baby name choice causing family split

sis3September 22, 2012

What are your thoughts on a mother choosing for her new baby the abbreviated form of a name already given to her cousin's one year old younger son? Let's call them 'Brad' and 'Bradley'. She had no wish to copy but had other reasons for choosing the name Brad. Should she have sought her cousin's approval before naming her baby?

In this case her cousin, my stepson, is outraged and the issue is causing a big problem in our family. He sent her a very curt congratulatory email with a pointed reference to the name similarity. Her baby is only 2 days old and now, in the midst of her happy glow, she is hurt.

Unfortunately we are unwillingly caught in the middle and in trying to gently diffuse the situation have been angrily and unfairly accused by my stepson of inflaming it! I should add that he himself chose a name 6 years earlier, let's say 'Michael', that in it's abbreviated form, 'Mike', was already in use several times in our family. Ironically this included the firstborn of his other cousin who my stepson never consulted before naming his own son. The family, including Mike's mother have never taken issue with his choice.

I am not sure there is any way that this can be resolved other than by my stepson's temper cooling over time (knowing his nature I will not hold my breath) but he will almost certainly sever the relationship between himself and his cousin, which is especially sad as their two firstborn sons adore each other. I also fear he will punish us by restricting our relationship with our grandchildren 'Michael' and 'Bradley' who are very dear to us.

I would be grateful for your thoughts.

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I think the stepson is being ridiculous. Nobody owns a name, there are no first dibs. I don't have any advice. Some people can't be reasoned with.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:10PM
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It's no big deal.

In our family, every male on my husband's side has the same first name (happens to be the same name as my brother). EVERY MALE.

My husband and his brother both have the same first name. As did their father and grandfathers back at least 8 generations. DH and his brother both go by their middle names. Their sons also have the same first name (and last). Our son's son also has the same first name.

The name stuck because of historical significance. Amazingly there is very little confusion.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:10PM
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maddielee also reminds me of the Bob Newhart guys.

Daryl, Daryl and my other brother Daryl.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:15PM
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My thoughts? your stepson is out of line. Has anyone spoken to him and mentioned that he had done the same thing? It's sad if he severs the relationship but perhaps if that's the way he handles things it might be for the best.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:23PM
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This is so unfortunate. People do get possessive over names. But, in this particular case, your stepson has done the same thing, so who is he to throw stones?
I don't think the mother intentionally wanted to cause a problem. But I am also wondering why, with all the names out there, she did choose one of a recent baby and that of her first cousin? Is there more to this story? You say stepson, so this is a blended family. How has everyone gotten along up to this point?
I don't like that the stepson is calling all the shots. Where is his wife in all of this?
Whether the stepson is right or wrong, he has the right to how he feels. I don't condone how he is handling it with a hot temper no less, but he does have the right not to like another child in the family having the almost same name.
That said, can the mother of the baby apporoach him and explain why she picked the name and that if she knew this would be such an issue, she would have thought twice about choosing the name? Or, the mother's husband might be able to appraoch the stepson? Not sure who he would relate to best.
Are you the grandmother? I don't think it is your place to do anything, as uch as you would like to smooth thngs over.
And to the question of whether she should have asked permssion first, that is a tough one. We probably could hash that one out on another separate thread.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:25PM
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As jenangelcat said....noone owns a name.

This should be a time of joy and happiness for the new mother - any efforts should be made in restoring her pride in her new baby and name choice. The new parents are learning the hard way that their choice of parenting (beginning with naming rights) will never please every one - help them to move past this and enjoy their new role. If the stepson has a problem, then it's his problem. Some people just like to create problems instead of joy.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I think the new parents can name their baby whatever they want and no one else has a say in it. If they want to call him Mudd, so be it, even if that is the cousin's name.

My neighbor named her daughter Brooke, and her MIL had a hissy fit because another cousin already had Brooke as a middle name. My neighbor gave in and changed the baby's name to Gwyneth. (Gwyneth Paltrow was just a little kid at the time, so that wasn't where she got the name). No matter what her name, she grew into a lovely young woman, but to me she still looks more like a Brooke than a Gwyneth.

Does the stepson call his son Bradley all the time or do they shorten it to Brad? Actually, he should be honored that the cousin liked the name so well.

Sheesh -- families.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:06PM
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Having technical problems this morning with thread duplications being the unfortunate result! My apologies to all!

Oakleyok kindly posted this response on the duplicated thread.

"If the cousins are around each other often and live in the same town, then yes, she should have asked him if it was okay to name her baby "Brad." If not, then it's no big deal except at family get togethers. But I'd still be angry like your stepson.
Unless this is a family name passed down through generations.

