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When grandparents want to say when naming their grandchildren

But name clashes can backfire if new parents are angry enough to withdraw, Tanen said. Parents act as gatekeepers for their children, and as I learned from my conversations, they still feel beaten decades later.

Fortunately, as Ciolfi discovered, these conflicts tend to disappear after the grandchildren actually arrive. “Everyone has an opinion about the name as soon as you get pregnant,” Tanen observed. “Once you have a baby, it would be pretty ridiculous to hold it.”

Even Ellen Robin, a math teacher in Sebastopol, California, and her late father-in-law have overcome their hostility.

She still holds the file of the furious letter he sent after she and her husband decided somewhat impulsively to call their new son Ivan. “He completely upset the naming of our children after’the worst anti-Semitism in history’,” she recalls 36 years later, referring to the dreaded Russian emperor Ivan the Terrible. It was. “He said,’You cursed this baby.’ He became completely ferocious.” Her mother-in-law informally sent a list of names they thought would be acceptable.

“I’ve never been bullied that way,” said 69-year-old Robin. As a compromise, she and her husband changed the name of their son, Jesse Ivan. But they always called him Ivan, and to her surprise, her step-in-law did so soon. “It was as if nothing had happened a few months later,” she said. She and her three sons all had a warm relationship with her father-in-law.

Rachel Templeton’s two boys are also near their paternal grandfather.

But she noticed this. She and her husband initially nicknamed her eldest son, Zai, until he said he preferred his proper name. Then everyone knew him as Isaiah — except for his grandfather, who never used his grandson’s full name for nine years.

But he will do so now. It took a while, but he said, “I’m glad I called whatever I wanted to call.”

When grandparents want to say when naming their grandchildren

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