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Naming Your Child

An easy task until it’s time to do it.

You’ve been pregnant for a few months and it’s becoming more and more clear that you’re going to have to name the soon-to-arrive bundle. Unfortunately, it’s no easy task. Your parents, your spouse’s parents, and all your family and friends think they know the perfect name for a child, no matter if you’re expecting a boy or a girl. Instead of being a fun experience, picking a name can become a burden if you’re not focused on three important things.

Important Thing #1: You

While it’s good to get opinions from people you trust, you can’t base your decision on their thoughts. The responsibility of choosing a name for your baby ultimately rests on your shoulders. Letting someone else determine what to name your child is a bad decision that may result in resentment and dislike of your child’s name.

If you and your spouse disagree about a name, you’ll have to work together to come up with a compromise. Some parents-to-be split up the naming responsibilities. One will choose a first name and the other will pick the middle name. Or you can allow the dad to pick the name for baby boys and mom can choose the names for baby girls. Whatever your solution, take however much time it takes to be sure you feel good about your final decision.

Important Thing #2: Your Baby

Equally as important as your opinion on your baby’s name is your baby’s opinion. Granted, you won’t know what your child thinks of his or her name for a few years, but you can weed out names that could cause problems down the road. Some names rhyme with or lend themselves to embarrassing nicknames.

Others have negative connotations. Avoiding these potential problems before your child is born will give your child a more carefree life after being born.
In addition to your child’s name as a whole, pay attention to his or her initials. They, too, can be a source of embarrassment if they spell out an inappropriate or embarrassing word. Paying attention to these little details will ensure everyone is happy with your baby’s name from day one.

Important Thing #3: Tomorrow

Until recently, naming a child was a once-in-a-lifetime event. However, that has started to change as parents find themselves wishing they’d given their child a different name. Whether you find out you gave your newborn the most popular name of the decade or decide Moonflower isn’t going to cut it for your little one and want to change it, you can. For the easiest transition, change your child’s name before he or she turns a year old. If you keep thinking of changing the name but can’t make a decision until your child is older, get his or her input before making the change. If your Emily and John don’t want to become Leana and Gomer, don’t force them.

Also, if you have big plans to change your child’s name, you should know upfront that it’s not an easy process. You’ll be making plenty of phone calls, sending forms and receiving forms before you’ll have confirmation that your child’s name is indeed changed. With that in mind, it’s important for you to choose your child’s name with care in order to get it right the first time.

Name of Adoption

Naming your birth children is difficult. If you adopt a child, the naming process can be even harder. Unlike naming your birth children, adopted children are usually already named. Determining what to do with the name is a delicate matter that requires substantial thought.

Your options are to either keep the entire name given the child at birth or to keep the first or last name of the child and change the other. Though it is possible to completely change your child’s name, it may not be in the best interest to do so, as it causes the child to have a complete disconnect with his or her birth parents. The goal of naming your adopted child is to maintain his or her heritage and give him or her the sense of belonging that is so important for the development of all children. How you reach this goal is up to you.

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