Should there be laws against giving a child a truly stupid or offensive name?

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  1. ChristinS profile image39
    ChristinSposted 9 years ago

    Should there be laws against giving a child a truly stupid or offensive name?

    If you are about to name a child something that could damage them for life or create real problems for them - should that be outlawed? or should parents be able to get away with anything they want?  Where do we draw the line? or should we?  and when do truly stupid names become a form of abuse? Do some people not realize that babies aren't pets or objects, but human beings who have to grow up with these "clever" monikers? Unusual fine - stupid and asinine guaranteed to get you teased - not so much. what do you think?

  2. fpherj48 profile image60
    fpherj48posted 9 years ago

    Christin......I appreciate this question and agree that this is valid, given some of the names cropping up in recent times.   I've heard some that have made my skin crawl.  Each time I think, "That poor kid," and "What the He*l were his/her parents thinking?"
    You have a good point in terms of the possible damage/problems that a little person may have, going through life with an obscure, idiotic or often offensive name.
    Our name is pretty much the most integral part of our identity.  I shudder to think about MORE laws, since I've reached my saturation point with the gradual theft of our rights.
    However, all the legislation has it's genesis due to the Morons who decide to take things much too far, thumb their noses at the welfare of Society, or simply create their own world of anarchy.
    Just like childhood...."the bad kids ruin everything for the good kids!"
    Maybe we should focus on a "Let's Be Mature & Responsible" campaign?   
    Naming one's baby is a subject I've always been most interested in, simply because I'm so analytical.  I don't arbitrarily offer people advise on naming their baby, that's for sure, but with my own sons & DIL's, if they brought up the subject, I was happy to cooperate.
    I have these self-inflicted rules that the first & last name need to go really well together & the middle name should make it all flow.together.  I even think that syllables should be considered.....for instance if you give your child a 3-syllable first name,,,,the middle name should be one syllable.
    Now you're going to think I'm Kooky!  LOL   (I know I talk too much)....but just one more thing and then I'll sign off!.....If surnames are blatantly  O'Maley.....I would cringe at the sound of an obvious Italian name like "Gionvanni" as his first name.....Giovanni O'Maley?   Nah...I don't think so.   But that sure beats the heck out of, "Meet my son, Limberger Cheese Jones.".........LOL

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you - it's such a hard call, because some parents have no sense. Limberger Cheese Jones LOL - someone would actually do it. I have a family member who has come up with some whoppers.

  3. Victoria Anne profile image91
    Victoria Anneposted 9 years ago

    Some countries do have naming laws: … aming-laws

    Opinions differ on what is considered 'stupid and asinine' versus 'unusual' so it is hard to define a clear line of what should be illegal. Personally I don't think it is right to name a child something that could clearly make them a target for hate or persecution, for their own safety if nothing else.

    1. JayeWisdom profile image87
      JayeWisdomposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I followed the link and read the article, which really surprised me. However, I can see the reasoning behind those countries' decisions. I agree with you that any name that makes a child a target for hate or persecution should not be allowed.

    2. fpherj48 profile image60
      fpherj48posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      How interesting the link is.  Thank you, Victoria.  I actually lived in Germany and had no idea about the "name" laws.

    3. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      This is interesting to see how other countries deal with this.  I agree with you on protecting the safety of the child.

  4. JayeWisdom profile image87
    JayeWisdomposted 9 years ago

    Since I grew up with a boy-sounding name in a generation when it was as unusual as "...a boy named Sue....", I certainly understand the power of one's given name to help or hurt. That's why I wrote a hub about this topic.

    However, I don't think the state or federal governments have any right to interfere with the naming of children. If our lawmaking bodies can't even decide on what is actually obscene (and here I'm referring to the United States), how could they possibly formulate rules for naming babies? Who can define what is not acceptable for a name? The only exceptions I can think of are names (such as Hitler) that might actually bring harm to the child. Anyone who would give an innocent child the name of a barbarian obviously has mental health issues. I would think a concerned relative might call for a hearing of competency in such a case.

    I agree that some people (among them celebrities who want a bit more publicity, very young and/or immature parents--and those two aren't mutually exclusive, and the truly crass for whom there isn't much hope anyway) tack ridiculous names on their children these days. 

    However, odd names are not really new.  There's a whole generation of offspring named by hippie parents of the '60s who grew up being known by names reflecting nature (Rain, Moonbeam, etc.). One of those kids, River Phoenix, grew up to be a very talented actor, though he tragically died much too young from an overdose. He apparently liked his extraordinary moniker, though, since he used it for career purposes. In fact, I always thought it rather suited him.

