Full Name or Nickname?
I gave my daughters names I never intended on using—except when they were in trouble. Though their official records may state that they’re Katharine and Margaret, my girls were always intended to be called Katie and Maggie. I know plenty of people who think it’s a bad idea to name your child something you don’t intend to call them—and those people chose short names for their kids, the kind that are nearly impossible to derive a nickname from.
But I liked the idea of a name that could be used in many different ways, that gives them the freedom to introduce themselves as they see fit as they grow. I expect that eventually, my Katie may decide to be Kate or Katharine, while Maggie seems like she’ll stick to Maggie, grown up or not. (Though they’ll always be Katie and Maggie to the people who watched them grow up.) And I couldn’t imagine giving them something so informal as Katie or Maggie as their “official” name. It felt like they needed something that felt formal for something as important as their names—and something that could work, no matter what they wanted to be when they grew up. I’m not sure you’d want a neurosurgeon named Katie working on you, but Katharine feels like someone you could trust with your brain.
I know that nicknames as official names has become a big trend in naming, as some people are skipping the formal name and going for the nickname: Charlie, Alex, Xander and Max for boys, or Ellie, Abby, Josie and yes, Kate for girls. They’re probably hoping they can head off some of the unfortunate nicknames at the pass—keeping their Charles from becoming Chuck, for instance. (But we all know that kids and their friends come up with their own nicknames for each other, parents’ opinions be damned.)
So, which way do you lean on this issue? Would you pick a name for your child that you don’t intend on using? And would you rather give your child the nickname or the full, formal name?
Picture: Xander by ATurner / Shutterstock
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