Sound Off: Siblings With Matching Initials?
When you set out to choose a name for your first child, you're looking at a wide-open field. Anything is possible. With baby number two, the landscape changes. Your first child's name shapes the space around it, so even the alphabet looks different. You have to decide: should the names have the same initial? Does a son named Finn rule out a daughter named Fiona, or does the shared F make them an ideal match?
You probably have an opinion on whether to match initials. Most of us do, instinctively, but those opinions are divided. Does it come down to just personal style, without any right or wrong, or are there compelling arguments in one direction? I'm going to lay out some of the common lines of thinking on each side, and I'm curious to hear where you stand.
Arguments in favor of matching initials:
A sense of togetherness. Shared initials represent the unique bond of family. Think of it like a team uniform, helping to define the group and foster oneness. It also gives older kids an extra connection to bond with their new little siblings. (Anecdotally, I see a higher rate of matching kids' names when the parents' own names happen to share an initial. If Brian and Bridget have always loved the link between their names, they may look forward to welcoming a little Brenna and Brayden to their special club.)
Coordinating style. Why have a jumble of sounds when you can have a matched set? We say our kids' names thousands of times, and it's nothing but good to take aesthetic pleasure in the way they sound together. Starting all the names with the same letter -- our favorite letter -- makes the sibset whole even more than the sum of its parts.
A sense of fairness. Choosing names with a similar sound and style sends the signal that we're treating all of our kids equally, and don't want any of them to feel apart from the others. (I see this factor most often when a family's first two kids just happened to share an initial. Perhaps Isaac and Isabella were the only names mom and dad could agree on; now they're expecting baby #3, and feel that they should continue the theme so that they youngest won't feel left out. Believe it or not, that's how the Duggar family ended up with 21 kids with J names.)
A sense of individuality. Younger siblings, by definition, come later. They enter a family that has already defined itself, and they have to fit in. What message are you sending by treating their very names as accessories to your older child's first-choice name? Start from scratch and choose a name you love on its own, regardless of whether it makes a "matched set." Each child deserves that consideration.
Too much of a good thing is...too much. Kailyn? Fine. Kayden? No problem. Kailyn AND Kayden AND Kason? When you start down that path, its too easy to move beyond "coordinating" to cutesy and matchy-matchy, like an entire room decorated in the same fabric. Each name can end up diminished by sounding so much like the others. Besides, won't it create constant confusion?
This isn't about us. As parents, we think about our kids as a set. But they're not going to live their lives that way. In classes at school, in the workplace, wherever they go in life they're going to have to make their own individual impressions. Let's choose names as individuals, and leave our impulse to "coordinate" to home decorating projects.
What do you say, Baby Name Wizard community? To match or not to match...or to each his own?