Grandparents Hate the Unique Baby Names Millennials Give Kids

Grandparents Hate the Unique Baby Names Millennials Give Kids

When Amy McNamara heard the name of her newborn granddaughter, there was a moment of stunned silence. Certainly, “Grace” was a pretty name.

“But we immediately thought of the dog,” said McNamara.

Grace was the name of the family’s Portuguese water dog, a beloved pet for 13 years. Before the grandparents said a word, the baby’s mother explained, “We think we need more grace in the world.” The grandparents were delighted and now visit what they call “Graceland” whenever they can.

For the McNamaras, at least “Grace” was a “real name”. Ask the grandparents of “Crumpet”, “Primrose Bean”, “$ helly”, “Oak”, “Moxx” and “Binx” (yes, they’re all real) what they think. They will tell you, but only in private, not wanting to risk family relationships.

The baby’s name “KVIIIyn” blew up an online chat room for grandparents, which led a woman to “lament the state of the world” over the choice. In an online article, KVIIIyn’s mother explained: “I always liked the name Kaitlyn but I hated how popular it was. So when I found out that I was going to have a daughter, my husband suggested replacing the “ait” with the roman numeral symbol for eight! Now our daughter is really unique.


In a recent survey, one in five grandparents admitted that they hated the name of their grandchild.

KVIIIyn’s mother is hitting the biggest generational divide in the name of babies – the current trend of finding a special and unique baby name – something that will make the child stand out from the rest. When today’s grandparents named their children, the general idea was that children should not be overwhelmed by an unusual name, or that people would have a hard time spelling or saying.

In a recent survey of 2,000 grandparents in Australia, one in five admitted that they hate or hate the name of their grandchild. About 28% found the name too ugly, 17% too weird and 11% too old-fashioned. Two percent of grandparents have moved away from their children because of the name issue and six percent said they are “sick”.

The reprimand of the “old-fashioned” sounds ironic, but in the world of baby naming, there seems to be a 100-year-old rule, some names regaining popularity after a century. This can be difficult for great grandmothers, who have their own associations with certain names.

“Sophie? Please don’t give it that name! How can you do this to me? “Sydney Kase Glickstein’s mother-in-law cried.

“My husband’s mother comes from a very hard Jewish background,” says Kase Glickstein. “For her, this name evokes a very heavy and coarse woman – a Sophie Tucker.”

The name “Tallulah” caused the dismay of another grandmother: “The connotations of the name – of a stripper / prostitute – that I can’t imagine using it with an innocent little baby.”

Another complicating factor for grandparents is cultural. A Pew study reveals that one in six American grooms marries people of a different race or ethnicity. Lizzy Schelawala (née Schulzinger) found herself reviewing a list of “100 Indian names that Americans can say” during her pregnancy. Their baby is of Indian, Polish, Hungarian, Austrian and English origin. The name Lizzy, a flamboyant redhead, and her husband Amit, of Indian origin, finally chose for their daughter – Nisha – means “night” in Sanskrit. “I was afraid my mother would say,” Why is there no “Catherine” on the list? “”, Admits Schelawala, “but it never came out of his mouth.”

Other grandparents have a harder time crossing an international divide. “Tadhg?” Robert Cummings asked when he learned the name of his new grandson by email. “We looked at it and said, ‘How do you pronounce it? Ta-da? “” Cummings’ daughter married an Irishman, and Tadhg is an Irish Gaelic name – which, for the record, is pronounced “Tig”, as the first part of “tiger”.

Even family names can cause agitation for grandparents. Kristina Lindbergh is the granddaughter of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, who in 1927 made the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris, transforming him from an unknown mail pilot into a national hero and reluctant celebrity. However, Kristina was disconcerted by the name of her granddaughter: “Charley” (which is not an abbreviation for Charlotte).

For Kristina, the name has been cursed. The legacy of Kristina’s grandfather was further tarnished when he was accused (many say unfairly) of Nazi sympathies. In 1932, in a case called “The Crime of the Century”, the pilot’s baby son – also called Charles – was taken from his cradle and murdered. Another Charles in the family committed suicide.

“I always thought that Lindbergh’s curse was linked to Charles’ name,” says Kristina, who writes a family memoir. “When they told us they were going to name baby Charley, I said to myself,” My grandfather, father, uncle are all Charles – and it didn’t end well. »»


Grandparent expert Sally Tannen has a few tips on baby names: keep your mouth closed.

Now Kristina reports: “Charley is the love of my life.” As for the name, she says, “These children have overcome this stupid curse story. They will not let him disturb them, and maybe they will change the voodoo. “

Kase Glickstein’s mother-in-law also came to “Sophie” – especially after Bette Midler gave her daughter the name. Cummings’ nickname for their grandson is “Tigger”. (No word from KVIIIyn’s grandparents.)

Grandparent expert Sally Tannen has a few tips on baby names: keep your mouth closed. “Navigating your relationship with your adult child is really sticking out your tongue,” she says. Tannen is director of the Parenting Center and Grandparents Center at 92nd Street Y in New York. She maintains separate support groups for new parents and new grandparents and hears complaints from both generations about baby names.

Tannen reminds grandparents that new moms tend to be hyper-sensitive and to hear everything through the lens of criticism. Comments like “I never heard this one! “doesn’t help. For grandparents, it gives basic parenting advice: choose your battles.” The name is something you may hate, but it’s not worth talking about. “

After all, as Kristina Lindbergh says, grandchildren are used to making their own voodoo. Once the baby is born, most grandparents begin to associate the objectionable name with the child himself – and forget why they didn’t like him in the first place.

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