Let’s face it, “family” is one of those reasons that gets thrown around a lot to convince people to do things that make them uncomfortable, like bending their boundaries or sticking with a tradition or line of beliefs they never really liked.
But rules and traditions are often meant to be broken or grown, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Few-Confection477 and her husband were excited to have their baby, and part of their celebration obviously was choosing a name for their bouncing baby boy.
But when her family actively shamed her for not sticking with a family name, the Original Poster (OP) realized how toxic her family really was and how conditional their love was.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my family their comments about my son’s name are not making me regret the name but instead are making me regret them?”
The OP and her husband chose a name they loved for their baby.
“My husband and I welcomed our son into the world in November. We chose the name Reid for him after some searching. Neither of us got our first choice, but we love the name and it fits our son beautifully, we believe.”
“I knew my son’s name was a bit of a standout among my family. They like to reuse the same names that are popular and always seem to float pretty high in naming charts. For boys, the top three in our family are James, Benjamin, and William. But Reid isn’t a weird or unheard-of name.”
But the OP’s family found the name “Reid” to be shameful.
“My family was all very quiet when we announced the name and almost immediately they started dropping comments about ‘people making weird naming choices for their children,’ which never directly mentioned my husband and me but we both felt it was aimed at us.”
“Then they commented a few times how there’s nothing wrong with good, solid, classic names that everyone knows and loves and reuses. But then they started to say Reid was an ‘odd choice’ or that they had no idea where we found such a name, even though it’s in the top 400 choices.”
“My parents accused me of trying to be trendy and not thinking about my son’s future.”
The OP called her family out on their behavior.
“I decided to confront my family without my husband present because I felt like it wasn’t fair to drag him into it more. I asked them what their problem was and why they were being so mean about the name.”
“They told me they HATED Reid and they felt it was a very unattractive name and we did not think it through at all. They told me we should have reconsidered and given him a real name, not something trendy that came up in the last 20 to 30 years.”
“They said we had so many beautiful names to choose from and we made a horrible decision. Then they said they had tried to gently show us the light but we ignored their efforts.”
“I told them if their comments about my son’s name were supposed to make me regret the choice then they failed because all it did was make me regret them because they were being rude and hurtful.”
“My family did not take my comment well and told me I was being rude and I was behaving like a child who couldn’t accept the truth.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some reassured the OP that she had done the right thing by calling her family out.
“NTA. You were right to call them out.”
“They’re being a**holes. Their reaction would make more sense if you’d chosen something actually damaging and disrespectful to your son, like Thanos, ‘&t1,’ or ‘Exo[dial-up modem noise],’ but Reid isn’t a weird or trendy name. It’s very normal, if uncommon, and has been around for centuries.”
“If they want to be in your family’s life, they need to start acting mature and reasonable about your baby’s name. There’s nothing wrong with Reid as a name other than it’s not part of their usual roster, and they need to acclimate to & ultimately get over that on their own time, without making it your, your husband’s, or your son’s problem.” – SoleOfOrion
“Reid is not an odd name, I’ve met several in my 30 years. Your family is being incredibly rude about this and I would be worried about them making rude comments to your son in the future.”
There was a young man on the ‘tagedeigh’ subReddit recently whose grandparents STILL bully him about his (normal!) first name. And he’s 15! So watch out for this, OP, and set your boundaries early on the name comments.” – Reevadare1990
“Well unless Reid is how it is pronounced but spelled something like Ruhwayeehd. Or spelled Reid but pronounced Ruhwayeehd.”
“I’m not sure how they feel that is a ‘trendy’ name.”
“But, if the only names they like are Ben, James, and Bill, then something like Jeremy or Roger would seem pretty exotic to them.”
“Reid is far from one of the trendy names.” – killjoygrr
“There is one name that is frequently used on my mom’s side of the family. You have to use Little, Big, Uncle, common name-middle name, etc, to specify which one you were talking about or everyone would end up confused.”
“While I get it’s a tradition, it’s perfectly fine to go against that tradition and do something different (which may become a tradition itself!).” – Mondschatten78
“I’d pretend to change his name to weirder and weirder things every time they complained.”
“‘Oh, you don’t like Reid? No problem, we’ve changed his name to Polonius.'”
“‘Oh, you don’t like Polonius? We don’t want to upset you so, we’ve changed his name to Eisenhower!'”
“If they keep going long enough, you might be calling him Zambino by next Christmas!” – Various-Gap3946
Others agreed and argued that the family was bound by tradition and ego.
“NTA. Sounds like your family is heavily invested in conformity. How boring and uncreative.”
“Congratulations for giving you son a name you both liked. When we named our son, we very consciously avoided recycling family names because we considered them to have baggage (good and bad) and invited unnecessary comparisons to the namesake.”
“You were on the mark with your response to your family. The fact that they tried to turn your characterization of their actions (“rude and hurtful”) back on you and suggested that you were rude and childish makes the case for their being boring bourgeoisie. So glad you escaped their narrow-mindedness and are able to stand up for your creative choices.”
“On another note, I applaud your consideration for your husband; it would have been annoying to subject him to your family’s vapid complaints.” – SleightOfHand13
“Your family is a bunch of AHs. I struggle to imagine what it’s like being so inflexibly wedded to old-fashioned names that they “hate” the name you picked for your child. How wildly petty of them.”
“I’ve seen a few baby name posts on here. Only once did I consider the parent to be the AH, and it’s because the child shared a name with an infectious disease.”
“Reid is a perfectly nice name. It hits the sweet spot of being uncommon without being weird. Clear NTA.” – ironchef8000
“I mean, Reid is trendy in that it’s rising in popularity over the last 20 years. However, lots of names are trendy. It’s not a bad thing. Lots of normal names are trendy.”
“What isn’t cool is giving your child a Youneeq ‘tragedieh’ of a name that is ridiculously spelled and deciding that Ceelee is pronounced ‘Key-lee,’ like an infamous AITA. Inventing new spellings that don’t follow the rules of your language in terms of pronunciation. Or, adding random Xs and Ys, because… they can?”
“Jackson is a normal name. But lately, you’ll see Jaxsynn, because… Jackson is too normal? Don’t leave your kid constantly correcting the spelling and pronunciation of their name.”
“Reid is totally fine.” – DefinitelyNotAliens
“The conformity is very strong in this family. I’m guessing that they like to gang up on family members for other choices they perceive as non-conforming. It seems like you and your husband have a solid relationship, and I assume that his family hasn’t bullied y’all about your kid’s name.”
“So, it may be time to go low contact with your family for a while and enjoy the company and support of your husband and in-laws. And Reid!” – wordfriend
“NTA. Reid has been making blips in the top 1000 baby boy names since the late 19th century. And it has a very rich history, way deeper than ‘the last 20 to 30 years.'”
“Not that it matters either way. It’s your and your husband’s baby, you two get the final say here. They need to stop being so picky about something they don’t get to pick.” – CrimsonKnight004
The subReddit couldn’t help but shake its collective head over how the family was treating the OP, her husband, and by association, their baby, over something as simple as a name.
As lovely as family traditions can be, sometimes it’s nice to go above and beyond the tradition and do something new, and the best thing a loving family can do is show their support, especially of the baby who had nothing to do with the name selection.