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Take It From Me: You Shouldn’t Let Your Kid Choose Their Own Name

Flickr / Miki Yoshihito

The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

What if I don’t give my newly born daughter a name for fear of giving her one she won’t like, instead preferring to involve her in the process of choosing a name later?

When I was 9, my mother and stepfather asked me if I wanted to change my last name to my stepfather’s, as my relationship with my father wasn’t particularly great at the time (it’s all good now). Being an impulsive child, I said yes, and because the process of a name change was already underway, I also had the option of choosing a new middle name. I was given time to consider options, and report my decision to my mother.

I told her I wanted my middle name to be Tamagotchi.

Understandably, she stepped in and overrode that decision.

I ended up taking her family name as my middle name, and unintentionally slighted my father’s family twice (my original middle name was my grandfather’s first name). This is all a rather specific situation, but the point is that — even at 9 — I was prone to making regrettable decisions regarding my own name.

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If you take the time to choose a name that you think is significant (and not easily made fun of) I think your daughter will be fine with it. If it turns out the name is still wholly unacceptable, I would leave changing it to her discretion when she is a legal adult. Beyond that, I wouldn’t make it a source of anxiety for either of you.

Matt Becher writes mostly about fashion, college culture (including Greek life), world culture, and minority rights. Read more from Quora below: