Naming a baby adult
6 reasons the cute baby name you choose may not survive until adulthood.
‘I knew you’d have to get tough or die, and it’s that name that helped to make you strong’: That’s what the boy named Sue’s daddy tells him when Sue finally tracks him down to seek revenge for giving him that ‘awful name’, in the song ‘A Boy Named Sue’ made popular by Johnny Cash. Today, though, it’s likely that the kid would have just changed his name and moved along unscathed. Here are some reasons the name you choose for your baby may not be the one he uses as an adult:

My baby, the pro-wrestler

You may not have ever considered names as obviously crazy as that for your baby, but remember, your baby will grow up, and what seems cute on a helpless bundle may not seem as cuddly on a strapping 6-foot-tall adult. When choosing baby names, many parents leave the final choice (or simply procrastinate) until after the baby is born. One of the reasons offered for this is that ‘we don’t know what he’s going to look like’. Well, no matter what he looks like, he’s definitely not going to look like an adult.

Cultural melting pots

Naming traditions may relate to the circumstances around the baby’s birth, or a particular prayer or blessing said over the baby after he’s born, but it’s also conceivable that your baby may later in life convert to a particular religion which requires her to change her name or adopt a culture or tradition along with a new name.

Spelling surprises

Another reason your careful selection may get muddled is if, in a fit of new-parent excitement, your partner messes up the spelling on the birth registration papers at the Department of Home Affairs.

Are there adult names?

If you listen carefully to new parents, they’ll use the new name as much as possible so that they can get used to it. After a few days, though, the cute naming contractions will appear- often ending in a ‘y’ sound. Then, a more appropriate nickname may appear once the child has started developing a little character- perhaps around pre-school. That name will sound a more grown-up.

Junior Junior III

Many kids saddled with clumsy, old-fashioned family names, given to them because the names have to stay in the family (even if they haven’t been in common use for centuries). Often these names are abandoned on the path to adulthood, opting for nicknames, the use of initials or complete substitutions.

‘Don’t call me cuddle-bunny!’

Your teenager might rebel against any childhood nicknames and insist on a new one, just to make it clear that he’s ‘not a baby anymore’. After that, nicknames may come out of performing a certain way at a sport or having some other special skill. Or, should your parenting have gone terribly wrong, as a criminal alias or a gang member handle.

There’s a long journey that a name has to take from childhood to adulthood, so it’s worth spending lots of time considering your choice, but, in the end, it’s something you are giving to another adult who, ultimately, gets to choose for himself what to do with it. Who knows how your carefully chosen names will end up? Only time will tell...

Do you still use the same name you were given as a baby?

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