Naming traditions can evoke mixed reactions in families. Sometimes it is a delight and honor to name a new baby after family members. Other times, a beautiful babe ends up with a moniker that doesn’t fit or outweighs the baby with its heft. Today let’s chat about why people hate naming traditions and how to make them better in our own families.
Typically people hate naming traditions when bad or outdated names end up attached to a little one who then has to go through life dealing with it. Sometimes young couples resent having their choices limited by such traditions, too. Whether you fall into the camp of loving a family naming tradition or hating it, I’d suggest that the most important consideration when naming a new baby is the effect that name will have on the child as they develop and grow into adulthood. Thinking ahead to how a name will attach and either make life better or worse, is one way to bless a new family member before they ever start walking.
However your family likes to choose names, here’s a quick checklist you can use to improve the traditions and choices. Before we even start the list, grandparents remember to let your children take the reins here. The children are theirs so they should have the final choice with regard to names. If you are asked for opinions, help with these bits of wisdom.
Making Naming Traditions Better
- Consider how many in the family already carry the name, are living, and are likely to be at family gatherings together. Five Saras or Georges at a family event will get confusing. Allow for everyone to have their own identity. Maybe use a common family name as a middle name rather than a first name.
- Always, always consider initials. Watch for initials that spell anything untoward or embarrassing. Considering the initials of other immediate family members is important to think about for avoiding household confusion later, too. We don’t need confusion when labeling things like clothing, books, toys, and school supplies during the growing up years.
- Encourage parents to consider what nicknames may develop from first names. Again, try to be sure that crazy rhymes or ugly nicknames aren’t easily formed. Children are notoriously cruel to one another in school. We can help avoid some of the bullying and teasing early on by choosing names wisely.
- Consider spelling and the future when children will be asked to spell unusual names repeatedly.
- Avoid the temptation to get too cutesy with names. What is cute for an infant may be a disaster for a teenager.
Names are personal. While many people go through times where they don’t like their name, we can save much consternation for children and grandchildren by thinking ahead and naming with love and consideration.
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