When a couple is expecting, one question that frequently comes up in conversation is that of baby names. Name books are thumbed through endlessly for names for girls and names for boys and, unless the couple has decided to learn the gender of their future son or daughter, at least two potential names must be decided on.
There are a variety of factors that go into making that final decision that will give a permanent name to the newest member of the family. Many people say that a child’s name can dramatically shape the life and future of that child. Whether or not this is inherently true, there are some easily discernable points that speak to its validity. Right off the bat, a certain type of name can lead to a child’s being treated a certain way by his peers at school. A silly or obviously outdated name can cause the child to be mistreated, bullied and picked on. There are some parents, although few in number, who feel that such a name would help build character in the child. Possibly, there are an even greater number of child psychologists who would beg to differ. On the other hand, a name that is perceived to be “cool” or “in” could help the child to receive positive attention from his or her peers. While the former point seems cut and dry, the latter is a little more difficult to prove. Obviously, the way in which a child learns to interact with his or her peers will have the greatest impact on how he or she is treated in the schoolyard. Still, giving a child a name that, for example, sounds like or rhymes with a well-known “naughty word,” is probably asking for trouble.
An entirely different factor that, in the last couple decades, has become more common in this age-old discussion is that of individuality and creativity. A lot of modern parents-to-be would prefer to give their child a name that is all their own. The motivation behind this varies from parent to parent but typically centers around giving the child a unique identity. Still, there are some parents who feel that the act of naming a child is an appropriate avenue for creative expression. Again, it’s possible that some child psychologists would disagree with that idea.
If you are an expecting parent, you have no doubt thought about the subject a great deal. Even for the most decisive of minds, deciding on a baby name has a weight to it that makes it rather difficult. So, what are some methods that would help you make a decision with confidence?
1. Keep it in the Family – One, almost, surefire way of picking a name that you will not regret is to name your child after a loved one. The act in itself can be seen as a sign of affection to a future grandparent or other family member, and gives the impression that you wish your son or daughter to be like the person. However, just because a name was given to a person that you love or respect, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good name for your child. All the same factors should be considered, even with the name of a loved one.
2. How Does this Sound? – When choosing baby boy names or baby girl names, a time-tested method is to read through lists of popular names with your partner. While, at first glance, this method appears to rely solely on personal preference, it actually goes considerably deeper. By reading through the names and deciding together, you are not only tapping into the combined preference and taste of both partners but also on each name’s cultural relevance. Without realizing it, at a deeper subconscious level, you and your spouse will have a general idea of what names will fit better in the modern day. When a name sounds “cheesy” or outdated, this is the direct result of this process. This is a result of you and your spouse’s connectedness to the culture through media and entertainment.
3. What is Popular Today? – This method takes the idea of cultural relevance to the next level. When deciding on baby names, it can be tremendously helpful to look up statistics on commonly used names in the last few years. If your hope is to give the child a semi-unique name, this will also allow you to see which names have been overused. This way you can be certain that your child won’t be the fifth “Karen” or “Jacob” in his or her class.