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Would You Accept Money for Naming Your Baby?

  January 11

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Would You Accept Money for Naming Your Baby?Back in October, the New York Times posted this insane article about parents who were expecting a child and deciding on a name. Essentially, some of the parents and grandparents of these up and coming new moms and dads were offering to pay big money if the new parents picked a certain baby name.

One set of grandparents in the article offered their grandson $10,000 if in return, their grandson agreed to name their unborn son Frank instead of the name they’d chosen, Max. Another person’s mother in law asked how much money it would take to name the baby after someone in her family.

Both sets of parents told them where to shove it no.

I have to tell you, I read this article with my mouth agape. I know in many cultures there are traditions when it comes to naming children, but the audacity of some of these parents and grandparents is truly remarkable.

Using money to pressure people or try to influence people is just plain wrong, especially because many of these new parents are young and early in their careers, so they likely could use an influx of cash. Not cool.

I believe naming a baby is absolutely the baby’s parents choice. My husband and I thought long and hard about our children’s names. After throwing out a few name ideas in the early stages of my pregnancy and getting negative feedback on a variety of names from various family members, we decided to start over with our name selections and not tell a soul what we picked.

We didn’t tell our doctor their names, we didn’t tell our parents – no one. Our daughter didn’t even have a name on her crib in the NICU for the first few hours because it was such a secret. My mom told me keeping the names private was really mean of me, but I didn’t do it to offend or exclude anyone. I did it because they are my kids, and it was our choice to decide what to do with the information. It was a choice well made too because we really loved the names we picked, and it would have crushed us to get negative feedback on the ones we really wanted.

To think that a handful of parents out there are being pressured to name their kids certain names and that some crazy in laws and grandparents are offering them money for their choice just blows my mind. It’s such a wonderful time in new parents’ lives: being pregnant, getting excited for the baby’s arrival, and working with your other half to pick the perfect name. To have that marred with family drama is just gross.

So, here’s my advice to the grandparents who were pressuring their grandson to name his kid Frank: Get a dog. Name the dog Frank. Call it a day.

What do you think? Would you accept money for naming your child? How much would it take? Or, do you think this is a crazy trend?

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41 responses to “Would You Accept Money for Naming Your Baby?

  1. I think if it’s from a family member honoring another family member it’s not as bad. When I first read the title I thought it was going to be from complete strangers or something. I know a family who was pressured into naming their child after the grandparent and they did it but weren’t thrilled.

    1. Even though it’s coming from parents and family members, naming your kids is very personal. I don’t think I’d accept money in exchange for naming my children something I didn’t want to name them.

  2. Wow, that is crazy! We didn’t decide on our children’s middle names until after they were born, and then family members were delighted to learn we’d used their names. They never would have pressured us and you’re right that that would’ve made it a no! But we did receive nice gifts from those family members after releasing the news and kind of wondered if that was why.

    1. Hmmm… Extravagant gifts like that would make me wonder too. I think naming your kids after someone in your family or someone you look up is awesome if it’s your idea, but not if someone else pressuring you to do so.

  3. Ha! I love your humor, lol! My exact sentiments. I told my family early on that they have no influence whatsoever so their opinions should be kept to themselves. It’s funny this topic canme up because my little cousin is stressed right now as she comes up with a name. We both had agreed that Aubrey Marie was the babies name until family members told her it was ugly. I felt so bad for her because she isn’t assertive as I am. I’m going to send her this link and hope she draws strength from it. Thanks for sharing your witty perspective!

  4. I feel like that’s a super-bizarre scenario. Both sides of our family have liked that we used family names, but I don’t think they’re too attached to the idea one way or the other.

  5. There was never an offer of money, but when we had our son, my mother declared she didn’t like the name and neither would my son. Too bad. She learned to live with it and our son has never indicated that he doesn’t like it. I think a person would have to be pretty desperate for dollars to accept an offer like that.

  6. Ha, like Natalie, I thought this was going to be more like companies naming babies, such as “Walmart” or something weird.

    That being said, this is still weird!

  7. My main objection to this is the general principle of using money to manipulate other people rather than specifically that it was for a certain name. Though I don’t envy the child growing up and eventually realizing that his name, which is such an integral part to one’s identity, was given in exchange for a bribe – especially if the price seems low (only 10k$?!) or the child didn’t directly receive the money!

    1. That’s a really good point, I didn’t even think of this. Using money to manipulate people is really not cool, and just think about how the child would feel when they found out their name was as a result of a bribe. I would feel upset if I found out my name was a bribe.

  8. When our family found out we were having a son our father-in-law mentioned it a few times to name him the same as his, but we didn’t. My wife’s sister had a boy and she didn’t either. All is well in the family and even if he offered us money we would say no. It’s our final decision.

