Friday, March 23, 2012

The Scourge of Baby-Name Remorse

Apparently more parents are regretting the names they give their children. The root of the problem, experts say: They have so many choices these days that it leads to paralysis and remorse.

No regrets here: the definitive "Alice"
These parents are always wondering if a slightly more perfect name is out there somewhere.

From a story on Yahoo News:
The problem with this name explosion is that psychologists don't necessarily find that having more choices is better. To explain this phenomenon, Swarthmore College researcher Barry Schwartz coined the term "the paradox of choice." Schwartz's research suggests that the more choices we have, the more stressful those choices become. And even if we make a perfectly serviceable choice, we're more hampered by regret. 
That's what [baby-name expert Laura] Wattenberg says she sees in advice-seeking parents with name remorse. Some are frustrated because their unique baby name keeps getting mispronounced. Others learn of some distressing association with the name after they chose it and stamped it on Baby, she said. But most parents she hears from simply feel that another choice on their top 10 list would have fit their baby better. 
"Maybe Jude would have fit better than Luke and totally changed your baby's life," said Wattenberg, summing up parents' thoughts.

I refuse to accept a Swarthmore professor as an authority on anything, but I have discussed before how parents' baby-name agonizing has gotten out of hand.

I'd say that most naming regret will dissipate with time. Kids tend to grow into their names, and their connection with the moniker eclipses any bad associations you may have had.

"Elliot" only means one thing to me, and that's a towheaded 3-year-old who likes to drop peas into his milk and put on unconvincing magic shows. "Alice" is a tottering dance enthusiast with a smile as wide as her face.

It's impossible to imagine them being called anything else.