A mother and her husband were eagerly anticipating their oldest child’s entry into first grade at school. This excitement soon faded as they were faced with the issue of nicknames. Here is what she had to say:
Excited for Two Reasons
The anticipation was twofold – a chance for the child, named Aleksandr, to interact with peers, and an opportunity for the parents to focus on their other two children.
Problems During Kindergarten
Last year during kindergarten, there had been an issue with the child’s teacher repeatedly calling the child “Alex”, despite this not being his full name.
Correcting the Teacher
The mother had addressed the issue, making it clear that “Alex” was not their child’s given name. Fortunately, it seemed the problem had been resolved after this conversation.
A New School Year Begins
With the new school year rapidly approaching, the parents attended a mandatory orientation session. During the orientation, they met their child’s new teacher and learned about the curriculum.
Addressing Parental Concerns
Everything appeared to be going smoothly until the end of the meeting when the teacher took a moment to speak with each parent individually about any concerns they might have.
Addressing Name Concerns
Seizing the opportunity, the mother expressed her wish that the teacher addresses their child by his full name, Aleksandr, or the nickname “Sasha”, which they used at home. They emphasized that using “Alex” was not acceptable unless it was a genuine mistake.
The Teacher’s Disapproval
However, the teacher did not react positively to this request. The woman explained: “She looked confused, acting somehow offended as if I inconvenienced her by asking her to refer to my son by his name and nothing else.”
The Mother’s Reaction
The mother defended her request. “I wasn’t being hostile”, she wrote. “I just told her to call him what was written on his papers, either Aleksandr or Sasha.”
Two Perspectives on the Matter
The husband, however, had a different viewpoint. “He says I was being unreasonable and need to let go of my attachment to the name because nobody uses it where we live now, and that kids might take it as a bullying opportunity because kids can be cruel”, she explained.
The Mother’s Perspective
To the woman, the name was more than just a label. It was a choice they had made, and it held cultural significance. They felt that sticking to the name “Aleksandr” or “Sasha” was a matter of principle. If they had wanted their child to be called “Alex” or “Alexey,” that’s what they would have named him.
The mother recognized that life would be easier for her child if his peers and teachers could name him Alex. However, she felt that her resistance to this was justified, so she posted the story online to understand other people’s views on the matter. “Please make sure you know what your son prefers before asking people to call him something”, advised one reader.
What Did the Son Want?
The question of young boy’s preferences was ubiquitous within the comment section. “You keep saying he’ll answer to Aleksandr or Sasha, but have you actually asked him what he prefers?”, asked one reader. “I had a high school student who preferred a nickname but his mom refused to use it and demanded teachers not use his nickname. Don’t be that parent.”
Not What She Expected
Unfortunately, the mother did not receive the validation that she desired. Other commenters focussed on the rude nature of her request. “The teacher didn’t call him Alex”, one person wrote. “Last year’s teacher did. The way you said it was rude. You could have introduced him by his name or nickname. Then opened the conversation about nicknames.”
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