8 Percent of Parents Regret Their Baby's Name, Survey Finds

PHOTO: Kelcey Kintner so regretted the name she gave her daughter - Presley - that when the baby was 8 months old, she and her husband legally changed it to Summer.

It took Kelcey Kintner nine months to conceive her baby girl's name, Presley, but nearly a year of gnawing regret before she changed it.

Kintner, a 41-year-old who blogs about parenting on Mama Bird Diaries, said she and her husband chose the name Presley from a baby book, not as an homage to the king of rock, even though their older daughter's name is Dylan.

"I actually like the name Presley -- I don't dislike the name," said Kintner, who lives in Westchester County, N.Y. "It just didn't feel like her name."

Today at 4, Presley has been legally renamed Summer, inspired by the television teen drama, "The OC," and Kintner said she is satisfied that she finally got her girl's moniker right.

"It's such a difficult thing," she said. "It's hard to name a child before you meet them."

Kintner is one of an estimated 8 percent of parents who got it wrong the first time round, according to a nonscientific survey from the website site YourBabyDomain, which is getting a lot of press attention this week.

Some say that number is even higher. A February survey by the online Baby Center showed 11 percent regretted their name choice.

"It's sort of an awkward thing," said Kintner. "I don't think anyone takes it lightly. But some people are really struggling with it."

Parents in the survey cite a number of reasons for regret, including being influenced by trends (that turned out not to be trendy) or discovering other parents had chosen the same name for their newborns.

The top girl's name from the Social Security Administration in 2010 was Isabella, from the film series, "Twilight."

"In our culture names are more important than ever before, and so parents want their name to be as unique as possible," said Amanda Barden, author of "Baby Names Made Easy."

"If they find one other child has the same name as their baby, they are upset about it," she said. "But parents also don't want their kids to stand out that much. So they make a decision and they regret it because it sounds too whacky."

Experts say that Americans are just more narcissistic. Look at some of the Hollywood baby names: Apple, Sunday, Bronx, Brooklyn and Suri.

Pop star Mariah Carey and her husband actor-comedian Nick Cannon named their fraternal twins Moroccan and Monroe -- or Roc and Roe for short.

"Most of that is part of their own self-image," said Cleveland Evans, a professor of psychology at Bellevue University in Nebraska, who specializes in the science of names, or onomastics.

"People in the movie business or the rock star business see themselves as avant-garde, creative people who are keeping up their own image."

A psychologist, Evans said there are no ill effects for a child under 1. Anywhere between 6 and 12 months of age, children will respond when their name is mentioned.

"But even if they turn, it might just be because they've heard it so much and not at the point where they identify it as 'me,'" he said. "I don't think anyone has to worry about harming the child."

Even school-age children easily deal with having multiple names and nicknames, according to Evans. Teasing takes place, regardless at that age, no matter what the name.

"And if you're the daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow, are you really going to have to worry about a lot of teasing for the name Apple?" he asked.

Evans said most names are harmless.

"I think sometimes parents worry a little too much about it," he said. "Naming your kid things like Mayhem or Trivia or Cobra on the birth certificate are not good ideas. But very few end up with something like that."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...