Survey: How big of an issue is name teasing?

One of the most frequent bits of advice I've heard regarding baby naming is, "You'll have to think of whether your child will be teased for that name." I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on how big an issue name teasing really is. Please answer these questions (or as many of them as you feel are relevant):

1. Were you teased about your name as a child? If so, what were you called? Did it make you dislike your name?

2. If you have school-aged children (or if you work with groups of kids) are your children ever teased for their names?

3. To what degree do parents need to take name-teasing into consideration when choosing names for their child? Do you think they should rule out only the most teasable names (like Dorcas or Dick) or do you think they should rule out ANY name for which they could think of a possible insult?

4. To what extent do you agree with these statements?

a. "No matter how hard you try to find an unteasable name, kids will still be able to come up with some way to make fun of it if they are determined."

b. "If your child isn't teased about his name, he will just be teased about something else."

5. Do you think uncommon names are more likely to lead to teasing because they draw more attention to themselves? (For example, would a Melisande be more likely than a Melanie to be called "Smelly Melly"? Or is a Leticia more likely to be called "Lettuce" than a Sofia is to be called "Sofa"?)

6. Do you think name teasing is becoming less common as our culture becomes more accepting of multicultural, invented, creative, or other unusual names?

Thank you!

24 Answers

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    1. My name is Olivia, and I was teased about my name only once, but I have to admit I had it coming at me; I wore a rather ugly green sweater on picture day in...wow, 7th grade maybe? So I was Olivia the olive for weeks. Haha. But I wasn't just randomly teased, it was common even then and I shared my name with 3 other girls in the grade. I'm gonna say no.

    2. I don't have any children, but I occasionally work with a group of 6th grade students and I can think of instances where this has happened. One girl named Anja (not actually Dutch. lol), which is pronounced AWN-yuh, constantly has her name mispronounced and it obviously bugs her to no end, so of course people pronounce it like it's spelled just for her reaction. There was a Simone who dyed her hair mahogany (just streaks)...and she will be Mohogany for the rest of her life. We also have a boy named Tiger and a boy named Sunny. Oh, and Takahana gets Taco a lot. *rolls eyes*

    3. Frankly, I don't think kids are actually teased about their names *that* much. It's almost an urban legend. I definitely think that Dorcas, Dick and other, similar names, should be avoided, but I don't think anybody should go out of their way to think of possible ways that every single name could be teased. (Oh no! Sofia could be Sofa! Scratch that!)

    4a. I agree with this one, *but* as I said before I actually don't think kids are teased about their names very often. Of course, a Dick will be teased, as will Dorky Dorcas, and maybe even Loopy Lucy. However, this will sound mean but it's the truth, if the child is popular per se, then the other kids won't go out of their way. They won't even think about it.

    4b. I wholeheartedly agree with this. I was popular growing up, kind of flighty, kind of ditsy, but sporty (I was on just about every sports team) and I had lots of friends, but their was the time in 7th grade (Olivia the Olive) and plenty of other little times to (the time when I ran into another girl on a rival gymnastics team, stood up, helped her up, apologized, and promptly tripped over her again). People make mistakes and they get teased for it. End of story. It doesn't matter who or what you are.

    5. I do believe that they will draw more attention, but for a different reason, there will be no Melisandes in a class. but 2 or 3 Melanies, and infinite Sofia's. You can't just call one Sofia "Sofa", unless she's large and resembles a sofa in some form (can't imagine how one would resemble a sofa). Also, the examples you used are rather juvenile, a first grade playground sort of thing (no offense to your students!!)

    6. Definitely. In the same 6th grade class, there's an Anja, a Takahana, a Simone, a Sebastian, a Claudia, a Shannon, an Adelina, a Mohammed, a Gino, a Sean, a Dante, a Safiya, and so on. None of these people (with the exception of Anja) has ever heard a word on their name. Some of them are more popular then others, but they span a range of origins. (There may be more worth noting, but none off the top of my head).

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1) Yes, but many people were teased like that where I went to Junior High. (I used to get Worst Date Kate all the time after an incident with a boy I was "seeing" lol)

    2) I used to work with school aged children, and had only ever come across teasing based on a name once. A little girl named Grace was in braces and her 11 y/o classmate couldn't help but taunt her about being Brace Face Grace!

    3) The obvious or most teasable names. My name was Caitlin (well technically Katelynne back then) and I got teased, there's just no avoiding it, its everywhere.

