What happens when family refuses to use baby's chosen nickname?

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

As if there wasn't enough to contend with when pregnant. There are the food issues (cravings, aversions, morning sickness), exhaustion, mood swings, and the massive adjustment of the prospect of being a parent. On top of all that, you have to pick the perfect name.

For some, choosing a name is simple. But for many of us, choosing a name is a battle of wills, a process, an emotional to-and-fro between partners and perhaps the odd 'Darth Vader' suggestion by an earnest older sibling.

One mum has taken to Mumsnet for advice, not about how hard it is to choose the right name, but that her family are refusing to use the nickname chosen for her bub-to-be.

She starts the thread with the following, just to give context to her dilemma.

"I'm 35 weeks pregnant and I'm having a little boy. Since I was a child I've loved the name Alexander James using AJ as a nickname. (I'll admit it started as I loved the Backstreet Boys).

Now 20 of this generation of babies has a James and at least one other child with James as a middle name. So I changed the middle name for my son to Jason but still want to call my baby AJ."

No problem, right? Their baby, their choice (yes dad's on board). Lots of kids go by their initials for a nickname. There's just one problem, however; no-one else is on board with AJ.

She continues, "Over the last few weeks everyone from my step mum to the children on my partners side have been referring to him as Alex no matter how many times I correct them. 

It's not as if they've ever refused to use nicknames before we have an Ollie (Oliver) Harry (Harrison) Albie (Albert) and Mila (Emelia) so why is it that they're refusing to use my chosen nickname?"


Fair point. Surely parents get naming rights, right?

She then asks fellow Mumsnetters if she's being unreasonable expecting people to use the chosen nickname, to which she gets a range of replies, most of which she probably didn't want.

One respondent gets brutally honest from the get go

"It's not up to you....a nickname is a shortened version which people choose to use as it suits them. You can't police it!"

Another gives some clever advice.

"Keep changing your mind about the name that begins with A too so AJ is the only thing that stays consistent."

There are a few people on the OP's side, including this one.

"Not unreasonable at all, every time they refer to him as Alex just say AJ, they'll get the message eventually, but yelling or getting mad just repeat AJ over and over and over again until they all get it. When he goes to school put on the preferred name section AJ. Simple, your his mother, you decide what he's going to be called until he's old enough to call the shots."

Most however, cannot imagine calling a baby AJ and don't hesitate to give their two cents worth on the issue.

"Totally stupid. If you want to call him AJ name him AJ, otherwise people are not unreasonable to call him by the name you chose. I hate this "nickname" crap."

There is one commenter who comes up with a rather sterling piece of advice, however.

"Just call him Ajay, meaning invincible and means he will be called that on documents etc. It wouldn't be my choice of name but it would mean that people find it harder to argue. I personally prefer to name children by the name that I want them to be known as. Saves confusion."

In the end, the expectant mum appears defeated from the rash of unsympathetic responses, posting, "Oh well I suppose I'll just have to get used to people naming my child what they want."