Getty Images/EyeEm Baby in crib
Baby name expert Pamela Redmond is assisting parents with finding the perfect moniker for their little one.
Redmond, the co-creator of the world's largest baby name website, Nameberry, is providing parents with helpful tips to begin the baby naming process. While she says she doesn't believe a baby's name will determine their entire future, Redmond explains why names do hold a significant importance.
"A name is only one factor that will influence your child's life, ranking below such forces as intelligence, personality, education, and especially family," she says.
"The reason choosing your child's name is so important is that it's a key step in defining your new family. Your child's name symbolizes the values and priorities most important in the world you create for your child. It sets the identity you present to the world and to yourself."
According to Redmond, your child's name represents: "Your relationship to your parents and family of origin, the importance of your religious, ethnic, and cultural affiliations, your views on gender identity, your desire to fit in or stand out, the power dynamics in your relationship, your preference for tradition or invention, history or the future and your feelings about your own name and ultimately, your personal identity."
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When deciding on a baby name, Redmond suggests several questions parents should ask themselves and their partners. As some questions will resonate more than others, Redmond says parents should feel free to set certain questions aside.
1. How close do you want to be with your parents and your extended family? Do you aspire to raise your family the way they did or do you want to do things differently? How often will you see your families, and what kind of relationship do you want them to have with your child? How much do you want to please them, and how will you manage it if you don't?
2. Even if you have no religious affiliation now, do you plan to raise your child in a religious institution? How important is your ethnic identity to you, and how quickly do you want to let people know about that? What other cultural associations – your educational background, where you grew up, your passion for travel – are important to you and your family?
3. Are you more comfortable blending in with the crowd or do you relish getting noticed? Do you want a family life that's ordinary or unique? Do you want your child to have a name familiar to most people or do you want your child's name to inspire attention and conversation?
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4. If you're shaping the identity of your new family with another person, how do you navigate decision-making? Does one of you get their way more often than the other? Is one (or both) of you a pleaser or a placater, and how do you feel about taking a back seat? Are you more comfortable with finding solutions that are a compromise, with taking turns making decisions, or with one of you usually taking the lead in certain areas?
5. What do you value more, things built on long tradition or things that break new ground? Are you more attracted to houses and décor, books and art, places and ideas rooted in the past or those that look to the future? Do you like being the first to try something new or would you rather rely on what you already know and love?
6. How do you feel about your own name? What do you like and dislike about it? Do you think it represents your personal identity and if so, how and how not? What about your middle name and surname? If you could change your name easily, would you, and if so, which new name sounds like the person you truly are?
According to Redmond, this exercise will "not only lead you to a better baby name but will help you understand the forces that shape your family identity."
"Clarifying what's behind your choice of a name can help you figure out who you are, who you want to be, and how you want your family to live into the future," she adds. "For you and your family's long-term happiness and satisfaction, there are no decisions more important than those."