    4) A) I strongly agree, such is the case with everything. If you have blonde hair you're ditsy, if you have brunette hair its the color of mud and if you have red hair you're a "ginger" names are no different in society anymore. Teasing just happens.

    B) Strongly agree, like I said before, especially in today's society, teasing happens everywhere with regards to everything. Not that I'm advocating it in any way, but there's really no way to logically claim that its never going to occur.

    5) Well, that's a good point, I think when the possibilities are vast and obvious, teasing is going to occur no matter the naming style. I will say this though, more common names are less likely to be teased because they're generally seen as more acceptable. Even young kids will find a little girl named Persephone weird over Sophia when the ratio of children bearing the name is 1:6

    6) Honestly I don't see a change in the trend. If kids are cruel enough and have the right insentive to tease, its going to happen. I've given my son a name that's supposedly unisex so I'm prepared for him to get "that's a girl's name!" and I've also prepared for the long explanation that will follow. Perhaps that's the one place where teasing will have lessened, with girls having masculine names. Maybe by the time Kendall gets into school it will be normal for little girls to be named Dylan and they won't have to worry about getting, "that's a boy's name!"

  • 1 decade ago

    1. From what I can remember, no. I have a pretty common name(Kellie)- just a little different of a spelling,compared to the usual "Kelly." The only teasing I ever got(mostly just in grade school) was "Smelly Kellie!"

    As a young child, I never liked my name. But over the years.. it's really grown on me. It works well with my personality and now, at 25, I love it!

    2. My daughter isn't quite grade school aged, so I can't really answer the first part of the question. But, we do attend some play sessions, but never had a problem with her name. Hers isn't very "unique" just the common Lillian(or Lilly)- I have recently started teaching though, and I've seen a few uncommon names. One child,Carys, is often made fun of her name by her class mates. I'm not sure that it's that they don't like the name, it's just not something an 8-9 year old has heard much.

    3. I do think,to some extent, that parents should consider it. I would never go naming my child Dorcas, just because I grew up with someone with that name and she had a horrible time with it. I don't think she went a day without someone making a crude remark about it.

    4. For A- I think that if children really wanted to find a way to make fun of a child, they could. But not always about their name. Its a known fact that lots of children are teased about different things... so if may not be about their name, but some children will just be made fun of.

    5. In my opinion, It's quite equal. If a child does have an "uncommon" chances are he/she may be made fun of... but, I think it's just as likely for someone with a common name to be made fun of. I went through school with a friend named Mary- as common a name, kids often had something to comment on her name. I always grew up(like I said in the previous question) with a girl named Dorcas. She too, was made fun of a lot.

    6. I think it is becoming less common, but it ways more common. It seems these days, people are naming their children a lot more "unique" names, so it gives children a greater reason to pick on... but, as I said, lots of people are doing the more unique route, so people are used to it by now.. I think it's an either way situation.

    Great survey :)

  • Feisty
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    1. i was never teased. altho i got the occasional 'hannah bananna' thing but it was never nasty - it was just a family joke, affectionate thing. i think if my personality were different though, it may have been used as a nasty/ teasing thing. nut luckily i got on with everyone so yeh. and no it didnt make me dislike my name, however i did get a little bit annoyed if people kept going with it and it wasnt funny anymore.

    2. i know a few little children (dont have any and dont work with any) and their names are hoani, tui, moianna and korfai. they are the cutest little kids and are popular with everyone - including other kids. actually iv never heard of a kid being teased for their name

    3. personally, i feel that its not necisarily the name which attracts teasing, but the person themselves. generally, if they have a weird name, then they will be brought up kinda weird, which will lead to teasing. but if they are really social and make a lot of friends it doesnt matter what their name is. having said that, i would rule out any name that is simply disrespectful to the child i.e honkerdink, sausage, milky etc.

    4. a) i agree. as i said, if the child has something that stands out or their personality is anti- social or different and they have a perfectly nomal name, then the chances are theyll be teased regardless.

    b) yep agreed. not necisarily a definite statement, but its a possibility for sure.

    5. umm i think maybe a little bit. but in saying that, many 'uncommon' names are becoming more popular this day and age and i dont think it will really be a massive issue in school or amongst other kids.

