Choosing a name is one of a parent’s most significant decisions. A child’s name is an integral part of his identity, and parents must strike a balance between heritage, pronunciation, tempo, and spelling. Selecting a unique name for your little boy can be challenging, but by examining different factors, you can choose a name your son will be proud to have.
Choosing Unique Boy Names: Honoring Family
Many families traditionally name sons after fathers and grandfathers, passing down first or middle names as well as the family surname. While this honors family members, it is confusing when several people have the same name, and the child may have difficulty forging his own identity. To honor family while still choosing a unique name, consider looking deeper into the family tree and selecting a name that hasn’t been used in several generations, perhaps from an uncle or cousin.
Different cultural forms of the same name can add uniqueness while still providing a connection to other family members. For example, Ian is a Scottish form of John, and Ramon is a Spanish form of Raymond. Ethnic names also recognize a family’s heritage and history, such as choosing a unique Italian name to honor ancestors that emigrated from Italy. Even if the name has not been used, it provides an intimate and significant family connection that helps the child identify with his heritage.
Altering a name’s spelling can make it more creative while still sounding like traditional family names. Erik, for example, can also be spelled Erick, Erich, Eryck, or Errick, though each form is pronounced the same. Parents should be cautious with an unusual spelling, however, to be sure it is not too difficult for the child to remember or that it will not lead to constant mispronunciations by teachers and peers.
Another way to honor family members and still select a unique name is to combine different names into one. This not only creates an unusual name, but honors more than one family member. For example, Trashawn is a combination of Travis and Shawn, and Jadrien is a combination of Jay and Adrien. By combining names, parents are not limited by gender and can alter spellings to give pronunciation clues.
Choosing Unique Boy Names: Middle Names
While middle names are not mandatory, parents can select one to add further uniqueness to their child’s name. Many parents use common family names as middle names to honor ancestors while still giving the child a unique first name. This way, the namesake is less likely to be confused with the older relative. For more variety, parents can select more than one middle name, or use only an initial. Multiple middle names, however, may be an excessive burden throughout the child’s life while he is filling in forms and signing official paperwork.
Choosing Unique Boy Names: What To Avoid
There are many obstacles to overcome when choosing a name. Relatives, friends, and coworkers will offer a multitude of suggestions, and parents should pay close attention. Frequently suggested names are likely to be the most common and should be avoided if a unique name is desired. Many baby name books provide lists of the common names for different years or decades, and parents can use those lists to decide which names to avoid.
Unisex names such as Robin, Terry, or Chris are not only popular but since they are appropriate for either gender, they may cause confusion and even upset a boy who realizes he has the same name as a girl. Parents should also avoid naming their son after a celebrity or fictional character. Such trendy names are often very popular, but when the celebrity disappears or the character becomes a cliche, the child may not appreciate having an associated name.
Even when parents have decided on a unique name, there are other factors to consider. Alliteration and rhyming, such as Harold Hatfield or Jack Black, can lead to teasing. Very awkward spelling can create a number of problems, including constant mispronunciation or misspellings on school paperwork and other official documents. Parents should also consider what the child’s initials may spell: Daniel Owen Gadsden may sound like a great name, but other children are likely to notice the initials D-O-G, which could lead to jokes and teasing.
Choosing a unique baby name is a challenge all parents face. By delving into family history and culture, altering spelling, and making use of middle names, it is easy to select a unique and honorable name. Your son will appreciate the effort and grow to make his name one that brings love, pride, and happiness to his parents.