Last year I wrote a blog post titled The Ultimate List of Alternative Baby Names. The post is very popular, has been pinned on Pinterest several thousand times and the post itself receives about 2,000 views a day. But due to some profanity laden negative feedback I kept receiving, I disabled the comment section on the post. Someone even commented, "That's the kind of sh*t you should name a dog. Not a child. If you name a kid that - that's child abuse." Well, quite naturally I didn't agree with that statement but at the time I wasn't prepared to fight. Well, here I am now with my dukes up.
Many people feel some of the names on the list are outrageous and that's ok. They're entitled to feel however they want but what they should not do is judge any parent for giving their child an unusual name.
Why should you have negative feelings towards someone who named their child something you don't like? Is it your child? Nope.
But some people claim their disdain for the name is out of concern for the child's well-being stating: "The child will be bullied. The child will resent their parents later in life. Their parents are irresponsible and cruel."
Even I'll admit with my quirky self that I feel some names are too much - such as Jermaine Jackson's naming his son Jermajesty or Dweezil, son of Frank Zappa.
But you know what? Those aren't my children. I wasn't present during their baby naming process and I don't know why they chose those names. But what I do know is no loving parent is going to name their child something they hate. As odd at the name Buddy Bear Maurice Oliver is - I'm not going to sit and wag the finger of shame at chef Jamie Oliver for choosing that name for his son because it is absolutely none of my business. He owes me no explanation as to why he did it but I'm willing to guess he liked the name, he feels good about it and that's all that matters.
So if you're trying to gain a better understanding into what's up with the odd names these days or if you're wanting to find the courage to give your child a unique name you like, here are three very simple reasons why "weird names" are ok.
I know many parents shy away from unusual names for their children because they fear they're setting they child up to be bullied: "Kids will make fun of my child because their name sounds like..." or "Because it rhymes with... So I better stick with something more normal."
My name is Hollie and children used that to pick on me. They called me Hollie Pocket and Hollie Wanna Cracker. Yeah, those weren't very good nicknames but kids used those names to taunt me daily. As a child those nicknames hurt my feelings, not because the names were mean, but because the children were purposefully trying to hurt me and that in and of itself is enough to bring a child down.
My sister's name is Jessica and growing up, kids called her "Jessicurl" because she had a Jheri curl (think 80s Michael Jackson hair). My mom was a hairdresser and gave my poor sister that Jheri curl - she didn't ask for that hairstyle but the kids in the neighborhood didn't care and showed no mercy. They took a perfectly normal name and turned it into a weapon to use against her. Once again, the nickname was lame, but how would you like to be followed and heckled all day with a stupid alteration of your own name?
So, instead of discouraging parents from giving their children unusual names, how about we teach our children to not make fun of children for having unusual names? Or even better - let's all teach our children to not make fun of anyone - period.
▲ All names were invented.
All names came from someone making up something so who are we to decide what's normal and what's not? Even the most common and "normal" names like John, Mary and James came from the top of someone's head. Yes, they have meaning but the simple fact is, someone took a word that meant "tree" or "water" and used it to name a child.
Just like how someone invented the names Aiden, Braden, Caden and Jayden in the early 2000s and now every other boy is named that. See how that works?
The point is: Just because it's a new and made up name doesn't mean it's weird - it's just new and different and just might become the "next big thing" in the world of baby naming.
▲What's up with the double standards?
Why is it ok to name a girl Rose, Violet or Lily but not Sunflower?
Why is Star an acceptable name but not Comet?
Joy is a cute name but what makes Happy so bizarre?
Cherry, Basil and Clementine are acceptable but Apple is not?
Robin and Raven aren't uncommon so what's wrong with Falcon?
I think I've asked enough of those to make my point on this one.
My advice to anyone desiring to name their child something offbeat is don't be impulsive. Make sure the name is genuine and not weird for the sake of being weird. Don't let your child's name be a reflection of your sense of humor - your kid should never be the butt of your own joke. Think long and hard about the name your child will go by for the rest of their lives and don't fight them if they wish to go by something else. You're not in competition with anyone to create the weirdest baby name (like I'm sure they're doing in Hollywood) but if the name Audio Science or Banjo truly makes your heart sing, then by all means - go for it. It's your child.