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To Junior, Or Not to Junior?

My wonderful husband has apparently wanted a Junior his entire life. Although I respect his passion, I have been completely against naming a child Junior my entire life. We currently have compromised with deciding to name our baby when we meet him (12 weeks away). I have a name, and my husband has Junior. He's not crazy about the name I've chosen. So basically, one of us will be unhappy with the name that's picked. Advice, please?

- Nameless for Now

You are in a tough spot, aren't you? You say you've compromised, but what you've really done is put off your decision—and you've rescheduled it for a time when you'll be under more pressure to make a choice, and have far less energy to think rationally. The time to solve this quandary is now.

But timing is only half the problem here. "Compromise" means you both give a little, and you both get a little, until you come to a decision you can both live with. And the Junior-or-not decision is pretty much the definition of the no-compromise zone, as you've said: One of you will be unhappy with the name, whatever it ends up being.

Given that, one of you will need to find a way to accept the other's choice, and perhaps that is where the compromising comes in. Would giving your son his dad's first name, but not his middle, be a happy medium? It's not a junior, but it’s still a namesake. If that satisfies neither of you, move on to other meet-in-the-middle options, like the ones I've suggested to others in your shoes:

  • He "wins" this round, but you win the next one if you have a second child (or vice versa, if he agrees to drop Junior this time around)
  • He gets his Junior, but you get supreme nicknaming rights
  • He nixes Junior, but you nix the pick he’s "not crazy about" too, and start fresh

This isn't easy, but it’s the essence of co-parenting. I won't promise that if you get this one right you'll coast through all the rest of your joint decisions. But it's a start.


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November 10, 2014 11:41 AM
By LindyLou (not verified)

Is the baby getting your husband's last name? If so, then he's already passing down the most important part of his name. Put your husband's first name as the baby's middle name. Then give the baby his own first name.

Sometimes the scan is wrong. You might end up with a baby girl. Wouldn't it be funny if that happened and then all your other children were girls too? Mention that possibility to your husband. Maybe then he'll be grateful to be having a son to pass down his surname and not worry so much about the first and middle.

November 10, 2014 2:33 PM
By Aprilcot26 (not verified)

Would giving the baby a different middle name from your hubby be a good compromise? I know that means the baby wouldn't truly be a Junior, but then his first and last name will still be the same. If your husband's name is something that can be shortened you could have an Alexander James Smith that goes by Alex and Alexander Jason Smith that goes by Xander. Just a thought.

November 11, 2014 10:54 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You could also do a Jr and then call your son by his middle (or a nickname for the middle).

I also know a family who gave their son his own first name (mom's pick) and two middles (dad's first & middle).

There are lots of ways for your husband to have a namesake without it being an exact Jr. I'd start there.

November 11, 2014 1:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I dated a man who was the 14th in his line. But only first and last names - the mom by tradition picked the middle name and many of the men went by their middle name including my ex.

November 11, 2014 1:37 PM
By Alison (not verified)

I always wanted an Austin (Dad's name who happens to come from a long line of Austins). My hubby is John and he wanted a John. His brother already named his son John which I thought would be too confusing if the cousins shared the same name in addition to the father and son combo. Hubby and I opted to start fresh and agreed to a name but immediately after the child's birth Hubby pushed for John. I was prepared. I suggested that we give the child the middle name Jackson since Hubby is a direct descendent of Andrew Jackson. He took the bait but I do feel like I stole something from my husband in a way. Our son is very much like his dad. I don't think our son is a John though. He is special in his own way and I am glad we gave him a less popular name (Roland).
Good luck in your name decision. I know it can be hard at times. I recommend creating a short list or two or three of names to run by your hubby. There may be something that peaks his interest.

November 11, 2014 4:40 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My ex-husband desperately want to do "the third", but I hated his name and his father's name. We ended up compromising on keeping his initials, that worked because his grandfather had had the same initials but not the same name. I still didn't like the initials, but it was a worthy compromise. However, we ended up getting divorced and never having to face the issue!

November 13, 2014 4:42 PM
By Canterbury Lady (not verified)

Are men so insecure that they need to name their sons after themselves?

If you give in on the junior thing, you have not compromised. You have given in. And waiting until later, when you will be under more pressure to give in, will not solve your problem. You will give in.

The whole junior thing has never made sense to me. I now have a son-in-law who is a III. He does not like it. He plans on not continuing it.

The best compromise on this is probably picking a first name you both like and giving him Dad's first name as his middle name. That is, of course, assuming that he will get Dad's last name.

You could give him Dad's first and last names as his first and middle name and then give him your maiden name as his last name.

You two need to come to some compromise decision now. Do not put it off. If you allow yourself into a decision by inaction, you will always regret it.

November 14, 2014 11:45 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My sister and her husband were in a similar situation. When they had their first child (a boy), my mom suggested they name him X X the third. My brother-in-law liked the idea, but my sister hated it (she was already set on a particular style of name). She held her ground and they ended up compromising by going with her choice, but agreeing that if they had a second son, that one would get his name. They did have a second son several years later, and he got the family name! Personally, I thought it was an odd and unusual arrangement (especially because the grandfather/first bearer of the name was an absent father), but you know what - it worked for them and they're both happy. My BIL goes by a nickname and my 2nd nephew goes by the full version of the name.

