Letting siblings name each other

I was wondering if anyone had any interesting stories about an older sibling helping to name a younger child. I've heard of kids picking their younger sibling's name only to wind up with something like Charlie Brown. Kids in my family have tried to help, but been disregarded (for good reason). My sister was born just before I turned four, and I wanted desperately to name her Cinderella. The first part of our surname sounds like Helen, so I wanted to call her Cinderellen-(rest of surname). On the other hand, a friend of mine was 2 when her sister was born, and she chose the name Audrey.


July 5, 2015 5:49 PM

A childhood playmate of mine was named Linda by her big(ger) brother.  Her parents put Linda in the middle slot, but that was her call name and still is, 70 years later.  Her first name is Hann@h, which I presume was after a deceased family member.

July 5, 2015 10:39 PM

A friend of mine insisted that her baby sister's name was Bridget, not Gretchen, and after nine months her parents agreed and changed the name! My friend was all of 2-1/2 at the time.

July 6, 2015 9:54 AM

That's hilarious! Bridget is a prettier name anyway :)

July 6, 2015 12:16 AM

When I was two my sister was born- My parents (apparently) gave me the final choice between Lauren(1) and Holly(2). My favourite number at the time was apprently 2, so Holly it was. For years she was annoyed at me for choosing Holly over Lauren, (how could I have known) but she soon came around after she realised how many Lauren's there were in her year at school.

July 6, 2015 12:23 PM

I'm the eldest of a large family, and my parents always let us know about their naming discussions -- but never gave us a vote.  I remember some of the names under consideration for my younger siblings, including Oona and Edmund...

July 6, 2015 1:02 PM

If my oldest brother had been a girl, my parents were going to use a name I suggested (then age 2). Apparently they were discussing names in front of me, and I said I thought those were all stupid names, and they should use something pretty, like Mia. (Apparently I've been a name enthusiast for a long time...hopefully less judgey now!) They liked it, and that would have been her name. I'm pretty sure I basically made it up, but Mia Farrow was popular at the time, so it's possible I'd heard it around. For years, as brother after brother was born (I have three), I had an "imaginary" sister named Mia :-).

My youngest's second middle name is Luca, suggested by my daughter (then 3) but also in honor of my brother Lucas, who was serving in Iraq at the time. Again, I think she made this one up, maybe based on the similarity to her uncle's name--though she didn't really know him at the time. She REALLY wanted us to have a girl and name her Dietta (pronounced Dee-Etta). If he'd been a girl I think she would have had to be disappointed. She has a doll by that name, instead.

Other names mooted by the twins for their brother: Shelgack and Chicken-Doggy.

July 6, 2015 1:31 PM

When my aunt was pregnant with her first son, my brother (then age three) suggested the name Mommy for a girl and Daddy for a boy. He was very disappointed when they chose Henry Alexander instead.

July 9, 2015 8:02 AM

Wow, I can't believe I forgot that I named my youngest brother! I also have three younger brothers, and the youngest was born when I was fourteen. My parents were convinced he was going to be Diana, Catherine, or Veronica (I think they had chosen Catherine Diana with Veronica as a distant possibility). As they left to go to the hospital, I said, "What if you have a boy?" They looked at my blankly. I said, "What about Matthew?" The birth turned out to be life-threatening for my mom, so they named him Matthew without thinking much about it. He received his middle name later after my mom had recovered enough to have her wits about her.

I'm ashamed of myself--I even commented on this post earlier and totally spaced that I myself named my brother. Sheesh.

July 9, 2015 12:00 PM

That's too funny! Clearly the NE impulse starts early in many of us :-).

July 9, 2015 12:42 PM

Indeed! Come to think of it, I'm not sure my brother knows that I was the one who chose his name. For a LONG time my mom didn't want anyone to tell him about his birth because she came very close to dying and she didn't want him to have any weird feelings about that. Eventually it came up in conversation one day about ten years ago with my aunt, and my brother was very perplexed that no one had told him. I didn't mention the fact about his naming in that conversation and have never thought to bring it up. 

July 9, 2015 1:06 PM

Better make sure he likes his name before you mention it!

July 9, 2015 4:26 PM

Hee hee, I was thinking the same thing.

