Dear Grandma Maggie,
I am 30 weeks pregnant. We told our daughter, Ava (5), that her new baby sister was going to be named Olivia. The only problem is that Ava does NOT like the name Olivia. I think there is someone in her Kindergarten class who she doesn’t like with that name. She wants the baby to be named Erika Joy. My fiance and I do not know why she likes that name so much (I mean it is pretty, don’t get me wrong). We have told her that the name will not change — Daddy and I have already decided on Olivia. She has been acting very badly; taking fits, etc. One day she got very angry and said that she wishes I didn’t have a baby in my tummy. We have been worried that once the baby is born, Ava will hold a grudge. She’s old enough to do that. We might end up having to change the name (even though we LOVE Olivia).
Kathy and Scott
Yes, my advice is to set the boundaries of what a parent decides and what a child decides. Thirty nine years ago, my five year old daughter’s suggestions for names for our expected baby were Marilyn Zsa Zsa for a girl and Dick Ann for a boy. We told her they were lovely, but we would choose the name we wanted, because that’s what parents did — it was their job.
Of course Ava may resent the new baby. That’s what older kids mostly do. Accept her feelings, but make it quite clear that she may not hurt the baby. That’s about the most any parent can do. If you decide to change the name of the expected child, then make it clear it is your decision and not hers.