Family traditions that I don't really want to continue when naming our baby

Karen - posted on 10/10/2011 ( 25 moms have responded )

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So here is my situation - my husbands side of the family ALL the boys middles names are the grandfathers first names. This tradition dates back to the early 1800's HOWEVER his fathers first name is Clifford - and that name is NOT a name I would ever want to give my child middle or otherwise...my family doesn't have any real traditions.

So far there are Kevin (my husband), Kiana, Cameron and Karen (myself) and I am leaning towards Kyler for a boy and Kelea or Kiele for a girl...BUT his family is insisting we continue the tradition - I am just not thrilled at all with that idea...what do I do???

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Starfish - posted on 10/10/2011

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Well, the truth is, you have to decide if this middle name is worth causing such a rift between you, your husband, and your in-laws. I understand you don't like the name, but it IS only a middle name, and it WOULD keep the peace.

Perhaps since you don't really have any traditions like this yourself, you don't understand just how important they are to those who do, but they're depending on you to honour their ancestors, heritage, and family. That means quite a lot.

If nothing else, consider maybe two middle names? If you make Clifford the second middle name, it'll hardly ever get used (unless he wanted to use it), but would still honour your in-laws wishes.

Of course, at the end of the day, it is your child, but I don't think a name is worth the heartache that will follow here...

Medic - posted on 10/11/2011

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Name your kid what you want. When I was pregnant with my son they were pushing for me to name him Marvin James because the first born boy for like 10 or 12 or some stupid number of generations had done that....umm no I am not subjecting my kids to god awful names. They got all bent out of shape but they are over it and love my sons name now.

Lacye - posted on 10/10/2011

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Do not name your child something that you don't like. All it will do is make you look back at it and regret it. With that said, tell your husband and his family to suck it up and that you are not going to name your child Clifford. It is not a name you like. Maybe you don't have to say it that forcefully but sometimes force works when people don't listen to you.

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Jane - posted on 10/11/2011

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I knew someone whose middle name was just the letter G (no period). You could always do the same and give your child the middle name C, and just let your in-laws assume it is Clifford. Or you could give the child the middle name Cliff, not Clifford. Or shoot for the grandfather on your side of the family.

Or follow my husband's family tradition - you cannot name a child after a living member of the family, so we named our son after two uncles, one from my side and one from his, both deceased and both with the same name, and a middle name from my husband's grandfather, also dead.

My mother's family had a centuries-long tradition of naming the first born son Joseph. It went pretty well for a long time. My great great grandfather Joseph named his first born son Joseph, but the child died. So he named his second son Joseph. That child died, too. So then he named his third son Joseph. He managed to live to adulthood and named his first born son Joseph. He grew to adulthood, named his first born son Joseph and promptly died in a hunting accident. His son Joseph then was killed at the age of three by being run over by a street car. We no longer name anyone Joseph.

Their is also a branch of the family where the first born son was always to be named Nebelow. The last Nebelow was my mother's cousin, who never married, he claimed, because he refused to give any child that name.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/11/2011

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Karen that's horrid what your MIL does. My dad's mom treated my brother and I like that because we're both adopted and her other 17 grandchildren weren't. Thankfully my mom's parents don't do that. My MIL doesn't do that to my 7 year old either. Probably because my husband wouldn't let her see either girl if she did.

This will be your child so name him or her what you want. Maybe you'll have a girl though. I kept thinking my 7 month old was a boy before the ultrasound because I was having a hard pregnancy with her because of my thyroid. But she's my 2nd girl. Have someone else in his family have a boy and continue the tradition. Or start your own. One of my cousins and I have girls who are 2 months apart and both of us gave our daughters our middle names. Of course my cousin's mom did that for her, my middle name is from a friend of my moms. I named my 7 month old after my great aunt and my grandma because I was originally due on my great aunt's birthday and I love my mama (maternal grandma)

Good luck with your MIL, she sounds like a pill.

MyLisa - posted on 10/11/2011

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In the end you and your husband have to be happy with the name you give your child. Talk to your husband... maybe start a new tradition (maybe keep the middle initial C - as that is all that most people see of the middle name anyways). As long as you both are happy with the childs name that is all that matters - it is NOT up to the extended family at all, it is all up to you (and maybe your husband a little bit too :))

Karen - posted on 10/11/2011

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@ Jennifer I hear ya - sometimes people have some pretty crazy ideas of what should or shouldn't happen with someone else's child...my husbands brother named his daughter after his mothers grandmother (he's a momma's boy) and his mom dotes on that child even though there is only 7 months between the two of them...our daughter just isn't good enough so we don't see her much (which is fine lol) so I don't really want to feed into the whole game in a way that is what it seems - comply and we will shower your kid with gifts and be so loving to them - don't and your kid will be left out...which is fine in the long run because it does show how immature some people can be...