I was in the same situation after I had my first born. We gave him a name that will always be classic, and it was a name hardly ever used. I didn't know a soul with that name.

After he was born, an acquaintance asked if she could name her son the same name. I politely told her I'd rather she didn't because we thought long and hard for our son to have his OWN name. I think she was offended, but I didn't really care.

Do you see your stepson more than the cousin? If so, I would tell him that down deep you agree with him but unfortunately it's too late to do anything. I do understand his anger though."

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:10PM
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I missed the part where he did it 6 years earlier. He needs to be reminded of that.

Another thing, he needs to know that it's way too late to be angry because the baby is here an already named.

Had she asked him before the birth, then he had every right to say "no." That's not "owning" a name.

Every mother I know thinks long and hard about names, and they simply don't copy names of friend's & family.

I just think it's rude to copy names of people we are close to. Part of the joy in childbirth IS naming our baby.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:13PM
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I think that there is more to this situation than meets the eye and I suspect that neither of the cousins are being truly honest as to a) why the new baby has a similar name and b) why the stepson is reacting the way he is.

My sister and my mom don't get along very well. When my sister's daughter was born, she named her after our mom (the new grandma) as a way of extending an olive branch and honouring our mom. My mother was livid because she didn't ask her if it was ok to use HER name for her daughter. My mom's name is very common.

My sister was so upset and fortunately the name could be shortened which is how she is now addressed. (but then our
mom got mad because the name was shortened - by this time the family was fed-up with all the drama). The rift between the two still exists.

But do you see how good intentions of honouring one person were misinterpreted as something else. I'm wondering if something like that is happening here.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Your stepson is immature. My sister and I both named our sons the same first name. They are 2 1/2 months apart. Unless you pick a name that is very unique in this world you are going to share your name with someone. Coincidentally I share my first name with one of my sister-in-laws. My sister also shares her first name with another of my sister-in-laws. There is also a woman in my town that shares my first and last name. He needs to get over it and focus on real problems rather than trying to cause one. Don't let his problem become your problem.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:38PM
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We have a large family with duplicated names. No big deal. We have a Cole and Colton. Sophie and Sophie. Callie and Califia.. . Only one person protested and she was newly pregnant when someone named their newborn the same name she wanted. Too bad. The kids are 7 months apart.

Names are not copyrighted and this will blow over.Congrats on the new baby!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:50PM
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I agree, no one has "dibs" on a name, and if someone in the family wants to use it, that is their choice. That is very odd he is causing problems when he did basically the same thing.

Heck, in many families it is customary to name the first born after the grandparents. I've known people who have 10 cousins named Mario because that was their granfather's name, so clearly in many families this is not a problem.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:10PM
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How common is the name? If it's totally unique, then yeah, I get it. But if it's a name that everyone will have heard before (like Brad), then sorry - it's fair game.

Asking if the other family minded would have been a nice gesture -- but unnecessary. SS doesn't 'own' the name.

And does SS have a 'right' to be mad? Well, everyone has a right to their feelings, but there was certainly no insult, and IMO, he's wrong to act out angrily on his feelings.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:22PM
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sis3 said:

"but he will almost certainly sever the relationship between himself and his cousin, which is especially sad as their two firstborn sons adore each other. I also fear he will punish us by restricting our relationship with our grandchildren 'Michael' and 'Bradley' who are very dear to us."

Sis, if he would sever the relationship over this, in all likelihood he would have severed the relationship in the future over something else. He sounds like a very difficult, controlling person.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:55PM
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I hope your stepson calms down. All you can tell him, is, "You are both very dear to me, and I am not taking sides between you."

My cousin, 11 years younger than me, is named after me, and I was so flattered. Our mothers have the same first name, same middle initial, same last name since they married brothers - was my uncle not to marry my aunt?

In the third generation, we have three versions of the name James, in three different languages.

Your stepson needs to MELLOW OUT. The firstborn sons love each other, and Bradley and Brad will have great fun with their names as they get older, if he just lets them.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 3:11PM
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#1 rule when naming your children TELL NO ONE until after the baby is here and has been named!! Once baby is here people do not comment on names the way they feel free to BEFORE the birth.
But other than that you get to name your child ANYTHING YOU WANT! Period, always and forever. What another may or may not do/feel about it is their issue. Never let it become yours!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Remember you are his STEP mother. The best thing is for you is to say nothing and stay out of it. Some blended families get along fine. In others the children always resent their "Step" parents opinion on things.

