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Why bother with a middle name?

(34 Posts)
notlettingthefearshow Sun 04-Sep-11 07:41:44

Can anyone explain the appeal of giving a child a middle name? I'm pregnant and pretty much decided the baby won't have a middle name, although still discussing with DH!

I can only think of one reason and that is to pass down a name which is meanginful to you in some way, e.g. family name.

I know quite a few people who have switched to using their middle name instead of their forename, which has ended up a bit confusing. I should explain that I am one of those people, although in my case my parents (and eventually everyone else) always called me by my middle name. It was consistently annoying until I actually changed my name by deed poll! Maybe my experience has made me a little paranoid.

Does it look odd if a child doesn't have a middle name? I've even seen some with 2 middle names lately, which to me smacks of indecision, but maybe that's just me.

broomformychin Sun 04-Sep-11 08:35:34

I think middle names are usually family names or names that mean something to the parents. My dd has 2 middle names, I chose one and so did dp. Mine was after my best friend and his was one of his favourite songs.

BeeMyBaby Sun 04-Sep-11 08:37:05

other benefits:
- are to make a name more 'individual' if you are naming your child after another family member, for example my brother was named after his father (as was tradition) and it was double barrelled to differentiate the two.
- my name is not a very traditional Christian name, so my middle name always made up for that
- an alternate in case the child ends up not liking their name

DH has always been called his middle name by people who know him, and his first name by those who don't, I don't find it confusing and he has no problem with it, so long as when his name is written it is done so always using both names.

bruffin Sun 04-Sep-11 08:54:03

I don't have a middle name and always felt a little left out at school when everyone else had middles names. It's very small irritant in the scheme of things, but it would have been nice to have had one.

My DH is the younger brother and was given the family middle name and I am sure BIL slightly resents it.
Both DCs have family middle names.

DigOfTheStump Sun 04-Sep-11 08:55:52

And it is not so much in decisive, cos there is no rule that you must picked just ONE name. If you like two, pick two.

I do know someone with 11 middles names (entire Rangers first team lol) and that is just a tad OTT.

midoriway Sun 04-Sep-11 09:21:56

I've always felt a tiny bit sorry for people who don't have a middle name, they seem to be lacking something. It is like because the name isn't on constant display, their parents couldn't see the point.

Your name is your name, the whole thing, not just the bits that people call you. Does that make sense? Probably not, but I guess the idea I am trying to get across is that names are about identity, not just labels for people to yell across the bar to get your attention.

notlettingthefearshow Sun 04-Sep-11 09:30:52

Yes, I think that's a good point about making the name more distinctive, especially since some of our favoured names are popular at the moment.

Having an alternative is also true - I know a couple of people who switched because they didn't like their first name. If you don't have a middle name I guess it would be very hard to pluck a name out of thin air - and at least it's still a name the parents have chosen.

I think I'm coming round to the idea!

bruffin Sun 04-Sep-11 09:36:00

"It is like because the name isn't on constant display, their parents couldn't see the point."

I know the reason my mum didn't give us middle names. It's because she had two and hated being saddled with such long names. One of her names is now DD's middle name and she loves it.

MissTriangle Sun 04-Sep-11 10:19:48

I don't have a middle name- it never bothered me at all. In fact I quite liked not having one as it was a bit unusual. But I had a fairly unusual surname.
My DH has met a few people with exactly the same first name and surname as him, so his middle name was important.
His and now my surname is fairly common so will be giving our DD a middle name. Can't for the life of us decide what though wink

ChippingIn Sun 04-Sep-11 10:24:19

I think it adds a bit of individuality to a name and a 'full name' does seem a little lacking without one - but it's not a big deal. Lots of people have more than one middle name for a variety of reasons - very rarely indecision! smile

CitizenOscar Sun 04-Sep-11 10:35:48

I don't have a middle name and I like it that way. When I went on school trips abroad I couldn't be teased for having an 'unusual' middle name (discovered by looking at each other's passports). In fact, everyone with middle names got teased whether unusual or not - nothing serious just something to do with middle names being a bit 'secret' and therefore something to be uncovered.

I like the simplicity of being who I appear to be, no hidden secrets.

My mum, brother and son also have no middle names.

motherinferior Sun 04-Sep-11 10:43:24

Sometimes it's about heritage. My partner and I are both mixed-race and were given one name from our Asian family, one name more European. Our children, similarly, have two names from different traditions.

