Ignore use of first name
son is just over two years old and has been calling his mum by her first name on a regular basis. She finds this embarrassing and feels it is disrespectful. Is this just a phase? Can you tell us the best way to deal with this. Don and Rayma
certainly is just a phase for your son. It is quite common that some children go through a stage where they call their parents by their Christian names all the time rather than mummy or daddy. Sometimes it even extends to grandparents.
Your son has picked this up due to his increasing language development. He is hearing others calling you by your Christian names and trying this out. You may even call each other your names rather than mummy and daddy. He will go back to calling you mummy and daddy in time.
Please try not to take offence, be embarrassed or annoyed by this. Your reaction is crucial in determining whether this is just a phase and will pass or whether your son gets a lot of attention from this word and then he grasps the idea that if he keeps using your Christian name it is worthwhile to him.
Think of yourself as a bar of chocolate and ask yourself when your son calls you by your Christian name, would you give him a piece of chocolate for that? Because if you respond to his new behaviour, talk to him about it, correct it, become upset, or even laugh at it – you are rewarding him with attention – giving him a piece of chocolate. Therefore he will do it again and again.
The best way to deal with this is just pretend he hasn’t said it. Let it go. Move on. Say nothing. No sighs, frowns, comments. Do not give him a ‘ piece of chocolate’ for this. When he does call you mummy or daddy give him the piece of chocolate – smiles, lots of attention, you can even make a comment like ‘‘ I like it so much when you call me mummy, it’s really special as you are the only person who can call me that’’ then you can talk about it, expand it. He will soon work out that using your Christian name is not worthwhile, whereas calling you mummy certainly is. Email your questions to aboutababy@ townsville bulletin. com. au. Nicole Pierotti is a child psychologist who specialises in working with babies and children. She is an expert in helping solve sleeping problems. Nicole runs workshops for expectant parents on how to manage newborn babies and establish great sleeping patterns. To make an appointment, contact Nicole at Lister House Consulting Suites, Mater, Hyde Park on 4724 2600 or visit www. babysmiles. com. au.