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Mommy Dearest: In-Laws Call Baby by Another Name

Mommy Dearest,

My husband and I put a lot of time into choosing our children's names. We have two boys: Matthew, 3, and August, who is 3 months old. We named our younger son for the month he was born and my in-laws have made it clear that they are not fans of the choice. That doesn't bother me, but the fact that they only refer to our baby by his middle name does. If we wanted his name to be Michael, we would have put that first on the birth certificate. What's more annoying is the fact that it is confusing our older son. Matthew doesn't understand why Grammy and Papa call August "Michael." How can I tell my in-laws to knock it off?

– Annoyed With In-Laws' Nickname

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,


Annoyed With In-Laws' Nickname,

As parents, you and your husband have the right to name your children whatever you choose. While your in-laws don't have to agree with the moniker, it is not their place to make up a new one for your son. Not only is it rude, but it is confusing your older boy. Politely explain this and tell them that you don't want them calling August "Michael" anymore. It's better to confront this issue now rather than later, if and when your lil guy starts responding to both names.

— Mommy Dearest

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Source: Flickr User Futurestreet

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meenaajay meenaajay 5 years many of you having similar problems...I know it is too late to respond to this thread..but still i am facing similar issue and was searching in the internet, looking for info on how to respond and found this thread..i am in a joint family in india where in-laws don't live separately.Son and daughter-in-law lives along with son's parents...i am a DIL in such a i have a 5 months old son whom i have name adhvaith (I and my husband chose it) and my mother-in-law, father-in-law,sister-in-law(who is divorced and lives along with us and her kid ...they all call him with a totally different name which my mom-in-law chose..I hate that name..i have been asked to call him with that name for which i said no..but they would not stop calling him with that name...whenever i call him with his real name, all i get is stares and that scares me coz my husband is out of country on a long term official i am sick and tired of hearing this other name and am turning mad with each and every action of theirs..they would not let me pamper my child..i get to take care of all other things like bathing him, feeding him, cleaning him up etc....but they do all the pampering when i do the cleaning work, sorting my child's clothes the time i get a chance to bond with my baby, he is tired and wants to be fed and wants to go to husband is asking me to wait till he reaches home which would be soon...but everyday is just my son has even started responding to the other name and is not minding when i call him, this makes me sad...i am just so is just mom-in-law ruling the house..:-(
ajoy82 ajoy82 6 years
I think that's incredibly rude! My parents gave me a nickname as my name because they didn't like the nickname that they thought I would end up with. I have been AJ my entire life even though my legal name is Andrea. My parents didn't like Andy.
adeniseb adeniseb 6 years
My mom wanted to do that too, which is crazy in our case because our baby's first name is Tristan and his middle name is Webb (chosen only because it's a family name). She wanted to call him Webb because she wanted us to name him Noah. Anyway, to get her to stop I used grandparent guilt. "Mom, you're going to make him hate his name." It worked very well. Just a thought.
chaoticnight chaoticnight 6 years
just to be clear, when I said "that's what the fuss is about" I was responding to the first poster. ie..."I don't see what the fuss is about"
chaoticnight chaoticnight 6 years
Middle names are giving for different reasons. Some people chose a late parent or grandparents first name as their child's middle name, for example. Some people even do go by there middle name as a "nickname". But that is if the parents choose to use it as a first name nickname(or the child obtains it from friends and goes along with it) In this case, the parents are NOT, so the grandparents should respect that. As the mother stated: if they wanted it to be a first name it would be. that what the fuss is about. Personally, I'd be miffed if people called me by my last name (which is also part of my name) constantly. A name is precious, it's part of one's identity.
sylviamcdanyel sylviamcdanyel 6 years
Just another tip. If your relationship is anything like mine and my MIL, I'd let my husband address it. We named one of our twin daughters Charlotte and call her Charlie. She doesn't like it b/c it's her 4th husband's 2nd ex-wife's name! Not my problem! She's still mad two years later and refuses to call her Charlie. Of course, she hasn't seen my twins in a year, and that has been HER choice. Oh what we ladies have to deal with!!!!!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 6 years
I agree it is rude. I also agree that being straight with them is best. And if that doesn't work then I like babysugars advice of calling them by different names. I find this no less rude than people automatically shortening someones name if you don't know that they don't mind being called that. My son's name is Michael he wants to be called Michael - many people assume that Mike is acceptable, it's not to any of us so we correct them. This situation to me is no different.
dizzeechickee dizzeechickee 7 years
That is completely rude! I agree with everyone else that you should be firm with them that Michael is NOT his name. My son has a hyphenated first name and it drives me crazy when people just use the first of the two names as if the hyphen and everything after it don't exist. To me, it's the same as shortening someone's name without their permission...just rude!
lickety-split lickety-split 7 years
We had a variation of this with my sil refusing to call my youngest by her nickname. Finally when she was 3 my daughter said "why don't you call me leelee? That's the real me. Leanne is just my name". The end. So rude.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
This makes me think of this: In all seriousness, though, I agree with what others have said. This is extremely rude. Using a nickname is one thing; in that case it could be possible that they were unintentionally doing it. But, in this case, it's obvious that they are intentionally being rude.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 7 years
I completely agree with Chouette, if the grandparents can't be bothered to call your son by his correct name regardless if they like it or not then you couldn't be bothered to let them see their grandchild. If they ask why then tell them they wanted to see "Michael" and you're not sure who that is.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I know a few people who had to deal with this with their family with names, especially when there was more then one middle name concerned. I picked a name that was a little off the wall, although a real name, and I wasn't really sure if i was going to have to deal with this. NO ONE liked the name Kairi (ky-ree with ky as in kite) and we got two responses whenever anyone asked or we told family, it was a very hesitant and clearly disapointed " nice" or a flat out, Kairi? why would you name her that?! I was firm and showed no reaction to the crappy remarks, and no one questioned it after she was born and I named her that. I'm about to go through it again, I'm sure if this baby turns out to be a boy.. lol. Id never put up with it, and I would just say something, or have your husband. I can understand being shocked at first, and letting it slide because it really is shocking and jarring when people are that flat out disrespectful, but enough is enough. They have to call him what YOU named him, not what they waht to, otherwise we wouldn't even bother with names.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 7 years
omg how rude.... cant believe other ppl had this problem too and not just the OP i'd be livid......what has hubby done to improve the situation?
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 7 years
My name is Susan, and my middle initial is A. So on all of my papers, it would say "Susan A _____" People would constantly call me Susana, when Susana is not my name, even when I told them my name was Susan. I personally love my name, and wouldn't let anyone call me something other than Sue or Susie (To call me Susie though, you have to be close to me)
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
Like everyone has said, be firm! And honestly if they keep doing it, I would eventually tell him that they cannot see him unless they call him by his proper name.
babysugar babysugar 7 years
If the in-laws don't get the straight talk, try giving them a dose of their own medicine... call them by different names and see how they like it. They may get with the program sooner than later.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
I would tell them that if they insist on continueing to do this? that you will start calling them by their first names instead of grandma and grandpa.
GMarie GMarie 7 years
I think the issue is the power play by the in-laws. Grandparents sometimes have issues with letting their OWN children go on and make decisions as parents without their input or say so. Said grandparents sometimes deal with their own feelings about letting go by acting childishly and doing passive-aggressive things like choosing to call their grandchild by a name they, themselves would have chosen. My own mother, when we are together with my son, often tries to parent him or undercut my parenting choices, which is VERY annoying. She even told me once that she loves my son JUST as much as I do....and I know that she loves him, but...seriously. I think it's all a process, and you have to be as honest as possible while trying not to play into it by getting angry (as difficult as that can be).
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