Mom and dad call toddler by different name?

[name_f]My[/name_f] son’s dad and I share a 2 year old son who’s first name is [name_m]William[/name_m] and middle name is [name_m]Alexander[/name_m]. Dad and the paternal grandparents call our son “Alex”, but I call him Will/William and so does my family. [name_f]My[/name_f] ex had wanted [name_m]Alexander[/name_m] to be the first name, but eventually settled as it being the middle name (I had no idea that they would call our son [name_u]Alex[/name_u] at this time). I made it very clear that I absolutely hate the nickname [name_u]Alex[/name_u]. I like the full form of [name_m]Alexander[/name_m] and even [name_m]Xander[/name_m], but hate [name_u]Alex[/name_u]. I told him this multiple times from the time I was 4 months pregnant. He assured me that our son would never be called [name_u]Alex[/name_u], but then we broke up shortly after he was born and all of a sudden that’s what they call our son. He knows his name is [name_m]William[/name_m] and will turn his head when I call out his name and if I ask where’s [name_m]William[/name_m]? He will point at his chest and say “me”. I’ve seen them call “Alex” and he literally doesn’t even turn his head until they say it three or four times.

I know that being called two different names is going to get confusing, especially when he starts school. They have tried to set appointments under the name “Alex” (ones both me and my son’s dad were going to). They introduce him to everyone as “Alex”. We live 1 hour apart and the chance of running into each other is small, but still. It is such a weird feeling when I get a text from my ex or his family and they say “How is Alex?” And I say “Will is doing great”. I have no doubt that they will try to get “Alex” to be our son’s name when he starts school. I am getting really depressed about this and people have said that “it isn’t a big deal and it’s just a nickname get over it”. Well, I can’t help it. It bothers me. I keep thinking “which name will our son choose when he is older?”. I can’t imagine calling him [name_u]Alex[/name_u]. I’m not trying to be overdramatic or anything. Our son’s last name is hyphenated and they try to cut my name out. They have been trying to teach our son that his name is “Alex (dad’s last name)”. They write it out repeatedly and say it a lot. I do the same thing with Will/William, but I always include the full hyphenated last name as it is only fair. Please tell me I’m not crazy for feeling depressed about my son being called a different name and not having any control over it. Especially a name that I hate. I wish i had not agreed to the middle name, but it was something my ex pushed and I thought that if they did call him by it, it would be [name_m]Xander[/name_m]. It’s going to be confusing if my son goes by [name_m]Will[/name_m] at school and his dad picks him up and tells “Hey Alex!” And then his friends go “Who’s that?”. I just needed to vent in a safe space that is anonymous. So thanks for getting this far.


You are definitely not crazy! its really wrong they would do any of the things you stated , especially when you say it makes you uncomfortable!


You’re definitely not crazy. Actually, I think they might be.


i am sorry this is happening to you. definitely not crazy. i would be so frustrated in your situation. i hope it all works out!

1 Like

This is a very frustrating situation and I’m sorry you’re dealing with it.
I don’t really know what the solution would be since you can’t force them to call him a certain thing.
Definitely doesn’t sound like they’re trying to make relationships easier between his two families though.
Almost seems a little spiteful.
If he primarily lives with you and you’re the one that registers him for school then I wouldn’t worry about the school thinking of him as [name_u]Alex[/name_u].
If his dad picks him up from school calling him a different name then that’s something he’ll have to worry about not you.
At that point he might as well just refer to him as his full name [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_m]Alexander[/name_m] and then there would be less confusion.

Unfortunately, we can’t decide what name our kids choose to go by when they are grown and they might even pick a name that has nothing to do with their birth name at all so I wouldn’t stress about that just yet.

As for him being confused, I don’t think he will be really.
He will probably just grow to think of himself as [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_m]Alexander[/name_m].
I am sorry this is causing you so much stress though. :slightly_frowning_face:


You definitely aren’t crazy! It sounds like your ex and his family are being unreasonable, and I’m sure this is making co-parenting a real struggle.


You are not crazy! I agree with @whatchamacallit that calling him [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_m]Alexander[/name_m] sometimes would probably be a lot less confusing.


Not crazy at all! I would make sure that they can’t change his name without your consent, and never let them fill out paperwork without you. Make sure schools, doctors, etc know what his full and legal name is. If there’s an accident and he ends up in hospital and they are looking for the medical records of ‘Alex Lastname’ they’re not going to find them because they should be looking for ‘William Lastname1-Lastname2’. He could cause problems down the line for your son.


This is genuinely an awful situation and I’m sorry your stuck in it! I think your ex and family are being incredibly rude and disrespectful, and also selfish - I don’t think they’ve considered the confusing implications for your child at all!! If [name_m]William[/name_m] is his legal name then that’s that, calling him something else is completely unhelpful and uncalled for. It also sounds as though they’re doing it out of spite for you (especially trying to drop your last name). Not okay!!


I’m sorry that you’re having to deal with this level of epic frustration! There is definitely some consolation in the fact that [name_m]Will[/name_m] already recognizes his name as [name_m]William[/name_m] and not [name_u]Alex[/name_u]. That isn’t going to just disappear.

He might grow to accept being called [name_u]Alex[/name_u] by the other half of the family. There’s always the chance that he’ll even prefer it - there’s nothing any of us can do about the personal tastes of our children. He may even bring that preference to you, and that’s something you should probably prepare yourself to accept should it happen.

But there’s always that other side of the coin too. He might bring that same request to his dad, and ask to be called [name_m]Will[/name_m]. In the meantime, he’s only two and he knows he’s [name_m]William[/name_m]. Keep doing what you’re doing, Mama!

1 Like