What To Do When My Child Does Not Like His Name

A name gives an individual a sense of personal identity. So, it is of enormous importance. However, if your child doesn’t like his name, what would you do?

By Arun Sharma

What To Do When My Child Does Not Like His Name

After a child is born, the task of choosing an appropriate name for her can give parents and other family members quite a few sleepless nights. However, this ordeal doesn't end there. In some cases, children may not like the name given to them. This is because what makes a name important, apart from its meaning, is that it bequeaths to an individual a sense of identity.

A name also assumes critical significance because of the tremendous psychological impact it has on the individual. For example, boys when given girlish names or girls with boyish names can feel ashamed and embarrassed. Whereas, having the name of some famous personality or ancestor can boost an individual’s sense of self-esteem and confidence.

Several factors play an important role while choosing a name such as language, culture, religion and tradition. Some of the usual reasons for choosing a particular name are:

  1. To honour an ancestor
  2. Religious or spiritual beliefs
  3. Cultural significance
  4. Popularity
  5. Rarity
  6. Numerological/astrological influence
  7. Association with a famous personality
  8. The way it sounds

Common reasons why a child may not like her name

While family members invest a lot of thought in naming a child, the child himself may not feel comfortable with his name. While, in the case of young children, the cause of dislike may be just idiosyncratic, in the case of grown-up children, the reasons may be legitimate. Let’s look at some of the reasons why a child doesn’t like her name:

  1. It doesn’t sound good
  2. It’s tough to pronounce correctly
  3. It rhymes with some embarrassing word
  4. It’s not gender-specific
  5. Doesn’t go well with the middle or the last name
  6. Is associated with someone who is not looked upon favourably (For example, Hitler)
  7. Is so rare that it has to be explained to almost everyone
  8. Sounds gibberish
  9. The diminutive form of the name can sound funny or bad

What should you do if your child doesn’t like her name

Parents may feel slightly peeved when their child comes to them complaining about her name. After all, they went through so much to find such a fascinating name for her.

However, instead of feeling annoyed and disheartened, try to look at the complaint from your child’s perspective. Imagine the emotional hurt and discomfort she would be suffering every time someone calls out her name. So, when your child complains about her name, it is a serious issue. Sit with her and listen patiently to her concerns to try and understand why she wants a change of name.

After she has finished talking, try to make her understand that her concerns are unfounded by giving her convincing reasons. To make your explanation more convincing, you can also explain the history behind the name that makes it special, why you think the name is apt for her, and its cultural and social importance.

However, if your child is old enough to take informed decisions, and you have not been able to convince her, it is in everyone’s best interest to go ahead and change the name.

To do this, consult a lawyer to understand the formalities that you would need to complete to effect the change of name.

What should parents keep in mind while naming a child

All the unpleasantness associated with the child’s complaints about his name and the hassles of doing the legal paperwork can be avoided if parents keep in mind a few points while naming their child. Don’t give names that:

  1. You think is creative but in fact doesn’t make any sense
  2. Is hard for your child and others to pronounce and spell
  3. Is used to indicate the species of animals. For example, Tiger, Fox, Bird and so on
  4. Is of personalities whom your child would find tough to emulate
  5. Sound like nicknames
  6. When spelled only as initials may sound awkward

The last word

No name is faux pas proof or insured against embarrassment. Also, there is no rule in the world that states that names once given cannot be changed. So, if you find that your child is not comfortable with his name, go ahead and make amends. Give him a name that you both mutually agree upon or let him have his way. After all, it’s his name.