What Happens If... You Hate Your Child's Name?

Around 10-20% of parents experience baby name regret.
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We don’t talk about it much as parents, but baby name regret is definitely a thing – and while you might associate it with those early days, when it’s still possible to chop and change names, some parents even experience it as late in life as when their children go to school.

Journalist Michelle Martin is one of them. She wrote for HuffPost UK how she initially loved her son’s name, Tyrell – but when he started school, she “quickly grew to dislike it.”

Now her son is an adult, Martin said she’s “made peace” with the name she gave her son, as “unless he changes it by deed poll, it’s here to stay.”

It can be pretty taboo for parents to admit to not liking the name they chose for their child, despite it being relatively common. Around 10-20% of parents face baby name regret, according to Nameberry – and that includes celebs, too.

It was recently reported that Khloe Kardashian changed the surname of her baby boy Tatum – switching from Kardashian to Thompson, which is the surname of his father, Tristan Thompson.

Her half-sister Kylie Jenner also changed her baby’s first name – her second child with Travis Scott was originally named Wolf Webster, according to Vulture. However he’s now known as Aire.

It’s unsurprising that parents would want to change their baby’s name – after all, trends come and go, and so do our opinions on things. We also might realise that our child’s name, while cute as a baby, could encourage some serious teasing when they grow older.

Like Amy Schumer, who initially called her baby Gene Atell, after her friend Dave Attell. But she swiftly realised that the name – while a very sweet homage to a loved one – had the potential to seriously backfire.

On her podcast, she said they’d changed his name to Gene David Fischer as “we realised that we, by accident, named our son genital.” Oh.

There are a range of reasons why parents might want to change their baby’s name – from deciding they no longer like the name, to having named the child after something or someone they no longer want to be associated with, to cultural or religious reasons.

So what should you do if you have baby name regret?

Well, first of all it’s good to just see how things go – sometimes doubt can creep in after a baby is born, and that’s totally normal.

Baby naming experts at Nameberry suggest continuing to use the name for a few days or weeks – and if it still doesn’t feel right, then take action.

They also note that mood disorders like postpartum depression can contribute to feelings of regret, so it’s worth considering whether that’s something you’re impacted by. And, if it is, it’s important to seek help for your mental health – and over time, the baby name regret might just subside.

If all else fails and you still can’t get on with the name you’ve chosen, then it’s perfectly reasonable to change it. The sooner, the better though.

If you registered your child’s birth but want to change the first name, you can do so within a year of the registration – and this change can only be made once. To do this you’ll need to contact the local register office for the necessary forms.

After a year has passed, you can still change your child’s name but it will have to do be done by deed poll.

The consent of each person with parental responsibility is required in order to change the name of a child who’s under the age of 16, according to Child Law Advice. Kids aged 16-18 must apply for their own deed poll.

And remember, there’s no shame in changing your baby’s name. As Nameberry’s experts say: “Baby name regret is emotionally taxing. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that baby name remorse — and name changes — are completely normal.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the “late” Dave Attell.

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