5 Ways to Avoid Regret When Naming Your Baby

What’s in a name? Quite a bit, apparently. It can play an important role in defining your child’s identity. We tell you how to avoid hassles when picking a name and what to do if you need to change it

By Poongkodi Jose

5 Ways to Avoid Regret When Naming Your Baby

Once in a while, we take important decisions in a hurry, to later regret them and however guilty and helpless we may feel, often there is no going back. Take for instance, the ritual of naming a newborn. When you have just become a parent,  you are already going through a life-changing experience and everything else pales in comparison to the excitement of being with your little bundle of joy. 

At that time, matters such as naming a child may not seem very important when compared to giving the little one a healthy and happy life. Nevertheless, choosing a well-thought out name for your baby should be top priority, so that you are not met with disappointment later. Think about whether your child will like the name when he grows up and whether it will suit his personality.

Of course, you can change the name, but don’t forget, it is needless trouble and you may feel that it could have been avoided. Moreover, changing a name involves a legal process and will take time. It is best to think through and get it right the first time.

So much in a name

Bala, the father of a three-year-old, says his daughter’s name ’Grithya’ is often confused with 'Kirthika' which sounds similar and is a very common name in South India. This is very annoying at times, he says.

“I gave my son an old-fashioned name because my parents were keen that the child be named after an uncle who had passed away. Unfortunately, my child hates the name and his friends make fun of it because it is long-winding and not modern,” says Rohini. 

We hear such stories often! So do you want to avoid the remorse that many parents go through because they did not choose the right name? We suggest five ways to avoid regrets while naming your little one:  

1. Do your research 

There is no harm in doing a little bit of research to find out if there are any drawbacks with the name you like. Often parents tend to oversee the problems when they like a particular name and blindly choose it

2. Avoid super popular names

Many parents choose a popular celebrity name and when they hear the name everywhere, they instantly regret. A child with an overly popular name may be irritated because he does not feel unique. There is also the fear of drawing unnecessary attention.

3. Discuss with your spouse

Allow ample time discussing the choice with your spouse, who has equal rights in naming the little one. Forcing your choice will only leave them disliking the name for a lifetime. Hear out their reasons, brainstorm, and select the name based on your collective decision. Remember, there is no competition!

4. Share with trusted people 

It is understandable that many parents want to choose an offbeat or unique name for their baby, thinking that it will make their little one stand out from a crowd. It is also fine if you do not want to disclose the name before the official announcement. But it is always a good idea to share it among a close circle of people, whose decisions you trust, so as to avoid any name regrets later.

5. Don’t push it to the last minute

Leaving things to fall in place by itself, closer to the deadline, will only lead to choosing a name in haste! It does not work out every time. Remember it is an important decision, so plan well in advance. Check popular websites and if you want to do it the traditional way, go by your child's horoscope. Think it over to avoid any unpleasant associations. Fall in love with your choice. Feel happy and contented about it so that you would not have to change it later. 

After all this, if you suddenly realise that you have chosen a name that your child will hate all his life and so you want to change it, don’t worry. Here is a lowdown on how to change the name of a minor in India --

P Gokulnaath, senior advocate says, “parents should ensure that every alphabet in the name is correct when registering it for the birth certificate or school documents, so that they can avoid changing the name later. The most common reasons given for changing a child's name is numerology or horoscope.”      

Name change rules

A minor’s (below 18 years of age) name can be changed by his/her parents for various reasons including personal preference, numerology, astrology, the inclusion of surname, change of surname and so on.

What are the steps?

1. Create an affidavit for change of name of a minor 

An affidavit is basically a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an Affiant* (the one who makes the statement) under an oath/affirmation administered by a person authorised to do so by law. This document serves as a testimony of your decision and intention to change the name of your child legally. In the case of a name change for minors, since it is done by the parents, the parent is known as the Deponent. 

2. Get the affidavit attested

Print the draft on a stamp paper and get it attested by a Notary Public/First Class Magistrate/Oath Commissioner.

3. Notifying in the Gazette 

  • Go to the department that looks after the Gazette publication, the Government Press, in most of the cases.
  • Get the required form and fill it very carefully following all the instructions.
  • The name changing notification will then be published in the Gazette and you’ll receive its copies.

4. Publication in the Newspaper

Place an advertisement in a leading newspaper. This is done to publicly declare the change in the name so that if a conflict arises later, you have an official declaration of the name change.

With this, the name change procedure gets officially completed!

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