  9. This is one of the reasons our children’s names were a secret until they were born. It drove my mom crazy! We took the name-picking process very seriously – considering initials and looking up meanings and popularity. We didn’t want any outside input or pressure.

  10. We didn’t tell anyone our first daughter’s name. We had picked a contemporary first name (Avery) and classic middle name (Elizabeth). My mother in law was very opinionated about everything when it came to my pregnancy and future child (this was the only time I was not a fan of hers. I normally adore her). Even hubby knew she would have negative things to say! Once they look baby in the face there is no way they can say something bad! Our second we shared because it was very classic (Lillian Grace) and nobody could really complain!

  11. I want to say no, but $10,000 for the kid’s college fund is awfully tempting. I guess my first strategy would be, “Gosh, I hoped you would give our child money because you were concerned about his/her future education. Not because you wanted a name for the child you’re going to love no matter what.”

    But if that passive aggression failed, I’d seriously consider it. I’d hate myself for it a bit, but as long as it wasn’t outlandish… As it is, if we ever have a kid, Tim and I are going to have a lot of arguments. I grew up with the name Abby, when keychains and other personalized stuff you saw in stores NEVER had it. Or the few times they did, it was Abbie. Ugh. So while I don’t necessarily want to name my kid something that everyone else is named, I understand the frustration of never being able to buy a souvenir from some place because your parents chose a weird name or a weird spelling. (Tim’s last bid was for “Jacen” since it sounds like a normal name but is actually the name of his favorite character from Magic the Gathering.)

  12. I love your advice to get a dog instead. Spot on! I thought families were bad when it came to wedding planning, but wow, this is a whole new level. Even though I don’t plan on having kids, no, I would never take money or want to be forced into choosing a name I didn’t feel comfortable with. I have a hard enough time naming pets and finding something everyone agrees on, I’m kind of glad I won’t have to go through this! 😉

  13. Honestly, I had hoped this was about companies offering money to name your babies because I would be highly put off by any family member or anyone I knew having the audacity to try to use money to manipulate my choice of names, or my choice of *anything*, about my child. I’ve had my fill of people trying to influence our actions using money and this just seems extra-wrong.

    It was interesting that so many people asked who we named our baby after, though, and seemed confused when we said ze wasn’t named after anyone at all. Can’t a child start life with hir very own name? It’s great to share and all but sometimes you want one thing that’s just yours, like a name! 🙂

  14. I can’t imagine accepting money from family members to name our child after them. My sister wouldn’t even tell any of us her son’s name until he was delivered. She didn’t want to let others influence her decision. I think that is a little extreme, but I understood her point that once a baby is born nobody is going to say they don’t like a name.

  15. This is just the weirdest thing ever… I almost assumed it was a joke article when I first saw it!

    I know plenty of parents who didn’t share baby names beforehand for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they didn’t want to pick one until they’d actually met their baby! It’s hard enough to get two people to agree on a name — there’s no reason to bring the entire village into it too.

  16. Short answer: No. Because I’ve already named my daughter the ultimate Colorado girl name. Am still not sure about the boy’s name. As they aren’t here yet there’s no pressure.

  17. My first daughter shares my middle name (something that was very important to her dad). I said fine as long as I get to name the second. So there was a bit of negotiation, truth be told. 🙂 I can’t imagine anyone manipulating with money. That’s just gross!

  18. I wouldn’t allow this. I would name my baby with the help of my wife’s input. It’s really a precious experience a couple must embrace. Never allow anyone to do this work.

  19. I would even go so far as to say it’s an abuse of power type of situation. I mean, really? It’s the parents’ child, no one else’s and each parent should be able to name their child free from pressure and hostility from outside parties. I read an article a long time ago about brands offering parents money to name their child after their brand, I was pretty appalled. I wouldn’t ever take money to name my child something someone else wanted. I will say however, that there may be some parents in dire financial situations that may take the money to pay off debts owed. Those situations, I feel, should be handled with no judgement and sensitivity.

  20. Of course no. It’s really a great experience for a couple to pick the best name out of all so many options available. I myself experienced this and it was so fulfilling that I and my husband had fun coming up a name for our kid.

  21. I would say no after an extremely long pause. While an extra 10K would be nice, for this situation to occur I would assume many levels of family boundaries had already been passed. I think it’s time to move to a different time zone! 😉

  22. I may be alone here with the exception of Abigail, but seriously, I’d take $10k from someone that wanted to name my kid. Partially because I don’t think Frank is that bad. If it were something I thought was atrocious, maybe I’d have a harder time. Partially because, seriously…it’s $10k.

    We didn’t decide on the name for my youngest until after birth. We had disagreed on it, and I finally caved. Maybe because I was too worn out from labor? Doesn’t matter now…it’s grown on me. 🙂

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