"You can't call him that! HE'LL GET BEATEN UP!"

Alright, so, I’ve heard this phrase a lot from people, and I’m sure other Nameberryites have, as well. It seems the whole world is convinced that little [name]Linus[/name] will spend his entire high school career hanging from a flagpole by his underwear, or at the very least he’ll get picked last for dodgeball.

I’m curious if these nay-sayers are being realistic or just living in the past, because I’m finishing up my last year of high school and I can tell you that no kid’s ever been ostracized for his name alone. I know popular and unpopular Codys and Ryans, more male than female Taylors (that are my age, anyway); and this is in [name]Texas[/name], mind you, not uptown New [name]York[/name].

So, moms and dads and siblingkin, have the little Henrys, Jaspers, Leopolds, and Olivers in your life ever been beaten up/teased on the playground because of their names? If it’s not too personal, could you give us an idea of your general location and what sort of names little kids have in that area? Again, I’m referring to modern-day kiddos, not folks my age and up because, well, the generation gap. ([name]Remember[/name]: what was bully-able in 1968 is not necessarily the same as what is bully-able now! And you just can’t get away with bullying like you could back then. Teachers and playground supervisors actually try to put a stop to it now!)

I’d like to know, because I’m beginning to think it’s all BS and [name]Walter[/name] isn’t any more doomed to a life of torment than [name]Tyler[/name].

Actually…it’s being scientifically proven that names affect a child’s self-esteem as well as social life in school.

It should always be remembered that this isn’t the parents name, it’s the child’s name. And he or she has to live with it.


I agree that a name can influence how a person feels about himself or herself, so maybe [name]Little[/name] [name]Linus[/name] would think, “Boy, I have a nerdy geezer name! [name]How[/name] am I ever going to make it in this world?” I really don’t know - I have no experience with such names!

I grew up with a [name]Henry[/name], which wasn’t that popular - he was the only one - and was much more “traditional” than others. [name]Henry[/name] was fine! He was popular, attractive, athletic, and intelligent! People loved him! He always went by [name]Henry[/name], too. Another “vintage” name in my high school was [name]Bart[/name], short for [name]Bartholomew[/name], I believe. [name]Bart[/name] was a cool kid - he was in a band, had long, tousled brown curls, and was very (very!) popular with the ladies. He had an older brother named [name]Spencer[/name], too. Now, I went to high school in the upper Midwest, at a small, Catholic, private school. There were tons of [name]Catherine[/name]'s (and its various spellings, mind you), plenty of [name]Will[/name]'s and [name]Bobby[/name]'s, [name]Michael[/name]'s and [name]Matt[/name]'s, [name]Anna[/name]'s and [name]Maggie[/name]'s, [name]Elizabeth[/name]'s and [name]Bess[/name]'s. Classics were in! But, then there was a boy named [name]Morgan[/name] - a tad bit of teasing, but nothing major - and girls named everything from [name]Kailey[/name] to [name]Presley[/name].

It’s all about confidence. If [name]Bart[/name] and [name]Henry[/name] weren’t the generally cool kids they were, with confidence, smarts, and talents, then maybe their names might have gotten them down.

[name]Lemon[/name] :slight_smile:

I think if a kid is super confident s/he can pull of any name. If not… you’re just adding to what the kid can be teased about.

I know a teenage guy named [name]Linus[/name]. He has never been beat up because of his name. He lives in L.A. and has middle-aged hipster parents.
I also know a twenty-year-old guy named [name]Sterling[/name]. He is a super genius, so he was always in special programs in school. He never was beat up either.
But when my husband was young, a guy could be beaten just because of his name. I think times have changed though. Of course some areas are less tolerant.

The only person I can remember getting teased about their name in school was this guy who had [name]Ashley[/name] as a middle name. He was fairly popular and well liked but he still got some teasing about the name. I knew a few other people with unusual names but I don’t remember them getting teased over it. I grew up in the [name]North[/name] Eastern US and was in highschool and middle school mostly in the 90s.

Thank you everyone for the input, especially those of you who shared real-world experiences. That’s what I was really looking for; a lot of people assume a child will get picked on because he has an unusual name, and while it’s always safer to err on the side of caution, how many people out there actually know a kid under ten years of age who gets picked on because their name is “weird”?

This is actually true, my littlest brother was in the 6th grade not that long ago (about 3 years ago) and there was a kid names [name]Courtney[/name] (a boy) who got made fun of all the time, the kids used to pick on him till he cried (i remember taking my brother lunch one day and a group of 3 boys making fun of a little boy crying) It was terribly sad. But i agree with the other posters that more then anything it will affect the childs self esteem, because when they are picked on (and i dont think picking happens in high school as much as younger 6th grade and down students, high school is drama and rumors) they have a bad outlook on their name, and it makes them feel bad and leads to low self esteem.

It’s hard to explain, because its not so much older kids that cause problems, as when your the biggest kid in the 5th grade kids make fun of you opening, while when you older they say it behind your back (not that either is better, but i think openly being taunted will bother children more).

