What should you do if your child is not calling you "mom" or "mommy"?

Is it normal for a child to not call their mother 'mom' or 'mommy'? What should you do if you child is calling you something different?

40  Answers

6 199

I have a toddler that calls both myself and her dad by our given names at times. I have no problem with this but her dad can't stand it. The reason that I have no problem with this is because my 8 year old daughter got lost inside Walmart when she was 2 years old and when someone asked her what her mom's name was, she was able to tell them my name rather than the simple "mommy" answer that most kids that age would give. I am so thankful that she knew my name and I think that it is beneficial for children to know their parents' names for situations like that.

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14 16

I agree. My then-2yo worked out my given name, and I said, "Yes, you're right, that is my name, but Mummy's a special name, that only you can use for me (although now that's been expanded to include her brother - "only you two"). I like hearing you call me Mummy." Once she knew it was special, and made me genuinely happy, she's glad to use 'Mummy' most of the time. But still, when talking about letters of the alphabet for instance, she will point to the first letter of my given name, and tell me it stands for my name, and then tell me M stands for Mummy. I think she has quite a clear understandingof the correct usage.

18 21

A mom is what I am and I tell my kids I appreciate being called "Mom." I feel it is mutual respect... it is not like I call my kids son, daughter and son. I call them by their name. My kids mostly call me mom, mommy or mother but they know that my name is Shannon. They are also, on occasion, in group with other kids that it is easier and more exceptable to call me Mrs. Shannon with the rest then call me Mom. I would never be so rude to my kids as to say, I don't know this Shannon you are referring to, my name is Mom. My name is not "Mom," my name is Shannon and I am a mom. I am thankful that my children honor me by calling me Mom but I would never force that on them. It is something that is earned. "Any woman can be a Mother but it takes a special woman to be a Mom." In other words, you have to earn it.

9
3 0

I totally agree. My daughter knows our names as well as her grandparents names. She has experimented with calling her grandparents by their names and I gently reminded her its not polite to call them by their names. I defiantly don't agree with ignoring if the child does use your name cause guess what that's your name! I just think a gentle reminder is in order.

6 29

I am guessing we are talking about a toddler here. They tend to repeat what they hear. If they hear you say mommy, then that is what they will repeat. Sometimes my toddler calls my husband by his name or me by mine because he has just heard us referring to each other that way. If your child calls you by your name, just say something like, "yes, dear. Mommy hears you. What do you need?" Don't make a big deal of it and the phase will pass.

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150 9

I don't get why it matters? You call your kids by their names b/c after all that's their name....So why can't they call you by your name? It is your name. I don't care wither way as long as they respect me it's all the same. We have fun with it in our house and a bonus is if they get lost they know your name. Kids are kids and they are just experimenting to see what type of reactions they can get.

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2 6

So true Heather, my older 2 children always called me mammy and never anything else but my youngest girl calls me mammy or mammy Della or even mammy Dell (Dell is what my own family call me). She knows I am mammy and I think it is so sweet that I am mammy Della.

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6 2

My son Braxton calls me momma but he also calls me Tina. I don't have a problem with him calling me by my given name. I'm glad that he knows it in case of an emergency. I think its important for our kids to know our real names just in case.

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118 13

I had to giggle at this one (Q). Never had a problem with my daughter calling me mommy....but my son did refer to me by my first name. It dawned on me it was because his father didn't refer to me as "Mommy" when addressing me in front of our son. He was just doing as he saw and heard. So his father started changing how he addressed me and without us saying a word to our son he picked it up and ran with it! "Mom, Mommy"

3
1 9

About 6 months ago, my son decided that he thought it was funny to call both of us dada...He knows I am mommy, and only uses it when he is upset with me or when I am gone. I know it's just a phase and that it is just him being goofy so when he does it I just tell him "you are so silly! I'm mama!"

I dont worry about that kind of thing. I look at various issues like this with my son and ask myself if I know any 13 year olds running around who do that. No? We just gently tell him the right way and wait for him to learn it on his own and he always does. Yes? And it's unacceptable for a teen to act that way? (like hitting other people) We deal with it now, sternly but lovingly with a no tolerance attitude. He know when we get serious about something he did that he better shape up or he starts losing toys and things like playground time.

