One of the biggest decisions that a parent has to make when a baby is born is what to name the little one. Of course, moms spend a lot of time and attention on the baby registry and preparing the nursery, and decisions related to the pregnancy and birth are paramount. But one of the toughest — and most controversial — decisions comes when it is time to choose a name. After all, there are more options for the baby name than we can count, and just as many opinions.
It’s possible that there are a few people even more excited about the baby’s birth than the mom and dad, if only because they aren’t also saddled with the stress. The grandparents can’t wait to meet the next generation and lavish all their love on their children’s children. But it can be difficult to step aside and let their children make such a big decision as choosing a name without letting their own opinions known.
Any moms-to-be who decide to share their baby name lists are doing so at their own risk. Whether it is her mother or a total stranger, someone is going to hate her top five choices, and it hurts all the worse when the opinion comes from family.
According to a recently released study, up to 20 percent of grandparents hate their grandchild’s name. They revealed their preferences in the survey, and we’re here to report the findings so moms-to-be can be prepared — or at least keep their choices to themselves until the baby has arrived.
Here are nine names that grandparents and seven reasons why they hate them.
16 Too Old-Fashioned
Ever heard of the 100-year rule? It’s the idea that names can come back in popularity after a century or so. We’ve also heard it referred to as the grandparent’s rule, as many times the names were popular among their grandparents’ generation. It’s a big trend these days, and there are tons of gorgeous names making a comeback because of the rule — and we’ll admit, a few old-fashioned duds that some people just absolutely adore.
Many parents-to-be may be enchanted with the idea of naming the baby after their grandparent or they may just like a name that hasn’t topped the naming charts since World War I.But for their parents, those are the names of their friends’ parents. They seemed so uncool when they were picking baby names, and they don’t understand the appeal that comes after several more decades have passed. They can’t even get on board when it is their own precious grandchild who bears a name they consider horribly old-fashioned.
The Mumsnet survey identified some of the names most hated by grandparents, so we will try to match them to the top reasons that they hate them. For the old-fashioned haters, Edna is among the worst names making a comeback. It has an amazing meaning that young parents love — delight — and evokes images of Eden. But for people of a certain generation, it will always hold the connotation of frumpiness.
Australians, especially, will always think of Dame Edna, a character portrayed by Barry Humphries, who was the quintessential old-fashioned housewife. Her tales made people laugh, but she wasn’t exactly the kind of woman that grandparents hope their little grandchild will grow up to be. Portrayals of Edna Turnblad in the musical “Hairspray” and Edna Krabapple in “The Simpsons” didn’t help the matter. The next generation doesn’t have those images coming to mind so quickly, but for a new grandmother, it can be hard to see past the characterization, even if her own little Edna has her own dimples and smile.
Elijah is an old name — in fact, it’s Biblical. That can even seem ancient according to religious parents, who remember the figure who plays prominently in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Elijah is Hebrew for “Yahweh is God,” which makes it sound even more archaic that ever. But it’s a really gorgeous name with a lot of history, and the short and snappy nickname of Eli gives it even more appeal to parents these days. It was No. 9 on Nameberry’s list in 2016.
But for the grandparents, Elijah was on the outs. It decreased drastically in the 60s and 70s, to the point where it felt like only the old people had that name to them. It seems too old-fashioned for a little one to bear, and they just can’t imagine a baseball-playing little boy bearing the moniker. These days, a little Elijah will fit right in, but it can take the grandparents a moment to get used to the idea.
13 Unconventional Pick
If there is any one trend that overshadows all the others these days, it’s that parents are going for more unconventional name choices. They are interested in helping their child stand out from among the crowd, and after seeing themselves in classrooms full of Jennifers and Jasons, they don’t want their child to be saddled with a name that will cause 10 kids to turn around when they yell out their name on the playground.
Straying from the top 100 can be dangerous if the grandparents have any say, although there are plenty of picks on the current top 20 that are very unconventional compared to the Marys and Williams of the past. There have been unconventional baby name picks in every generation, but even if their own child stood out, grandparents can have a hard time with the idea of their grandchildren doing the same. Unconventional can feel unsafe to them, especially if they are more conservative in nature.
It may not seem as unconventional as others, but one of the names identified by Mumsnet as among the most hated was Finn. We’re guessing that there aren’t enough Archers and Kenzies yet to bring them to the top nine most hated names by grandparents. Only poor Finn had risen in popularity so much that it got the evil eye on the list.
