Can Your Childhood Affect Your Baby Name Choices?

What’s in a name? Shakespeare himself said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet—but as it turns out, names (and the baggage that goes with them) were enough to kill off his two protagonists in Romeo & Juliet. And for so many people, emotional baggage has a major impact on the names that they choose for their own babies.

Take this example: My sister wanted to honor our grandfather by giving her son the middle name Louis—but her husband refused point blank, since there was a kid named Louis at his school who had bullied him. And I see that story play out over and over again on the internet and in real life, where people sour on one name or another, because of some awful incident back in high school or their experience that every Bradley or Joe they ever met “sucks.” (Even if they really don’t!) Even something as simple as a celebrity or TV character that you despise could turn you off of a name permanently. (For instance, I’d never consider naming my daughter Paris, as Paris Hilton tends to make flame come out of my ears…and I don’t know why.)

And I have to say, thanks to my past run-ins, there are names I definitely wouldn’t have chosen for my kids—no matter how much my husband loved them, or how beautiful they were if I looked at them objectively. Why would I want to be reminded of bad boyfriends or mean girls on a daily basis? And I’m sure that my husband would have felt the exact same way about the people he disliked from his past.

So, how many names do you have on your “no way, no how” baby name list—and why are they there? Is there anything your mate could do to change your mind about those names?

Photo: Baby by Julie Phipps

Add a Comment
Back To In Name Only

Find a Baby Name

Browse by

or Enter a name

  1. by Happysahm2010

    On July 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Ha! I was a teacher. And believe me, there is a LONG list of names I could never even contemplate for my children. Unfortunately those bad apples that plagued my classroom with disrespect and bullying have sullied their namesake for me forever. Not so much anyone from my childhood though…

  2. by Caitlyn

    On July 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

    There are a few from my husband’s and my past that we wouldn’t consider but you know it’s really bad when you won’t name your child in a certain pattern for fear of being compared to someone else who named their child that way. For example, one of my friends was having her husband’s second child(his first was born when he was a teen) and REFUSED to even consider the possibility that the baby might have her initials because his first baby was named to have her Mom’s initials and my friend did not want anyone to possibly compare the two(it’s a more in depth story than that but that’s the basic gist of it). Oh, and I’m totally with you on the Paris front…..

  3. by Latest Dish! | Celebrity Baby Scoop

    On July 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

    [...] Can Your Childhood Affect Your Baby Name Choices? – Parents [...]

  4. by Melissa Juliet

    On July 25, 2012 at 1:18 am

    The past should stay in the past! You are building a future and it shouldn’t matter who bullied you in school. The only time I would say no to a name that meant something to my certain someone is if it was an ex’s name!

  5. by jen

    On July 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I agree. My husband wanted neveh for our daughters name, I turned it down due to the fact that every hussy in high school named their daughters neveh. I don’t judge the kid by the name, but it makes me think of loose moms. I think the name reflects the mother. If its trendy, the mom probably didn’t put much thought into it, if its classy, its gonna make the mother look more creative and whity. Like if I meet a kid named zamarcius, I’m gonna think his moms a twit. Yes, I’m that close minded. Just sayin.

  6. by Kristina

    On July 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I have done this. I made up my daughter’s name when I was 10 (luckily my husband loved it!) but there are definitely certain names I would never consider. Mostly exes or mean people. Like (no offense to girls out there) I would never name my daughter Brittany because of my husband’s ex (and many horrible Brittanys in my life), or Ryan or John because of mine. I liked Dominic for a boy, but he knew a mean Dominic, so that wasn’t an option. I think it is all about how you feel. You want to feel love and happiness towards your child, not be reminded of a bad time in your life. We all have pasts and all need to move on, why bring it into your future too? :)

  7. by Amanda

    On July 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Funny enough, the girl that bullied me in elementary school shares the same name as son. Her name was Alex and my son is Alexander (but we call him Alex). At first I didn’t want that name because she caused me so much pain, but I feel there was a point where I have to forget about my past and I focus on my wonderful life now and my husband and I loved the name.
    And I’m glad, Alexander means “Man’s Defender/Worrior”. And even at age 2, I can see that he is so compassionate that he’ll make up for that other Alex a million times over.

  8. by una

    On July 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I have always hated the name Monica. The little witch cause me to lose a friend. Nor Brittany, Ashley or Amber simply because we have enough of those in the world. Too many Tasha’s were b*tches to me, so that’s off the list. Marcus, Steve and Adolfo are off the list too.

  9. by Julie

    On July 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    On a more positive note, my husband and I named our oldest child after the church I grew up in. I honor of all the people that so positively influenced my life.

  10. by Sara

    On July 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    A girl I knew all thru school gave her daughter the same name as mine. I mean we were not that close but hung out in the same group. I thought that was kind of weird.

  11. by Amanda Jean

    On July 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Since I was young I knew what I wanted to name my children. They had to have names that meant something not only in meaning but personally to me. I am a mother of 2 year old twins, a boy and a girl, and I choose the perfect names, it was almost destiny. While I was a professional photographer I worked with a lot of children, and I couldn’t believe the crazy names parents came up with. I know to each their own, but seriously??? I did a session with a child name Chair.. Not like the chair you sit on, but like Cher the singer. I think that parents are more concerned with giving their kids a unique name that they forget to give their kids a name they can pronounce.

  12. by Jessica

    On July 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    The name Lauren is off the table. I knew 2 of them who were stuck up and one of them was evil.

  13. by Sheila

    On July 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I grew up always saying that I was going to name my future daughter Paris because that was my Grandmother’s maiden name and I just really loved the name and thought it was a neat way to honor my Grandmother. But then Paris Hilton had to be the way she is and ruined the name for me.

  14. by speth

    On July 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Yup, I would rather light myself on fire than name a daughter Krista, Jeanene, or Janelle. Also Ethan and Ryan were off the table along with Joey and a few others. I was seriously bullied all through school and even thinking of those people today makes me angry. However I had chosen Jack for my first when I was like 4 years old and then when I found out I was pregnant i looked down at my belly and said “youre name isnt jack!” itwas very surprising

  15. by Ash W.

    On July 30, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I too am a teacher. One bad apple can spoil that name forever. Luckily I don’t have many of those names on my list. It is mostly boy’s names.

  16. by Meredith

    On August 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

    When my husband first suggested the name Grayson for our son I said no immediately. It is my cousin’s middle name and he’s a complete jackass, dead beat dad, just a selfish jerk and he’s caused his parents so much pain. He told my stepfather that he was raised better he just doesn’t care. I didn’t want my son to be like that.
    But I couldn’t stop thinking about the name and how well it went with my grandfathers name, which I wanted as a middle name. Finally one day I looked at my belly and asked ‘is that your name?’ I decided that I couldn’t let my cousin ruin a perfectly good name. And it turned out that my uncle picked the name for my cousin cause he knew a really great person named Grayson.

  17. by Kim

    On December 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    We just refused to name our kids after living family. It was a long tradition in my husbands disfunctional family, he has his fathers middle name and his father was abusive, and I grew up with one grandmother telling me I was named after the other grandmother because my mom loved her more and overode Dad`s idea. (Reality, Dad picked my first name, Mom picked and purposely used different spelling for my middle). We did use my husband`s great grandmothers name, but she`d been gone for over ten years. Its kind of hard to get jealous or dig up the past from someone gone that long!

  18. [...] don’t like some aspect of it—it’s too popular or too offbeat, or it reminds you of that mean girl from high school. You may find that perfect name is just a few letters away from your original baby name [...]