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Mom Livid After Finding Out Her Ex’s Parents Have Been Purposely Calling Her Daughter The Wrong Name

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Grandparents are going to have all sorts of reactions to how their kids choose to parent their grandchildren.

But coming up with a new name for your grandchild when you don’t like the name she was given at birth might be going a little too far.

One mom realized this was exactly what her ex’s parents were doing with her daughter, when they accidentally called her daughter by the fake name they had given her in front of her mother.

The Redditor, who has since deleted her account, shared her story on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, wondering if she had reacted too harshly to her ex’s parents’ actions.

The Redditor asked the thread: 

“[Am I the a**hole] for hanging up on my daughter’s grandparents when they called her the wrong name?”

The Redditor shared first a little about her daughter’s name and their family situation.

“I gave my daughter a fairly common but not exactly conventional name. I’ll use a similar but fake name for the purposes of this post, ‘Luna’.”

“My ex isn’t involved in Luna’s life that much. He was present for the first couple years but just didn’t want to be a dad, so he pays child support and shows up every now and again (2 or 3 times a year) to see Luna, but that’s about it.”

“His parents, however, are involved. I’ve known them for years and my own parents aren’t involved in my life, so they are Luna’s only set of grandparents.”

The issue with Luna’s name first came up about two months ago. 

“Luna is 8 years old. My ex’s parents never really liked her name, and called it ‘hippy dippy bulls**t’ when I told them what her name was, but seemed to accept it and move on.”

“The last time they spoke to Luna was over the phone about 2 months ago, and I heard them calling Luna ‘Lily’ over the loudspeaker. I’d never heard them call her that before and Luna frowned when she heard it, so after the call I asked Luna if that was a nickname they gave her, and she said yes.”

“I asked if she liked it when they called her that, and she said no. I said that I’d never heard them call her that, and she said they only do it when I’m not there and she’s been ignoring them when they call her Lily and saying she didn’t like it, but then her nan says she’s being rude so she feels like she has to respond to ‘Lily’.”

During their next video call, the Redditor took charge of the situation. 

“Today we were meant to have a video call. I called them, said Luna had told me about ‘Lily’ and she didn’t like it, and from now on [the] use of ‘Lily’ results in me hanging up on them.”

“I then called Luna in, said I’d go check dinner, and I barely got to the door when I heard ‘hi Lily!’.”

“True to my word, I then walked the 2 or 3 steps back to the laptop, joined Luna on screen, and said ‘bye’ before I hung up on them.”

There were varied reactions to the Redditor hanging up.

“Luna thought it was really funny and thanked me and my boyfriend agreed with me, but my ex and his parents are both mad at me, saying it was an honest mistake, they’ve been calling her Lily for years, and I can’t expect them to break a habit like that so fast.”

“They also want an apology for hanging up on them so abruptly. I’ve responded that I intend to do it again and again until they call Luna by the name she prefers.”

“They’ve responded that this is very immature of me and I shouldn’t be barring their access to Luna over ‘petty’ things like this.”

The Redditor asked if she was in the wrong for her reaction. 

“AITA (Am I the A**hole)?”

She also clarified two additional bits of information. 

“Just to add: If Luna preferred being called Lily, I wouldn’t be reacting so strongly, I’d just let them call her Lily and I’d do it, too, if that’s what she wanted. Also there is no case for grandparent’s rights.”

Other Redditors voted on the OP’s (Original Poster’s) story, using the following scale: 

  • NTA: “Not the A**hole”
  • YTA: “You’re the A**hole”
  • ESH: “Everybody Sucks Here”
  • NAH: “No A**holes Here”

Some stated the OP was not TA, because she was defending her daughter’s preference. 

“NTA. It’s disrespectful to you and especially to Luna. They clearly knew they were doing something wrong because they didn’t do it when you were there, and it’s just so inconsiderate to continue after Luna said she didn’t like being called Lily.”TLynn7

“And they very clearly ARE able to ‘break the habit’ because they do it every time OP is around. If they can call the girl by her name when her mother is around there is no excuse for them to not also use the correct name when she’s not.”

“Also they need to apologize to their granddaughter for creating that ‘habit’ in the first place. They don’t deserve one from OP. NTA”DoctorsHouse

“NTA, calling her by a different name, one she doesn’t like no less, is a HUGE boundary overstep.”

“[And] I would say their lack of respect for you now requires you to be firm with them and to let them speak with her only when they apologize both to Luna and separately to you for the disrespect they have shown.”

“If they resist, you can check in again about it in a few months after they’ve had time to reconsider.”Reddoraptor

“NTA! It’s the name of their grandchild, and has been the same name she’s had since she was born. Which judging by the fact that your daughter can talk and explain this, it’s been a while. I have a feeling this isn’t an ‘accident’, and they just don’t like her name. Good on you for standing up for your little one.”SaltyManatee

Some agreed with this and said the grandparents also owe the Redditor and her daughter an apology.

“Also they want an apology? Hell no they can apologize to your daughter for not respecting her autonomy for saying she doesn’t like being called ‘Lily'”VisibleSwitch

“NTA – doesn’t the daughter deserve an apology for being given a nickname she is uncomfortable and dislikes?”Equal-Doubt

Others went so far as to suggest that this was negative—and even dangerous, behavior on the ex’s family’s part—by teaching Luna to conceal information from her mother. 

“NTA – they created a situation that makes your daughter uncomfortable, bullied her into going along with it, and told her to keep it a secret from you? Sketchy. An abrupt ending might be just the thing to retrain them.”chaenorrhinum

“The keep-it-a-secret-from-Mom part is the worst, ugh. These people suck.”Suedeltica

“This. Telling her to accept a new name and keep it secret from mom is super sketchy, mom now needs to actively protect her child from these people, whether it’s something crazy like kidnapping or ‘merely’ forcing her to accept a new name she doesn’t like and doesn’t want, the grandparents have shown they cannot be trusted full stop.”Reddoraptor

“This is SUCH a big red flag.”

“There is something seriously wrong with adults who tell children not to tell their parents about what they are doing.”

“I’d put the grandparents in “time out” (No contact) for a week.”

“If they don’t apologize or double down, then it’s two weeks etc. etc.”

“Oh, and saying it’s ‘petty’ is pure gaslighting.”

“These are NOT good people.”pcnauta

No matter what the family’s original intentions were, it’s unanimous that they should at least listen to their granddaughter’s name preference. What they want for her shouldn’t really matter if they’re discounting the name she really prefers.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.