Can you expect your family and friends to call your child by a nickname you’ve chosen for them?

Choosing a name for a child is one of the biggest decisions we have to make as parents. Will it suit them? What sort of character will it project? And perhaps most importantly, what will it be shortened to? Many parents name their child with a nickname planned in advance, but can you really expect it to catch on?

The Best Laid Plans…

One Mum has taken to the Mumsnet forum to express her frustration that her family and friends refused to use her chosen nickname for her son.

“I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I’m having a little boy,” she wrote. “Since I was a child, I’ve loved the name Alexander James, using AJ as a nickname.” Realising that James had become a common first and middle name, the Mum decided to change the middle name to Jason, but was still determined that her son would be referred to as AJ.

Unfortunately the nickname didn’t get off the ground. “Over the last few weeks, everyone from my step mum to the children on my partner’s 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?”

Nicknames Are Earned

People didn’t hold back in their response to the Mum’s story as Nine’s honeymums reports. “You can’t dictate a child’s nickname, sorry,” one person said. “Nicknames are earned…stop trying to make AJ happen,” said another person. “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!”

It’s a tricky one. We’re all for parents having the right to call their child by whatever nickname they choose, but unfortunately we don’t think you can control what other people will call them – if anything, kids in the playground will often be the ones to choose a nickname that sticks.

So perhaps we should choose names that we are content with in all their forms, or just call the child the nickname to start with. There’s nothing wrong with Jimmy instead of James, Sam instead of Samuel or Millie instead of Amelia if that’s what you prefer. Just put it on the piece of paper – then no one can argue with you.

Do you think you can choose your child’s nickname? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Perhaps she should have just called him AJay and saved the hassle.


  • We are well aware others call our son by a different nickname. If he’s okay with it, that’s all that matters.


  • A nickname is something personal and it shows a connection between the person and the person who calls them by their nickname. My husband is called one thing by his co-workers, another thing by his parents, another by his sister, and another thing by his close friends. Its unique and special and highlights that relationship.


  • You can’t force people to call your kids by a certain nickname. If she wanted to have him called by a certain (nick)name, she should have named him so at the birth certificate/birth card.

    • What a waste of energy to go fuming about this btw


  • Well then, that is her nickname for her son. I’m sure other names will come when he’s at school She should have know Alexander will get abbreviated to Alex.


  • If she only wanted him called AJ then that should have been the name it’s not like the relatives are calling him something terrible it’s his actual name


  • It may eventually catch on as he grows up but if the mum wanted her baby to be called Aj she should have named him that. Once he gets to school kids will probably come up with a new nickname anyway


  • She can call her son AJ and the others can do what ever

    • Very true -these things cannot be forced.


  • Alex is the usual nickname for Alexander so I don’t think it’s really up to her to make them call him another type of nickname. If she wanted him to be called AJ, just name him that because he will end up being called more random names than that anyway.


  • If she wanted him to be called AJ, then she should have just called him that!


  • Not sure. If she really wanted to use the name AJ, she should have put it in the birth certificate. Some people will be fine in calling him AJ, but you can’t oblige anyone.


  • Well my name is Nicole and my friends call me Nikkers. My mum hates it but they still do it. I guess she can refer to him as AJ but just let everyone else call him Alex.


  • I think she has probably been given a new nickname after this


  • Oopsie! That sure is a tricky situation but it really is what other people would like to call him.


  • Nah, when you want to call your child by a nickname then you should make that official the name on the birth certificate and birth card.


  • Wow! This is crazy! Nicknames are born from personality, life experience, etc. If this Mum wanted her child called AJ, then make that his name. You can’t dictate a nickname.


  • nicknames come with time. If you wanted your son to be called Aj I would have just simply named him Aj! it would then save all your heartache because no-one is calling him that! I would let it go.

    • I agree if she feels that strongly she should have named him AJ.


  • I don’t like this idea.


  • Nicknames aren’t usually ‘picked’, they our names given by friends and family as the child grows and shows its personality, etc. Alex, to me, is the natural shortened name of their chosen name … I don’t see what the fuss is about.


  • Nicknames have always been around so weather the family like it James is probably always going to be called Jim as will( Samantha be Sam ,William be Bill and so on.)


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