I recently read an article about a mother who wants to change her four-year-old daughter’s name because she recently found it that it’s not as unique as she first thought.
The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, named her daughter Esmée, a name that at the time she hadn’t heard much in the last 20 years or so, but once her daughter started school, she quickly learned that there were other girls who had that same name at her daughters school, including two in her class.
The mother apparently is so upset to find out that her daughter’s name is a rarely popular name that she now is considering changing her name.
I have known parents who had a hard time settling on a name for their baby, including one who called her baby by the nickname “Yum Yum” up until the child was about one years old before she finally settled on a name.
While that may sound unusual, it’s not that uncommon. About 11% of parents end up regretting the name they initially pick for their child and end up changing it, but usually within the first year when it really doesn’t have an affect.
However, around one years of age, children began recognizing the sound of their names and around ages two or three, they begin developing a sense of identity which includes who they are in connection with their names.
Changing a child’s name after one years of age can create identity issues, insecurity and confusion within the child as to who they are. Imagine toddler tantrum on steroids in some cases.
My question is, what if whatever name she chooses for her daughter next, becomes popular in the next couple of years? Is she going to change her child’s name once again?
To better understand the underlying problem, we have to better understand the mother who went through some tough times in her childhood due to having a very common name.
The mother wrote, “Every time I hear my real name I shudder,”.
For the mother, this may have in fact been pretty traumatic and something she has never overcome. What she doesn’t understand however is that individuality will come from her daughter’s unique personality, not her name.
Many parents try to relive or redo their lives through their children, but this can be very unfair to the child. Changing this child’s name, in my opinion, would be a very selfish and vain act.
I’m not saying that if the mother did change the child’s name that it would be a traumatic, horrible, life changing mistake. It may have no real affect or long term affect on the child at all. What I am saying however is that there is more to a person than their name. The child may decide to be called something totally different when they get older anyway.
For example, I knew a teenager who’s mother named her Lorraine because the name meant a lot to her. She was very shocked and even upset when she found out that the kids in school called her daughter “Rain” and many had no idea her birth name was Lorraine. The the mother, Lorraine had a special connection, but to her daughter, it had no such connection, but “Rain” did. It was her way of being unique and special.
More importantly, parents have to be careful to not hand down their issues to their children. They should allow their children to be unique in their own right because they already are, no matter if their name is Susan or Rain.