November 14, 2014 3:46 PM
By Andrew (not verified)

Interestingly it was everyone else that wanted me to name a junior. But that is not what I wanted. I do like my names very much but what I liked most about my two names was their meaning. What I ended up doing was looking for and found a name that had the same meaning as mine.

He is very much like me in many ways and he has a name to reflect that, but he also has his own individuality at the same time by having his own name to claim for himself.

Perhaps that could work for you two too.

November 14, 2014 4:15 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Here's how my parents solved the question on whether to give their son a name. I believe they decided not to call their son exactly the same name as the father by giving him names which had the same initials as my father's name. My dad was James Allen, so my brother was called Jeffrey Adam. I think it's a nifty solution because your husband is being remembered though not with the obvious junior. I think though your husband may like the idea of tagging his son with a junior, ask him if the son would like it or not? Of course the son may like it later on, but who wants to be called "junior" all one's life? Maybe some won't mind, but others might feel they're under their father's shadow and long for something they can call their own. Come to think of it, I think using names of the same initials could be used for an eldest daughter if one wished to name her after her mother (though I can heartily thank my parents for not sticking me with my mother's first name Beulah (meaning "She who is to be married". Obviously the name would be inaccurate as I've never been married.) Why not propose this solution to your husband and give your son names which has the same initials as your husband's first and middle names? Let us know what you call your son and which solution you agreed on.

November 14, 2014 4:55 PM
By Stephanie (not verified)

I have friends whose oldest sons were "juniors." Actually, one was the 4th and the other was Junior. However, the Junior was given a different middle name and they call him by the two names to distinguish them. The 4th's parents split so having the same name as his father isn't exactly an issue.

I think if I were you I would try to sell giving your son a third name somehow. If your father is sold on the idea of Matthew Harrison Jackson, Jr (or something like that) could you opt for Matthew Harrison Nicolas Jackson (or something like that). Alternately you could use your husband's full name in the middle instead. Or you could choose a first name that starts with J so that your husband could call his son Junior as a nickname. Good luck!

November 16, 2014 10:39 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

A family near where I grew up had the tradition of naming each son and heir with his father's first name but an individual different middle. Easier to distinguish for formal and business purposes. For general use, they went by different versions of the hereditary FIRST name, not the distinguisher - it happened to be one with lots of possible nicknames. If it was John for eg, you could use John, Jack, Johnny, Jock...
It worked for them - everyone knew that each eldest son would bear the family name, but with a clarifying difference.
But that was in Britain, where Juniors and "the third"s are more or less unknown :-)

November 18, 2014 6:18 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know of a few families where the son was given the father's first name, but a different middle, and was then known by their middle name.
In one such family, my friend received a lot of pressure to give his son the same name as him and his father (and his grandfather and great-grandfather), but my friend's wife put her foot down, and their son has the family name in the middle.
There aren't many Juniors here though, it's just not a term used that often in Australia.

November 18, 2014 6:27 PM
By Aussie (not verified)

I hate naming kids after yourself. It's so pretentious. Sure, go for a family name if you like, but the parent's name? No. This is a new person, he/she deserves a name that is all his/her own. But I know some Americans seem to be obsessed with it. Although I know someone who has 3 kids, the first one has a unique name. Then the 2nd is named after the dad and the 3rd is named after the mum (I'm talking first names). Which is utterly pathetic. And they're Australian so they should know better!

November 18, 2014 8:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My brother is named after our father (who is also named after his father but with a different middle name) and he absolutely hates it. They share the whole same name and while my brother has gone by a middle name all his life, he wishes he had his own unique first name. To be fair, none of us were particularly close with our father so that may have affected our opinion.

My mom gave in (she wanted him to have a unique name) and she still regrets it to this day.

I have my own unique first name but share a middle name with my mother. It has always been our special connection since we're very close.

My advice would be to consider passing down just the middle or to put Dad's first name as baby's middle and give him his own unique first name.

November 18, 2014 8:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Also a child with the same whole name as Dad can look forward to a lifetime of mixed up mail and formal paperwork. It will suck.

November 25, 2014 10:44 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

We had the same problem and compromised by using his middle name. Luckily it's a pretty good name. Lol I had a list of names and he wouldn't even consider any of them. I HATE juniors! I think kids deserve their own identity. And it also gets confusing when you have people with the same name in one house. Ridiculous!

December 10, 2014 3:30 PM
By Christi with an I (not verified)

In my family we have a couple of these situations. My dad was named after his father who in turn was given his mothers maiden name. So Grandpa was First name, maiden name. Dad was maiden name, middle name, my brother is first name maiden name and has said that if he has a son he will do first name, maiden name. My brother feels like he is part of a legacy. My newphew has something close. He is the fourth all with the same first name and individual middle names and they all go by their middle names. His son is now the fifth in line. My friends husbands family does dad's first name as a middle and then whatever first name they want. If it is a tradition and you don't hate the name, I'd go with it and agree that you get to pick the next one's name.

February 3, 2015 6:58 PM
By RachB (not verified)

We named our first born son after his father with the "compromise" I hoose his middle name. I chose my fathers name as his middle name. I grew up with a brother named after my Dad and it was confusing when we were older with mail and phone calls who they were looking for.

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