Naming your child is, perhaps, your first major responsibility as a parent.
The pressure of choosing a name is enormous. Especially if your parents screwed up on your name. Then you know fist-hand the trauma that going through life with a horrible name brings.
And it isn’t just horrible names. I am personally aware of a man named Thomas Cruise who has to live through the smirks and raised eyebrows every, single day of his life. Yeah, he goes by Thomas instead of Tom, but it doesn’t help much.
Baby name regret is higher than ever. According to a new study nearly 60% of parents regret the name they chose for their child. Apparently it’s a combination of not feeling like the name suits the child’s personality, frustration with mispronunciation of the name and learning of negative associations with the name.
Now, what with a lot of sociology majors with too much time on their hands, we’re seeing studies released that confirm the cold hard facts. If you screw up naming your kid you are pretty much screwing up his life too. As you’re about to see, a poorly chosen baby name can lead to a life of low self-esteem, loneliness, less dates, racism and it might even make you dumber. As the National Post reports, “the research, which appears in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, is thought to offer the firmest conclusions to date that “unfortunate” first names evoke negative reactions from strangers, which in turn influence life outcomes for the worse.”
Click onward to see 7 reasons (not a slideshow) naming your kid could be one of the most important things you do as a parent.
Low Self-Esteem: Study co-author, Dr. WiebkeNeberich says “It’s remarkable that just a name can influence how your social environment reacts to you, and how this reaction can influence your life” and he’s absolutely right. As with my friend, Thomas Cruise, his name has shaped his life and how he interacts with people in what he deems a negative way. And it isn’t like Tom Cruise is Hitler or anything, but having to deal with the same rigamarole every time you introduce yourself has got to be tiring. I’m certain my friend is embarrassed of his name but doesn’t want to change something his parents gave him (before Tom Cruise was even on the scene, mind you) because it’s not a bad name, the association is just a huge pain.
Racial Profiling: Employers are less likely to interview job candidates with black sounding names. As CBS reports, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that resumes with “white” names were more likely to be called back than resumes with “black” names, even if they have the same credentials. “Minorities of all kinds have wrestled with whether to celebrate their culture by giving their children distinctive names, or help them “blend in” with a name that won’t stick out. Thousands of Jews have changed their names, hoping to improve their economic prospects in the face of discrimination, as have Asians and other minorities.”
Boys With Feminine Names More Likely to Commit Crimes: According to a study conducted by the University of Florida’s sociology department boys with uncommon or “sissy” names are more likely than your average Michael, Christopher or Joshua to run afoul of the law. “Boys with unpopular, girlish or uncommon names often are ridiculed by peers, come from families of low socioeconomic status and face discrimination in the workforce based on a preconceived bias about their names, according to the study, which analyzed more than 15,000 names. Jay Corzine, chairman of the University of Central Florida’s sociology department, said he finds the study “fascinating.” He said family tradition often plays a part in naming a child and that the environment could affect a boy’s upbringing. “Some kids could have a name that leads to teasing and being picked on and, in return, that child could become aggressive with others,” he added.
Bad Name Can Make You Dumber? – Bad name leads to lower self esteem – According to that study I mentioned earlier, “Data gathered from nearly 12,000 adult participants found that a bad first name can not only ruin your self-esteem, but it may actually make you lonelier — and dumber — research published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science shows.” Not only that, but people with unfortunate names are generally less educated.
People With Positive Initials Live Longer – What do your initials spell? If your initials spell something positive like W.I.N. or V.I.P. then, according to one study, you’re going to live longer than someone whose initials spell F.A.T. or B.A.D. “Psychologists Leif Nelson and Joseph Simmons conducted their research through baseball records, grade point averages and law school admissions. They found that in baseball players with the first or last name beginning with the letter K where more likely to strike out in a game. Ironically strikeouts are recorded with the letter K. Students who’s names begin with A or B had higher GPAs.
His Name Is Englebert? I’m Not Dating Him! – It would seem that people would rather be single than date a person with unfortunate name. A group of researchers used a dating website to conduct a study. Turns out, folks skip over potential mates with unappealing names and keep on looking. Incidentally, “in one of the researchers’ experiments, online daters whose names carried the most positive valence (Alexander) received 102 per cent more profile visits, relative to opportunity, than daters whose names carried the worst valence (Kevin).
Bad Names Inspire Smokers – That same study cites that “across all tests, which drew on 11,813 adults, those with “unfortunate” first names were generally more likely to smoke”. I’m not really sure of the correlation other than if you have low self-esteem and aren’t very bright and no one wants to date you then maybe you’re more inclined to light up?
So what do you think? Does a name really have the power to change lives?