July 15, 2015 10:48 AM

LOL, I just remembered that my dad was also named by his sisters! He's the youngest of eight, so by the time he came along most of his five sisters were grown (youngest was 15, I think; oldest, 21 or 22). They all had Japanese names, and then were given "American" names by teachers. Some of those make sense (Emiko=Amy) and others not so much, and/or weren't very pretty (Rhea, Myrtle). They wanted to avoid the hassle for him, and start out with a school-friendly name.

They picked Herbert, after president Herbert Hoover. This was in 1943, so after he left office. Family history says that when my mom learned the story, she asked why not Franklin? Because they were in an internment camp at the time, on Roosevelt's orders.

My dad was called Herbie growing up. My grandmother couldn't pronounce it, and we actually have baby pictures that are labelled "Hoobie".

There is also some confusion about what his actual given name is. He also has a Japanese name, which is on one of his birth records as first name, with Herbert as middle; on another, it's reversed. Since he was born in camp, the records are somewhat confused. He legally uses Herbert as his first, and the Japanese name as middle, and hasn't ever encountered any trouble with it.

July 17, 2015 7:47 AM

Wow, that's fascinating. My dad was named Herbert in 1941, so it was definitely a name in the ethos. Hoobie is kind of cute.

January 29, 2016 10:06 PM

I know that this thread is old, but it's a good one :)

At around 17 months, my daughter was given a toy dog, and it really reminded me of the schauzer my aunt had when I was little. Since she was too young to give it a name herself, I called it Herbie, said dog's name. She can't say R, so she calls him Hoobie.

After having him for a few weeks, she was playing with him, and I heard her call him Herbert (pronounced Heubeut), but for the life of me, I have no clue how on earth she knew that Herbie was a nickname for Herbert! I definitely didn't tell her, and according to everyone I asked, nobody else did, either. 

By mk
July 6, 2015 2:11 PM

My parents told me their top two choices and let me have the final vote. A good way to let kids involved without ending up with something unusable.

July 14, 2015 12:58 PM

I named my sister, her name is Zeynep, because Zeynep was my favorite name when I was a child

July 15, 2015 10:10 AM

I named my younger sister! My parents are immigrants from a non-English-speaking country, so they had already picked a name in their native tongue. I was three then, but I remember clearly sitting at a big table with my extended family and everyone suggesting similar-sounding English names. I suggested the name of my preschool teacher, condemning my sister to being one of many Jennifers in every single classroom setting.

If I have kids, I won't be letting older siblings choose the names of younger ones.

July 15, 2015 10:39 AM

Hmm, your preschool teacher's parents must have been ahead of the curve! It's funny, we talk about generational preferences leading to everyone's "secret favorite" suddenly becoming popular, so you'd think a preschooler would pick something less in-step with current naming. But at least your sister didn't end up Sparkle Rainbow ;-).

July 17, 2015 2:34 AM

We're involving our little guy (age 5) in the process, mostly to weed out names he really doesn't like to help us narrow down the master list. We did ask him for suggestions originally, but he only had girl names to offer. When we knew it was definitely going to be a little brother, we asked how about boy names? He pondered and said, "I really have to think, since you already gave me the best boy name." D'aww.


July 17, 2015 8:44 AM

Before my oldest brother was born, when we didn't know his gender yet, I insisted that we name him after me. My parents, quite reasonably, refused to do so. :P So then I wanted to name him Jennifer, after my aunt. They also refused that...

When my sister was born, I remember one day we were all sitting at the table, eating dinner, and my youngest brother, who was two years old at the time, went up to my mom and snuggled against her belly, and said, "Is my Anna in there?" The strangest thing: Anna was my parents' top name choice for a girl, and had been for him as well (I'm not sure they were even considering any other names). And I can't imagine how he could have known that... So he didn't actually name her, but it's certainly an interesting story.

July 17, 2015 5:32 PM

I was too young to be very involved in naming my younger brothers, but my husband says he and his 8 siblings were allowed to weigh in on baby names. #8, Thomas, suggested Goosey Yo-yo as a name for baby girl #9. She was christened Abigail Faith, but we still call her Goosey Yo-yo occasionally.

July 21, 2015 12:10 AM

Goosey Yo-yo is a brilliant name and I am appalled that your in-laws didn't appreciate it.

July 21, 2015 6:55 PM

Right?! And I knew I had been accepted into the family when ten-year-old Abby looked at me and said "you can call me Goosey Yo-yo, if you want to." 

