Ig­nore use of first name

Townsville Bulletin - - About A Baby -

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.

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