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19 11

They will use whatever you teach them to use. My daughter heard me referring to myself as "mama" (mama's here, mama loves you, etc.) when she was a baby, so she calls me Mama. She still does, even though she is now 9. Her younger brother of course, picked it up as well. I love it, and I hope they don't ever get too grown up for it. Is the child in question not using any maternal name? I taught my kids that Mama and Daddy have first names too, but that those names are only for their grandparents and other grownups to use.

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2 17

Both of my boys have heard my husband and I call each other by our first names and they would sometimes try to do the same but we correct them and they move on. I've been able to explain to my 4 yr old that he and his brother are very special and that they are the only ones that can call us "mommy" and "daddy". He really likes the idea that he has special privileges with us.

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5 0

It's no big deal to me. I look upon it as a phase, and the less I react to it, the quicker it is over. My son did it briefly on occasion, and when he did, it always seemed like he just wanted to see what I would do. My Mom says I did the same thing for a while when I was young, and I guess it didn't last because I sure don't remember it. I always just agreed with him and said yes that is my name, but you are the only one who gets to call me Mommy--lucky you! Now my son(who is 3) introduces me and says "This is my Mom, Carla." He does the same for my husband, and he knows his grandparents names, but calls everyone by their proper title.

2
4 17

One of my friends taught my kid my name. At first I was upset cuz I was raised to call people by their title, not their name (ex: Mom, Dad, Mrs. Anderson, etc). And then my friend explained to me: "What happens if your kid gets lost at the store? If she yells 'MOM!' 100 moms are going to turn around. But if she yells your name, how many people will turn around then?". It made sense, and now my DD knows us all by first name. She calls me mom or mommy most of the time, but she'll also joke around and call me by my first name. Best example: when I step 5 feet away from the cart to grab a grocery item and she yells my first name, LOL. It's like "Dude, I am RIGHT HERE. You don't have to yell. Look, I can still touch the cart.". Trust me on this one, calling you by your first name is a good thing, so long as it's always done with respect.

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206 12

My daughter is 19 months old and she calls me Mommy, Mama, or Ash, and recently she has added on Ashy. I think its cute, and I still answer when she calls me Ash or Ashy. I take her to work with me where I am a nanny for 3 boys, so from the beginning she has heard them call me Ashy or Ash, so its what she picked up on and she learned it, so why would I be upset that she was smart enough to pick up on that at a year old. I would tell her, I'm your mama, she would say Ash, and I would tell her thats my name and mama. So she calls me both. Most of the time its just mommy when we are at home, and then about half and half when I'm at work. Doesn't bother me. She knows I'm her mommy, if she uses my name sometimes too. Its cute, I'm not going to discourage it!

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10 11

My son's father left me when he was a year old and he hadn't really called me anything. The now constant male in my son's life it my father, his Pepere (pronounced Pepay) which is French Canadian. Sometimes he calls him Dad. He refused to call my mom Nana and calls her Ninga, which sometimes sounds racist so we are very careful with that. I am momma but he know my Mother is Barbara. Kai call my sister Titi, her bestfriend Bibi and my sister's fiance is Ricky. They make up their own names and it's a sign of love.

2
130 1

We did the exact same thing that Denise described and it worked really well. At home, we refer to each other as Mama and Daddy.
Our kids do know our real names though. It's important to us that they know who we are if they ever get lost.

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3 0

I think if you refer to yourself as mommy he will pick it up. We did this with my daughter and her step dad she used to call him by his name before we got married but now she calls him daddy. We found that if we referred to him as daddy to her it made a difference, eg "ask daddy to help you get your cup," "or daddy is calling you." I also refer to myself as mommy to her in the same way and she responds. So even tho my husband and I call each other by first name she does not do the same because to her we are mommy and daddy.

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3 0

I should mention that my daughter is 3 and a half and she has good language skills. My guess is that if your child is able to call you something else then he/she is able to call you mom or mommy. Even with a speech issue the child would still try to imitate the word structure for mommy or mama, e.g. if the child says baba instead of mama you still know they are trying to address you by mom/mommy/mama. If the child is calling you by the first name or a nick name then speech most likely in not the issue. PS my daughter did have speech therapy for 1.5 years

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10 76

Every child hits an age where they test the water for different things. When my children started this (around 4 I think) I explained to them that to me Mommy was the highest compliment I could recieve from them. You can call anyone by name, but having a Mommy and Daddy give you a special relationship that no one will ever be able to come between.

