Choosing a baby name is tough.
You want something timeless that will suit your sprog from their baby days to old age, something unique enough that there aren’t five kids sharing their name in one class, but with enough universal appeal that they won’t be made fun of or have to deal with endlessly repeating how to spell it.
Would you take the risk of giving your baby a ‘Marmite’ baby name that provokes extreme reactions of love or hate?
According to a survey from ChannelMum, quite a few parents would, as the parenting website found that two thirds of parents have shortlisted a name that people either really love or really hate.
To be clear, these names aren’t objectively awful. That’s part of why they prove so controversial, with many parents reporting that in-laws, friends, and family members have strong negative reactions to the names chosen for babies.
ChannelMum’s research found that nearly half of parents have faced rude comments over their baby name choices, with mother-in-laws most likely to criticise.
Despite criticism, 94% of parents go on to use those ‘Marmite’ names they absolutely love.
Going for safe rather than taking a risk on a more controversial name is going out of fashion, apparently.
But which names are likely to cause battles?
The top ‘Marmite’ names, according to ChannelMum
For girls, Chloe is the most controversial choice thanks to its links to reality TV – think Chloe Simms and Chloe Meadows, while for boys Jaxon or Jaxxon is often mocked as ‘not spelled properly’.
Other girls’ names that provoke love or hate include Olive, Agnes (some people think it’s an ‘ugly’ name), and Scarlett, which some calling the name ‘strong and elegant’ while others say it’s ‘tacky and dated’.
Lola is a ‘Marmite’ name as it’s viewed either as ‘pretty and feminine’ or ‘a lap-dancer’s name’, alongside Stella which was seen as either ‘stylish and unusual’ or ‘trying too hard to be different’.
For boys, controversial names included those deemed ‘using a surname as a first name’, such as Harrison and Mackenzie, as well as ‘wacky’ Fox and Eden.
Felix is a divisive name as it reminds a lot of people of cat food.
Baby names expert SJ Strum said: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a name which delights one person won’t work for another.
‘The days of having a few safe – and dull – baby names to choose from are long gone. There are over 60,000 baby names in use in the UK and this number is ballooning year-on-year as parents seek unique monikers, so it’s likely even more names will be added to the Marmite list.
‘But the best name rule is if you love it, go for it, but do check that the child’s full name initials don’t spell something silly, and, of course make sure it won’t open up your child to ridicule.’
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