Each member of my immediate family and some of my extended family has a duplicate in the area. Is it a PIA? yes. My DS medical records and college registration has been confused and it has caused a lot of stress. We get the wrong phone calls all the time and this is not a small town. My MIL almost received the wrong presciption once.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 3:21PM
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My DD's name is Dayna. I have a cousin who had a baby girl two weeks after my DD was born and they named her Rayna. I was a little miffed at first, but then I got a little jealous cuz I thought Rayna was a cool name! 27 years later it doesn't matter...they BOTH have great names.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 3:43PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

My sister's middle name is the same as my cousin's first name. No one minded at all when my cousin was named several months after my sister was born. We have many children in the family who bear my grandfather's name also. For those not bearing II or III or IV after the name, his first name is used as either a first or middle name. I think it is a way of honoring what an amazing person he was. I am always surprised when people get upset that someone else is using the same name (or a version of it). I do remember one relative snidely remarking that a cousin added Granddad's name in hopes of having the child added to the will. Nasty. All the arguments or dislike of this seems a tad petty to me-just celebrate the baby!

Often, a name one thinks is unique will eventually be one that becomes popular. It goes in cycles. I hope your step-son learns to manage his anger in more productive ways.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 3:54PM
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My MIL still holds a grudge against me for not naming my son after his father, grandfather and, according to her, every first-born male in their family since the beginning of time. There were SO many reasons I chose not to do it. The first being my husband never liked being a "Junior" and didn't want his son to be one. We did use my husband's name as my son's middle name. And even though it was a decision we both made, and my husband made that clear to her, she still blames it all on me.

Fast forward 32 yrs. later. I have a good, respectful relationship with my in-laws. But whenever a new baby is born into the family and the subject of names comes up, she never misses an opportunity to throw in a dig.

It boils down to 2 things - Some people have inexplicable (to me) attachments to names and, some people have a need to control others.

This too shall pass. The less you make of it, the sooner it will blow over. If it doesn't, as others have noted, it's really not about a name.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Your step-son's idea that he should have control over someone else's name is beyond preposterous. I feel sorry for his wife and children as his need for control must overwhelm their lives.

I'm so sorry that you are caught in the middle of this and that it will probably affect your relationship with your grandchildren.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Don't be caught in the middle, step aside. Ignore the whole situation and let them act like adults. The stepson has to cool down and take responsibility for causing an upset. Anyone has the right to name their child but no one has the right to voice their opinions, their feelings are another thing, that's his business,but to say it aloud is just plain rude as it's causing tension. That's just plain mean too.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:59PM
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If the stepson is this angry over the name, and threatening to cut of relations with the cousin and his father and step-mother over a name, then I think there is something else going on, and the anger over the name is the tip of the iceberg. Especially since the stepson has used another "family" name himself, for one of his own kids.

No one owns or copyrights a name. You can be annoyed that a close relative chose the same name that you did, but you don't cut them off for that choice.

My family has 7 "Neds," all named after my grandfather. I have 3 cousins and an aunt who share my first name. My mom named one of my brothers after her father, "Ted," and we have two cousins named Ted, because they were named after their own father or grandfather.

At this point, if I were the OP, I'd adopt a neutral policy. If anyone brings the issue up, state that you are not getting involved and change the subject.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 5:15PM
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You guys are great! It is so helpful to read the views of people who are not intimately involved in this situation. Thank you all.
Just to clarify and to answer your questions -

I have not commented to either side about this and don't intend to. My stepson was over 20 years old when I married his father so I have never parented him. He does not resent me but has had a prickly almost disrespectful attitude (certainly undeserved in the case of his father) to both his natural parents, from at least his teenage years. He is now over 40. His wife, by her own admission, has an identical personality to his! Their 6 year old loves us both dearly but is especially attached to his granddad.

My stepson and his cousin live in different towns about 25 miles apart and through marriage now have different last names. We live thousands of miles away from them! Sadly my stepson shows little interest in his father's side of the family despite it being large, warm and loving, especially to children, and local to my stepson. We have been the bridge between my stepson's little family and his cousin's. When we visit them we always take our grandson to our niece's home to spend at least one day with her little boy. Recently our niece has begun visiting my stepson enabling their two boys to play together. Our niece has always been very close to us keeping in regular, affectionate contact.

