Childrearing

Bribing Your Children for the Right to Name Their Offspring Is a Real Jerk Move

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04-baby-names-memeNaming a baby is one of the most fun parts of becoming a parent. It’s so much fun that everyone wants in on it, especially future grandparents. My mother-in-law, for example, wanted my husband and I to name our baby after her. She did not look pleased when we said, “Seriously? No!” even though we explained that we would not be naming the baby after her because her name, like mine, is Elizabeth, and I did not want to give the baby the same name as I had.

For us, that was the end of that story. But for an increasing number of families out there, grandparents and great-grandparents are coming back with financial incentives in an attempt to buy naming rights for their grandchildren.

According to the New York Times, Frank and Jennifer Hudock were expecting a baby they had decided to name Max, after Jennifer’s father, who had died when she was just seven years old. Frank’s grandparents said they wanted the baby to be “Frank,” but Jennifer and Frank said no way. Then the grandparents came back and offered them $10,000 to name the baby Frank.

The couple reconsidered, because Frank is a restaurant manager and Jennifer an executive assistant with no maternity leave policy. They were facing several months on just Frank’s salary, and it was going to be tight. $10,000 could make a huge difference in their lives. That’s specifically why I think this is so awful. If the grandparents had that kind of money to give and wanted to put it aside for baby Max’s college, that would be astoundingly generous. But attempting to use money to usurp the parental rights of Frank and Jennifer and buy the naming rights to the child is just beyond the pale.

This seems so awful it is like a joke. Like on Archer when Lana has a baby girl and names her Abigene, and the baby’s grandmother, Malory Archer, wants the infant re-named Malory. She offers Lana $25,000 to do it. The scene was hilarious, because Malory Archer is supposed to be an awful person and mother. She spends the rest of the season drinking whiskey and fat-shaming the baby. If you ever find yourself making the same parenting choice as Malory Archer, it is probably time to stop and reconsider the headlong descent into evil you’re taking.

giphy-1(Via Giphy)

I think most of us in Frank and Jennifer’s position would want to tell the grandparents to fuck right the Hell off. But being able to say “eff off with your $10,000” is an amount of privilege a lot of new parents don’t have. Are your principles worth your baby’s college tuition?

Frank and Jennifer stuck with Max in the end, and I am very glad they did. But apparently this was not an isolated incident, because more and more parents and grandparents are pulling stunts like this. One woman told the Times her mother-in-law specifically asked how much it would cost her to be able to name the baby after her side of the family.

“If I really believed I could have gotten her to pay for college, it really seems foolish of me not to put my discomfort aside,” she said. “I would probably always resent that person, but to be able to take care of that anxiety, that would be nice.”

I understand wanting to name your grandchild, but if you attempt to exert financial control over your children to do so, you are an asshole. Only a colossal jerk would do that to a family member, and if a parent or grandparent makes that offer, it would serve him or her right if they never saw the new baby again.