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Would a Name Switch Fix This Sibling Sitch?

Our first daughter's name is Leena (she is 5 years old) and our second is Dina (14 months old). Leena is quite jealous of her sister and we think that their names being too close might be a factor. Could that be right? Is it worth going through the name-changing process? (Dina's middle name is Linda, so we're thinking of dropping the first name and keeping only the middle one.)

–Mom of Rivals

Kids with that age difference frequently do feel resentful of their younger siblings. Your older daughter enjoyed the solo-kid life for four years before her sister came along. It's a big adjustment for her. And at 14 months, your younger daughter is likely starting to walk and talk, which could make her feel like even more of a challenge to her big sister.

It seems unlikely to me that the girls’ names are the cause of the rivalry. Plenty of siblings have similar names and get along fine (and plenty of siblings with very different names experience jealousy and rivalry). But given that the sensitivity was already there, it doubtless doesn't help. Your big girl may feel she has to share everything with the baby, even her name.

Still, a name change won't magically cure the jealousy. If—and only if—you are regretting choosing such similar names for other reasons, then a change might be helpful. (Dare I point out, though, that Leena and Linda also share many of the same sounds? At least they don't rhyme.)

If you do decide to make the change, present it to Leena in a way that emphasizes each sister's individuality and specialness. Whatever her name is, baby sister is here to stay. But there is plenty of room in your family and your heart for both little girls.


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September 25, 2017 8:13 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Linda is closer to Leena than Dina is. Maybe change Dina to Diana or Adina?

September 25, 2017 3:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree, jealousy at that age is very common. Linda and Leena are also very similar, so changing the name doesn't seem worth it. Plus, if Dina is the name you truly prefer, it's seems a bit unfair to drop it.

Perhaps some alone time with Leena is what's needed?

September 26, 2017 1:20 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I can't sympathize. It makes me wish you more sleep in your future. Linda sounds even more the same and I will also politely confirm that this one of those things you can't assign a fix to even as much as our Mom brains mean well... :) Entrust your children will both grow well. (Seek out helps, many communities offer free or nominal parent classes, online Love and Logic, or join MOPS-- something. There's a great reason they exist.) This doesn't have to do with names. Maybe in how you say them, maybe in how they're heard, but that is the root of the issue anyway. Best wishes. I like both names very much.

September 26, 2017 1:22 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

AUTOCORRECT. I just posted and of course I meant I can sympathize.

September 26, 2017 1:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Changing one child's name will, I think, only confuse and complicate the sibling relationship. Isn't Dina old enough to recognise her own name by now? What's worse - "My parents gave my sister a similar name", or "My parents renamed me because they thought my sister was jealous"?

September 27, 2017 3:25 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This doesn't help with the name question, but I've heard the book Siblings Without Rivalry has a lot of good advice for sibling relationships...

September 28, 2017 5:31 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Would a family-only nickname help? We called number 2 "monkey" for a long time. He's outgrown it, but it might help you at this time.

Alternatively, you could add an -h to Dina, making it Dinah (Dye-nah).

October 2, 2017 11:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Please don't rename a 14 month old. It's one thing to rename a tiny baby but a child this age will recognize their own name. It's unlikely a 5 year old is jealous because of the name in any case - she is more likely to be processing the overall changes in her family structure rather than the name. I think it would make more sense to look at the areas she is especially jealous over and see if you can give her more attention and love in these areas.

October 9, 2017 4:10 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I really wouldn't change the toddler's name. Maybe let Leena pick a special nickname for herself to use at home if you really think the name similarity is the problem. Or, just wait a little bit as the baby grows into a proper playmate and they get along better.

October 11, 2017 12:10 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Do not change Dina's name! It's unfair to her, as you're doing it based on the (normal!) reaction of a 5 yr old. It would send the wrong message to Leena too. I agree, spend extra time w oldest girl. Don't fret over names. They're set.

October 12, 2017 9:59 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

God. If it wasn't already apparent that you're a substandard parent by naming your daughters Leena and Dina, it is completely apparent at your want to change your 14 month old's name! Leena and Linda are very alike, and Linda is terribly old fashioned and not in a good way.

I really hope this question is a troll question.

November 11, 2017 6:42 PM
By Girl from Missouri (not verified)

Wow, anonymous (October 12), your comment was rude and non-constructive. Maybe your time is better spent elsewhere?

As for the question asker, I think the problem here is not the name (as already said.)

I would suggest googling "sibling bonding activities" and maybe let Big Sis help pick out a special family nickname for Little Sis.

When they are older, they may be best friends and bond over their "matching" names.

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