It’s fair to say you’re probably not going to love every name you come across, but a Gransnet survey, conducted in partnership with sister site Mumsnet, has revealed an astonishing one in five grandparent’s hates their grandchild’s name, with two per cent of grandparents even falling out with their family over the name choice.
The survey, which polled 2,000 grandparents and parents, found 15 per cent of grandparents disliked their grandchild’s name, while 4 per cent hated the name and still do. Almost 30 per cent said the reason for their hatred for the name was because it was ugly, 17 per cent said the name was too weird, 11 per cent thought it was old-fashioned and 11 per cent said it annoyed them because it was a family name related to the other grandparents.
Others said it reminded them of someone they don’t like (6 per cent), they disliked the spelling (6 per cent) and some were annoyed their kid’s didn’t use their name suggestions (6 per cent). The tops names hated by grandparents, according to the survey, included Aurora, Charlotte, Elijah, Finn, Jack, Lindsay, Noah, Sally and Tabitha.
Meanwhile, the survey also found after being told the name of their grandchild, 8 per cent claimed they loved the name, when, in fact, they didn’t at all, 9 per cent simply just said ‘what’ and 4 per cent were completely silent. In order to avoid using the name, 17 per cent said the avoid saying the child’s name when talking to other people about them, another 17 per cent admit to using the name reluctantly and 6 per cent said they avoid using the name completely.
And when it comes to the decision-making process, 69 per cent of grandparents think that it’s fine to give their opinion on their grandchild’s name, but that it’s not their place to give unsolicited suggestions. Meanwhile, 38 per cent of parents ay that it’s none of their business, while 31 per cent of grandparents agree.
But while grandmothers almost always have the best intentions, it seems that some just can’t help meddling where they’d be best to stay out of it. The topic of meddlesome grandmothers lit up the call lines at Triple M Brisbane last year when hosts Jane Kennedy and Mick Malloy were discussing an anonymous mother-in-law who crossed the line.
Kennedy opened up the subject with the horror story about a new grandma who snuck into the post-natal ward while her daughter-in-law was still recovering from her caesarean and held the baby before anyone else had a chance. Listeners were quick to call up with their own experiences with an overbearing mother-in-law or family member and some of their stories were truly gobsmacking.
One listener explained how his “stupid” brother-in-law came over and snapped photos of his newborn son, and “plastered” them all over social media before he could announce his son’s birth to family and friends. Another commentator said his mother gifted his newborn son a rocking horse that had been in the family for years, but his mother-in-law was jealous and took it upon herself to spruce it up, paining over the antique wood with bright, neon colours.
Perhaps worst of all though was a grandmother who didn’t like her grandchild’s name, so took them to her church and had them christened in her favourite name instead. “My grandmother apparently was a dragon and hated my mother,” the caller said. “She took my brother to the local priest and had him christened the name she wanted.”
Meanwhile, there have been plenty of stories in the past about mothers-in-law and their offspring’s partners fighting it out for love and attention, and the touchy subject was even immortalised on screen by Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in their 2005 film, Monster-in-law. More often than not though, the mother-in-law is painted as an overbearing figure who can’t help but meddle in their child’s life, even when they’re just trying help.