Karen - posted on 10/11/2011

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@ Jennifer I hear ya - sometimes people have some pretty crazy ideas of what should or shouldn't happen with someone else's child...my husbands brother named his daughter after his mothers grandmother (he's a momma's boy) and his mom dotes on that child even though there is only 7 months between the two of them...our daughter just isn't good enough so we don't see her much (which is fine lol) so I don't really want to feed into the whole game in a way that is what it seems - comply and we will shower your kid with gifts and be so loving to them - don't and your kid will be left out...which is fine in the long run because it does show how immature some people can be...

Karen - posted on 10/11/2011

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@ Meggy - I have been trying trust me - it is hard for me since in a family of 18 great grandchildren NONE of them have been named after anyone in the family...it is difficult because for him it is no big deal he has PDD (a form of high functioning Autism) so in his reality I guess you could he doesn't get why I am so upset - I guess it is because I can't find ANY name that goes with that middle name. I love the name Kyler and since the baby's last name is already hyphenated with both our last names I don't want to give the kid 2 middle names. If it is a girl well problem solved...I wont know for a bit yet - either the regular ultrasound tells me or I go for the 3d one...we shall see what happens I guess. My dad's middle name is Ernest needless to say he doesn't tell people that one...

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/11/2011

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Karen, I'm sympathizing with you. I just had a baby girl back in March and my DH couldn't think of any girl names so I named her Lillian Kathleen after my great aunt and my grandma. Now my DH is saying that since I got to pick out both names for our daughter if we have a son next he wants to name him "Gerald Harvey or Harvey Gerald after his dad's father who died right before he was born. Never mind that he had originally agreed on not using either name for a first name. I'm hoping I can fix that by the time we're ready for our next baby.

Honestly though it is just a middle name (albeit a horrid one and since my DH's middle name is Gerald I know horrid middle names), he won't have to acknowledge it later in life. Instead of thinking 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' why not think "The Cosby Show'? Bill Cosby's character was Cliff Huxtable and he was a Doctor married to a lawyer. At least then you'll (hopefully) be thinking successful adult instead of big red dog.

Or you can talk with your husband. Because you definitely shouldn't be forced to stick with a name you can't stand. I have to go take this last piece of advice for myself.

Kristin - posted on 10/11/2011

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Honestly, coming from someone that gave in just because of my husbands upbringing (he was born and raised in Ukraine) I sometimes regret it but have learned to deal with it. They take the fathers first name and add a few letters at the end sorta meaning "belonging to" so-and-so. I am expecting my third boy and they will all have the same middle and last name, the only difference will be their first names which I was strict and wanted them to all have different first initials.
Luckily if we were going to have a girl he agreed that we were not going to continue with the tradition, as it goes for males and females...just a difference by the letters added at the end.
I also agree with Sarah McKnight you could do the two middle names :) good luck.

Savannah - posted on 10/11/2011

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I'm gonna assume it's his mother making most of the rude comments...(I have Satan for a mil too!) Don't let this stress you out! It's bad for you and the baby and his family should realize this and start acting like adults. Talk to your hubby again and let him know how this is affecting you and maybe he'll tell his family to back off. As far as tradition, a name (even a middle one) shapes your child, and if you hate the name they'll pick up on it. The choice is yours.

Samantha - posted on 10/11/2011

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I seem to be outnumbered but I agree with everything Sarah McKnight wrote.



Honestly, I would do it. I can understand if they wanted you to give him a certain first name that you didn't like, but it's just a middle name. People often don't even know people's middle names anyway. And regardless of what the name is, I think having a family tradition that is consistent back to the 1800s is cool!



You don't need to worry too much about pleasing the in-laws, but it seems like it's important to your husband too. It IS important to maintain strong ties with your spouse, and that includes compromising on issues where one spouse values something that you may not necessarily. Maybe you can choose whatever YOU want for the first name (and maybe even a "first middle" name, with Clifford being the second middle name).



I don't know... I don't think a middle name is worth the family stress.

Jenny - posted on 10/11/2011

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Wow, family politics are rough. I don't think you should name your child something you don't like. It's up to you and your husband what you name your child. Unfortunately you are in a situation where your husband does want to continue this tradition. Your in-laws should butt out, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Making rude comments towards you is unacceptable and YOUR HUSBAND should speak to his family about this. Regardless if whether or not the two of you agree on this matter, he should insist that his family be respectful towards his wife and the mother of his child. Personally I would go with the two middle name strategy. My dad has two middle names (the 2nd one is his mother's maiden name). He doesn't use it unless it's something to do with legal matters, passport etc. That would be a good way to squeeze it in there to make YOUR HUSBAND (as opposed to your in-laws) happy and still get to pick names that you want. They your child can decide whether he uses it or not. Good luck.

