Deciding on a child’s name
One way that parents express individuality is in the naming of their children. A French judge in the city of Valenciennes, however, recently ruled that a couple was prohibited from naming their child “Nutella” because “it is contrary to the child’s interest to have a name that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.” Nutella is a chocolate-hazelnut spread originally imported from Italy to the United States over twenty-five years ago. The judge ruled that the child’s name would instead be “Ella.”
France is not the only country to regulate baby names. Germany, Norway and Iceland also have prohibited certain names for children based on public policy. However, here in the United States, children with unusual and unique names abound. In fact, a contestant on the popular show The Bachelor has recently made headlines, and garnered attention from late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, for having a child named Kale. Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian recently named her third child, a boy, Reign Aston. According to Nameberry.com, only 122 children were given that name in 2013, 25 of them boys.
In Pennsylvania, the standard for judicial decisions on custody is a factor-based test of what is in the child’s best interest. Some people have argued that countries that regulate the naming of children are doing so in the child’s “best interest” because the children are protected from the effects of bullying that may result from having an unusual name. Other studies have shown that having non-traditional name has no effect on a child’s future. These studies indicate that “the restraint that kids with unusual names learn when they are teased leads to better impulse control in all areas of life.”
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