Baby name wars: one in five grandparents hates their grandchild’s name

baby lying on blanket

A new survey by Mumsnet and Gransnet reveals that a fifth of grandparents hate or have hated their grandchild’s name.

The survey of over 2,000 parents and grandparents examined how closely grandparents are involved in the baby naming decision.

  • Thirty-eight percent of parents say that, when it comes to choosing babies’ names, it’s none of the grandparents' business. Only thirty-one percent of grandparents agree.
  • Fifteen percent of parents say they have a parent or in-law who hates their baby’s name;
  • Six percent of parents have fallen out with their parents or in-laws about their choice of baby name. For 4% of them, the disagreement was so bad they have ended the relationship.

At the moment of the big reveal…

  • Eleven percent of parents thought their parents or in-laws were lying when they claimed to love the baby’s name.
  • Three percent say the grandparents’ first response to the name was laughter.
  • Ten percent say the grandparents simply said: “What?"

Names hated by grandparents

  • Aurora
  • Charlotte
  • Elijah
  • Finn
  • Jack
  • Lindsay
  • Noah
  • Sally
  • Tabitha

Top reasons for grandparents’ objections, according to parents:

  • The name was too odd (28%)
  • Annoyance that the grandparents’ suggested name hadn’t been used (20%)
  • The name was ‘made up’ or unconventional (15%)
  • The name was too old-fashioned (11%)
  • The name will embarrass the child (10%)
  • Annoyance that a family name hadn’t been used (10%)
  • The name reminds them of someone they dislike (10%)
  • The name is too plain or ugly (5%), too hard to pronounce (4%), or too difficult to spell (3%)

Grandmothers express the strongest views

Forty-four percent of parents said the complaints came from their own mother and 42% said they came from their mother-in-law. Only 14% said their dad objected and the figure was the same for objections from father-in-laws. In an attempt to get round using the hated name, parents say that 9% of grandparents avoid using the name at all, and a further 9% insist on calling the child by a shorter version of the name.

Mumsnet Founder Justine Roberts said: "Choosing a baby name is fraught enough for parents when you’re only taking into account your own views. If you add grandparents’ biases to the mix, it can become impossible, unless by some freakish chance you all agree that the baby has 'Cedric' written all over him.

“Parenthood is one long object lesson in not pleasing everyone. New parents should think of any naming tussles as preparation for coming battles over what constitutes an appropriate outdoor outfit, whether it’s alright to cut the cat’s hair, and whether two hours is enough time to revise for a GCSE.”

Read the full results here and see what Gransnet users had to say here.