Ma & Pa Are So 2020: Personalised Grandparent Names

by | Apr 16, 2024

Gone are the days of the ubiquitous “Ma” and “Pa.” Today’s grandparents are embracing a trend of unique, personalised names bestowed upon them by their adoring grandchildren (or their children). These nicknames can range from whimsical words to particular names in various languages. With 60 being the new 50, these distinctive titles mirror the evolving role of grandparents in today’s “modern family.” 

But why? Why are personalised grandparent names even considered? There are several reasons this trend has gained momentum. Firstly, grandparents are living longer and staying healthier, leading to more active involvement in their grandchildren’s lives. There’s no question that the bonds are closer, and this sets the tone for stronger relationships. With that in mind, they may want a unique name just for them.

South Africa is a prime example of the rise of multicultural families. This naturally creates an environment where families want to integrate various languages and traditions into their children’s lives. A grandparent might be called “Gogo” (Zulu for grandmother) or “Ouma” (Afrikaans for grandmother), fostering a connection to the grandchild’s cultural background.

Thirdly, some grandparents prefer a moniker that sets them apart from the traditional labels. Names like “Mimi” or “Pop-Pop” add a touch of whimsy and fun, resonating more with a younger generation. 

Grandchildren, in turn, enjoy the sense of ownership and creativity that comes with choosing a name for a beloved grandparent. The benefits of this personalised approach go beyond mere semantics. A unique name can strengthen the bond between grandparent and grandchild. When a child is given the agency to choose how they address someone they love, it fosters a sense of respect and connection, just as when we select a term of endearment for our children or those we love. 

This trend also highlights the changing role of grandparents in society. No longer solely seen as babysitters, grandparents are increasingly viewed as mentors, educators, and emotional support systems. There’s a concerted effort to acknowledge grandparents’ valuable role in their children’s lives. A personalised name is one way to recognise them, too.

Did you have a loving relationship with your grandparents? If you did, you’ll realise that their role cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that a solid grandparent-grandchild relationship can positively impact children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Grandparents offer a source of unconditional love, stability, and wisdom (we bet there are many times you wanted to run away to your grandparent’s homes as a child). They can be confidantes, storytellers, and cheerleaders, providing a sense of security and belonging.

Furthermore, grandparents can bridge the generational gap, fostering a sense of family history and cultural heritage. They can share stories of their own childhoods, creating a sense of connection to the past.

The personalised naming trend underscores this invaluable role. By actively participating in their grandchildren’s lives and creating a special bond, grandparents become more than just “Grandma” or “Grandpa.” They become confidantes, storytellers, and cherished members of the family unit, each with their own unique name and place in a grandchild’s heart.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that not all families embrace this trend. Some grandparents prefer the traditional “Grandma” and “Grandpa,” finding comfort in the familiarity. Ultimately, the choice of name should be a collaborative effort, respecting the preferences of both grandparent and grandchild.

The rise of personalised grandparent names is a heartwarming reflection of the evolving role of grandparents in our society. It signifies the importance of solid grandparent-grandchild relationships, highlighting grandparents’ unique bond and irreplaceable influence on children’s lives. Whether they are called “Nana” or “Pops,” “Ma” or Pa, “Nana” or “Pops, one thing remains certain: grandparents hold a special place in their family, offering love, support, and a lifetime of cherished memories.