What's in a name? Well, when it's yours, your father's, your cousin's, and half the family tree's — the answer is a lot of confusion. When one man refused to continue the family's repetitive naming tradition, he found out just how much it meant to his parents. On Reddit's 'Am I the A**hole,' he asks:
AITA for telling my parents that some traditions need to end and they do not need to tell my wife and I what they think of it because we don't care?
My family has a name that has traditionally been used for the first boy in each family for generations. I'm James Lawrence. Two of my cousins, my dad and three of his cousins, my grandfather, my great grandfather and his cousin, my great great grandfather and my great great great grandfather all had the same name.
One of my cousins is expecting his first son and has already announced he will be continuing the tradition. So in another month we will have 9 living members of the family named James Lawrence.
My wife and I are expecting a son. We already decided we would not be continuing the tradition. I never wanted to continue it. Having the same name as so many living family members has been the biggest pain in my a** AND I am the same age as one of my cousins and we grew up 5 minutes from each other and went to the same schools.
When I tell you it brought so many complications into my life, I am not exaggerating.
My parents were so excited when they heard we were having a boy and I told them immediately that we were not naming him James Lawrence.
I told them the tradition as far as my side of the family is concerned has ended and I will not encourage it to be continued by my children in the future, but of course it is up to them ultimately.
My parents did not like it and started asking what we did plan to name our son. We told them they would find out in time and he would be born before we announce his name.
Ever since they have attempted to tell my wife and I how hurt they are about our decision, and how they think it's a bad one. When they realized how little I cared they focused more on my pregnant wife and attempted with their thoughts on it to guilt her.
So I put my foot down recently and told them some traditions need to end and they do not need to tell us what they think of that because we do not care and we will not change our minds based on what they think or want.
My parents told me I was being callously dismissive seeing as they themselves love the tradition and always believed I would love it one day too.
I told them they believed that because they never listened to me. But they need to accept it. My parents stormed off and told me I need to grow up and realize I have a childish hatred for the tradition. AITA?
Here's how the naming comittee in the comments responded.
Definitely NTA No offense but your parents are pretty narcissistic and childish themselves. I would've freaked out on them by now.
Congrats on the baby. I hope they love their name!
I hope so too. But I also know how easy it can be for parents to think they know what their kid will like and be wrong. So I plan to be open minded and let my kid choose what suits him best when he can verbalize that.
I remember watching an episode of 8 Simple Rules. I can't exactly remember the details, but it went something like this:
When being taught to make a roast, the mother cut the end off it. The daughter asked why. The mother said that's how my mother taught me.
The daughter goes to her grandmother and asks the same question, and gets the same reply.
The daughter goes to her great grandmother and asks 'Why do you cut the end off the roast?' The great grandmother replies 'Because the pan wasn't big enough '
Not all traditions should be carried on. Tradition is just peer pressure on behalf of dead people. NTA
Not always dead people. The pressure is very much coming from the living here. However it is a lot of pressure with those expectations on a person.
NTA. I hope you don't mind me saying this, but that tradition is weird, and your parents are weird for liking it.
I don't mind. I hate the tradition. It's why you have a bunch of grown men with the same name in the same family and why there have been many incidents of us getting the wrong thing sent to us, or in the case of school, having the wrong report card sent home, etc.
NTA I could understand 'first son in every generation' (not obligatory, of course), but every firstborn son?
It's confusing and ridiculous, like in some comedy where members of one family are called James, Jimmy, James Senior, James Junior, James Junior the Third, Little James, Big James, Jamie, Holy James, Fat Jimmy, Jimmyjim, King James, Freckled Jimmy and so on...
Yep. Every first boy gets the name. And only I go by a nickname (Jamie). So it's just a lot of James, James, James, James.
Parents who hassle you over the (perfectly reasonable) choice you make about NAMING YOUR OWN KID... are signalling that they have zero intentions of staying in their lane as grandparents.
Parents who don't like what YOU told them...so they start chiselling on your pregnant wife... are signalling that they will look for and actively exploit weaknesses in your relationship.
Neither of those actions is a good look, OP. This needs to be nipped in the bud.
Your wife needs to tell them once, firmly, 'I'm not discussing this with you ever again, FIL and MIL'.
And YOU need to say 'If you don't lay off on my wife and me, you'll find out the baby's name when you meet him... at his high school graduation. I mean it -- find something else to do.'
NTA for protecting your wife and also your kid from a tradition that did you no favours
Good luck to the future not-James.