Stifler's - posted on 10/11/2011

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My family is the same well Damians is. All the sons have their father's first name as their middle name. I hate it but my son is Logan Damian. I just decided that I was naming our second kid what *I* wanted if we had to do that.

Kelina - posted on 10/10/2011

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i think there's value in family traditions. if it's something your husband is kind of so so about then see if you can agree on a different name. If he decides it's something he feels strongly about say ebcause even though he's not particularly close with his family he still wants to feel that sense of family and tradition then see if you can settle on something. However this is a choice you AND your husband have to make. It's his child too, and even if your not thrilled with it try to reach a decision that will satisfy both of you.

Brianna - posted on 10/10/2011

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thats not fair! tell them u will name ur baby with the grandparents name but ur parents names not theirs lol and see what they say cuz really how is it fair to just take the names from the side of the family anyways. so i think u should not continue with the tradition after all its ur baby not theirs and its very selfish for them to try to make u use their names

Tinker1987 - posted on 10/10/2011

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Dont do it, i think family tradion should stop at the LAST Name. i think first and middle is fair game to do what you want...my mother in law was quite rude beacuse they had this theme for generations to use the names Thomas and James.she said if i wantd i can reverse it and i laughed, i was like lady i already know my childs name and its what we picked...I wanted my sons first name to be from us and new. so we went with Keegan and used James.its after his fmaily and mine. do not listen to his family. this is your child. they can suck it up.

Daniela - posted on 10/10/2011

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not all traditions are good. America used to have a tradition of segregation and slaves, not a good thing. in fact i hate that tradition of the whole throwing the bouquet and garder thing. how is it ok to put a piece of lingere on a stranger?? so i say ditch the tradition if you dont like it. just because other people do it doesnt mean you have to, you're the mother, only you have to sign the birth certificate papers so you can legally put what you want!

Karen - posted on 10/10/2011

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We have some traditions - but since I moved away I don't get to partake in the usual festivities and such...when it comes to names - no one in our family of 18 grandchildren took on anyone's middle or first names etc...my Grandparents continued traditions in other ways...

I could care less about my in-laws - his mother is a real you know what (he agrees 100% on that one) he just feels we should do what everyone else has done...I have a really big feeling it's a boy...going through this pregnancy like I did with my son - with little troubles so far (thank god my daughter was brutal). I am NOT close with his side of the family at all...he is sort of close with one Aunt and uncle and their kids and his dad...but no one else - which is why I am sort of like well hey you don't even keep in touch with ANY of them on your dad's side...and his grandparents on that side of both gone - and his dad has a brother and he never talks to him...so really not sure what the fuss is about - I just have always hated that name...it reminds me of the cartoon Clifford the big red dog...which I never liked either :( I am not trying to cause issues - my side of the family dislikes that middle name for the most part to...

Kelina - posted on 10/10/2011

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coul be worse. My friends family had a tradition of naming first daughters Margaret. She is soooooo glad her mom didn't care about offending family! but a middle name is not so bad, it's not like everyone will know it, or call them by it, and clifford, you could shorten it to cliff. Also if you have a girl you don't have to worry about it. I really think that family traditions are important and personally a middle name would not be worth the rift that it would cause with my hubby. Coming from a background where there was little to no emphasis on family and family traditions, marrying into a family with lots of traditions and a strong sens eof family was HARD! And there were a lot of things i didn't understand. Talk to your husband an try to understand where he's coming from and why it's so importnat to him and then see if you can come to a consensus, something that will satisfy both of you. would he be ok with cliff for a middle name? is there some other variation or the same name in another language that you might be able to make work? That's what we did with my son. I wanted to name him after his daddy but there weren't really any other variations of his name and since Ian is so short, we didn't want it to get to confusing, so we went with Jonathon, the english form of Ian. Also the whole name since both Grandpas are John! good luck and congrats on baby!

Erin - posted on 10/10/2011

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If it's just a middle name, that's not too bad. At least it's not the first name. Just talk to him about it though. It should definitely be a mutual decision.

September - posted on 10/10/2011

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Karen you should always have a choice, it's your child. I hate when family can be so pushy. Does your husband want to carry on with the tradition? Rude comments are so not necessary; show their maturity level now doesn't it!

Karen - posted on 10/10/2011

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I wish it was up to me mostly, I have told my husband he is upset about my opinion, his parents are totally off the rails about it and have nothing but rude comments towards me. I am thinking I might not get a choice... :(

September - posted on 10/10/2011

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Tell them you're not thrilled about the idea. It's ok to not continue on with the tradition, it's your child you choose the name. Good luck!

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