When my husband emailed his son with the news and photos of the new baby the response contained only an expression of their anger over the baby's name. My husband replied gently with understanding but pointed out that my stepson had done the exact same thing to his other cousin. This brought a denial of it being the same thing and his assertion that his cousin should have asked them first about using the name. (I can't imagine them saying "Yes") He also asked if we had had prior knowledge of the naming. My husband replied that no-one had known, that he could understand his son's disappointment but to please lighten up and not allow what should be a happy, family celebration to be spoiled. The response is that my stepson does "not appreciate" my husband "telling" him to lighten up. He said that they had been prepared to get over it but now he is very angry and antagonized by his father who obviously has no understanding of their feelings!

Our grandson is officially "Bradley", sometimes "Brad" and sometimes another affectionate derivative of the name. Our niece chose the name mostly because she had had her heart set on a similar sounding name for a girl but on discovering that it was a boy changed it to the male version. Also her husband's uncle is named Brad. They decided not to call the baby Bradley to differentiate him from our grandson and the son of her friend. The actual name is a fairly common one though my stepson says that they spent 6 months searching for a name that was not in use in their circle. He does not allow the name of his first son to be shortened. As we expected that he would feel the same way about his younger son we always take care to call our grandson "Bradley" rather than Brad!

Maddielee, your story made me smile, as did all of you who have multiple people in their families who share names. Tolerance is such a wonderful thing! Sigh!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Haven't read all the responses, but I think it's really sad and in very poor taste for your stepson to behave like that, whether he's guilty of the same thing or not. AND by showing him in anyway that it bothers you he's upset will only feed it. Why he feels like it's okay to treat people like that is really telling about the kind of person he is, don't enable it. Choosing a name for your child is one of the joys of being a new parent and it's very telling that he could care less about ruining the experience for the other family. It's very selfish and self centered.

It sounds as if your stepson needs to grow up and get a life. If he's mad so be it, but instead of feeding into it, I would just let him go have his "tantrum" and instead focus ALL of my attention on that new bundle of joy. Honestly, under the circumstances, his absence wouldn't bother me a bit. I'm sorry you're going through this, but in the end, if he holds a grudge, it's his loss not the new parents' or yours. Let him go work it out on his own.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 8:20PM
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After reading your second post, I came away with a different picture. It sounds like your stepson has resentments/issues with his father (your husband) and is using this as an excuse to start a fight with him (negative attention is better than none). Also sounds like he might be jealous of the time you and his dad spend with your niece (his cousin).

Whatever the reasons, he sounds like an angry, miserable person. Hope he finds some help/answers. It's not your fault and I hope you will be able to continue the relationship with the grandkids. Having a stable, loving grandparent in their life can mean so much to a child with difficult parents.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 9:42PM
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I hope your stepson recalls he did the same thing. What goes around comes around.

I also hope he doesn't take it out on the kids but not allowing them to see you.

In regards to someone close naming their child the same or similar name... It shouldn't matter but I absolutely would be irritated. I also know nobody owns a name and I can only control myself and how I handle things. I would need to get over it and would like to think I wouldn't behave like that as life is too short.

I don't know how I feel about a family name. I personally wouldn't pick a name of someone in the family because it's their name; at least not as a first name.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:01AM
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Well, it seems that stepson is clearly in the wrong, but if the goal is to keep family relations running smoothly, you and DH need to extend the olive branch. It seems pretty obvious that the name is not the issue, but rather his feelings about his parents and their relationship to the niece.

I think your dh needs to make contact and instead of pointing out how ridiculous stepson is being (which I agree he is), he should empathize and validate his feelings. This can be done without agreeing with him. Something along the lines of:

"I can see that this has really upset you. You're hurt because you feel she didn't take your feelings into account and should have checked with you first. What do you think could happen now to make you feel better about the situation?"

And then really listen to him without judgement. I would bet that once he is allowed to express his feelings on the matter, his solution would be to just let things go back to normal.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:55AM
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Sometimes families can be so odd ...

When my Mom was pregnant with me everyone in the family knew what she'd name the baby - Catherine for a daughter and James for a son. It wasn't a proclamation, she merely answered when asked if she had selected names.

My aunt discovered she was pregnant around the same time and she already had a daughter named Kay - not a nickname for Catherine, just Kay. My Mom planned on using the full name Catherine and not shortening it to Kathy or Kate.

My aunt gave birth a week before my Mother and called her newborn daughter - Katherine, and shorted it to Kathy. My Mom wasn't angry but she was disappointed and since they lived in the same town she changed my name to Mary Catherine. My aunt never said anything about the name and she knew it was the one my Mom picked.

ah - the dynamics of families!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 8:25AM
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My mother wanted to name her first daughter after a specific realitve. Her sister already named her daughter after this relative, so my mother decided on a variation. Instead of Susan, she chose Suzanne.
However, she claimed the nurse wrote Susan on the birth certificate instead and she kept it! (Mmmmm..) Growing up and to this day, my cousin has the title "Cousin Susan" whenever we talk about her.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Oh boy.

