Don’t call your kid Justin

First of all, I’d like to state that I don’t have anything against any of the names used in this post. I’m just reciting what I recently read in a magazine and what I found was quite shocking.

It has long been known that the parents’ income has an influence on how their kids will perform in school. Whether they will be in advanced education classes and finish High School with admission to college or finish school after 10th grade to start work – it all depends on dad’s or mom’s paycheck.

Now, scientists found out that a child’s name can be used as indication of the educational performance, too. You wonder how that goes? It’s pretty simple. You look at the kid’s name and you’ll can deduce the probability of this kid writing good grades in school.

Justin, Kevin, Jaqueline, Michelle

As is in Germany, children who are named, for example, Justin, Kevin, Jaqueline or Michelle are most often out of families with a lower income and teachers generally tend to think that they have a lower intellect. Something that is, of course, not the norm, but it influences the way teacher will treat the kids. They will get worse marks and are more likely to become a “trouble kid”.

Katharina, Maximilian, Alexander

On the other hand, if the kid is named Katharina (German form of Catherine), Maximilian or Alexander – more classical names – the kid is more likely to come from a highly educated family and will thus be treated differently by the teacher, too. These kids will don’t have to be “better” than the kids mentioned above, but they’ll be treated as such. They’ll get better grades and won’t be blamed for making trouble. They are also more likely to have a successful career in their adult life.

Sounds like discrimination? To me, too. I don’t think if we can really do anything against it. There’s no legal base so one could go to court. I also don’t think it would be a good idea to stop calling kids Justin, etc. or on the contrary to name all kids Katharina. But I find it shocking, that things, as simple as a name, can influence all your life in such a great way.

Have you ever experienced any special treatment because of your name?

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4 thoughts on “Don’t call your kid Justin

  1. My sister and my Mom, both elementary school teachers unfortunately can attest to the fact that a lot of names go hand in hand with social status and family background.

    If you’re from a lower class family, maybe it would be good idea to name your kids Maximilian or Katharina?
    Unfortunately, it seems to be a trend that lower class families pick “foreign names” for their kids (a trend I don’t quite understand but which is pretty obvious). I don’t think you can solely blame things on teachers, who will be biased because of a kid’s name.

  2. You’re right about the trend of picking names. I also wonder why that is.

    I don’t blame it on the teachers, I suppose there’s no-one to blame. It was just something I found interesting, because, honestly, a name should be just a name.

  3. I was called by my nickname my entire life until I left home. So, I don’t think it did.

    I was very disturbed by the fact I was naming my daughter a forever name that COULD change her life depending on what it was (as far as being made fun of or something).
    I made sure it was the feminine spelling and sounded smooth with her last name. I gotta tell you naming kids is scary!

    But to name them for based on scientific research. Yuk!!

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