Calling a child by their middle name

United States
May 25, 2007 2:10pm CST
Why do parents name their children one thing and then call them by their middle name? A friend's sister had a baby she named Destiny Taylor and called her Taylor. Why in the heck didn't they just name the child that in the first place? When you name your child do you have every intention of calling them by the first name you gave them or by their middle name?
8 people like this
21 responses
@toe_ster (771)
• United States
25 May 07
I am one of those that you are talking about. I can only speak for myself and have my own reasons, but I have wondered the same thing. When I was pregnant w/my first child, his dad wanted nothing to do with it. However later on down theline changed his mind. When trying to come up with a name I decided that he should have a piece of his dad and named him after his dad using his dads middle name. I made sure to ask if it was a common name in the family. He said no. When we went to a family get together a few weeks after the baby was born there were five people in the room with the same name. I was mad. I didn't want to have to be at family functions later in life and call him and have five people respond. Also come to find out this was a family name and he didn't even know that every male in the family had that name. So my fstarted calling him by his middle name and it stuck. His family even now calls him by his middle name. I have 3 boys. The second one we call by his first name no problem. But the last one is another story. He was supposed to be a girl. 3 ultrasounds stated so. Whenhe was born surprise! we had only girl names picked out. It took us nine months to get the onename and now we had to change it up.We could agree on nothing. After being in the hospital for almost a week, the nurses asked us to put a name on the birth certificate before we left. we argued over 2 hours what the name should be. I liked one, heliked another. Finally outof frustration I gave in . He felt bad and put themiddle name down as the one i liked. Being as I spend more time raising him, I call him what I want, which would be his middle name. Now even his dad alls him that. We hardly ever use his first name although my son knows both. We still get in arguments over why we just didn't stick with my original name when he doesn't even use the name he picked. He says at the time, it felt right. To each its own.
2 people like this
• United States
28 May 07
Well in your case I can understand, you named your child thinking it wasn't a common family name when it really was. Thanks for sharing and making me open my eyes a little :-)
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
25 May 07
I've seen a few cases where they named a kid after a parent but chose to call them by the middle name to keep the confusion to a minimum. I think that is better than what happened to my mom & her brother, both named after their parents, they became "Sis" and "Bus." Other than that - beats me, I name my cats what I mostly call them. I named one cat "Oliver" & while a friend comes over & calls him "Ollie" we always call him "Oliver." Now I do have nicknames for my cats, Timus (said Ti'-mus not Ti-mus') we call "Ti'mie" a lot. Then there's "Nino," who's nick name is "Spud." I can't really say anything about kids, because I don't have any, but I think I'd go with the first name since I do have a record of doing it with my cats. Now, some people have a tradition of using the middle, or second name, generally because the first name is very common, I've known at least 2 "Mary's" that don't use their first name, one uses just her middle name, the other uses a nickname.
2 people like this
@kbkbooks (7028)
• Canada
28 May 07
That's what I was going to say ElicBxn... What Elic said.
@4cuteboys (4102)
• United States
25 May 07
I have always wondered the same thing so hopefully someone will enlighten us. I totally agree though, if your going to call your kid Taylor, why not make it the first name. Maybe I'm missing something here, but my kids only go by their first names!
2 people like this
• United States
28 May 07
Same here, I namd that and I expect them to be called by that name.
• United States
26 May 07
I call my daughter the name we gave her, or even shorten it up a bit. Her name is Brittany and she gets called everything from Britt to Bit to Bitsy (though only her great-grandmother gets away with that). My husband still calls her Little Bit even though she's almost 12, because when she was a baby she was his "little bit of nothing". I would never think of calling her by her middle name. However, my husband always goes by his middle name. He was given the same first name as his father and the family always called him by his middle name so that there was no confusion.
2 people like this
@toe_ster (771)
• United States
25 May 07
I have a sister also, that does this. Her husband named her two boys after himself and his father which are traditional mexican names. Us being polynesian, my sister gave them hawaiian middle names. She calls them by the middle nameas do our sideof the family, and he calls them by their first name as dohis side of the family. It is wierd but it works. Also I always wondered if after someone names their kid and then later on doesn't like it or it doesn't fit the kids personality the parents just do it. Or there are so many kids in the same area with the same name and the parent just wants to have the kid have their own name?