    6. haha oops i kinda just answered this in the above answer. yes i do. our generation is definitely changing, and people who say children will be teased because of unusual names are most likely those who went to school during the 80's/ 90's when teasing and bullying was very prominent. however i do not think that its as big an issue today. children at school today are far beyond the days of name teasing - its more likely theyll be teased for not having a boyfriends or girlfriend at age 5 than their name. sad but true

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  • Kay.
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    1. I was never actually teased about my name. You would think that having a name that rhymes with belly (Kelly) and being chubby would practically scream for tourment but it never came aas an issue.

    2. I don't have children :)

    3. Every name can be teased. Whether it is trendy, classic/dated, nature, normal. Every name had something that is unappealing to others and thus there is the possibility for teasing. I think that only the extremely conspicuous ones should be ruled out. If there is a name like Aiden and you are affraid people will say he has AIDS just don't worry about it. If you like the name Ellery or Olivia and are afraid that people will call her Celery or Olive (though I really don't find that offensive either way) Then just use Celery or Olive as a cute little nickname (like when people call their kdis 'boo' and whatnot) that way they don't take offense to it as they are already called that from a positive source.

    4. I agree with both statements. Kids are both intentionally and unintentionally cruel. If they hear a name like Draco and just assume the kid is weird because he has an uncommon name then they aren't trying to be negative, they just don't know any better. But if they know the kid and really are determined they will come up with anything, even if it has nothing to do with the name. You name could be Jesse (boy) and a kid could say 'Jesse is a nickname for Jessica, you're a girl' or they could just say 'Jesse is a weird name, that means you're weird.' And I agree with the second statement I wasn't teased about my name but I was teased about my weight. Teasing is inevitable. At some point in your life you someone will find something, even if it is completely irrelevant to life and make it negative. You just have to teach your kids not to get hung up over that kind of stuff.

    5. I really don't think the style really matters in teasing. Unless you have one that is horribly old fashioned and frowned upon by most (Bertha, Agnes, etc.)

    6. I haven't really noticed a trend in that. But my guess is that it probably will happen.

  • 1 decade ago

    1. I was teased, my name is Stephanie and I was called Fanny (which in the uk doesn't mean butt by the way! Its crude. )

    2. Im a teen = no kids :)

    3. It should be taken into serious consideration, the kid will grow up hating their name (and their parents) if they get teased rotten because of their name.

    4. a. I partially agree, kids can make rhymes and stuff about any name but if a kids is determined to pick on another kid, they wont always go for their name. (glasses,fat,poor family ect.)

    b. Agree, in my home area that is the case anyway,most children get some form of teasing at some point.

    5. I think children are more fond of unusual names it makes them feel special and I think other kids would think something similar.

    6. It is becoming more popular as children are learning worse things at a younger age and hence have worse things to tease about.

  • 1 decade ago

    1. I was. It wasn't super terrible. Just stupid stuff like "Nose Picky Nikki" or "Icky Nikki" or other things that rhymed. Or if they found out that my middle name (Gayle) had the word Gay in it, they had fun with that. And my last name was often transformed into Roasting Burger. Which could've been worse :P

    It hasn't made me dislike my name - I love my name because it's unique - I haven't met many other Nikki's. And my middle name is spelt that way after my godmother.

    2. I work with school-aged kids a lot. They are teased to an extent but mostly it doesn't really bother the kids. Unless they are already sensitive about their names.

    3. I think names like Dorcas and Dick shouldn't be used for obvious reasons. Names that have suspicious initials (Faith Alexandra Thomas for example or Aiden Sebastian Sanders) shouldn't be used either. Other than that, only names that have really obvious and maybe rude or vulgar similarities (I met a woman who called her daughter Vegga Ina - which I think is terrible!)

    4. a) - Definitely agree to an extent, but some names make way for more easy teasing sources. I think that common names are less likely to be teased because more children are called this - so names like Emma or Charlotte aren't going to be teased as much as more "unique" names.

    b) - Not always true. Some kids just won't be teased. But if they are going to be teased, there will always be something to find. Kids are ruthless and ingenious in their teasing ways.

    5. I think that uncommon names are more likely to be teased. If more common, it's more likely that the teaser will know somebody else with that name - and so probably think twice before using it. Especially if the bully's own name is very similar. Eg. Emma or Emily are less likely to be teased than Regina or Gretchen.

    6. I think it's becoming less common as children are introduced to lots of different names. But it'll never completely disappear.

  • 1) Yeah I was teased for my name as a kid. My name is Ashley and I got Smashley, Ash Can, Ash Tray, pretty much anything you can think of that could work with that name, I was called. I didn't dislike it so much for the teasing, more for how common my name is.

