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What’s in a name? Baby naming trends – the good and the not so good.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet”

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Don’t believe anything Juliet said. She was wrong. You’ll smell a lot sweeter if your name is a good one. Juliet was well-intentioned, but she was clearly drunk on love. Don’t listen to her.

Okay, we’re joking. People can call their children what they like. After all, what’s appealing to one person may not appeal to another. That’s the beauty of life. However, some people feel that some names give people a better ‘head start’ in life than others.

Some of us seem to forget that babies’ names stay with them forever. A name has to wear well at 4, 24, 44, 74; in fact any age at all. Your birth name should give you confidence, self-esteem and strength, but a bad one could invite a lifetime of potential embarrassment or hassle. Therefore, mums and dads might want to exercise some caution and choose wisely…

A name needs to be more than just “noice”, different, unusual.

“What about Italian? …I love Italian names. Cardio. Cardio Infarction.”

Kath ‘n Kim

In a chapter from Freakonomics titled “A Roshanda by any other name”, the authors explain that a name says less about you and more about your parents, their race, social standing, even their political opinions. In other words, your parents don’t necessarily determine your destiny – but it’s likely they contribute to it.

What is in a name?

Idly choosing a name from a trending celebrity, a mood, or a traditional name with an alternative spelling may backfire on a child. But that doesn’t make it wrong. Nothing screams 70’s love child like the name “Ocean Moon”, and that’s OK. But is that really what parents wanted for their child, a lifetime of saying “Yes, my parents were hippies…”?

Just like names can link a child to a time in the parent’s life, they can at times also be used as an indicator of socio-economic background, or the amount of care and attention the parent’s put in to selecting names for their children. There’s nothing wrong with this, and much of it just comes down to perception, but the way you name your child may link them to certain ideas. For some individuals, this is just not desirable.

Here are some great examples of names that may, or may not, burden the child for life…

“Unusual” spellings:

  • Krysee (Read, Chrissy)
  • Typhanee (Tiffany)
  • Anfernee (Anthony)
  • La-a (Read: La-Dash-A)

Uneek names (with unique spelling)

These names were brought to you by parents who pride themselves on their originality and unique spelling abilities.

  • Kaizyle (Kay-slee)
  • Phelony (Felony)
  • Eihmey (Amy)
  • Hennesea (Hennesy)
  • I’munique (uh, I am unique?)

Open-minded names

This category needs little explanation:

  • Orgasm (no comment)
  • I’adorher (ditto)
  • Mazen (like, amazing)

Dramatic, tortured names

This means anything with drama, darkness, roughness or any representation of a tortured soul. The following hit the spot: Storm, Wild, Wynter (bonus points awarded for unusual spelling), Rebel, Rogue or Shade.

Faux posh names

We’re not talking about Veronica or Tabitha. We’re talking Chanel, Dior, Mercedes, Rolex or Lexus. Some may hate them, others may find them adorable.

Celebrity names

Britney Shakira Beyonce, anyone? What about Reese, Ashton, Miley, Swift or Penn? These names indicate major “fandom” by the parents, but may result in a lot of explaining for the child…and for the adult version of the child.

Alcoholic beverages

Shiraz is probably not the greatest of names, even if you don’t name her sister Chardonnay. (Or Bubbles).

“Enema’s lovely… Or Catheter – that’s a lovely name”.

Kath ‘n Kim

The Instagram filter

Naming your baby tips - Sage Institute of Child CareAccording to babycenter.com, a website dedicated to babies and motherhood, in 2016, the latest trend is naming your precious bundle after an Instagram filter. We have to admit, though, these names aren’t bad. Popular faves are Ludwig, Amaro, Valencia, Juno, Reyes and Willow. Nice, no?

Some of these names have been around for some time, so they do have some grace and merit. But it does pay to think deeper. If this is a trend, chances are, word will get around, i.e. “Weren’t they Instagram filters some ten years ago?”

Uh huh.

Things could get worse than being named after an Instagram filter though. You could be named after a colour balancing photo editing tool. Enter: Lux – a name that has increased in popularity by 75% from last year. Strangely enough, Lo-Fo and X-Pro II are nowhere to be seen. But it’s early days.

Does it really matter?

But how much does what you name your child really matter? Maybe a name has extreme significance, and maybe it doesn’t. To quote the writers from Freakonomics:

“So does the name you give your child affect his life? Or is it your life reflected in his name? In either case, what kind of signal does a child’s name send to the world—and most important, does it really matter?”

We’ll let you be the judge…

Sage Institute of Child Care – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan is the Academic Director at Sage Institute of Education. She oversees learning processes, teaching outcomes, resources and course development. A passionate advocate for bettering standards of training in Australia, she is currently writing her PhD thesis on defining quality training in the Australian vocational education sector.
Vicki Tuchtan

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