Finn is an Irish name (and Mumsnet is British, so that may account for some of the hatred). It means fair, and it wasn’t even in the top 1000 before the year 2000 in the United States. It’s been on a sharp rise and now sits at No. 175, according to Nameberry. Finn was the name of Corey Monteith’s character on “Glee,” and it also has been used for female characters on “How To Make An American Quilt” and other shows. As a one-syllable name with unisex appeal, it’s definitely on trend these days, but that doesn’t mean that a grandparent will welcome it on their grandson or granddaughter.
Jack isn’t exactly unconventional as a whole, but in our grandparents’ generation kids who were called Jack weren’t named that. It was a nickname for boys with the more conventional name of John. Even Jackson sounds out of the ordinary to many granddad’s because that was a last name in their circles, not a first name.
As far as some grandparents go, Jack fits the bill of a “made-up name,” which was also part of the unconventional answer that 15 percent of the grandparents said is the reason they hate their grandchild’s name. Of course, Jack has been around since Jack and Jill went up a hill, but grandparents loved that he could put John on a resume when he got older. They can’t stand that it’s become a standard these days. In fact, it’s No. 38 on the 2016 most popular names for boys, and Jackson is No. 17, while John is in between at No. 28.
10 Unwelcome Reminder
Another reason that grandparents can hate a baby name is because it reminds them of someone they don’t like. This is a pretty common issue with baby names whether it is the dad-to-be or a stranger. Many people associate good and bad feelings with a name, although with some of the more popular names of each generation there are so many kids that share that name that the good and the bad count each other out.
No one wants to think of the boy that broke their heart or the girl that bullied her in school when they talk about a loved one, and when the name is first revealed that name can definitely get a bad reaction. The good news is that this ill can often be cured the first time or two that a grandmother rocks her sweet new grandbaby. So if a parent knows that there is a possibility that their baby name pick could be an unwelcome reminder of someone their own parent doesn’t like, it’s probably best to wait to tell them when they meet the baby. That way the pain will be blunted — or even forgotten — as they count their grandchild’s tiny fingers and toes.
We’re guessing that Sally made this list because it’s a mid-century name that may belong to someone a grandparent doesn’t like. Otherwise, who in the world wouldn’t like Sally? We know that Charlie Brown’s sister was annoying, but she was also sweet, right?
Sally was once a diminutive of Sarah, but it’s been used as a stand-alone name since the eighteenth-century. It was really popular in the 1950s and 60s, which means that grandparents knew a peer who had that name. Sally Fields and Sally Struthers have their fans, but there are plenty of grandparents who have had enough of them. And while Sally Ride inspired us all, it’s been a long time since she made history.
Sally means “princess,” and many grandparents end up treating their granddaughter like royalty. So as long as they can get past their unpleasant memory, a grandchild named Sally eventually will be doted on as she should.
8 Odd Ball
Being unconventional is one thing, but one of the worst sins for a grandparent is for a baby name to be strange. In fact, 28 percent of grandparents in the Mumsnet survey said they hated their grandchild’s name because it was “too odd.” Of course, the definition of what is odd and what isn’t is subjective, so much so that one generation may think a name is weird and the next one can think it is perfectly normal.
Some synonyms to odd are bizarre, abnormal, eccentric, zany. It’s so much more than unconventional, as unconventional can simply mean that it isn’t the way that society as a whole would approve of it.
These days, parents are trying out word names, like Justice and North, or flower names, like Poppy and Hyacinth instead of Rose and Daisy. They pick out names like Diesel and Prince and Bear, and many times the grandparents can’t even bear to say the name out loud. That’s when the nicknames start to come out, and every girl is Princess or Sweetheart and every boy is Buddy.
As we mentioned before with Finn, there aren’t a lot of really “out there” names that have made the top nine list of most hated names among grandparents. That’s because the elders can’t decide if the nature names or the place names or the words that belong in a dictionary are the worst. Instead, they have picked out names like Aurora, a name befitting a princess in Sleeping Beauty, but definitely odd outside of a fairy tale.
Aurora, which means dawn, has never been particularly popular, although it’s been out there since “once upon a time.” The few women who have held the moniker have been known for their quirkiness, like Shirley Maclaine’s character in “Terms of Endearment.” The name has been on an upward trajectory in the past decade, even reaching 66th last year, according to Nameberry. But the name still seems odd to grandparents, who are used to keeping princess names in fairy tales — after all, you never run into Snow White — oh wait, Briar Rose is on the rise too.