Having said that, I loathed my middle name, didn't feel it was 'me' at all, and ditched it decades ago grin

pommedechocolat Sun 04-Sep-11 12:01:34

I didn't have a middle name, my brother had a family one.

I really hated not having a middle name and used to make up one and pretend it was my middle name when I was little. Lisa was a favourite I seem to remember.

DD has a middle name and so will dc2 (maybe even two if it's a boy!)

othersideofchannel Sun 04-Sep-11 12:08:48

I don't have a middle name and have never, ever missed not having one smile. I feel happy and confident with my first and last name!

We did give your children middle names (as dh wanted to), but to be honest they never, ever get used (only when filling out forms etc).

Overall, I don't really see a need for middle names.

NotJustKangaskhan Sun 04-Sep-11 12:28:25

Middle names come in handy when you come from a religious or cultural background that you want represented in your child's name, but are duly concerned that giving an obviously religious/cultural name would lead to discrimination against your child or cause a generational wedge. This also causes some people to have a legal name and their religious name and use them separately to avoid this issue. Also true if you like names or have family names that other people in your area find hard to say or your family threatens to turn a name into a horrible nickname if you put it first (My family does this shudders).

Two middle names comes in handy when you have parents from two very different cultures, or you want to include a religious/cultural name and a family name, but the two aren't the same (particularly true for converts). Also, some families and cultures have the tradition of two middle names as well as many have the tradition of including the mother's maiden name as a middle name in either the eldest's/eldest son's/all the children names so you have a middle name you pick and one passed down. Or you're an eccentric like J. R. R. Tolkien who gave his second middle name to all of his children (Reuel is a lovely name, but I'm not sure it suits a girl). Also, some people just prefer longer names either for their appearance or they feel more cathartic to shout grin. My grandmother used to add all sorts of middle names to her children when she was cross.

Againagainagain Sun 04-Sep-11 14:52:36

My boys middle names are after family members

mumofbumblebea Sun 04-Sep-11 16:40:49

my daughter just has one middle name. as we chose quite an old-fashioned name for her first name it gave us an opportunity to use a more popular name in the middle that she can use in case she doesn't appreciate our creativty!
to me just a first and last name doesn't sound complete, although more than one middle name is a bit much imo (no offence anyone!)

mumofbumblebea Sun 04-Sep-11 16:43:33

btw her middle name wasn't after a family member, in fact i found her first and middle name on a gravestone! blush (the person did live to 91 and died in the late 1800's so i actually consider that quite lucky)

Pinot Sun 04-Sep-11 16:47:57

All my sons have two middle names, coz we're posh innit.

Flowerista Sun 04-Sep-11 16:50:14

I don't have one, neither does my sister or my mum. Only prob was that we all have first names starting with the same letter so post can be tricky. My DS has my husbands middle name, which was also DHs fathers. Nice tradition.

OvO Sun 04-Sep-11 16:53:52

My boys have two middle names. I think I was overcompensating for not having one myself. grin I hated not having a middle name growing up.

naughtaless Sun 04-Sep-11 16:57:33

My children both have a middle name. In fact DS has two!
The reason DS has two - he wasn't supposed to make it, and I wasn't going to have regrets so I was going to call him whatever I wanted! He is now 12 smile

I have an unusual first and middle names, dp are about to get married. I could put bets that after we get married there will not be any one else in the world who have my name combination. (His surname is that unusual!)

ragged Sun 04-Sep-11 17:01:33

I have known people who seemed sad about having no middle name, as though they had concluded that their parents simply couldn't be asked. It becomes a comparison thing at school and if you're the kid who has nothing to share...
If you do not do it for one of your children I think that you must not do it for any of them.

DurhamDurham Sun 04-Sep-11 17:06:04

I am so pleased my two girls have middle names. It makes it so much easier for me to tell them off, they know they are in BIG trouble when I have to resort to calling them by their first and middle names, it means they have done something bad. When I have to say first, middle and surname, they can uaually expect to be grounded grin

startail Sun 04-Sep-11 17:07:17

Because everyone thinks your hiding an blush one!
my BF had a long first name and a long surname and her parents decide that was enough to learn. But everyone expected her to have a middle name and they took a lot of convincing she really didn't.
DHs second middle name is terribly old fashioned and he has been know to loose itgrin

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