Choosing your child’s name can be one of the most fun things about having a child. It can also be one of the most frustrating if you decide to tell people what name you picked before your child is born.
Sharing your baby’s name is one of many times friends and strangers will feel completely free to offer their unsolicited opinion. But when it’s the child’s future grandparents chiming in, the situation becomes a whole lot more interesting — and by “interesting,” I mean a total pain in the ass.
Gransnet, in partnership with their sister company Mumsnet, conducted a survey of over 2,000 grandparents and found that 1 in 5 grandparents can’t stand the name chosen for their grandchild. Uh-oh, someone grab the popcorn; we’re going to be in for quite a show here.
According to the study, the biggest objections by grandparents were that the children’s names were too hard to pronounce, “too weird,” or “ugly.” Ouch. Others were disappointed that their suggestions weren’t used or the name reminded them of someone they didn’t like.
The study also found 69 percent of grandparents think that it’s perfectly acceptable for them to offer an opinion on their grandchild’s name. Surprisingly, only 38 percent of parents surveyed said it is none of their parents’ business.
My husband and his parents are from Scotland and I have never laughed harder than when all got together to think about names for our son.
“How about Alistair?” they suggested when we found out it was a boy.
“Umm, last time I checked, he doesn’t have a trust fund or a top hat,” I said back sarcastically.
“What about Zach?” I ventured.
“Totally,” my husband said. “Then he can call Biff and Max and they can all meet down at the playground and steal some kid’s lunch.”
We settled on Gavin, which is apparently neutral territory — both here and across the pond.
What’s most concerning may be that 17 percent of grandparents surveyed said that the disagreement over their grandchild’s name happened the day they were born. I’m sorry, what now? Your daughter or daughter-in-law went through an exhaustive labor and delivery to introduce you to the love of their lives … and you had the nerve to pick a fight about their baby’s name? That’s one way to get yourself uninvited for the holidays.
The survey found the top names hated by grandparents the most were: Aurora, Charlotte, Elijah, Finn, Jack, Lindsay, Noah, Sally, and Tabitha. I’m not finding any of these names particularly offensive (and truthfully, I’m feeling slightly superior that none of my children’s names are listed here).
It’s really wild to see how much lies within a name. Two percent of grandparents admitted to falling out (including temporarily losing contact) with their children over the name they chose. Additionally, 4 percent of grandparents have still have not accepted the name even to this day, to which parents everywhere scream in unison, GET OVER IT!
“Parenthood is one long object lesson in not pleasing everyone,” said Mumsnet Founder Justine Roberts. “New parents should think of any naming tussles as preparation for coming battles over what constitutes an appropriate outdoor outfit, whether it’s alright to cut the cat’s hair.”
I think she may be onto something here.