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How Does Grandma Really Feel About Your Child's Name?

Photograph by Twenty20

It's a picture-perfect day at Grandma's house. The kids are playing happily, basking in the adoring glow of the person who loves them just as much as you do (probably because she gets to send them back home and actually sleeps at night). There's probably at least one completely unhealthy snack nearby, and there's lots of giggling and good times.

There's just one teensy, tiny problem with this whole scene.

Odds are, Grandma kinda sorta hates your kid's name.

According to a new survey courtesy of England-based online parenting and grandparenting forums Mumsnet and Gransnet, a shocking number of grandparents are harboring or have harbored a secret dislike of the monikers their children and in-laws have chosen for their grandchildren. The survey revealed that:

  • 15 percent of parents admitted that a parent or in-law hated their child's name.
  • 4 percent of grandparents actually admitted to never accepting the child's name at all.
  • 2 percent of grandparents said their family actually had a permanent falling out with a child over a grandchild's name, while 6 percent confessed to temporary separations over a name disagreement.

What's more, almost 70 percent of grandparents thought that it was their right to give an opinion on a future grandchild's name, while 38 percent of parents disagreed, saying it's none of their business.

Apparently, your child's grandparent may dislike a chosen name for a few different reasons, which might include the name being too "old-fashioned," too new-fangled and "made up," too strange or too hard to pronounce. A grandparent may also feel snubbed if the child isn't given a family name or bestowed a name of his/her preference. Or, some grandparents explained that the name simply reminded them of someone they didn't like. (Fair enough.) And the No. 1 reason for not liking a grandchild's name?

Thinking the name was "too ugly."

Grandparents were more likely to disagree with a daughter over a grandchild's name rather than a son, at 44 percent vs. 22 percent, which may be because they feel they are closer to a daughter or the daughter has more sway in the naming of a baby. The survey also collected grandparents' responses to learning their grandchildren's' names, which ran the gamut from disbelief (11 percent of grandparents thought their child was joking) to outright laughter (3 percent) to downright confusion (10 percent).

Wondering what names really got grandparents going? The top offenders for names that grandparents reported hating the most were:

  • Aurora
  • Charlotte
  • Elijah
  • Finn
  • Jack
  • Lindsay
  • Noah
  • Sally
  • Tabitha

There is good news, however: A large percentage of grandparents (39 percent) said that they eventually came around to accepting the grandchild's name as they got used to it. Of course, there was still that small 6 percent who just couldn't bring themselves to accept the name and admitted that they avoid actually saying the child's name at all costs. But, overall, if it wasn't love at first name, it eventually became less of a cringe-worthy event for grandparents to say their grandchild's name.

So, there's that.

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