We don’t find the name Tabitha to be odd. In fact, it’s a centuries-old Aramaic name that can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible. But when grandparents hear the name, they have one image that pops into their minds — Tabitha, the wife whose powers were kept hidden on the television show “Bewitched.”
Parents are more likely to think of sweet and smart Tibby from “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” They will admire the beautiful lilt and the meaning of “gazelle” that reflects the grace and nobility of the name. And they will like the fact that it’s just inside the top 1,000 list of baby names — unusual but not unheard of. But their parents won’t be able to get past the idea of their granddaughter being named after one of the most famous witches of their generation. It’s too odd for them, and they may inwardly cringe every time they hear that gorgeous name.
5 Embarrassing Situation
The thing about grandparents that everyone seems to forget is they were once kids themselves. They were in school well before bullying programs, so they know all about how cruel kids can be. They’ve also been in the business world and have seen the impacts that a strange name on a resume or on a meeting schedule can have. That’s why they get clued in about what a name can do for their grandkid. For about 10 percent of the haters, the worst part of their grandkid’s name is that it could end up embarrassing him or her.
There are so many ways that kids can find to make fun of each other, and their grandparents just want to start them off with the best possible opportunities. Parents obviously are aware of the same issues, but they are much more aware of the trends of baby naming and know what works and what doesn’t.
In truth, we really have no idea why Noah is on this list. It’s a classic yet modern, and it sounds beautiful. Noah has been at the top of the boy name lists for a decade, and it’s even a pretty keep option for girls, even more so with the latest trend of using traditional male names for girls.
But there are plenty of jokes that can be made of the name. There will be bullies asking where the ark is parked and blaming him every time it rains — especially when it floods. Noah is great for knock-knock jokes: “Noah-one’s home,” “Noah good place to eat,” that kind of thing.
Kids will find a way to joke about any name, and the truth is that most kids could end up embarrassed about their name — no matter how awesome it is — at one time or another. Hopefully, the grandparents can get over it, so their grandkid can have at least one person his side.
3 Ignored And Annoyed
As we’ve mentioned from the beginning, grandparents are just as opinionated as anyone else when it comes to baby names — even more so when you consider that the baby is the next generation of the family. And that means that they are especially likely to suggest names to add to the list.
Many times, the grandparents have had an idea for their grandchild’s name since they were naming their own children. They would love to see a junior or a third or fourth. Or they hope to see special loved ones remembered through the name of the next generation. About 10 percent of grandparents hate their grandchild’s baby name because they were ignored when they suggested a family name. Another 20 percent hate the name because they suggested a different name that wasn’t used. Combined, that’s a third of the haters. But the choice is really up to the mom and dad, so we can’t blame them for disappointing their parents in favor of their own choice.
Once again, we have no idea why this one was on the list. We can only figure that maybe it’s the name of the granddaughter who grandparents had hoped would be named after someone else — you know, kind of like the way that people hoped that Princess Charlotte would be named Princess Diana after her father’s late mother. Charlotte is so sweet that you could only be disappointed if you had something else in mind for the little bundle of joy.
Charlotte is a beautiful name choice, and it does work for naming someone after an uncle (or princely grandfather) Charles. It’s a classic like Sophia and Isabella, and Kate and William definitely upped its ante in terms of popularity. Charlie and Lottie are cute nicknames, although grandparents might not like the way that the more masculine version sounds. Charlotte is a pretty wonderful name, but grandparents put it in their top nine.
1 Off Their Rockers
From these choices, we think that grandparents might be off their rockers, but unfortunately about six percent of the grandparents surveyed said that they ended up having a falling out over the baby name choice. Three percent said they laughed when they heard the baby name at first, and one in ten just said “what” in disbelief at the announcement. We find it encouraging that 11 percent said they lied and said they loved the name, although we wish that number was a lot higher.
Even with all the complaints about the crazy spellings and such of names these days, only four percent said the name was too hard to pronounce and four percent said it was too hard to spell. Another five percent complained that the baby’s name was too ugly or too plain.
The good news is that 22 percent said they eventually came to terms with the baby’s name — and even better, we bet that all of them love the baby, no matter his name.
Sources: Mumsnet, Fit Pregnancy, Nameberry
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