An important parenting responsibility is the naming of our child. In the case of multiples, the responsibility can be even greater. It is helpful for parents of multiples to remember that while their kiddies arrive more than one at a time, they remain individuals with distinct likes, dislikes, interests and abilities. They are not a package. However, when multiples are continually dressed alike and given rhyming, similar sounding names or names which begin with the same letter, the public perceives them as a package and the chances of confusing them is heightened. We all need to believe we are unique and parents can support their multiples in helping them to feel so.
There is another important reason for NOT naming your multiples alike. In some medical situations rhyming names or similar initials can result in healthcare professionals pulling the wrong file, and perhaps treating the wrong person. This scenario has happened more often that one would think and parents can easily ensure it does not happen with their offspring.
Before naming their children, parents need to consider that what they think is “cute”, interesting or reinforces the fact the kids are multiples, may back fire on the children as they struggle to maintain their identify in the real world. Parents will not always be there to identify, support or explain who is whom, e.g. the school yard, at summer camp, in the medical system. So avoiding rhyming or similar names gives each multiple in the set the best chance at being and staying individual and unique. Make life simple for your multiples. Recognize that your multiples are individuals and deserve distinctly different monikers. The list of names herein may be part of the current trend, but there are no favours done for the children when something as short as one letter can make the difference from picking the right medical file or not (e.g. Mandy and Andy, Taylor and Tylor), or not being ridiculed in the school yard. Think beyond the moment and remember that a name (usually) lasts a lifetime and as the parents, it is our responsibility to make sure that that our children not only have food, shelter, clothing, education but also names which will not potentially haunt them for the rest of their lives.
About the author:
Lynda P. Haddon is a multiple birth educator and an expert in Prenatal Education & Bereavement Support. She is the recipient of a Community Builder's Award from United Way for her work in the multiple-birth community and the Ottawa Coalition for the Prevention of Low Birth Weight, and two Awards from Multiple Births Canada for her work both Nationally and Internationally. You can visit her website at www.multiplebirthsfamilies.com.