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 07
I would think that would be confusing to the children to have to go by two different names on seperate side of the family. But glad it works well for them.
@toe_ster (771)
• United States
28 May 07
I think as aan infant it is confusing. BUt when it happens on a daily basisit kind of sinks in like a regular name anyway. I don't really know what babies know. BUt I agree. It couldbe confusing. But when they get to be toddlers its seems normal to them i guess. In a wierd way it is kinda like learning two languages as a baby.
@Woodpigeon (3710)
• Ireland
28 May 07
I only use my kids middle names if they are in trouble, and usually of the very large variety. Iwould never use their middle name as a primary name. I would have just named them that in the first place.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 07
That is how I thought, if I wanted the middle name to be the named called I would ahve named then that in the first place.
@sacmom (14314)
• United States
26 May 07
One of my dearest friends was called by her middle name. I honestly thought it was her first name until one day she asked me if I wanted to know her full name. When I found out the name I was calling her was her middle name I was a bit confused, though I don't think I asked her why. I was more interested in the fact that she actually had two middle names instead of just one! Years later my friend's sister had a little girl of her own. Their mother would call this baby by her middle name and told her kids (and me) to do so when around her (my friend's mom). When I got the chance I asked my friend privately why their mom would do this. My friend told me her mom hated the baby's first name! I actually thought it was pretty. As for why my friend's mom called her own daughter by her middle name is beyond me. But I can only guess she named my friend after a family member to show respect even if she didn't like the name. :P
• United States
28 May 07
All of my girls have two middle names. I when I had my first daughter I had trouble deciding on which name I liked best with the first name I picked so I did both and since I didn't want her to feel different than her sisters I kept it up lol.
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
26 May 07
I usually stick with the first names, but at times I do call my kids by their middle names, but that might be because I was just upset about something and just forgot to say the first part? LOL!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 07
LOL... I am so glad I am not the only one, but I take it one step farther and forget their whole name!
@Signal20 (2281)
• United States
25 May 07
I've wondered the same thing lol. I've noticed it seems to be more common in the Southern states. My ex husband went by his middle name. I asked his mom why they did that, she said I don't know, we didn't like his first name....but he was named after an uncle or something. I agree with you though, very strange!!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 07
Then why name the child that if you didn't like it?, Just use it as a middle name lol.
• United States
26 May 07
I can think of a few reasons. 1. their first name is the same as another family memeber's so they are called by their middle name 2. the name they really liked only sounded good as a middle name 3. they liked both names equally and put them together how they thought they sounded best and found out later they preferred the middle name 4. or it just happened. My mother in law's name is Leola Kay and she has always gone by just "Kay". Her brother's name is William Leon (William being their father's first name, also) and has always gone by Leon. My neighbors have a son named Phillip Scott and my dad didn't even know Scottie wasn't his name until recently and the guy is 26 now, lol. My cousins named their daughter Eleanor Mercy. Eleanor was my grandmother's name. They call her Mercy which I think is very pretty. We call our kids by their first and middle names a lot. My husband somehow got into the habit of dropping my middle daughter's first name when he was playing with her. Her name is Brenna Caitlen but he calls her just Caitlen all the time and she answers to both which gets confusing since her best friend is named Katelyn, lol.
1 person likes this
@beaniegdi (1966)
26 May 07
How people name their children can be very interesting. I have studied a bit of family history where I live in England and names and why and how children are named in obviously an important part of that subject. It maybe that where your friend comes from it is traditional for families to do this. So one name, their first name, might be considered their 'formal' name and one name, their middle name, considered to be their family name or the one that people close to them would use. Years ago in England there were naming patterns in place and depending on where in the family the child was would influence which relative they would be named after. So first born som was named after the paternal grandfather, second born after the father, 3rd after uncle or friend, 4th and subsequent after whoever they chose and girls would be named the same way but after the maternal side. So tracing family history can be made a bit easier as you can hazzard a guess sometimes at the name of a distant relative whose surname but not first name was known. Also the same names would occur over and over in the family history. They would sometime give more than one child the same name if it was a family name they wanted to continue as years ago they could not guarantee all their children would survive, so doing this gave them a bigger chance of the name continuing. So although to you the way they have named their child seems a bit bizarre to them it probably just seemed the thing to do as everyone they know maybe does the same thing.