After reading all the posts; I got to Daisychain's; by then my 2nd cup of coffee hit me; I have to say that she hit the nail on the head.

I assume since Michael has been used many times that it's a more common family name.

It sounds like you're closer to the cousin then your stepson. I can say that we have the same situation here; so I know where you're coming from. I had a younger sister who was like this too. When she had her son; she didn't want anything from mine; felt every kid should have their own stuff; no matter how small of an item it was. She sort of honored my father with using the American version of his name; as a middle name for her son. She did this because she didn't want them sharing the name lol

With Bradley & Brad; your stepson having a 1 year old child named Bradley; his cousin should have come to him. Let's face it; it's no secret there already was a child named Bradley. I don't doubt the cousin knows the dynamics of the family; they had to know that using any form of the name would piss the step son off. This is where Daisy hit it on the head; because his father siding with the cousin probably hurt even more.

No one owns names; but some people like to put a lot of thought into naming their own children; hoping no one they know will use it. I don't know how common of a name Bradley is these days; it was popular when I was young but even with the history where they had a girl name picked I'm surprised they even changed it to this boy name since its similar to your grandson. I personally would not have picked it since it's already being used.

Your SS's issue is with what his own father said & I don't know how it can be fixed if he's like the ones we know. We know that we should not give opinions in cases like this because no matter what we say; we're in the wrong & it can keep blowing up. You & your hub had nothing to do with what they named their child. Hopefully your hub can fix the relationship with his son. My hub washed his hands of his son; we didn't see our grand child anyway due to divorce. If you want to continue to see the grand kids; you're going to have to understand where your SS is coming from. Is this worth ruining what ever relationship you do have with him?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Shee, I'm glad you chimed in. Let me know if you agree since you're a new mother.

Looking back when my kids were babies, when someone asked what their name's were I would take sheer pride in telling them, because I was proud of the name we chose.

Do you feel the same way? Choosing a name is such a personal thing with parents to be.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:05AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I agree that naming your child is a very personal thing, but (and this is totally my opinion), what someone else names their child really doesn't take anything away from me or my child or affect me in any way. JMHO.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:38AM
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It is a personal thing. I have a friend who wanted to name her girl something that was not popular. She never had a girl; her cousin did & the cousin ended up using the name. My friend was livid. Everyone knew it was her girl name. I never considered the name because it does nothing for me but wouldn't use the name out of respect for her because I know how she felt. Only a few people knew she wanted this name; her cousin included. She was really hurt the cousin took her girl name. Back then; it was possible she may have another child but she never did.

The SS has a right to feel the way he does. I personally wouldn't make a big deal about it & I'm not sure how big of a deal SS is making it; it sounds more like he's ticked at his dad for his dad not understanding how he feels.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Names are a funny thing. I had an uncommon name for my generation. As a kid, i never really liked it because it was different. Most of my friends had names that they could shorten and I thought that was neat (Jennifer-Jen, Jenny, etc). My name (Maureen) still is not common but as I got older, I grew to like it. Until I went away to a Catholic college with a large irish student body, I'd only ever known one othe r Maureen. ironically, last year, there were two other moms in my daughter's class named Maureen and one of them has become a good friend.

When it came time to naming my own children, I wanted them to have names that weren't trendy. I preferred classic and traditional, and not names where they would be one of many at school. We chose family names for their middle names. I ended up with kids whose names are Marie, Dominic, Joseph (only one that is reasonably common but dh and I couldn't agree on other choices), and Patricia.

An acquaintance of mine who was pregnant with her 11th child (large Irish catholic family!) had her third girl and named her Marie. Her second child and oldest boy is in my daughter Marie's class and we met when they were in kindergarten 8 years ago. She told me that after meeting my daughter she fell in love with her name and waited until she finally had another daughter, six years later, to use it. Frankly, I was flattered in a way.

I'm sure as a new parent I'd be annoyed if someone close to me used the same name we had chosen for our kids, especially if they were not common names nor family names. However, it certainly isn't anything id ever hold a grudge against, and truthfully, you never know what will happen in the future. My mom named my brother Mark and didn't know a single Mark at the time. It later turned out to be a very common name formourmgeneration. His two best friends in elementary school were named Mark. And I ended up marrying a Mark! And to add even more coincidence, my husband's sister is Jeanine Marie. a few years ago, his brother married a woman named Jeanine Marie! They now live several blocks apart from each other and their kids will be attending the same school, so there will be two Jeanine Marie Last Name (dH's sister never married and has two kids with her last name).

