DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Confuzzled in Florida," regarding parents who give their children one name but demand they be called something different. I am an administrative assistant in an elementary school, and I have encountered the same problem with parents who register their children for kindergarten. I must check the birth certificate to verify the birthday and to ensure the child is registered under his or her legal name and that it's spelled correctly. Abby, I've had parents tell me that "Little Johnny" does not know that "Franklin" is his legal name, and I should register him as "Little Johnny." We DO have to register him as "Franklin" because that's the name he'll have to learn to write in kindergarten, as it's his legal name. "Franklin" can tell his teacher he prefers to be called "Little Johnny" in class.
- Jersey Girl (Not My Legal Name)
DEAR JERSEY GIRL: I heard from many readers who wanted to weigh in on the custom of using a name other than the child's legal first name. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The solution is to use the child's given name rather than the nickname on official documents such as a library card. Anything "official" should have your legal name.
- John in Baxter, Minn.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and his brothers, father and nephew all go by their middle names. If anyone calls asking for my husband by his legal name, he knows it's a telemarketer.
- Rachel in Texas
DEAR ABBY: When picking a name for your child, remember that you could be yelling that name in its entirety 20 times a day for the next 18 years - so make sure it's one you like to hear. *
- Hoarse in New Jersey