Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I was right about all those Mormon Baby names

A new report says boys with odd-sounding names may be more prone to trouble than other boys. But some professional baby namers question how accurate this research is.
If you ask people who have lived in Utah a few years the strangest name they've ever heard, they'll list some unique-sounding ones.

Shaniqua. Sheray. Riannon. Latrina. I had to question that one. Author of the Web site The Utah Baby Namer, Cari Clark, said, "I swear to you. There are at least two of them."
But let's focus on boy names. New research from the University of Pittsburgh says boys with unpopular names are more likely to commit crimes than boys named Michael or David. If that's true, Utah has been raising criminals for generations now.

Clark said, "Unusual names are not unique to the Utah culture; it's just that I think they've been around in the Mormon culture longer because you see some unusual names even back in the 1800s."

Clark says parents named many of their children things like Tanner and Kimball in the early ‘80s after leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, she says giving a boy a Mormon name could backfire.

"When you give a child a name like ‘Nephi' for example, you are loading that kid with a huge amount of expectations that don't necessarily come with a name like David," Clark said.

So, if Nephi were to ever drink an alcoholic beverage, people would assume he's breaking the rules of his religion. Both Clark and Operator Laura Wattenberg agree with part of the research which says parents in poor neighborhoods use more non-traditional names, and people from low socioeconomic areas are more likely to commit crime. But, Wattenberg disagrees with the notion that kids with unpopular names are treated worse by peers than other kids.

She said, "Let's say there's a class with Jaydon and Braydon, those are common names, and then there's Graydon, which is an uncommon name. It's hard to believe Graydon is going to be ostracized for his name while Braydon in embraced."

Plus, kids with odd names were likely given those names for a reason.

"Every name sends certain signals, so it's true that naming a child Mike may send a signal that he's right in the mainstream of society, but if you named that kid Maverick instead, you probably raised him differently instead, too," she said.

Wattenberg says bizarre names are becoming the norm. She says parents used to name their kids so they would fit in, but now they name them to stand out.


Talina said...

So, I basically learned that my husband has low expectations of himself, based on his name, and that is name is apparently the epitome of common boy names (His full name is David Michael, the 2 names used as examples in this story).
But seriously, Maverick? It's growing on me. I think I could talk David into that one too.
So, Lena. Is it the same for girls, do you think? Do you think you and I have more criminal tendencies than, say, Michelle or Annie? Cause I'd have guessed that Annie is WAY more criminally inclined than I am ;) (Annie, I really hope you read this).

Ashley Poulsen said...

#1. are you prego?
#2. David is a biblical name... Why would someone be less scrutinize with that name?
Come on people.

Kathy said...

So, is Lena one of those strange names?

kiwibabee said...

I wonder what they would have said about my name

Steve and Annie said...

Oh, I'm definitely way more criminally inclined than Talina... but you also have to remember that my name isn't really Annie, it's Annicka,not exactly mainstream. I guess by marrying a Steve I sort of neutralized myself.
On another note... I wonder if the names I've picked out for my kids will affect the way they're viewed. I'm giving them all old-fashioned, somewhat old-person names.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to conform!! Lol!!! I love odd names. :)

Hilary said...

We kinda played both sides on our names, more unique given names, with more common names they use (Annalise, Annie and Elliana, Ellie.) Boy names I'm all about traditional. And Beans, if I have a nephew named Maverick I will be very nice to him, although will probably mock him (or more rightly his parents) behind his back. :-)

Star said...

I like unusual names. They are fun. I was going to say I like being the only Star but... I've never been the only Star. My name is becoming a bit too mainstream for my liking. I was once on an All Star Softball team that literally had three girls named Star on it!

TStevens said...

My Four boys - Gunnar, Qatar, Zeke, and JT.

I have a similar problem as the guy in comment #1 - the two names mentioned in the story.

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