baby names and the effect on a child behaviour | Babies Nz


The behaviour of children and how they learn has always been something scientists have studied in an attempt to uncover the secrets of intelligence. How do we learn and what knowledge we acquire instinctively, the difference between nature and nurture is an area that is endlessly studied. How biology and early development shapes language, learning and later life is a popular area of study. We are always searching for more information about the evolution of human civilisation and how this has made us different from other mammals.


Until now we thought that language development and learning was shaped in a child’s early life and that this along with biology had the biggest impact on how a child behaves. New studies have paid closer attention to language and how names affect the outcomes of a child’s life and their behaviour. The same studies have also looked at how socio-economic status impacts a child’s learning and behaviour and they found interestingly, a link between income levels and popular names.


We know that choosing the right name for a child is important and that what you think is a good name is shaped by your own socio-economic background and level of education. But other studies are now looking even closer at the links between naming and children’s behaviour.

top 10 baby names 2015 | Babies Nz

So choosing a name for your child is becoming an increasingly important consideration as it can affect not only whether they are teased at school but also how they will learn and behave.


Choose a ‘good’ name and your child will be well behaved and choose a ‘bad’ name and according to the latest scientific study your child could develop problems in preschool.


The study tracked 63,000 children who logged either good or bad behaviour in online books so scientists could see the links between names and outcomes.


Jacob and Daniel were identified as the names of boys that exhibit good behaviour and the same applied to Amy and Georgia for girls. In contrast, boys named Joseph and Cameron were typically naughty, while the naughty girls tended to be named Ella and Bethany.


A study by The New Zealand Herald shows the changes in the most popular names in the last 100 years.


The Effect of a Name


A child’s name has been found to have lasting effects on a wide range of behaviour. As early school years are formative for children and the first social environment they enter on their own, there are a number of ways a name can shape a young child’s identity in this early phase.


For example children with less typical names tend to be more narcissistic than children with more popular, well-known names and this behaviour is seen to start during early school years. However studies still recognise the affect a strong loving family environment can have on a child’ wellbeing and early development. You could call your child ‘Rebellion Casanova’ but with good socialisation they will grow up to be no different than a child called Oliver Smith. Likewise a child called Amy Smith who is not loved, cherished or encouraged to learn can grow into a troubled young girl. So while choosing a name for your child might seem like a daunting task, remember that how you raise them and teach them is still the biggest deciding factor and predictor of behaviour.


Helpful Tips for Choosing the Right Name


  • Sometimes it is best to name a child once you have seen them as they might inspire a name that suits their physical appearance or personality.
  • Maybe pick a few of your favourite names and wait until you have looked into their eyes to make your final choice.
  • Alternately give the names a test run to see how you and your partner feel about each name and even how the new baby reacts to these names. They might decide for you by smiling or paying attention to a certain name.
  • Say the new names out loud a few times with any middle and surnames so you are pronouncing the full name the entire way through. This way you can identify the best natural rhythm for the names, the right number of syllables to match the surname and avoid any potential embarrassing rhymes, shortening or slang.
  • Remember the middle name. If you really can’t decide between two or three names, there’s always the option of having one or two middle names that work together. In that way more of your favourites can be included.
  • And finally don’t forget traditional family names. Remembering ancestors and favourite grandparents or family members is a special way to name children.


Whatever name you choose for your new baby it will be personally significant and find a unique place in your heart. That the name makes you happy is the most important deciding factor of them all.