What to Do When Your Son and His Wife Just Named Your Granddaughter After a Disney Villain

Cruel! It was what this grandfather thought when his son and his wife decided to name their baby Cruella.

To him, it was among the worst names in the world to give to a child, since it means cruel or evil. The parents may have been inspired by the villain of the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians but this grandfather found their choice perplexing and embarrassing.

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

Writing about his feelings regarding this choice of his granddaughter’s name in Newsweek‘s What Should I Do forum, this granddad named Bob from New Jersey shared these details: “Dear Newsweek, My son and his wife recently had a new baby girl, who is now one month old. They kept the name secret until the baby was born, which was fine. However, when I learned of the name, I was speechless. They named the baby ‘Cruella,’ probably after the villain from 101 Dalmatians movie. Since the name basically means evil, cruel, or devil, I thought it was very inappropriate. I went on a baby name forum and asked for advice. I received about 20 replies saying it was a cruel joke to give a child this name and should not be chosen. The new parents are very fond of this name and don’t seem to care.”

His son and his wife didn’t care even if he has issues with their baby’s name, and that’s what’s been making Bob more anxious. Because he and his wife felt so embarrassed to tell their friends of their granddaughter’s real name, they have opted to call her “Ella.” However, the baby’s parents didn’t appreciate it.


Bob couldn’t help voicing out a harsh criticism as he ended his message with, “They say that almost everyone else they talk to likes the name. Like nurses, friends, and co-workers. Could there be a generation divide between baby boomers vs Gen-X? Or maybe I am overreacting, but if it was a boy, it would almost be like naming the baby Dracula or something similar?”

However, Ruth E. Freeman, founder and president at Peace at Home Parenting Solutions, advised Bob about the importance of respecting his son and his wife’s decision and providing his grandchild the best support that a grandparent can give. He can try to understand his son’s point of view and share his concern about what other people would think, but acceptance remains the key to maintaining a harmonious relationship.

Photo: Pexels/Anastasiya Gepp

“If you want a loving relationship with your son and grandchild, you will have to step back and learn some acceptance. You might choose to use a nickname, but in the big picture, the important thing is to show this child complete acceptance and take delight in her. That’s what grandparents do best and what this child, like all children, really deserves. An important part of serenity is accepting things we can’t change, and that is the biggest challenge here. The best way to protect your granddaughter is to have a positive relationship with both her and her parents,” said Freeman.

Dr. Darren Aboyoun, a licensed psychotherapist with decades of experience, likewise offered similar advice: “It’s probably wise to say nothing unless you’re seriously concerned that the name will make the grandchild’s life harder. Will it really? Or is it just something that will need to be considered, along with so many other things? If you really are concerned, come with a sincere curiosity first to make sure you understand why your children are focused on this name. Perhaps it has real meaning to them you don’t know. How did they pick this name? What about it do they love? What does it make them think of? What are they hoping you’ll call the baby? What might the baby call you as it grows up? Before sharing any concerns about the name, share in their excitement about the positives. In doing so, you might find that there’s not really cause for concern. And if there is, make sure to communicate that you see the positives even as you share your concerns.”

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