August 25, 2015 11:23 PM

When sister number three was on the way, my parents consulted my sister and I.  We didn't get to pick a name, but we did rather vehemently veto my mom's original choice.  We refused to have a sister named Madeline - after all, Madeline was a little girl in Paris, who walked in two straight lines with Miss Clavel!  Thankfully, mom agreed to give it up and found something we liked much better.  

August 30, 2015 10:15 AM

If I let my three-year-old pick the name for her sister we would have to name her Peppa, after Peppa Pig ;) Even though it's usually not my style Pippa / Poppy / Piper would be fine, but I couldn't name my child Peppa. And we live in the UK so the difference between Pepper and Peppa is not as significant as in the US for example. Also we are going with an M theme for our children, so we couldn't use a P name. We asked our daughter which one out of three M names she liked best - Maisie, Mirabel or Madison - she picked Maisie and that's the name we liked best too, so that's the name we're going with.

My brother and his wife let their 5-year-old son pick out his sister's name and he chose to name her Penny - so they called her Penelope nn Penny, which I think is a lovely name!

September 1, 2015 4:39 AM

The naming of my brother was the first of many great disappointments he brought to my childhood ;)

One of my earliest memories (I was not yet three) was being taken to meet him in hospital, looking at him in the humidi-crib and Dad asking what we should call him. Full of hope and wonderment I pronounced him Rebecca, and Dad responded "we were thinking Andrew." I clearly remember thinking that having a baby brother wasn't as exciting as I had been told. 

Luckily, he grew to be more interesting later on.

As for my boys, my eldest was determined he was having a sister called Thomas (he was a thomas the tank engine fan at the time). As we ended up with a brother and we already have a nephew Tom, he didn't get either pick. 

September 1, 2015 3:46 PM

I'd pick a top 5 or so, get them to choose between


I wouldn't let tgem choose both names though.

By GigiElizabeth7896 (not verified)
September 12, 2015 7:45 PM

My brother in law's sister named him Andrew.

January 4, 2016 7:16 PM

Resurrecting this thread because my kids just reminded me that they have a classmate who was named by an older sibling--his given name is Tarzan. I didn't realize, because he goes by his middle name :).

January 13, 2016 8:39 PM

I don't know anyone who let their child actually choose their younger sibling's name, but I do remember that when sibling #5 was on the way (my little sister) my parents did ask for suggestions. Although they didn't take any of them, I love her name and it is way better than any I could have thought up myself!

May 22, 2016 11:24 PM

I named my little brother. He is eight years younger than me, and I picked Michael. 

May 22, 2016 11:56 PM

I named two of my little sisters! The first one, my brother got to choose her first name as compensation for her female-ness (he really wanted a brother, for the girls in our family outnumber the boys 8-4). He chose Rosalie. I chose her middle name. There was a German girl in my class named Lena (LAY-na) who I thought had a really cool name, so I chose that, making my sister Rosalie Lena. She would've been a Chloe if we hadn't intervened, and she was born right as that name was quickly gaining popularity, so I like to think we saved her from having to be Chloe Initial for the rest of her life!

In the other sister's case, it was my choice for first name and my half-brother's choice for middle. I chose Eva because I liked the way it sounded. My brother chose May for her middle name because that's his birth month. I'm not sure what she would've been called if my dad and stepmother had chosen her name, for fifteen years later they can't remember the name they had in mind, only that it was unisex or had a unisex nickname.

June 18, 2016 5:11 AM

My big brother got to pick my name. My parents didn't let him go wild, though, they gave him a few options to choose from.   I think it's lovely to let an older sibling pick out the name for their little brother or sister and this way you don't have to worry about your child ending up with a name like Cinderella or Peppa Pig. I love my name and it's even more special to me knowing that my brother picked it out for me - even though at that time he couldn't even pronounce it correctly. My name is Eleanor and my parents said that when he said it sounded somewhat like Elno. Out of all the names they let him choose from (Eleanor, Anna, Louise and Sarah) I think he picked out the most beautiful one. Later when our little sister was born I got to choose her name from the remaining list of names and I picked Louise. I'm glad she loves her name and says she would have picked the same for herself

I'm pregnant for the first time and I don't think I could let my twins choose a name for a potential sibling entirely on their own, but I think I may do it the same way my parents did. It's great especially if you're stuck between names and cannot decide, which I think is what happened when they wanted to name me and my sister. 

January 1, 2017 12:28 PM

It depends on the name. If they want to name her Cinderella, I wouldn't go for it, but with Audrey or Holly, I would.