“…in today’s struggling economy, it’s reasonable to assume that parents will—and should—adopt a more conservative approach to baby-naming.”
Historically, women’s hemlines have varied with the rise and fall of the stock market. It’s a fact that tough times produced conservative fashions. So in today’s struggling
economy, it’s reasonable to assume that parents will—and should—adopt a more conservative approach to baby-naming.
Why? Because whimsical, flip, silly, quirky, or unconventional names that seem to have been picked out of a hat won’t impress employers when your child is applying for a job.
What names should parents choose? Probably the best overall guidance for selecting a solid name is to picture it on your child’s resume. Does the name convey the image of someone who’s stable, reliable, and to be taken seriously? If you’re unsure, here are some guidelines that may help:
1) Favor formal names over nicknames. Choosing Michael instead of Mickey or Elizabeth instead of Lizzy will enable your child to make a good impression on college admission forms and job applications while still leaving plenty of good nickname options for informal occasions.
2) Favor traditional names over trendy names. Choosing Aidan (a traditional Irish name) over Jaden or Caden; or either Faith or Grace over Neveah (“heaven” spelled backwards) will enable your child to make a more solid first impression.
3) Favor traditional spellings over unique ones. There’s something substantial about Katherine—and something quite insubstantial about Kathrynne or Katherene. Ditto for Jacob when compared to Jackob or Jacobie.
4) Avoid names likely to make negative impressions. Recently, a boy named Adolf Hitler was taken away from his parents in New Jersey. In New Zealand, a judge ruled that parents couldn’t name their daughter Talula Does the Hula. It also makes sense to avoid names associated with despots like Saddam or misbehaving celebrities like Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.
5) Avoid names that lend themselves to teasing. Dick is a name that produces instant teasing problems for boys. Fanny does the same for girls.
6) Avoid rhyming names. They often come across as frivolous. If your last name is Green, don’t name your son Gene or your daughter Jean.
7) Favor names that are recognizable as names. As much fun as it may be to pick a name from a world atlas or restaurant menu, consider that Paprika and Madagascar sound more like a seasoning and an island than a child’s name.
In short, the current economic recession has prompted parents to think more conservatively about their economic prospects, budgets, and 401k plans. Parents should also think more conservatively when naming their babies. Following the above guidelines will help you find a name that will benefit your child through economic downs–and ups, too.
Bruce Lansky is “The Baby Name Guru.” His candid reviews of celebrity baby names and baby-naming articles have been reprinted in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and websites across North America. His name books, which have sold over 11 million copies, include 5-Star Baby Name Advisor, 100,000+ Baby Names, 60,000+ Baby Names, The Very Best Baby Name Book, 25,000+ Baby Names, and The New Baby Name Survey.