Tuesday, December 09, 2014

What's in a name?

Have you heard about the 2014 popular baby names? There's a listing of the top 100 boy and girl names that Baby Center published this week and I have always loved watching the trends with baby names. Mainly because it is a good indication of names I won't use for my kids. I always felt bad for the kids I grew up with if there were multiple of their name in our class. Like I think I knew six Kaitlyn's (various spelling), Elizabeth's (or Liz), or Jennie/Jenny's apiece in my class alone. I always appreciated having a unique name but also a name that was easy to pronounce and spell easily. There was only one other Melissa in my graduating class which I appreciated a lot.

When we picked Hilton we knew it would be an incredibly unique name but one that everyone could say phonetically and spell properly because of the Hilton Hotel chain and my least favorite name sharing celebrity Paris Hilton. Now that I see the top 100 boy name list I feel very confident that he will be the only Hilton in his class (fingers crossed).

It's crazy to me how people choose their children's names, something that is lasting (as long as the child doesn't change it). Of course this is a very touchy subject. I even refused to announce our baby name choice because I didn't want to have any input from family. We had already decided on our boy name before we even knew we were having a boy. But it's crazy to me that so many people decide to name their child after the latest hot movie (really, Katniss?) or TV show they watch (Arizona or Callie from Grey's Anatomy), or worse yet from a reality TV celebrity (Kris, Kim, Khloe or Kourtney).

There were some research papers I wrote for a psychology class back in college covering this subject and an article the New Yorker published called The Power of Names highlighted some of the concepts behind name psychology (which is totally a real thing!). Basically it comes down to your name truly being the first image people see of you. If your name comes across as complicated or simplistic, masculine or feminine, people gauge you as such. This was a huge issue I found when doing research that linked very directly to job interviews and how people reacted to resumes. If your name was unique or well suited for whatever the job was they would be more likely to contact the applicant. It's an unfortunate way the world works. Likewise teacher's who see names that are difficult or overwhelming for children make assumptions about the child and parents of that child. I don't know if that is necessarily true, but I do think it's so basic that people don't truly realize they do automatically judge individuals off their names.

Think about it, how many people who you talk to in a day do you make instant assumptions about based off their name before you interact with them? If your name is James they are going to regard you as mature and professional. If your name is Iggy'Z they may not take you seriously (Yes, a real name). All of this research I did made it so even moreso that I never wanted to try and make a unique name by spelling it uniquely. If you have a name that is not phonetically spelled, it will make everyday a battle. In phone calls, people pronouncing your name, people trying to spell or write your name. Works interactions, doctors offices, banks, insurance companies. Anybody that has to say their name could and most likely will make a mistake in saying it. So think twice before you name your child Mcqenzy (Mckenzie), Rachuel (pronounced Rachel), Austyn (Austen), or Kaero (Cairo). Trust me as someone who deals with unique names on a daily basis at a doctor's office, there's a better way to give your child a unique name.

For me I personally prefer to use this fun Baby Name diagram that gives you an idea of if you're baby name choice is in the top 100 meaning you're child will be more likely to have classmates with the same name and also shows the trend of that baby name. Click here to test your own baby name.

Good luck and have fun!

p.s. am I the only one who is obsessed with names? I definitely have a couple names picked out for our next babies in the future that I will definitely check and make sure they are not in the top 100 names before we officially decide on names.

p.p.s. I love the name James but I will never name a child James because of this.

10 most popular boy names of 2014
  1. Jackson
  2. Aiden
  3. Liam
  4. Lucas
  5. Noah
  6. Mason
  7. Ethan
  8. Caden
  9. Jacob
  10. Logan

10 most popular girl names of 2014
  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Ava
  5. Isabella
  6. Mia
  7. Zoe
  8. Lily
  9. Emily
  10. Madelyn
Link to list here.

1 comment:

CandyMickey said...

The unfortunate thing about being a teacher is that some names are completely ruined. I will never see the name Bridger the same again.