I won't comment on the family situation because I'm sure there are other elements to the situation that add to the underlying problem. I just hope that you all can peacefully resolve it and move on.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:00AM
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natebear zone 10B

I agree with arcy. (In retrospect) I think the name should be announced only after the child is born. Though it is not uncommon for baby names to cause rifts in families, it is still ridiculous nonetheless.

As evidence, I've had 3 similar situations in my life. One being my announcement while pregnant with my first child that I would name a boy Nathan or a girl Michaela. I had a boy. Years later, my sister was having a girl and announced she would be naming it Michaela. My mom freaked and said she couldn't use the name because it was the name I had chosen for a girl. Nine years later, I had a Michaela, but I wouldn't have cared if my sister had chosen the same name. My daughter would have been named that regardless, as it was LITERALLY the only name my husband and I could agree on.

Another instance was when a relative of a family friend named her daughter the same as my sister's. Since they would often be at the same parties, the family friend actually convinced the mother to change it's pronunciation! (from Brianna to BriONna) Ridiculous in my opinion.

Yet another instance was when a friend emailed me a lengthy note explaining that she would be naming her son the same as mine and the reasons why. I thought it was hilarious.

Oh! I just remembered something. Have you ever ran into someone with the same amount of kids with the exact same names as yours? I have! :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Oakley - I mean, we really like his name but I never gave it much thought when actually saying it to people. The verbal mention of him did feel very surreal for a while.

Again, I would be initially upset if someone else in my circle used it when there are a bazillion other names out there. I just wouldn't even think to do that since it's not something I would appreciate. I do firmly believe it's something I would need to get over though.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:45PM
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I named my DD Aimee. Years later, my sister named her DD Jaime. It was my mother who pointed out the simarlaritiy. My sister and I were clueless.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Cyn, it takes away the individualism a little bit that we give our child at birth.

I honestly think if a mother has not been in this particular situation, it's hard to understand.

As I said earlier, my son's name wasn't common and we were very proud of the name we chose, still are. Had my friend named her son the same name, I'd be very upset. She had never heard the name before either and happened to like it.

I forgot this happened to me when I was pregnant with my second baby. My next door neighbor got pregnant 2 months after I did. One day we were talking and I told her I wanted the name to be "Anne" if it was a girl. She looked at me and said that was the name she was choosing!

I remember nixing Anne and coming up with another name, even though my baby was due first. Which turned out to be a boy. She had a girl, whose name is Anne. :)

And my precious DIL and DGD have Anne in their names, which is a family name on DIL's side. Oh, my DIL's mom is named Anne! So I got my Anne in triplicate. :)

I wanted to add, I don't see anything wrong with publicly naming your baby before it's born. My son named their kids while still in the womb. When we talked about the "baby" we'd call it by name. After they were born, their names fit them perfectly.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I just assumed that your SS was in his 20's. But he's in his 40's - honestly, he needs to grow up and become mature. Whatever resentments he is harbouring to different family members are, at this point in his life, his issues. Sorry but it's just my opinion.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:27PM
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4kids4us, I come from a larger Irish/Catholic family and all of the kids (5 girls) have Irish names. The oldest, is also a Maureen. I've always loved the name because it was different; it's also feminine but not sissyish (if you kwim) What I found to be interesting is that literally all the women I've known with that name have turned out to be strong, independent and smart. Also almost all of them were leaders in the working arena; traits my sister has as well. It's a really beautiful name and I'm glad you've come to like it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Oakley, I get what you are saying but what if two people have always liked the same name and are having babies at the same time? It doesn't seem fair that the person who is due first has dibs on that name.

When I was in college, a friend of mine was named Riley. I had never heard that name before and thought it was beautiful. She told me that one of her college professors named her baby after her and she thought that was sweet. I Kept it in the back of my mind over the years. Shortly before I got pregnant, I remember seeing a commercial on TV and one of the girls' names was Riley. Flash forward a few years, and that name has become somewhat popular in my area - we now know at least six kids in our area with that name, both boys and girls.

