It really bothered me when people mispronounced my son's name. But then I realized, if my 2-year-old isn't bothered by the mispronunciation, why should I be?

By Terri Huggins Hart
May 08, 2020
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Courtesy Of Terri Huggins Hart

Whenever I introduce my 2-year-old, I hold my breath in anticipation of his name being mispronounced. It wasn’t a problem my husband and I anticipated. We actually spent a lot of time making sure his name wasn’t too common but wasn’t rare. We just didn’t realize there were so many ways to pronounce, or mispronounce, the name Xavier.

We pronounce it with a z sound, like Zay-vee-er. But others put an x sound in there, like Ex-zay-vee-er. Still others pronounce it as if it were Javier.

Correctly saying a name is a sign of respect, a courtesy even my preschooler deserves. Because it’s my job to be my son’s advocate, I have often gone out of my way to correct those who don’t say it the way we intended. However, no matter how many times I clearly enunciate or explain, my words seem to fall on deaf ears.

It wasn’t until I saw my son smile when a child care provider called him Javier that I realized maybe it wasn’t as big a problem as I’d thought. If Xavier wasn’t bothered by the mispronunciation, why should I be? At that moment I realized not every battle is worth fighting. And maybe if I didn’t always step in to correct others, meeting new people would be a more enjoyable experience for me (and for my son).

So unless he lets me know it’s a bother, this mama is backing off and will instead enjoy watching his little face light up with each new interaction.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's June 2020 issue as “It’s Okay to Give Up Some Battles.” Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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