    2) I don't have school aged children or work with them, but I'd imagine if I did, kids would find some way to tease them for their name.

    3) If a parent ruled out any name that could be the subject of teasing, their child would be nameless. Just avoid the obvious names, for example, I went to high school with a kid named Harry Toa (last name pronounced Toe) so his parents just set him up for teasing. Almost to the point of being cruel.

    4) I completely agree with both statements. Kids can be incredibly cruel to each other. They thrive off of teasing each other.

    5) Not necessarily. Uncommon names are actually very popular right now so they are what people are used to. I've actually heard more kids with common names being teased than the kids with uncommon names when all the kids get out of school in my neighbourhood.

    6) Kids will always be teased for their names. No matter what their name is. It's just one of those things kids do.

  • 1 decade ago

    1. Were you teased about your name as a child? If so, what were you called? Did it make you dislike your name?

    Yes I was, my mom named me Brandyn and I'm a girl, so I was called "boy" a lot, my mom kept my hair short because it is very curly, and my body didn't get curves until after I graduated and I was a tomboy, so I had a hard time fitting in with anyone. Yes I go by Brandy and everyone knows me as Brandy, hardly anyone knows my real name, I still have a hard time with it.

    2. If you have school-aged children (or if you work with groups of kids) are your children ever teased for their names?

    My best friend's daughter's name is Atterol which is her name (Loretta) spelled backwards, I'm not sure if she gets teased but everyone pronounces it wrong. It's Ah-tar-rol and she gets called Ad-der-ol, sounds like a medicine.

    3. To what degree do parents need to take name-teasing into consideration when choosing names for their child? Do you think they should rule out only the most teasable names (like Dorcas or Dick) or do you think they should rule out ANY name for which they could think of a possible insult?

    I think that it is important to give girls, girly names, and boy's masculine names, and that what is girly and masculine is up to the parents. Yes I do think that they should rule out the most teasable names like Dorcas & Dick or Bessie & Bertha, and they should look at how a name sounds and if it sounds like it will easily be used to be teased with then outrule it to.

    4. To what extent do you agree with these statements?

    a. "No matter how hard you try to find an unteasable name, kids will still be able to come up with some way to make fun of it if they are determined."

    Every child is going to go through a little teasing, so just think hard about it. Don't name your child Mike if your last name is Hunt, (Mike Hunt, think about it for a minute) and anything like that. Stick to classics, and use middle names for trendier names, that doesn't mean you have to use one of the top twenty names, just continue to look, I have been TTC for a year and I'm still looking at names.

    b. "If your child isn't teased about his name, he will just be teased about something else."

    Yes, but that doesn't mean give them a name that will make them an even easier target.

    5. Do you think uncommon names are more likely to lead to teasing because they draw more attention to themselves? (For example, would a Melisande be more likely than a Melanie to be called "Smelly Melly"? Or is a Leticia more likely to be called "Lettuce" than a Sofia is to be called "Sofa"?)

    Yes I do think that if you put an out there name on a child, it will draw attention because it is something that the child does not know, so they will make fun, because it is not "normal".

    6. Do you think name teasing is becoming less common as our culture becomes more accepting of multicultural, invented, creative, or other unusual names?

    No because everyone is looking for a unique name, then the classics will become less common and used and they will be the unique names. So instead of unique names being used for teasing, they will use names like Lillian to say that it sounds old, although Lillian has been in the top 100 for the majority of the last century.

  • 1. Not really, the most I've been called is 'Key' [My name is Kiara - Kee-air-ah]

    2. My children are Presley & Anton. Presley is 2, and Anton is 9 months. So we'll see once they started school. HOWEVER, some from y!a have already said Presley = Parsley. The most I've heard for Anton is "A ton" as in, ' A ton' of bread, etc.

    3. If you ruled out all names for any possible insult, you wouldn't be left with many to choose from! I agree with not using Dorcas or Dick, only because they have a more wide variety of teasing.

    4. I strongly agree with both of them. Children get teased, it happens. They will get teased, and they will tease. But I have never witnessed anybody really "care" too much about getting teased about their name.

    5. Disagree. I know many people with unique names that don't get called those sorts of names. The meanest Ive heard was "Sushi" which was what my bestfriend (Sasha) was called before. It hasn't affected her, and she says she LOVES her name.

    6. Yes

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