    If a young person really hates his or her name and can't convince the parents to legally change it during childhood or those years when puberty makes anything out-of-the-ordinary almost unbearable, he or she can petition the court at the age of adulthood (18 in most states in the U.S., I think). Of course, a bright kid will either (1) make the best of a silly or obtuse name and act as though he or she thinks it's terrific (thereby taking all the fun out of teasing by peers) or (2) choose a likeable nickname and make sure it's used by everyone from a very early age.

    I wanted to change my name when I was a preteen and young teen, but by the time I was old enough to do it myself legally, I'd come to terms with it.

    I can't help but wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter, Apple, uses that ludicrous name now that she's nine years old or if she prefers one of her two middle names that honor her grandmothers (Blythe and Allison). 

    Parents should really give a lot of thought to the names they bestow on their children. No matter what a person is named at birth, however, there's no guarantee he or she will like it. Perhaps a new custom should be started: temporary names for babies, with them allowed to choose permanent ones later.

    1. fpherj48 profile image60
      fpherj48posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Jaye..U reminded me of a name I heard once (when you mentioned, Hippies.) A younger friend of mine spoke of her boyfriend, "Carm."  Soon found out his birth name was "Karma Genesis." born of bona-fide hippies living in a commune in the '60's.

    2. MizBejabbers profile image88
      MizBejabbersposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      i had a neighbor in Texas named Karma. She was too old to have been named by hippie parents, so I don't know where she got the name.

    3. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I tend to agree. It just pains me when kids are given truly stupid names - not unusual, but painfully stupid because the parents think it's clever. It's not and these kids will be teased mercilessly yet can't defend themselves or choose until 18.

  5. Faith Reaper profile image83
    Faith Reaperposted 9 years ago

    Hi Christin,

    Long ago, I worked at an insurance company and was in the underwriting examiners' department, where we reviewed policies of those we insured.  Well, I kid you not ... we had an insured whose last name was Pickle and, you guessed it (maybe not), whose first name was Dill!!!  Enough said ...

    Well, either his parents were impaired or after he grew up, he changed his name to such?  Surely not, unless he was mentally unstable!

    1. fpherj48 profile image60
      fpherj48posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Faith.....Ya think he called his wife, "Sweety"  and their child, "Bread & Butter?"   OK....that was lame.  I'm sour....I mean, SORRY!

    2. Faith Reaper profile image83
      Faith Reaperposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Lol ...good ones, Christin ... hee hee

    3. MizBejabbers profile image88
      MizBejabbersposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Ladies, I can't help but tell it. I have a neighbor, "Dick" Head, the Rev. Dick Head, to be sure. I assume his given name is Richard, but I don't know because he goes by Dick. He is the pastor of a church down the street from me.

    4. Faith Reaper profile image83
      Faith Reaperposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      @ fpherj ...I see now that it was YOUR clever response LOL, good one to you, Paula!  My cell phone does not show the pics. @MizBejabbers .. Now, that just is beyond bizzare LOL.  My goodness, real life IS stranger than fictions ... Thank you both!

    5. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      That's the kind of "cutesy" stuff that I think people don't see will cause their kids to be teased.  Makes you wonder about people's sense sometimes. We had a Richard Head who taught in my HS, seriously! It was brutal! but he went by "Dick" crazy.

    6. fpherj48 profile image60
      fpherj48posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Christin.....I think I knew your teacher's siblings...."Hammer" and "Hilton."......LMAO...Oh my...I crack myself up!

