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Family members are insisting that my child’s name is an old traditional one that my grandfather used to have. Although the name has sentimental value, I am considering my child and don’t want him to be mocked by other kids because of his name or to possibly feel isolated because of it. Am I exaggerating or can a name really affect a child?
Moms' answer:
Your doubts about the final choice of a name for your child are completely reasonable and familiar to most parents. As a matter of fact, questions about the significance of a name on the child’s future and the potential impact its name can have on the child’s personality are some of the most common questions that parents ask themselves. That is completely understandable, because in the end – the child will carry that name her/his entire life. There is a generally accepted point of view that a name defines a personality even though there is no scientific evidence to support it. However, the indirect impact may be assumed and it is reflected in the reactions of the environment to the name. In fact, same as we tend to judge someone based on their appearance or the way they dress, we also unconsciously create an attitude about the person based on their name. In doing so, each name binds certain connotations that can be both positive and negative. Negative connotations may cause various negative reactions for children such as embarrassment, shame or withdrawal, especially in unfamiliar situations and contact with strangers (e.g. the first day of kindergarten, first day of school, etc.). However, it is important to emphasize that the role a name plays on others’ impression of us is strictly limited to situations in which it is the only thing they know about us. In all other situations, in order to form a complete picture of someone, there are much more important things such as our characteristics, interests, preferences, behavior, etc. The final decision about choosing a name for your child should certainly come from you. However, one of the ways to overcome this dilemma is finding a compromising solution like giving two names to a child (one of which will have a sentimental value and the other may help a child avoid potentially unpleasant situations during its first interactions with strangers).
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