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.




  • I think she should have just called him AJ rather than have it as a nickname.


  • My son is William. He very quickly became Billy to almost everybody, there are some people who call him Will or Bill or William. His middle name is Joseph. A few people have called him BJ. Who really cares? If you don’t like the kids actual name then don’t call him that.


  • I’m surprised the nickname didn’t stick with people. It’s simple and to the point. I guess it would be annoying.


  • As Aussies, we always shorten names and create nicknames. However, these come naturally. Perhaps if she wanted her son to be called AJ, she should just have called him AJ.


  • I went to primary school with a boy who was nicknamed BJ for Bradley john I think it was (oh dear! Haha). I do wonder if his friends called him bj into later years though when they actually knew what a bj is..

    • This is the reason we didn’t call my son a name starting with B given that we have a surname starting with J, LOL


  • There are way too many people doing this with their kids, if you name your baby with meaning then you use that name which is their identity, nicknames are giving in the playground.


  • It is only natural that a person is going to call another by their proper name unless that person requests otherwise. How’s the boy going to feel when he is registered for places such as school with his proper name and he has been called by a nickname until then.


  • I can think of better things to worry myself with. The name isn’t offensive at all so why care


  • Holy moley what a woman! Can you imagine the size of her heart to fit all these babies in!


  • Just keep calling him AJ until they all fall into line.


  • She probably should’ve called him Aj if she wanted people to call him that. I can understand the family wanting to keep the nickname simple by shortening the first name.


  • She refers to them using Ollie (Oliver), Harry (Harrison), Albie (Albert) and Mila (Emelia),does she not get that they are shortening the first name not both names thus Alexander Jason will be shortened to Alex as they have not been recognising the second name. Any how even though I do use nick names really we shouldn’t as the child was given a name and that is what we should call them, not shorten it. If you want a shortened name call the child that name. But in saying this my beloved nephew was christened Paul and family lengthened it to Paulie. You just can’t win.


  • I agree. If that’s how she wanted to call the baby, she would have named him AJ.


  • You can’t force people to use your nickname. When you want to make it official, do so on the birth certificate.


  • I’m not sure I agree with this mum. If she wanted it to be AJ then his name should be AJ! Nicknames can’t be forced in my opinion


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