  6. MizBejabbers profile image88
    MizBejabbersposted 9 years ago

    The first thing that your question brought to mind was Moon Unit and Dweezel Zappa, musician and former doper Frank Zappa’s children. Later in life Zappa said that after he sobered up, he regretted burdening his children with those names.
    I believe that unless the name is obscene, it would be a violation of free speech rights to interfere with a parent in the naming of the child. I recall a story that a nurse told about a delivery room incident. When the mother woke up from the anesthesia (they used to always put us out during the birth of our children) and someone in attendance was filling out the birth certificate for her newborn little girl, she insisted on naming her Vagina. The nurse said apparently the woman heard the word during her mental fog and didn’t know what it meant, but she liked the word. Nevertheless, they did talk her out of it. Now that name might have violated the local standards of decency.
    One should be careful about saddling a child with a ridiculous name and also be careful about the initials. A childhood friend’s mother told me that they were naming my friend Adriene, but then they realized that her initials would be A.S.S. so they changed her first name to Carol.
    I agree with Paula that given names should be compatible with last names. Also the trend to put apostrophes in names without rhyme or reason is totally not cool. An apostrophe correctly used replaces a letter or two left out, but I have seen some girls names with more than one apostrophe in the same word, neither of which are in the right place (if there was a place to put one in anyway).  I would advise against naming a child a nickname that will sound childish when the kid grows up. If you want to call the boy “Billy”, at least name him William to put on his social security card. My brother’s name is actually two nicknames, and I fussed at mother for not giving him a real name. She said that she did regret it. My first boyfriend’s given name was “Buddy” (honest).
    But who is to say how the child will react. My children’s father named our second born an unusual name that I hated, but he always loved his name because it was short and simple and nobody had one even similar. He still likes his name, and I’ve gotten used to it.

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I tend to agree, and unusual names can be amazing. But what about people that want to name offensive names or names that can get the kids targeted? It's such a tough thing, Initials too! I know a PMS for example lol.

  7. Kate Mc Bride profile image74
    Kate Mc Brideposted 9 years ago

    The simple answer is yes. Every child has the right to start out in life with a decent name and people who cannot deal with that fact shouldn't have children in the first place-they don't deserve them.

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, or at least make it to where minors can petition the court for a free name change or something if they truly can prove their name is creating a hardship.

  8. profile image0
    mbuggiehposted 9 years ago


    Probably not, but kids with stupid/offensive names should be granted name changes fee-free..wink

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Absolutely agree on the free name changes if you petition the court because you're name is so stupid you can't live with it. Or fine the parents and make them pay ha! lol.

  9. jlpark profile image78
    jlparkposted 9 years ago

    I'm from New Zealand, and we have laws around names for babies - but a few odd ones get through.

    The laws are about preventing names that will cause offense to others, or the child as it grows up.

    A few awful ones have gotten through though (as per the article listed by someone else) - Benson and Hedges (for a set of twins) (this is a cigarette brand), Number 16 Bus Shelter (apparently where she was conceived...), and Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii - this one was changed at the request of the child.

    But most names are okay....we  just had to think of things that went with our last name, cause that would have been awkward too!

    1. MizBejabbers profile image88
      MizBejabbersposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I don't care for Talula either, but Tallulah Bankhead was a famous American actress of the 1920-1940s in films, Broadway and on the London stage. Maybe that's where they got the name.

    2. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Bus Shelter - why on earth would someone think that's clever. This is the kind of stuff I was referring to. Kids have no say in it and that's what makes it such a tough thing. don't want to give up freedoms, but still need to speak for the innocents.

  10. Borsia profile image40
    Borsiaposted 9 years ago

    As much as it pains me to hear some of the names that pop up over the years, many by celebrities, I have to say no to any laws banning them.
    Mostly simply because I don't trust government to do anything right, so far I haven't been let down very often in their ability to screw things up.
    Who would make the decision? What is their agenda?

    Yes; I laughed when Grace Slick named her child God, she changed it. And I feel for children named after their parents favorite Nazi leaders. Of course there are lots of names that are just stupid given by parents trying to be "cute" that are just a plea for attention, often by celebrities, by the parents.

    But my distrust of government overrides any desire to bring intelligence or common sense to parents. Children can change their names if they so desire, my mother did simply because her given name was "ugly".

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I hear what you're saying about laws, makes me cringe too, but innocents without choices suffering makes me cringe equally.  It is truly a perplexing situation.

  11. old albion profile image62
    old albionposted 9 years ago

    Although not her parents fault, I knew a young lady many years ago who married a man called Peter Nutt. Her name was Hazel she became Hazel Nutt. As a couple they became P. Nutt and Hazel Nutt.

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      In a way, that's kind of cute smile They were adults and those names are fun, not something that would be demeaning. Hazel and Peter are both fine names smile fun story smile

  12. Penny G profile image59
    Penny Gposted 9 years ago

    I don't think it would ever be made against the law but it would be nice upon reaching legal age the child could decide if they will keep there given name or pick another.

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Totally, unfortunately some names are so bad I think minors should be able to petition the courts for name changes. Of course by then the damage is done.  Kind of sad really that some parents don't think of the child.


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