The story out of New Zealand about the judge barring a couple from naming their son ‘4Real’ is getting a lot of attention. It is my understanding the ruling was based strictly on New Zealand not allowing numerals or symbols in legal names. That aside, the decision prompted a huge debate over how much freedom parents should be allowed in naming their children.

Many comments on the story from internet readers express outrage over the judge’s actions. He is often referred to as an intrusive bigot. Though I don’t believe the decision was influenced by anything other than legal technicalities, I have no problem with the idea of outside sources stepping in when parents are making irresponsible decisions regarding their children. I do not feel a parent’s rights are more important than the well being of a child.

Though a name destined to guarantee years of teasing and attention may not be as serious a violation as physical abuse or neglect, anyone who feels this child wouldn’t have endured pain as a result of his parents’ choice of name is in denial. Children should have the right to choose how much attention they wish to attract as they grow. The formative years are tough. My daughter has a facial birthmark that automatically subjects her to remarks from others. It is impossible for her to fade into the woodwork on days where she doesn’t feel like being in the spotlight. I would never intentionally put her in this type of position. Granted, names and physical differences shouldn’t be met with criticism and teasing. The fact of the matter is, they are. Before this child’s parents move forward with naming their son ‘4Real’, they need to get real and put some actual thought into how this choice will effect their son long term.

3 Responses to “4Real”

  1. Amsterdamn says:

    Right on, sister!
    The worst violators seem to be Hollywood actors and ego-maniacal rock stars who see their kids simply as accessories to their fame. Just ask Moon-Unit Zappa, or Tallulah Willis.

  2. lisa says:

    Holly, I just caught that article today. What a name. Wow! And I remember thinking Prince Charles had a long name when Diana had to recite in during their wedding! I imagine that girl’s future spouse will need cue cards.