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
26 May 07
None of my cildren were given middle names. I don't have a middle name but my late husband had one that he hated. Both him and his brother were delivered by the same Doctor. The Docs name was Donald Pearson. Well my husbands brother was named Donald and my husband got the Pearson bit for a middle name. His Mother always called him Pearson but he made sure everyone else called him by a shortened version of his first name - Alfred (Al). I think middle names are a waste of time and energy throughout life.
@reinydawn (11649)
• United States
26 May 07
That's a very good question!! Why did my parents name me Reina Dawn and I've gone by Dawn my whole life? Well, because Reina is Spanish (which we aren't) and none of my parents family could say it. So, I go by Dawn. A few years back I went back to using my maiden name and very seriously considered changing my name to Dawn Reina, but that just didn't sound right... And it would have hurt my mother's feelings I'm sure. I also know when people name their boys after the father they use the middle name for the son so they don't get them confused.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 07
I'm guilty of calling my kid by her middle name. Mostly because that is the name she wants to be known by. The first day I brought her home from the hospital after she was born, she wouldn't respond to her first name or any variation there-of. So, I tried her middle name, and then a nickname based on her middle name, and it worked. Sometimes I think it would be easier to carry the baby home after they're born with no name and then get to know their real personality and live with them for a few days before giving them their permanant name. But, we didn't have that option. I still feel that I made an excellent choice on names! Thanks for the insightful question.
@desty_1 (26)
• United States
26 May 07
The darling little boy in my avatar is my son, William Matthew. Our 1st son's name is Michael Dale. We Michael goes by Michael, but we use Matthew instead of William. My wife and I wanted our son's to have biblical names. I got to name Michael (Michael is my middle name and Dale is my father and brother's middle name) my wife got to name Matthew. In her family William is considered a family name. There are SO many Bills, Billys, Williams, Wills, etc its not funny! So his 1st name is William for her family, but Matthew is really what we wanted to name him.
1 person likes this
@carlaabt (3505)
• United States
26 May 07
We always call my son by his first name. My brother doesn't like the name, so he calls him Mikey (Michael is his middle name). But so far he is the only one that does that. If when my son gets older, he decides he wants to go by Mikey, or some other form of his middle name, we will all call him that, because that's his choice. My dad went by his middle name some when he was younger. He was named after his grandpa, so they didn't want to just call him Little John. Most the time by his family, though, he goes by a name that isn't even related to his first or middle name. Most family calls him Todd, even though his name is John Rogers, and his last name is not related to Todd either. He got the name because his aunt Lottie favored him over the other kids (She's where he got his middle name, too). His brother started calling him "Lottie's Toddy" and it stuck. Over 50 years later, he's still Todd or Toddy to all of his brothers and his sister.
1 person likes this
@castleghost (1304)
• United States
25 May 07
My daughters name is Caitlyn Sue. I have always refered to my daughter as Caitlyn. But I do have family members who call her Caity, Sue , or Susie. My daughter will answer to what ever name you call her. My sister named her first son Charles Jacob. She had every intention of calling him C.J. One day he told his parents that he wanted to be called Jacob. So out of respect to him we all started calling him Jacob. Then when he got older he wanted to be called Jake.
• United States
25 May 07
Sorry I meant sister in law.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 07
If my child wanted to be called by thier middle name than I wouldn't have a problem with it either. But I just didn't understand people calling them by their middle name at birth.
@Sir_bobby88 (8244)
• Singapore
26 May 07
Well for us chinese , we call our child by their english name normally for the new generations . but we do name their chinese name seriously yea ...
• United States
28 May 07
So do you name your children with both an English name and a Chinese name on thier birth record?
• United States
28 May 07
My niece has an unusual first and middle name, which were taken from her mother's middle name and her aunt's middle name. She doesn't go by either, though, instead going by a combination of the two. I don't know why my sister-in-law chose her name to be that way, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. On the other hand, my fiance is the third male in his family to have the same name. Oddly enough, he goes by his actual first name, his father goes by their shared middle name, and his late grandfather went by a nickname based on their shared first name. Usually that seems to go in the opposite direction with men who have the same name.
@jwfarrimond (4474)
26 May 07
Maybe they regretted giving the kid such a silly first name...