How do we deal with unsolicited baby name advice?

Your child’s name represents them as a person, and a poor choice may leave them resenting their name or, even worse, you as a parent. You’ll likely take into consideration what’s popular and how your son or daughter’s peers may turn that name into a hurtful insult. Unfortunately, everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion about baby names, so how do you avoid advice — that’s often unsolicited — without losing your cool?

It might not be your style, but sometimes grinning and bearing naming advice is best. Flash your pearly whites and say “Great, thanks!” or “We’ll take it into consideration” when someone suggests “Aidan” for the tenth time. Thank the person for concern about your baby if you’re feeling grateful. Then, turn the subject to something a little less contentious.

Of course, some parents aren’t afraid of a little confrontation. If you’re this type, you can get away with a snappy remark such as “Whose advice did you take when naming your child?” Friends, family and coworkers might have the best intentions, so reminding them of how frustrating it was to be on the receiving end might be all they need. You can also lament about how everyone sticks their nose in your business to help your friends get the picture.

When you do want advice about baby names, there are plenty of resources available. Nameberry, Parenting.com and BabyCenter all have databases of names. The listings include definitions, nicknames and related names. BabyNames.com includes a forum for you to get advice from other parents.

Experts recommend that the first and middle name start with a different letter for a smooth transition. Practice saying the names out loud, including the middle name.

Kids are certainly creative when it comes to insulting. They even consider initials. Remember that the reason you pick a name might not be important to your child when teased, even if you really want to cherish the memory of grandpa Adolf. Switch the first and middle name if your heart is set on something that your child might not like.

When you take sound, initials and public reaction into consideration, you should be left with a name that no one can argue with.

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