So yes, i think names have alot to do with being picked on and your self esteem.

I know three Henrys, a [name]Jasper[/name], and two Olivers. Not a single one of them are teased at all (and I’m in high school). I also know a [name]Walter[/name], and as far as I know, he’s not teased about his name. I’m not sure about [name]Linus[/name] or [name]Leopold[/name], but since both seem to be making a slight comeback, I don’t think teasing will be a problem for them either.

I think it’s more to do with the personality of the child. A really confident and friendly [name]Walter[/name] can easily shake off any mild teasing, while one who’s a little more shy, even awkward, might have a difficult time.

[name]Henry[/name], [name]Jasper[/name], and [name]Oliver[/name] also happen to be three of my favorite names. :slight_smile:

I would also like to add that kids in the coming generations are probably far less likely to be teased as more of the typical names to be teased for are coming back and there are more and more of them. I think kids tease whatever is different until they start wanting to be differen (obviously not the case for all kids, but for a lot)

My understanding of these studies looking at the effect of names on self-esteem is less about names like [name]River[/name], [name]Walter[/name], or [name]Amelie[/name], and more about names like Mckenzye or D’lilah. There is a difference between unique and downright bizarre.

I have never experienced teasing or bullying based on names (personally or otherwise). Kids can find much better reasons to torture someone then a moniker. Although I must say that a few names have been ruined for me by a couple of particularly annoying classmates.

And frankly as the pool of names grows, so will the acceptability in classrooms.

I really believe that if you make your child feel comfortable and proud of their name, they should be able to stand up to any teasing.

I knew this guy named [name]Cort[/name], and I think his real name was [name]Courtney[/name]. He was very sure of himself. He would be in his mid-twenties now.

I knew this guy named [name]Cort[/name], and I think his real name was [name]Courtney[/name]. He was very sure of himself. He would be in his mid-twenties now.[/quote]

I knew a guy in school named [name]Courtney[/name] also, but he went by his middle name, [name]Sean[/name]. It’s hard to say whether it was because [name]Courtney[/name] got him beaten up or just the way his parents planned it anyway. I don’t know how I even knew his name was really [name]Courtney[/name], or how many others might have been aware of it at one time but forgot about it.

I grew up all over [name]America[/name], and though I saw children teased mercilessly, it was not over their name.

I was teased at school, why? Because little snotty-nosed ten year olds just could! There is/was nothing wrong with me, they just started in on me because they thought they had the right.

Now, having said that, you name a boy [name]Leslie[/name] or [name]Sue[/name] and they will be given greif, it’s man thing, however, little girls could be named [name]Nova[/name] [name]Annalisa[/name] and never hear a word (on their name), unless they become surrounded by pure evil, like I was.

Now, you may be asking yourself, who are you that you think your name had nothing to do with your being teased. Maybe your name was the cause of all that misery!
Well, I’ll tell you, I have what has been considered the most beautiful/sexy/intelligent and graceful name to many- [name]Gabrielle[/name], nn [name]Bella[/name]. That’s right, [name]Gabrielle[/name] and [name]Bella[/name]. Two extremely beloved names.

Children are mean, I was onced picked on for laughing at a joke I thought was funny, it was, everyone else laughed a beat later, but by then all hell had broken loose on my head, because someone decided to change the rules. My name, however, awesome.

It’s a cruel world, don’t name your son [name]Chandler[/name]; [name]Jasper[/name], however, should be fine!

I don’t really remember any kids getting teased or beaten up for their names, or just because of their names. If I think back to grade school, I think there were a lot of kids coming together who don’t really have a clear sense of whether some other kid has a weird or sissy kind of name and just accept each other, at least so far, so good. I knew a [name]Delmar[/name] in 1st grade, a [name]Woodrow[/name], a [name]Victor[/name]. I wouldn’t remember [name]Woody[/name] as especially confident, but [name]Delmar[/name] and [name]Victor[/name] were funny and got along with everyone. I know [name]Victor[/name] was named for his father also, and he got teased for other reasons later on. Nobody ever called him [name]Vicki[/name] or anything.

I kind of think, and I base this mostly on pop culture, admittedly, the “atomic-wedgie” category of names tends to be bestowed on characters with over-protective mothers, i.e., it’s not what you name him but why you want to give him that particular name. He’s not going to get beaten up for having the name, it’s a dynamic of how “precious” the name is to his mother, as opposed to something more strong or fitting-in, but a boy with a stronger or more fitting-in kind of name can certainly still be singled out depending on how worried he is and how close his mother, or sometimes, father, hovers. At least in the tv shows and movies where this is an issue, the wedgie magnets don’t always have doting mothers, but the ones who do usually have more distinct and flamboyant names. I think that’s where this all comes from.

