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Children have vivid imaginations. Unfortunately it’s not always put to good use. If it’s at the expense of your children’s feelings it can be pretty unpleasant. So, if you’re thinking of a name, consider also what abbreviations, diminutives or nicknames it can give rise to.

If you name your daughter Maureen, for example, it’s possible that her classmates will nickname her Moe. Alfredo could become Alf, like the cat-eating alien from the TV show from the late 80’s. Will could become Willow, a reference to the 1988 movie where a reluctant dwarf played a critical role in protecting a baby from an evil queen.

Our advice: If the two of you have come up with a nice name, ponder the possible nicknames that could be derived from it. Is it a negative sounding nickname or a really obvious target for bullies?

Again, don’t put too much weight on a name’s potential for teasing. It’s almost always possible to come up with a nickname that could be used in a negative way. Try to avoid names,however, that inspire nicknames that are almost asking for teasing.