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What's in a nickname?

by MonSta (follow)
My fun blog: andhubbymakes8.com and my serious blog: lesreasonables.com
Parenting (156)      Names (2)      Nicknames (1)     
I love a good nickname. One of my reasons for having kids was so I could make up my own names to call them. Each of my kids has multiple nicknames, of varying types - I see it as a way to show closeness and familarity, and reduce formality.

My mum, however, hates nicknames and shortening of names. My name (according to her) is Monica. Not Mon. Another prominent family member refuses to call my Nicky Boy anything but Nicholas. I think these people would have made excellent aristocrats.

For the sake of the article, let's ignore those sticklers and assume that nicknames are great. So how do we figure out a good nickname for our kids (or spouses or friends)? There are a few different paths you can take, for example:

1. The shortening

This is the easiest way to generate a nickname - most common names already have shortened versions. For example, Benjamin is Ben, Jeremy is Jezza, Catherine is Katie. Robert becomes Rob or Bob. And so on, and on.

girls, face paint, nicknames
Miskha, Bub and Juj

2. The rhyming word

These nicknames can be a bit dangerous, in that some names rhyme with rude words or derogatory words. Let's keep it nice, shall we?
Michelle gets called Shelly Belly (NOT Smelly!). Cute, and there's no confusion about who I'm referring to. I know of a Chris who was called Hissy (he named himself when he was too young to pronounce his own name). It stuck.

girls, face paint, nicknames
Cookie Boy, comes from Bickie which rhymes with Nicky

3. The attribute match

I love the Australian tendency to draw attention to a person's uniqueness by calling them the opposite. Red heads being called Blue, tall people called Shorty - when intended kindly it can be a subtle display of affection and closeness.
The attribute nickname can also be used to encourage kids in certain endeavours. It can help kids to think differently about themselves. For example, calling your child Speedy or Muscles if they don't feel that way (and wish they were) can perhaps help to improve their self-image. I love calling kids Sweetie or Brains, in the hope that they will believe it and live up to the title.

girls, face paint, nicknames
The Basher, Smasher, Trasher, they all fit, and coincidentally, they all rhyme with Ash

4. The random word

These names have got to be my favourite kind of nickname. Totally frivolous and fun, a random word can encourage playfulness and become a sort of in-joke in the family. Once again it's important to be careful to choose words that don't belittle or embarrass kids. Here are some examples: Mars Bar, Sparkles, Rumpelstiltskin, Bob, Bumblebee, Kitten, Mouse, Missy, Moo, Bud, Bunny, Bear.

girls, face paint, nicknames

The world is your oyster! Have some fun, and perhaps one day your kids will come up with a nickname for you!

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