I never told anyone any of the names we were considering when I was pregnant. I didn't want to hear any negative comments from anyone. It was enough trying to agree with dh on names that I sure didn't need anyone uninvolved in the naming having some sort of influence (Oh, you can't name her X b/c I went to school with an X and she was a real b& tch.). By the time we got to our fourth child (we never found out the sex in advance for our kids), we had a terrible time coming up with something. She was born two weeks early and we had no name for her! For 20 minutes, we were going through the baby names book, and the whole time, I wanted to call home to let my mom know the baby had arrived, so she could let our kids know as it was past their bedtime and I knew they were waiting to find out. DH didn't want to call b/c she didn't have a name and I was like - seriously? Can we at least call and tell her we had a baby girl?! We finally settled on Patricia shortly thereafter - we call her Tricia. The name totally suits her. It's funny - with our four kids, the older two (Marie and Dominic) inherited my Italian genes with very dark skin, dark brown hair and brown eyes. Their names fit them perfectly. The younger two are totally Irish looking - blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin. I told dh it's a good thing our son Joseph didn't come first b/c he definitely does not look like a Dominic with his coloring! And with neither of us looking remotely Irish (dh is predominately Irish but doesn't look it at all and I'm half Irish/half Italian), we were amazed to have two blond haired, blue eyed, fair skinned kids!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Lukki, I'm strong and independent, and I suppose, smart LOL. However, I would never describe myself as a leader. Funny thing about my name is that my mom wanted to name me Monica but my father apparently didn't like that name. Three years later, my parents adopted my sister and my father, I guess forgot b/c her name is Monica! I'm happy with Maureen - my paternal grandmother was insulted that I wasn't named after her but I'm forever thankful my mother put her foot down on that one b/c her name was Augustine. I'm not sure I would ever have liked that name. My middle name is Clare - also a name I never liked and was not at all common when I was a kid (Clare is my mother's sister). Now that name is very popular! Dh's sister named her daughter Claire. I actually do like it now but dropped it when I got married and now use my maiden name as a middle name.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I also believe no one has a right to claim a name and agree w/those who keep the name private until it's said and done.

That said, on a different note, I really think you need to stay out of this completely. Make non committal comments, say nothing, be cheerful, it's not your place to solve the problem.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 8:10PM
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It's amazing how many times we humans let circumstances ruin the real point of families -the love that binds us. I have a cousin who was named Kellie in about 1962. That same year, her mom's brother and his wife decided to name their new baby daughter Kelly. And so here's the thing: These Kelly/Kellie women are almost fifty, and live thousands of miles apart, and it clearly doesn't matter that they share a name. But the very first thing most of us think of when either name comes up, is the terrible family drama and nastiness that surrounded their childhood.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Bestyears; very powerful post! Really gives everyone something to think about; how 50 years later it's what people think of when they think of these ladies.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:57AM
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I guess I shouldn't be shocked when I hear how petty some families can be, but--- I am. It's amazing to me that people who are old enough to be parents focus negatively on something like the name of someone else's child, as if it is any of their business whether the child of a relative or not. You'd think they would have more important things to think about.

In the specific case of the OP, the stepson sounds like a nitwit who likes to stir up trouble.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Why in the world would anyone object to a baby being called his given name while still in the womb?

I'll never forget calling my friends when my first grandchild was born and saying, "Henry's here!"

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:19PM
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At least they didn't copy the name for their new dog! ;-)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 2:42PM
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I have a sister-in-law who swears no good ever comes out of telling people your baby names ahead of time. The fact of the matter is, LOTS of people freely voice their opinions...without much thought. Take it from someone who named her boys Finn and Cullen. After hearing "Finn!!?? How...interesting" for the hundredth time, I started to think maybe SIL was onto something.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Sweeby, you make a great point. I can't tell you how many people I have met who have pets named 'Max'. In our case, we took a pet name and hung it on our son. LOL. Truth be told, I don't care what people think.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:45PM
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I was the youngest and very close to my Dad. I always planned on naming a son after him, but it was nothing I verbalized.

My sister, the oldest, was not close to my Dad and is quite open about what she saw as his shortcomings. (ever read about birth order and how different the same family can be when seen from different vantage points at different times? fascinating)

So of course, she has a son first, and names him after my Dad. I had a son ten years later. I would not have chosen the same name. But I did choose something that relates to my Dad.

That said, the family sphere is only one part of your life. Your name is important. A parent has the right to choose any name for whatever reason, imho.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:47PM
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I would not knowingly choose a name for one of my children if it had been used recently within my family or close friends. I agree that there are a bazillion names out there and I could find another that I liked.

I think your stepson had a right to be a little miffed. Especially since they had started to forge a relationship on their own and their kids are close in age etc. It seems the niece should have mentioned it before hand. Although, perhaps she didn't because she knew he would be upset and didn't want to change her choice! That name is different enough to warrant that the chooser wanted a unique name for their child and having a cousin the same age with the same name sortof ruins the uniqueness of it. I understand his being a little upset - perhaps not to the extend you have mentioned.

