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livelaughlove21's avatar

Am I the only one that's annoyed by children's nicknames?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (14551 points ) January 11th, 2013 from iPhone

I had a lot of nicknames growing up – many of them strange, but they never took precedent over my actual name.

In my husband’s family, as soon as a child is born they are given a nickname and, from that day forward, their real name doesn’t matter.

I’m not talking about shortened versions of the child’s name (Josh for Joshua, Alex for Alexandrea, etc) or even terms of endearment (sweetie, baby, hunny). I’m talking about cutesy names like peanut, bunny, or cricket.

When we have kids, we’re thinking about sending out a memo: “THIS IS OUR CHILD’S NAME! PLEASE USE IT!”

I know most kids have nicknames, but calling the kid “monk” or “turtle” or “spiderman” more often than their name just gets under my skin. I almost forgot my husband’s nephew’s name because no one EVER called him by it.

This has turned into a bit of a rant, but what do you think about this? Has anyone encountered this before? Is it pretty common?

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26 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Can’t help you there. We gave our youngest a nickname when he was tiny and he’s been ‘baby bird’ since. We don’t use it in place of his name but I use it more than his name. The oldest then got ‘big bird’ retroactively. And since we want to call the next one Turing (if we have another), we will call him turtle. Anyway, you don’t have to give your kids nicknames but, for us, it’s about holding on to a time when they were tiny and precious.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I was a junior, so pretty much since birth I was called by my middle name. When I went off to college I introduced myself with my real name and never looked back.

When I am around family or I bump into high school friends it is beyond annoying when they call me by that name, but I let it go.

Blondesjon's avatar

My daughter has been Squirrel forever and has no problems with that. In fact she loves it.

Nicknames only suck if the nicknamed thinks it sucks.

pleiades's avatar

My sons name is William.

So far he’s been called, “Wooz wooz”(by my side of the family) “Bee bops” “Wee Wumz” “Buddy” “Boz bos”

I can’t say I’m annoyed at all. Like zero. I wonder what William will think when he grows up! Lol

DominicX's avatar

I’ve encountered it—it doesn’t bother me unless the kid doesn’t like it, like if it was a nickname they had when they were very young but the parents continue to call them that. But the practice in itself doesn’t bother me; I think it’s cute :)

muppetish's avatar

When I was a toddler, so the story goes, I hated the nickname that my uncle tried to give me and made him change it. The changed name is what my family calls me now. If my child ever objected to being called anything a name, then I wouldn’t use it.

Can’t we say the same about nicknames one would get at school or work? If it doesn’t fit the person, or the person just generally doesn’t like it, but the name catches on, it sucks.

Shippy's avatar

I think they’re quite nice. My son is known as Big Bird. His Dad was known as Big G. I didn’t nick name my son that, it just happened. I think his name from me was Chop. Or Choppy. When I grew up I just had a name. I was boring.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I don’t have a problem with most of them. Some nicknames are quite bizarre, but for the most part, I think it’s just a cute way to remember the baby days. My kids are typically called by their actual names, but have a few nicknames each. My oldest is Peanut, Snickelfritz, Sweet Pea, or Doodlebug. My youngest is Boogie, Dumplin’, or Buttercup. If I use their nicknames, I usually use Peanut and Boogie. I think we call our youngest Boogie more often than our oldest Peanut, though. She was Boogie pretty early on, and that one really stuck.

wildpotato's avatar

Nah, just real childrens’ names. Brayden, Skyler, Tymbur, Jonnika, Kenlee – when did it become ok to mash two perfectly good names together to create a horribly cutesy mutant name that could never be seriously used by an adult? And the ones that take a regular name and switch up the spelling are awful, too: Breighanna, Aissis, Mykel, Tielor, Izach – poor kids.

marinelife's avatar

As someone who grew up with a not very appetizing nickname that was given me by my grandfather and stuck for years and years, I can relate.

I would insist that your children be called by their given names.

Jeruba's avatar

The cloyingly cute ones do get on my nerves. I mean, it’s one thing if the guy really wants to call his son Joshua “the Joshmeister” in private, but egad, please spare me. When you refer to him in front of me, I don’t want to hear that any more than I want to hear your pet name for your wife’s private parts or know your special word for your bathroom business.

