Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Baby Names: Helping or Hurting Your Child?

posted by Linda Mintle

BabyWhen Shakespeare asked,  “What’s in a name?” the answer is, more than you think.

Many years ago, I worked in a very poor school district and noticed a number of the children had unusual names. The most unusual was a girl we called Phamalie –at least that is what her name sounded like. But when I met her mom at an open house, the mom told me she didn’t name her child -the hospital did. Her name was spelled FEMALE.

The  mom couldn’t read and did not understand that the wrist band around her newborn was not her name. Sad, but a true story. By the way, FEMALE was a delightful child!


“Unusual” names are usually chosen, not assigned by a hospital. When Kim Kardashian named her baby “North” it was hard to imagine cuddling a tiny baby and calling her that name, but hey, to each her own.

And 2014’s list of unusual baby names is no exception. According to, a baby naming website, we had these names: Awesome, Savvy, Majestic, Wise, Handsome, Boss, Captain, Couture, Eliminate  and Halo! Yes, Eliminate–you don’t have to be a psychologist to wonder what the impact of that name may be someday!

So why do parents choose these less than traditional names?  Is there any fall out from having a name that reminds you of one direction or sounds more like an adjective?


One reason we see these unique names has to do with popular media and celebrity. In 2014 we saw a rise in the names Katniss (Hunger games), Hazel (The Fault in Our Stars) and Khaleesi (Game of Thrones).

But does calling your child, “North” or “Katniss” have any impact on their adjustment in life? From studies, children with very unusual names do worse academically and are less popular in school. Also, when they go to college, they have a higher flunk out rate. An bosses are not always impressed and may throw out their resumes.

Think about it, if you know nothing  about a person but his/her name, the name influences your initial impression. Certainly, getting to know a person can change your impression,  but why would you want to put an obstacle in the way? On the positive, you might easily remember the person because of the unique name.


If you choose an unusual name,  a team of researchers notes that the easier the name is to pronounce, the more positive you feel about that person. So “North” just might work.

While some studies suggest that the impact of an unusual name is only minimal, I would argue that naming your child sets the stage for how the world will see them and how they will cope with whatever the name brings. That could build resilience or problems.

When we named our kids, we thought about how those names could be made into teasing, nicknames, sound on a resume and be introduced to a school class. In the end, we decided to go more traditional to make it easier on the kids. It wasn’t about us, but about them!


Angry? Do You Really Want to E-Vent?

posted by Linda Mintle

anger2John left the meeting frustrated, angry and ready to quit. He returned to his office and fired off an angry email. For the moment, he felt better, he got his anger off his chest. But did this behavior really help?

Sarah returned from a friend’s wedding. She felt ignored and upset by a number of things that happened. She got on her Twitter account and started to rant. Next she posted an unflattering picture of the bride on Instagram. For the moment, Sarah felt she vented that anger.


In the world of social media, an angry rant, nasty comments and put downs are tempting because of the ease and anonymity people have. For some, the temptation seems hard to resist. But the more you rant in an anonymous voice, the angrier you become. And we often forget that once we hit SEND or POST, our comments are forever in cyberspace.

Decades ago, we encouraged people to get that anger out, but research has since proven this is a bad strategy. Venting only makes you more angry and the consequences are not usually favorable.

You may think you feel better sending/poster in anger—this is inaccurate. Studies show you are actually revving yourself up, not calming down. And purging your angry emotions can damage   your relationships.


John lost his promotion. His boss felt his angry response made him an unstable candidate for the job. Sarah’s friends hit SHARE and the rant cost Sarah a number of relationships. The bride refused to talk to her.

My advice:

1) Press pause before you hit send or post.

2) Save your rant as a draft and give yourself time to calm down.

3) Calm yourself down through distraction or self-soothing. Prayer works –talk it out with God.

4) Reread your e-vent after time has passed. Do you really want to send/post now?

5) Don’t post or send. Instead, think of ways to problem-solve and deal with negative feelings that won’t hurt you or your relationships. Talk it out with someone in person if you need to process.


6) Exercise grace. Life isn’t fair, anger happens but like Scripture says, be angry but don’t sin. In this case, be angry but don’t send!


For more help and anger strategies, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgivness by Dr. Linda Mintlen



Picky Eaters May Have More Problems Than Food

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10065950Rena, a charming three-year-old, stares at the carrots, potatoes and chicken on her plate. She tells her mom she doesn’t want any of it. No matter what is served, Rena wants to eat mac and cheese and hotdogs. Her mom is concerned about her nutrition so continues to place the healthy foods in front of Rena.

Rena, like other kids who refuse to eat a variety of foods,  is a picky eater–a child who limits her foods to a selective list. According to studies, about 14-24% of preschoolers are picky eaters at least some of the time.


However, because a behavior like picky eating is common, does not it mean it is harmless.

According to Duke researchers, parents of  moderate to severe picky eaters,need to pay attention. A study published in Pediatrics indicates that picky eating is associated with more than eating habits.

Children that had severe levels of picky eating were twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression and social anxiety than kids who ate a normal range of food. And kids with moderate levels of picky eating were more likely to have symptoms of depression, anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder than the non picky eaters. Over time, picky eaters also had a higher risk of developing anxiety as they aged.


So what can a parent do to help avoid future mental health concerns? Intervene now. Follow these suggestions from my book, Raising Healthy Kids in an Unhealthy World based on the research of Dr. Kolp-Jurss:

1) During a stress free time of day, tell your child the expectation is to eat all 3 meals a day.

2) There will be no special meals. He/she eats what the family eats.

3) According to Dr. Kolp-Jurss, it may take up to 20 mealtimes before your child re-engages so you have to persist with this strategy when the going gets tough.

4) If your child resists, tell him/her that is his/her choice. Inform when the next meal will be. Do not make the child sit at the table for hours until he/she eats. This only becomes a power struggle.

5) Eventually, the child will get hungry and be ready to engage at the next meal. The important part is to not give in during the retraining.


7 Ways Pride Makes Conflict Difficult

posted by Linda Mintle

“Conflict is an inevitable reality. Like a car flying down the interstate, our body shuts the windows and locks the doors to contain all our pain. Conflict moves in a set direction on four wheels – distress, anger, fear and guilt. A rearview mirror allows us to focus on the past so we’re not blindsided. The steering wheel of perception guides our direction, and sin fuels the conflict.

But it’s our pride that steps on the gas pedal. God gives us His wisdom, a brake pedal so we can stop. It’s always there, right beside the gas.” —MA Strategic Communication student, Eric Pilgrim

This quote from a student addresses one of the most important issues that can block conflict resolution in a relationship–PRIDE.


Pride …

stops us from going to a person with whom we have ought.

keeps us from looking at our part of the conflict (A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.–C.S. Lewis)

blinds us to the need for humility and listening to the heart of others (A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor– Proverbs 29:23).

puts us first, others last and wants to win (Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud– 1 Corinthians 13:4).

leads to arguments (Proverbs 13:10).

prevents us from saying sorry.

makes reconciliation difficult, if not impossible.

Are you in a conflict with someone and not making any headway in terms of resolving it? Consider pride as a possible root of the problem.


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