Babies

Viral video stirs debate: Do you judge children by their names?

July 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM ET

We know kids are influenced by their friends. That’s why good parents don’t let their children associate with children who have certain names. This from British reality TV star Katie Hopkins, whose over-the-top judgment has gone viral.

“I do judge children by their names,” Hopkins said on a British morning talk show this week, adding that all parents “need shortcuts to make decisions.” She claims to speak the truth everyone else is afraid to say. Watch the clip below:

Parents.com called Hopkins “a bit off her rocker” but also conceded the reality in her outlandish words. “Because we do judge people by their names,” writes Lisa Milbrand, “whether we admit to it or not.”

Fine, we admit it. We all snap to the occasional ill-advised judgment. But unlike Hopkins, we feel bad about it afterwards because Mercedes and Porche are probably really good kids. And no matter how unfortunate we find other parents’ naming choices, no child needs the love and support of the village more than a kid whose parents named him Idiot.

Ordinary parents find names in family tradition, pop culture, or by yelling names out the back door one feels right. Celebrities get creative, and we wouldn’t have them any other way. This spring Hollywood.com published a mixed-up list of Kentucky Derby horse names and celebrity kids’ names. They dared readers to tell the difference.

We poke fun at celebs, but we also value the freedom to name our kids anything we like. Other countries have rules about such things. New Zealand’s banned names include titles like King, Princess, and Duke, as well as Christ, Lucifer, and all the roman numerals. Can’t imagine the Prince of Darkness is getting many playdate requests.

Hopkins is especially bothered by the name Chardonnay. “Someone named for a wine is not coming to our home,” she says in the video.

And despite having named her daughter India, Hopkins finds geographic-based names, like London and Brooklyn, particularly distasteful. (One assumes her children will never be allowed to spend time with North West.)

It may be impossible not to have associations with names, but we can nurture our better natures. When we can’t do that we can remember Katie Hopkins and hope our children are never friends with hers, no matter what their names are.

Do you think creative baby naming is out of control or should people like Katie Hopkins chill out? Let us know on the TODAY Moms Facebook page.

Lela Davidson is the author of "Blacklisted from the PTA," and "Who Peed on My Yoga Mat?" Her thoughts on marriage, motherhood, and lifeafter40 have appeared in hundreds of magazines, websites, and anthologies.

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