We are catholic and we named our boys after catholic saints, Michael, Matthew and John. So definitely not going for a unique name in our family - but there weren't any other children named these names in our family so we were safe! However, lots of Mike's, Matt's and John's in catholic school! My DH had lost track of his cousins on his Dad's side once they all grew up. My son Michael, now 22, friended a boy he found on facebook primarily because he thought it was cool that they had the identical first/last name. Turns out it's the son of DH's cousin! And they're the same age! At this point, I think it's kind of funny that we both liked the same name.

I'd stay out of it, he'll get over it. At least they won't be in the same school, in the same grade, growing up with the same first name!

I will mention that no matter what you insist your child be called, when they go to school their friends will come up with their own pet names. I hate the name Johnny. Of course, my son's friends call him Johnny - not all the time, but in an affectionate way, when they encourage him during sports etc. I still hate it, but what can you do. Not really a big deal.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:53PM
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There was a lady walking down my MIL's street with a newborn. Of course I had to peek. I asked her what his name was. She answered "Max." I shared that we have a son named Max too. She told me she liked that name because no one could do anything to it. There were no crazy nicknames, etc. I hated to burst her bubble but could not resist telling her what our son's friends called him. "Maxie Pad". Yes, he even answered.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:13PM
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Well we didn't have a Skype call from our grandson this weekend as we usually do (but not always as they are sometimes "out" or too busy) and my stepson did not return DH's phone call as he requested.
Not surprised, just disappointed.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:22PM
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Golddust - When they first came out with the ipad, I thought it was the absolute worst name I had ever heard of. You can see what a great tech pundit I am ...

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:59PM
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The concept of "owning" a name is so bizarre to me.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:02PM
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Well, I guess I really made my point. ;)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I was adopted as a month old baby and have often heard how the whole extended family gathered in celebration ahead to discuss what my name would be.
One grandmother was really pushing for Opal, Dad wanted Christina, and the other grandmother wanted Maria.
Thankfully, I was named Holly, a name I have always liked because it's common enough but not weird.

My husband has an unusual name and he is the staid accountant type, while I am the artistic one.
He has always hated his name and when he left home, abbreviated it to something common. It grieved his mother somewhat but she and the rest of the family still call him by the given name.
I have always found his given name interesting but he said if we have children, they will be either William, John or Mary!
Or something equally foolproof!
I had a friend who named her son William and I was dumbfounded, it seemed so uncreative. (not that it's not a perfectly respectable, historically noble name).

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:39PM
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I used to know a family named Coffey and they named their son Max. Good grief.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Late getting back here, but love your story about the names. Clearly, you were meant to be a Maureen and I love the name Claire as well. :c) I was never a fan of my name, (Patrice-Jo) because I loved the names my other sisters got however, I am the only namesake and know it's special because of that. Patrick was my Great Grandfathers name (in Ireland) and my father's name was Joseph. My daughter, the first grand baby in our family is named after my father too; her middle name is my maternal grandmothers first name (which I think meant a lot to both of my parents). I wasn't the least bit upset when my sister named the first boy born to our family after my father too because he never got the boy he dreamed of having and I know how much it would have tickled him.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 6:14PM
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I just wanted to thank you all for responding. Every single post has been valuable and reassuring, and some made me laugh out loud! The collective wisdom here is so impressive.

My stepson did finally call his father on Sunday. His tone was cool. He intends to say nothing to his cousin about her using the name but I privately wonder what harm it will have done to their relationship. We will see. We still have not seen our grandsons in over 2 weeks so we can only hope we will see them next weekend.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 10:48PM
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"I had a friend who named her son William and I was dumbfounded, it seemed so uncreative. (not that it's not a perfectly respectable, historically noble name)."

Just checked back to see how this thread resolved and saw the above..l. I had to laugh---- almost all the males in my family of origin have the name William and I married into a family with at least two in every generation. And of course we used the name for our first born, and were planning to use the female version if he'd been a girl, lol! Just goes to show how very different customs and traditions are in the world of baby-naming and how silly is to get upset over what anyone else does in this respect,

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Williams is my maiden name. I would have conseidered that as a first name for my son. I can always tell the ages of the parents by their name choices. Younger parents go for trendy, older parents seem to go for traditional names. Of course there are exceptions to every rule but for the most part, I can tell.

I love the name of Oakley's GS, Henry. It is not a name I would have chosen as a young Mom but now I love the name.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:47PM
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