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Should I Be Traditional or Trail-Blazing?

Is it too cliché to name a baby with dad's initials when all his children from previous relationships have been named that way? Should I stick with the tradition, or blaze a new trail?

--Angel

A tradition can be a beautiful way to bind a family together. Or it can be a constricting tie, one that brings more conflict than comfort. The real question here isn't about whether this tradition is a cliché. It's whether this tradition helps cement a bond—or tries too hard to establish one that isn't really there.

How close are you to Dad's older children? How close do you expect, and hope, your baby will be to his or her half-siblings? If you all have good relationships, these shared initials could be a nice way to emphasize the family bond. But what if you're resentful of these children's existence, or vice versa? Have you tried to establish a relationship, and they've resisted? If so, sticking with the traditional initials may fall flat, or even cause further distance.

You haven't mentioned your own thoughts about the tradition, or those of the baby’s father. Is it something he feels strongly about? How do you feel about it? If you'd like to continue, this is a fairly flexible tradition to work with. Matching first letters still gives you lots of leeway when it comes to sound and style. But if the tradition feels like a confining box instead of a precious gift (say, you must work with the letter T and the other children already have the only T names you like) there's no need to continue carrying it. Blaze that new trail and use the names that are right for you, and your new baby.

Comments

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November 24, 2014 2:33 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

How about you name the baby with your initials? Or are you just the broodmare and milk machine?

November 24, 2014 5:53 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Broodmare & milk machine, I like that.

Without knowing more, it does smack of dad needing to put his stamp of ownership on all the kids. I could be wrong, perhaps it was the X's idea. Or maybe it was a coincidence at first & then someone felt obligated to keep doing it. But whatever the reason, it was a decision made by dad & his previous partner. It isn't one I think "Angel" should feel obligated to continue.

November 25, 2014 12:13 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Bringing men down isn't the equivalent to lifting women up. A name that honors a father isn't oppressive to women and is not automatically a snub to the mother. Fathers also play an important and vital role in the life of a child, and if two parents decide that's how they want to name a child, there is nothing wrong with that. The idea that the simple act of naming a child to honor its dad is some sort of act of male chauvinism is very hateful and close minded.

November 25, 2014 4:59 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

One set of parents deciding that's how they want to name a child is fine. However, almost every time a child is named to honor a parent, it's the father.

The letter writer's husband has all of his children (plural) already named after him. How many more does he need? How long until it's the mother's turn? How is it "bringing men down" to suggest that maybe the father shouldn't get ALL the honor?

November 26, 2014 1:26 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Relationships, plural? Gives them all his initials? Tacky.

November 26, 2014 7:24 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My husband and I decided if we had a boy he would name it and if we had a girl, I would. He chose James and I chose Jillian. We had a boy so we have our James. Next time round, we deicded if we had a boy I would name it and if we had a girl, he would. We chose Robert and Tegan. We had a girl. Therefore, we have James and Tegan. I occasionally wonder what Jillian and Robert would have been like!

November 30, 2014 8:15 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Makes me think of a woman I know who has named all 4 of her children after their father (who is no longer around, but that's irrelevant).
All of them, to the extent of making up names to somehow incorporate his name.
I have no problem with naming children after a parent I've done it! My son's middle name is my maiden name, and if we have another son, he will have my mother-in-law's maiden name/husband's middle name in the middle (if it didn't mean "young man" we would use it for a daughter too).
But I think using the same formula over and over does seem a little unbalanced.

February 15, 2015 1:20 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This woman chose to breed with a man who has made all his baby mamas (plural) name their children after him.

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