Choosing your baby’s name can be exciting yet challenging to many. It is important to most parents to pick the “perfect” name for the new addition to their family. The desire to pick the perfect name may be a little more complicated when you are a multicultural family.
These complications can be due to many things including cultural trends, religious beliefs, language translations and the influence of other family members. Naming a child in some cultures is so important that there are actual ceremonies dedicated to it.
It is very common in many cultures to name the child after a family member from a previous generation; usually these names are passed down generation after generation. This may not be a problem if you are a traditional individual and you actually like the name. However, if you were hoping for a more up to date name or really just don’t like the name this could be difficult. Also common in some cultures is for the child’s name to have some type of religious significance. This tradition usually comes with high regards within families, making it very difficult to deal with if you and your spouse do not share the same religion. It is not uncommon for some cultures to name the child based on what the child looks like, what birth order they are, what characteristics they would like that child to possess, and even things like what profession they would like the child to have.
Language & Location
Language translation and where you live may also play significant roles in naming your baby. If your family speaks a different language than your spouse’s family, names may have different meanings in each language. Pronunciation is also something to consider. Not all languages pronounce the letters in the alphabet the same so the pronunciation of the child’s name may be different from one language to the other.
Where you live should also be given some consideration. If your child’s name is very unusual for where they live, this will bring on a slew of things they must deal with. This may not be of concern for some but something that should be thought through. Teaching your child early the significance of their name and why you chose it for them will be very beneficial. I can personally speak to this, where I grew up in the United States having an African name was not very common. As a child I wished on several occasions that I had a more common name. Other children teased me, teachers would mispronounce it, and it was often misspelled. As an adult I appreciate not having a common name. It is still often misspelled and incorrectly pronounced, however as an adult I have the voice to correct people and proudly provide the origin and meaning.
It’s your Decision
Ultimately, you as parents have the final say in what to name your children. However, the arrival of a new baby is one usually celebrated throughout the extended family. With that said naming the baby can quickly become a “family affair”. The risk here is that you may not be able to please everyone. If the name game gets to be too much, try this approach. First and foremost you and your spouse must be honest with each other as well as yourselves.
If you are dead set against certain names and your spouse is firm on keeping a family tradition, those things need to be out in the open. Once you know each others wishes research names that you both like and feel will be suitable to both sides of the family. From that list choose your child’s name accordingly. When a certain name is being hard-pressed from the family, perhaps a compromise would be to use it as your child’s middle name. Other solutions may be using a variation of the name or picking another family name that you like more. If you decide to throw it all to the wayside and name your baby as you please, that is your choice as well. My husband and I chose names that we loved in addition to using family names and following cultural traditions. What’s your baby naming story?
Another article you may like recently posted on an extended blended website:
Mixed name, mixed child: A biracial father reflects upon naming his newborn