Dear Bruce: Is it better to select a popular name or a unique name?

Dear Bruce,

Is it better to select a popular name or a unique name?

Bruce: When you’re expecting, you notice the names parents have chosen for their babies when you read newspaper birth announcements or meet parents with small children. The more often you notice certain names, the more you may consider selecting them for your child. There are benefits to selecting popular names: they often make positive first impressions, most people can spell and pronounce them, and they don’t sound “weird.” Unfortunately, your child may not like sharing his or her name with other children in daycare, at the playground, or on her soccer team.

Many parents think their children will feel unique and special if they have an uncommon name. But it’s often hard to find an uncommon name that will make a positive first impression and won’t cause lots of practical problems for your child, making him or her wish you had chosen Jacob or Emily instead. However, if you consider your favorite vacation spots, your favorite cheeses or wines, or your favorite musicians, artists, or sports heroes, you may come up with a charming unique name if you first test it on friends and acquaintances to avoid disappointment.

If you’d like to submit a question, please leave it in the comments section here.  

© 2013 Bruce Lansky
All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

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