Sunday, 30 October 2011

On the names we give our kids.

Driving back from breakfast with a good friend of mine this morning, and the radio presenter was discussing this new survey, from the website YourBabyDomain, which reveals that 8% of parents regret the name they have given to their child. 8%? That's a lot!

It got me thinking about the role our name plays in shaping our identity. 

There are numerous myths out there that certain names will predetermine your child's personality. Some of the more common ones are boys with names beginning with "J", "Zac", double barrelled names for girls (Kelly-Ann, Jamie-Lee), as well as names with different spellings (for example: Kellee, or Mellonie). These names are all meant to give you little brats.

Now before I start receiving hate mail from all the mummies of Joshs, Zacs and Kelly-Anns, please note that this is NOT my point of view. Merely reporting on what is out there.

There is of course, no evidence to suggest that this is true. Although some teachers will swear they can pick the trouble kids from the list of names they get at the beginning of the semester!

Having said that, I personally think that although the name per se will not determine the child's personality, I believe that often the background history or the meaning of the name can have a profound impact on the person.

For example, it is common in Africa to give names to children that have a meaning, such as "Precious" or "Gift". You've got to feel special when your parent gives you a name like that. On the other hand, some children are given names with meanings such as "Unwanted" or "Another Girl". Anyone care to suggest that would not influence the child's personality?

Another interesting example is Salvador Dali, a surrealist painter, who was also known for his excentricities. His real name was Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech. Quite the name right? But that is not the most striking aspect of his name. His older brother who had died 9 months before Salvador Dali's birth, was also named Salvador. His whole life, Salvador Dali grew up seeing his own name on a grave and told by his parents that he was the reincarnation of his brother. It is postulated that Dali was so excentric as a way of proving to himself and perhaps the world, that he was indeed his own person, separate from his brother, and well and truely alive. 

It can also be argued that showbiz children have got somewhat narcissistic parents whose children's names become a reflection of themselves. A way of standing out and being unique. 
We have all heard of Apple, Bronx and Brooklyn, Prince and Blanket. And did you know that one of Michael Jackson's nephews is called Jermajesty??

Could a child named Jermajesty really grow up to be humble? I have my doubts.

All that to say that naming your child Jordan will not mean that you have created a little terror. But to a certain extent, the name you pick can influence your child's personality. So choose wisely!

What do you think? Any teachers out there care to comment? What names did you choose? Do you have any regrets?


  1. I love Rory's name still, but sometimes wish I had called her something a little more "girly" after having two boys!
    But even if I had known I was going to have the twins before Roo was born I'm pretty sure she would have still been called Rory! We were very set on it!

  2. I have 3 boys. I wanted to call them all Oscar but chickened out every time! We now have Isaac, Elijah and Samson. Keeps my husbands religious grandparents happy lol! Maybe next time. (as a side note, I really (unashameably) wanted the third to be a girl. Was told he was a girl in a scan at 14weeks, then corrected at 20 weeks, she was to be called Audrey. When Samson was born I still wanted to call him Audrey.... I was JIPPED!!!)

    I WANT AN AUDREY!!!!!!!!!

  3. Daisy, I think Rory is gorgeous and I love how you've shortened it to Roo!

  4. Anonymous, another interesting point you raise there: how do we cope with not having that little girl or boy we want so much. Maybe i'll write a post on that.

  5. My middle daughter is Meghann (It rhymes with Pegin... ie not Mee-gan). It is Welsh, a proper name and I love it... but as a teacher I should have known better because no one can pronounce it unless they have heard of it before so she spends her life being called Megan by strangers. We call her Meg.
    I am a high school teacher and swear that if you call your child Cory (any spelling it doesn't matter) then you may as well just book a weekly appointment with the principal when they start high school. I once had a class with 4 of them in it and they were all awful. I would love to be proven wrong, but so far my theory holds up!

  6. Haha Jo! 4 Cory's!! I hadn't heard of that one before. Out of interest, do you think to a certain degree you expect them to be naughty and therefore they behave that way? A bit like a self-fulfilling project? Just curious.

  7. We picked Mackenna for our first daughter very early on and I still love it!! We don't like Macca though for a nickname, so we are trying to shorten it to Mickey instead (which suits her better anyways.) She's going to have a lifetime of spelling it out though! One thing we didn't think of is that her whole name is 27 letters long and each name is 3 syllables!!
    Our second daughter, we were still deciding in the birth suite. Had a short list of 3, but decided on Piper because she looked like a cute little pixie, bless her. Still really happy with that choice too.... as Daisy mentioned, something a bit girly after the strong 'Mackenna'. (She was born 2 months before the royal wedding though, so people often pronounce it Pippa!)

  8. If I had any clue that my boy was going to have a strong lisp, I never would have named him Santiago! Lol!

  9. Oh Romina! At least u can see the funny side of it!

  10. Anna, I expect all my students to behave themselves lol. My theory is that sometimes, a name becomes popular and so you teach a lot of them. A few years ago I was teaching heaps of Hayleys and Jades. Naturally you are going to get some bad behaviour from some kids, I just got unlucky with Coreys... but I also think that some parents aren't very good at parenting, and for some reason they always seem to pick the same names lol.

  11. Jo, I was trying to say just that (about some parents who aren't that good at parenting picking same names) but couldn't explain it clearly enough In my post. You've said it perfectly.

  12. We chose Oscar and Raphaël for our boys and still love both names. Funnily enough, Oscar is now more popular than it was 5 years ago. When he was born, most comments were: "Oooh I have/had a dog/cat/goldfish called Oscar". Now I hear the name called out more often on the playgrounds and they are usually 2 or 3 year old kids. Raphaël gets comments too, mostly positive, although I'll throttle the next person that asks if he is named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle! ;-)

  13. My first one is also called Raphael and get Rapha for short. I wanted to call my second one Leo, until someone pointed out that that was short for Leonardo, which is another ninja turtle! So we called him Luca instead. I have no regrets! Love the names.

  14. Love those names! Hehe! Ninja turtles!

  15. My husband and I spent hours and hours and hours discussing the names of our four children and I love them all. What fascinates me is how they all seem to have "grown" into their names and now it seems as though no other name would suit their individual little personalities.

  16. We came across a premmie baby called Storm (a girl) and yes, mum went into labour during a storm and had the Driz a bone coat to prove it. She cane from the land...

  17. I've read a book proposing that at what people name their children is a reflection of their socio-economic status and can determine their opportunities and education path.

    I have no regrets. Naming was so important to me. I believe that children DO live up to their names. I wanted to name my children unique names that sounded beautiful AND had meaning.

    I've popped over from Daisy's blog roll post - hello! :)


Aaaah, you are leaving your opinion! I love it!