If you’re in a multicultural relationship, then consider these 7 tips for naming a mixed race baby that will help you be prepared for the baby’s arrival. As a parent of a multiracial child, one often tends to worry about how others may butcher your child’s culturally rich name.
You can pick any name for your baby that sounds good to you; there aren’t any specific rubrics for picking a name. Nonetheless, consider the following tips to choose the best name that you and your child will cherish forever.
- Balance The Cultures
- Don’t Sweat Family Traditions
- Consider Possible Nicknames
- Maximize the Middle Name
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Ditch The Trends
- Prevent Identity Crises
This post is all about tips for naming a mixed baby
Balance the Cultures
Try to balance both cultures by opting for a name that fits well among the languages spoken in your family. For parents in a multiracial family, this is actually harder than it seems because all you’re focusing on doing is finding the sweetest, thoughtful and ideal name that both cultures would appreciate.
Not having the instant family approval can also be hurtful for first time parents when their culturally appropriate name suggestions are rebuffed. To avoid getting into arguments, try to have an open dialog with your spouse so that neither family feels like they’re having to forego their cultural identity.
Meanings of names in different languages is also something most parents tend to not think about. In some cases, names that are popular in one language may have an undesirable meaning in another language. For example, the name Kayla means ‘pure’ in the European form but means ‘a banana’ in Urdu.
Don’t Sweat Family Traditions
Do you have a family elder who is adamant that every first-born in the family needs to have a name starting with J? It is pretty common for mixed culture families to have a bigger influence in the choice of a child’s name. Moreover, family members from multiple generations may each have their own approach to naming a child – ranging from traditional to pop culture influences.
Rather than give in to family pressure, try to use that to your advantage. Use it as a middle name or use the common theme among all names to help find a suitable alternate that everyone will like.
Nevertheless, it is important to remind your family that the final decision lies between you and your spouse.
Consider Possible Nicknames
Kids are very imaginative and can be quite cruel sometimes. Just don’t try to make it too easy for them by naming your kid something that rhymes with a derogatory word. Names like Reid would end up leading to a nickname like ‘Reid-tard’ (like I said, very cruel).
In some cases, the nicknames are based on physical or regional characteristics as well. I had a classmate from China who earned the nickname ‘Bruce Lee’ only because everyone assumed, he knew karate.
There really isn’t any name that is immune from earning a cruel nickname. Hence, I really suggest picking a name that symbolizes what you want your child to become. Nicknames will come and go but your child and their name are not temporary.
Another thing to consider is how your biracial child’s name would look when initialized. I don’t think I need to elaborate when you notice your child’s name initials read as RIP. Those initials unfortunately never die.
Capitalize on Middle Names
Maximizing the middle name is a great way to ensure your multiracial child adapts well to their culture and in society. My son has a predominantly Asian name but his middle name is Christian. This was a conscious decision on our part because it gives him an option if he identifies with American culture more than our own interracial cultures.
We knew our son would relate to something based on his experiences, education and how he’s treated in society. Having an overtly cultural name just wasn’t the identity we wanted to give him.
The middle name is also a great way for you to incorporate family traditions or culture especially if the child’s first name isn’t well liked by some family elders. It gives them the choice to call the child by the middle name instead.
Practice Makes Perfect
Did you know that 1 in 3 parents tend to regret their child’s names? Just because you’ve decided on a culturally rich name, it doesn’t mean it is going to feel normal. Try to say it out aloud for a couple of days and see if it’s a name that best describes your future child.
Kids grow into their own identities and their names are just a portion of it. Parents tend to name a child based on the identity they want to create for their child. However, your child will grow into the name by way of their own personality and characteristics traits.
Ditch the Trends
Ever called a certain name out in a park and noticed at least three other kids respond to you? Trendy names tend to lose their popularity over time. Moreover, people will now start to make assumptions of your child based on the pop culture characters that have the same name.
Try to ditch the trends and instead focus on names that have some meaning and attachment to your culture or race. These names tend to have more significance in the long run.
Prevent Identity Crises
Try to allow your kids the space to present themselves as they see fit. Sometimes the name they’re given isn’t a complete representation of their evolving personalities. Family members may have strong opinions about the name or how it’s spelled but you know your child better. They will spend a majority of their growing years with you. Names can be changed; middle names can become the primary name and even nicknames can be what everyone calls them by.
Ultimately, your mixed baby’s name should never be restrictive of how they wish to identify themselves. Your child may have a different accent or culture than you. Don’t stress it out too much!