I knew a guy in high school named Camillus, and maybe he got teased and maybe he didn’t. He identified with sort of a punk crowd, and he seemed like nothing was bothering him overly. I also knew two Rolands, one who was called [name]Max[/name], and the other who had more to worry about with his last name (male anatomy).

Targets of relentless teasing had names like [name]Tina[/name] (“Flasher”) and [name]Tracy[/name] (not a boy named [name]Tracy[/name] either), and [name]Steven[/name] (a spaz about grades), [name]Patrick[/name] (another spaz about his grades and how much he begged people to tell him how to be cool), [name]Christine[/name] (unhygienic), [name]Julie[/name] (always wore the same sweater), another [name]Julie[/name] (I guess just nerdy?, dowdy?, they could not keep those bathroom stalls clean about poor [name]Julie[/name]!), and [name]Don[/name] (gay). I was also threatened by a different [name]Christine[/name] (who I assume did bathe) every day of 11th grade, who threw pennies at me on the bus for some reason, and altogether felt unfitting-in, ignored, left out, taunted occasionally, for my whole academic career - I would say that was the hovering mother shining through. I can’t remember anyone getting teased or bullied who had their name to blame at all.

It’s not really their name that attracts the attention, but it might be what lack of confidence they project that makes them easy targets, names that make it somewhat easier to use as a weapon, and/or a parenting “style” and how that style is received and processed by the child - which may altogether influence what kind of name you want to give them in the first place, perhaps a more distinct or flamboyant name. I don’t think the naming style and the parenting style go hand in hand the way it’s usually illustrated on tv, but it can be a factor.

I always find it SHOCKING how a parent who wants to use [name]Isabella[/name] gets told that it’s a beautiful name, when there are [name]WAY[/name] [name]WAY[/name] MORE teasing opportunities with it ([name]Isa[/name] - bithc, [name]Isa[/name]-whore,[name]Isa[/name]-whore etc) than some less popular names like [name]Blair[/name] or [name]Linus[/name], yet the adults always go on about teasing. It’s riduculous

ANY name can cause teasing. Rather focus on raising a child who will grow up to not judge others by their name etc and be confident in who they are

My Mom knew a [name]GUY[/name] named [name]FAnny[/name] in school and he never got teased. A ‘fanny’ is another word for vagina in my country, on top of it. Yet, kids with super popular names have

To be perfectly honest, I think a last name is much more likely to be teasing material than a first. Some last names are hard to say or can be twisted to say funny things (My last name had the word far in it, and it took them about two minutes to add the “t”). Kids will tease anything they can get their hands on. I also think that with the growing population of Mckenzeighs or Addysyns or however they’re spelling it, a name like [name]Linus[/name] might be refreshing, and kids might actually envy someone with a real name and a real spelling that isn’t mispronounced or misspelled 99% of the time.

I agree that this is really more of a myth and prejudice than fact. Back when most boys were names [name]John[/name] or [name]William[/name], a different name stuck out like a sore thumb, but nowadays there are so many names being used that kids take them all in stride. I teach art in elementary schools, and I have come across some interesting names on boys: [name]Omar[/name], [name]Anastacio[/name], [name]Cyrus[/name], [name]Kai[/name], and Diantre, to name a few. None of these kids seem to have been made fun of for their names. [name]Omar[/name] was a difficult child who exasperated his peers, but no one make fun of his name. The only names I’ve ever seen made fun of were last names (there was a boy I went to school with who had the last name “Szcotak” - other boys called him “scrotum sac”. But he actually didn’t mind, and it was his friends who called him that!).

Also, kids make fun of anything, if they want to. We can’t possibly peer into the future and see what slang word will end up sounding like our child’s name, or that a name we thought was masculine will end up becoming more feminine (like [name]Kelly[/name] or [name]Lauren[/name] or [name]Lindsay[/name]). Obviously I don’t plan on naming my son “[name]Sue[/name]”, but I’m not going to conform just to avoid theoretical teasing that doesn’t really exist anymore.

Great topic! I agree with what some others have noted, that this is less of a problem than it used to be, and a bit overblown in the first place. I admit I’ve used this line before but unless you name your kid something really outlandish, the coast is mostly clear. I went to school with a fair amount of kids with outlandish names who still weren’t teased for them, and I graduated ten years ago (I’m from [name]CA[/name], btw).

I think it depends on the name. A boy named [name]Madison[/name] now a days would likely be teased at least once in his life for his name. However, a boy named [name]Oliver[/name], [name]Jasper[/name] or [name]Oscar[/name] is not likely to be teased as those names are on the rise. Also, being different and unique is what is in right now. Parents no longer want their childs name to blend into the background as they use to. The
“pool” of names has drastically increased in recent years so I think most children will be far more receptive to different names. For example my nephews name is [name]Jacob[/name] and you would think there would be at least one other [name]Jacob[/name] in his class, however he is the only one and always has been. Thirty years ago you know that there was more than one [name]Michael[/name] in a class. I agree with previous posts, if a child is confident they can pull off any name.