Woman Refusing to Use Grandson's 'Awful Pretentious' Name Divides Internet

A doting grandmother is facing a major family dilemma after her stepson and his girlfriend gave their newborn baby what she described as a "really awful pretentious name."

The way parents pick baby names has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. According to Laura Wattenberg, founder of the website Baby Name Wizard, where once moms and dads stuck to tried-and-tested names, today many are seeking more unique monikers.

"In past generations, parents were much more concerned about their kids' names fitting in," she explained to Quartz. "But in the past 20 years, the focus has been on 100 percent standing out."

Wattenberg attributes this shift to the emergence of the internet. "All of us were choosing usernames and becoming accustomed to the idea that a name has to be unique to be usable," she said. The baby name expert also points to the prevalence of search engines in our everyday lives, with many new parents taking to Google to see if a specific name is "taken."

It's all given rise to an increase in the number of unusual baby names. But while a distinctive name might delight parents, lumbering a child with an unusual name can prove detrimental if they grow to dislike it.

As psychologist Jean Twenge told LiveScience: "Our names really are wrapped up in our identity," which can prove problematic if the moniker is despised. "People who particularly dislike their name and also if other people think it's an odd and unlikeable name, that can cause some problems. [They] tend not to be as well-adjusted," she warned.

Ultimately the decision rests with the child's parents but the use of an unusual name can still prove difficult to bear for some family members, like the disgruntled grandma who took to Mumsnet to voice her opposition to the "ridiculous" name her stepson has given his baby.

According to the grandmother, they have opted to name their child "Stormy-Water" while the baby has also been given the middle name "Cloud." She said what makes it worse is the story behind why they have given him such an unusual name.

"Stormy represents their life before they met, water is the continuity (infinity) of their love for each other and cloud was the 'silver lining' when they realized they were expecting," she explained.

Dismissing it as a "really awful pretentious name," the grandmother admitted she has so far avoided using it. "I know it's their choice but neither me nor my husband can bring ourselves to say it," she wrote.

Instead, she has taken to referring to the young child as simply "the baby" or the "little one"—but her stepson and his wife "have started to notice" and things are "becoming tense" as a result.

Even so, the grandma is struggling to come to terms with it—and she's not alone. "It makes us cringe and we feel so uncomfortable," she wrote. "The family's whole reaction was complete disbelief."

Though she dislikes the name personally, the grandma thinks her stepson has not thought things through in the long-term for his son. "It's not just about what we think, it's more about the abuse the poor child will get when he's growing up," she noted.

But despite voicing her own concerns over their choice of name, many on social media felt the grandma was wrong to go against the parents' wishes.

SleepyQuest thought it would be "cruel" not to use the name, writing: "They obviously love it or they wouldn't have chosen it." Itsme189 agreed, telling the grandma to "stop making this about you and call the baby it's name."

Others like velvetgh0st could see things from the grandmother's perspective though. "That's not ideal," they wrote. "Unfortunately it's their baby and their choice. Could you perhaps create a tolerable nickname from their name?"

LadyDansburyshat felt that ultimately the child's name was "not going to change" and she needed to move on otherwise they faced causing a rift in the family. They recalled how their grandma objected to his choice of name for their son and how her remarks were "ridiculous" and "changed" his opinion of her "massively."

Others like HarrisonStickle thought it was "rude to refuse to say the baby's name," adding: "You'll end up on the wrong side of a low contact decision if you keep this up long term."

Many like DollyWilde, however, saw a workable solution. "He'll just be known as Storm, which in the grand scheme of child names nowadays is not a big deal," they concluded.

Toughdaay, meanwhile, predicted one of two outcomes: "Maybe he'll grow into it and be in a class with a group of other creatively named kids. Maybe he'll hate it and change it the first chance he gets. Who cares, it's a name."

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

An elderly woman and a screaming baby.
Stock image of an elderly woman holding a crying baby - a grandmother has voiced concern over her stepson's choice of baby name. Jupiterimages/Getty