@wildpotato, I agree. I bet I can guess what you thought of McKayla.

tinyfaery's avatar

No one puts Baby is the corner.

Yeahright's avatar

Nothing wrong with nicknames, except of course, as it has been mentioned here, when the child doesn’t like the nickname, in which case it should be stopped immediately. In general terms, nicknames function as terms of endearment and in most cases they are related to something meaningful to the family and the child. All my cousins and siblings had them, so it is very natural to me. My mother used to call me by my real name when I didn’t do something I was supposed to, so when she called me by my real name I knew I was going to be told off. We are all in our 50’s and we still use our nicknames.

Sunny2's avatar

Some families do this as a kind of tradition. Some geographical areas do it more than some others, just as a custom. Some kids are insistent on being called by their given names and reject attempts to call them nicknames. I figure you have a right to claim or deny nicknames. It doesn’t bother me much one way or the other. I think people who name seven kids by 7 first names, that all start with the same letter, a bit self conscious. They don’t realize that the little things make at school that are identified by the kid’s initials will become a problem in later years.
Let’s see, did A.W. on this one mean Abby or Al? Or was it Andy?

RandomGirl's avatar

My brother and SIL share a house with his childhood best friend, who is married to her sister. Both couples have a baby, 5 months apart in age. The two fathers have the same first name, so to make conversation convenient, they each have nicknames from fantasy books (they’ve had these names since they met, about 13 years ago). They go by these names all the time. My brother has a daughter, and the other couple has a son. They wanted to name the son after the father, but they didn’t want to have “Senior” and “Junior”, so the son’s given name is the father’s nickname. Since this gets confusing in everyday conversation, they call the son “Littles”. He now, at 12 months, does not respond to his given name very often. He always responds to “Littles”.
I have a feeling it’ll stick for a while.

livelaughlove21's avatar

None of the children I’m referring to are old enough to like or dislike their nickname. In fact, I remember thinking that one of them would hear the nickname so much that they’d think that was their actual name. I don’t mind cutesy nicknames in general, it’s when it takes the place of their given name that annoys me. Why give them a real name at all? I can see it on the birth certificate now: Took-took Robinson. Ugh…

As for the Jr/Sr confusion, that’s the exact reason why we won’t be having a Josh Jr running around – ever.

@wildpotato I totally agree. The newborn that spurred this question was given the name Kholton. What the hell is wrong with Colton?

Yeahright's avatar

@livelaughlove21 You are right. I learned my nickname wasn’t my real name when I was around 6 yo.

DigitalBlue's avatar

It doesn’t bother me, but I have a childhood nickname (not given by my parents) that people still use as my “real” name, and I’m 30 years old. My whole family has nicknames like that, and none of them were given to us by our parents, and it’s not something we consciously chose, they just seemed to stick.
I actually tend to feel a kinship with people who go by nicknames.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think it’s okay to have a pet name for your child up to a point. You will presumably have spent time thinking about the name you want for your child. I think it’s disrespectful for family members to overrule that choice and replace it with some nickname they have decided upon. I agree with your plan.

pleiades's avatar

Hahah, “that could never be seriously used by an adult?”

Because all adults have to be taken seriously or they’ll be out of line and weird.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir. I think they’re fun.

Leanne1986's avatar

My dad has called me fruitcake ever since I can remember but not so much that it took the place of my real name and I don’t think he decided on it from my birth, it just happened as far as I’m aware.

jonsblond's avatar

I’m momma squirrel btw :)

Kardamom's avatar

This poor child who was born to an aquaintence of mine has the lovely hyphenated name of Kingston Landis Yamamoto-Berkowitz (actually I changed the 2 last names to protect his identity) but you get the picture. I think in his case I’d rather be called Sport.

wildpotato's avatar

@Kardamom I also know a little kid named Kingston! But his dad’s rasta, so it’s not totally silly.

Nimis's avatar

@wildpotato Agree with your sentiments about names. Except Skyler belongs with your second example. It’s actually a modern spelling of Schuyler.

That example is somewhat understandable because a lot of people mispronounce Schuyler.

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