome, left the monastery, and went back to her birth name. I feel like my oldest is named after no one in the family now (all my kids have family middles), and it bothers me. :/

    She toys with changing it to Benedicta. But that’s just not “her,” you know?

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    • I do! Each one is different, and there’s sort of a half-and-half split stylewise — three of them are more adventurous, three are “safer” — but each first name and each first+middle combo was carefully chosen and I love how each one came out. So far they seem to like their names, I hope they always do!

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  4. I think the best way to avoid “junior name regret” is just giving the child a common name. Common names are common for a reason: they appeal to most people. So it’s likely that the child will like it. You may love Cletus more than Daniel, but the odds are your child will probably like Daniel more than Cletus (just like the majority of people, according to the information about popularity we have).

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    • I think there’s something to this! Although, on my Instagram post one of the moms was saying how much she dislikes her name and one of the reasons was because so many girls in high school of a certain reputation had the same name. And I think of all the Jennifers — or anyone who had to be “Kate T.” in school to distinguish (using my own name only as an example — I never minded!) — who bemoan the fact that they have such a common name. But I do like how you said “Common names are common for a reason: they appeal to most people,” I do think that’s true.

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  5. I have a friend who was christened Daphne who hated her name so much she convinced her parents to let her legally change her name (to Brenda!) while she was still a minor.

    My own daughter (5yo) shows a distinct preference for her use-name, which is the first syllable of her full three-syllable given name, and will only admit that her full given name is her name in the context of the complete “first name, middle name, surname” version of her name.

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    • Oh also, my 5yo recently informed us that he no longer likes the nickname we’ve called him since birth and insists on being called the less cutesy shortened version of it (think Eddie vs. Ed). So funny!

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  6. Oh man this article hits me with all the feels because the only thing I like about my name is my first name! I have a clunky family name with an equally clunky middle and an ambiguously pronounced (and ugly imo) baptism name (all in my birth certificate so it’s my full legal name OTL) I was convinced my parents didn’t know how to name children. Now I’m old enough to be able to spell and pronounce it right I’m kinda attached to it (Stockholm name syndrome???) but I look forward to the day I turn 30 so I can drop it from my identity card and just go by my given and family name.

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    • You have to tell me more about this Sabrina! So Sabrina is your first name? And you have a clunky middle and clunky family name (=surname?) that you dislike? And a different baptism name? And it’s all on your identity card? And you can change that when you turn 30? That’s all so interesting! (For the rest of you: Sabrina’s in Singapore.)

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      • yup Sabrina is my given name! Not a big fan of my baptism or middle name, but my family name/surname will stay with me for life since we don’t take our husband’s name after marriage. I do like my first name + surname combo though!

        Yeah in Singapore you get your identity card the year you turn 15, and you get to change it for free when you turn 30. Lots of people make use of that time to change details on their ic (usually names; especially if converting religions that require name changes) otherwise it costs lots of moolah on the regular. 5 and a half years to wait tho.

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  7. This is timely! My 4 yo has mentioned several times in the past weeks that she doesn’t like her first name (Audrey) and wants to go by Jane or Rosie. She says it sounds too much like a boy’s name (Andre (my oldest has one in her class)), which is a legit observation in our very diverse Catholic community. I’ll definitely use your advice from the article, and am hoping this will all quietly dissipate!

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