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.

More on Mouths of Mums



  • 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.)


  • Shortening Alexander to Alex is a nickname.
    A nickname cannot be forced, it tends to occur over time.


  • Each to their own. But i have to agree everyone will have their own nickname


  • If she wanted his name to be AJ, she should have just called him that


  • Wow people get worked up about trivia these days, no big deal, a name is what you choose, you choose a name and other people make the nickname, some will call your child one thing and others will call them something else, and you cannot control it, sure you can voice your opinion, but as the child gets older they will choose their own nickname anyway.


  • Usually as they get older they get their Nickname from friends,


  • It is hard to try to give your children a nickname as others will do this. I do not like people shortening my children’s names. My second son was given one that could not be shortened but others found a way of doing this. I did correct others when they tried shortening my third son and he now tells people his mother will bash them up if they use the short version, so his name remains the same. Yet another one of my children shortened his name as he got fed up with correcting people. so now he is known by either.


  • This is a tough one, we didn’t want our kids to have nicknames before they knew their own names first.


  • I don’t know if anyone who had chosen their own nicknames. Nicknames are generally just an affectionate thing, the problem with the name Alexander is that is is commonly shortened to Alex, so people would automatically go for that’s instead of the AJ that she had thought would happen. There’s no much you can do unfortunately.


  • I feel its parents choice what they want their child called in full and nick name. And family & friends should be respectful of that. I would be inclined to start calling them nicknames they may not like, and when they ark up, say when you stop, I’ll stop! :)

    It always reminds me of something my dad said when I was in my 20’s. I was working with a lady who across the office called me ‘Fanny Annie’. I hated it. I was actually scared off her as she loved to intimated people. I told my dad about her. He asked what her name was ‘Marcy’. He told me to reply when she did it ‘Yes Marcy Arsey’. I was like NO WAY, she’ll bash me up! Sure enough….’Fanny Annie’ was screamed across the office, so I took a BIG BREATHE and responded ‘Yes Marcy Arsey’. My knee caps were jumping inside. She stormed off, and Fanny Annie was never mentioned again. Phew!


  • I know how she feels but we made sure not to tell anyone our childs name until after he was born. I would just tell everyone his name is AJ..


  • I think it will just take some time for everyone to get used to the name. Once the baby is here for longer people will get used to it.


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