One mum is regretting naming her child after her father-in-law. Do you have any advice to share in this week’s A Problem Shared?
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Hi FamilyPoint, I’m in a little bit of a pickle. Basically, I regret naming my little boy Guto. It’s my father-in-law’s name but it just doesn’t suit him. Also my family can’t pronounce it (I’m originally from Liverpool but moved to Wales to be with my husband).
Finally, I learned this week that his classmates call him Git, which upsets him. My husband doesn’t see it as an issue at all. I’m guessing it’s too late for a name change, so what can I do?
Our FamilyPoint advice
Hi, thanks for getting in touch with FamilyPoint. I’m sorry to hear you’re having regrets about the name you chose for your son. I imagine it’s disappointing to hear people pronouncing it wrongly, and that it must be particularly difficult for your son to be called ‘Git’ by his classmates. You also mentioned that you feel the name doesn’t suit him and that you’re thinking of changing it if it isn’t too late.
It isn’t too late to change your son’s name, and information on how to go about doing that is at the bottom of the page. You might also want to think about some of the following points and options:
How do you think your son would feel about changing his name?
Names form part of our identity and it is usually a personal choice to change it as opposed to someone else making that decision for them.
It could take a long time for everyone who knows him to adapt to a new name
And some may stick with the old name, which could be confusing. If your son does want to change his name, he is more likely to embrace the new one.
How will your families react?
Your husband says he has no issues with your son’s name, so how might he and both your families react to the idea of changing it?
You and your husband chose to call your son after his grandfather
This gives his name a sense of history and heritage.
Children often grow to love their name
Some children don’t like their name especially if they are unusual, but then often grow to love them and be proud of them.
What message does it send about bullying?
Might changing his name, in part because of the bullying, send him a message that he is somehow to blame for other people’s unkindness towards him and that he needs to change in some way in order for it to stop?
Here’s a few options on how to manage the difficulties you have around your son’s name:
Talk to your husband about your idea of a name change
And try to find out how your son would feel if you changed his name (if you and your husband agree it’s appropriate to have that chat with him)
Try some fun research
If your son has issues with his name (other than not liking his classmates saying it wrongly), you could do a fun activity with him around the history of the name and a search of people in the public arena also called Guto.
Make sure your family starts saying it correctly
Talk to your family about how important it is that they get your son’s name right and point out that you know they wouldn’t deliberately want to upset him by saying it wrongly. You could write down his name as it is pronounced (Git-oh).
Speak to the teacher
Arrange to meet with your son’s teacher, in the first instance, to ask what the school can do to discourage the other children from calling him ‘Git’. Persistent and unwelcome name-calling is bullying and all schools have a clear duty to address it. You will can read the school’s anti-bullying policy on their website, or ask the school office for a copy of it. You can request to meet the head teacher if the bullying continues and/or you feel the school doesn’t deal with it adequately.
However if you wish to change your child’s name…
The majority of websites out there mainly focus on the changing of surnames, but this Gingerbread page also mentions changing first names.
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
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