Friends will come and go, and you call them by name, but Mommy and Daddy (most of the time) will be apart of you forever. Then I kick in "besides, I made you and you grew under my heart for 9 months and etc. They understood ( of course in our family we use a lot of humor which drives the message home to stay)

On the other hand my sister in law did not want my nephew to call her Mom. By the age of 10 he was totally disconnected from her. My brother was called Daddy there was never an issue, and the two of them were close, but his mom he just never saw as a Mom and he has admitted this had so much to do with it.

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46 238

I don't think it is a big deal. My husband grew up in a house where the children would just call parents their first names. They never say it in a disrespectful way. But I grew up in a house where I call my parents mom and dad, so in the beginning I thought it was weird. But now I can accept both.

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4 0

my kids both went through a phase where they called me by my first name and I corrected it and let it go, the more attention I gave it, the more they said it, so I simply told them nope I'm mommy now what would you like and eventually they started calling me mom again

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0 29

I make jokes out of everything, for every bad comment you have to encourage 10 times over... I hve 6 children and at one time or another theyve called me or other people, aunt, uncle, nanna etc by their name...Its just a feeling of being 'big', cause they want to be just like us... Eventually they revert back when its not acknowledged... kids are all about the boundaries they dont know they have till we point them out... some just aren't worth the alienation it can create between you and your child...

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19 21

My oldest daughter would call daddy Tom at times, before that she was calling him mom. I think that it was because she was hearing me say Tom and was trying to call him that. I think that if a child calls you something it is because that is what they here when someone else is talking to you. My girls at one point were calling my day care lady Mom because she had four children that were hers and they were calling her mom around the girls and no one understand that that is why they were doing it. When i brought it to their attention that that was why they were doing that they finally started correcting them and the girls finally quit calling her that. You just have to help them through it and when they do call you something else you need to correct them. They will eventually understand and change what they call you. I do think that just like a child should know their own name that knowing their parents names is just as important. Just like them knowing their phone numbers and addresses. So don't totally make them forget your names if that is what they are calling you. Just simply let them know that you are mommy and he is daddy.

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68 0

They have heard your husband or someone call you by another name . My grand son call's me Honey he heard his grand pa call me that . But it is too late his Papaw only calls me Mama now but he only calls me honey . Evuently he will call me Mama . Just be patient .

1
1

My almost 19 year old away at college just texed me and called me Gin. I NEVER go by that, not even to my friends who call me Ginny, already a nickname for Virginia. I am freaking out, but don't want to over react. On this past Sunday he also did something that I felt was trying to tell me he doesn't need me.... should address it with him?

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19 0

Apparently this is a problem for some people with toddlers. This has never happened to me because my children don't know mine or my husband's name. We never use them around our children for precisely this reason. I call him Dad or Husband or My Love, he calls me Mum or Darling or My Love. Our friends call him G (for Greg) and me Coop after my maiden name. The kids understand these are nicknames and they don't get used often. We will tell then when they are 5 and not a day before. Just keep reminding your kids that you are Mum or Mom.

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25 12

I would feel like it was a blow to my heart if my child didn't call me Mom. I think most of this depends if the child is being taken care or another family member with children that call her Mom., or a Grandma that the children forget to call her Mom instead of granny. Just give it time, a baby knows who their Mommy really is and who actually protects them. @Tammie Justice

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15 0

Ignore them if they call you by a diffrent name then "mom" or "mommy" tell them that your name is mom/mommy and they will call you by that name or they will be ignored.

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0 0

well mum are mosters shouldnt call if the child not intersted inthem that for the fact they monsters abusers,so mum if ur kids not intersted in u,u should completely change ask for permission for evrything else the child will walk and talk mum from hill

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22 0

My son knows my name and his father's name. It is for if he ever gets lost and they need help locating us. His birthday the spelling of his name and his mom and dad's name. He jokes here and there and says my name (My real name is Princess) and says if you're a Princess than I am a Prince. My little brother calls his dad (my stepdad) by his name sometimes but we know its because he heard us (me and his other older siblings) call him by his name all his life so he thought it was normal. My stepdad doesn't mind. I personally prefer mom mommy ma etc. Never my name.

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0 0

my son knows my given name and knows his step father's name (he was only 2 when we married, to young to know anything else) but he's never really tried to call us by our names, except maybe in jest. i really only use his given name when i'm being serious, i more often call him my pet names for him, which he likes. he knows the story...that when i was very newly pregnant i referred to him and my "bug" saying he was snug as a bug inside me. ...my parents even bought him sleep and plays that had bugs on them!
there was a while when he was about 6 where he started calling me "mom' instead of "mommy" and i asked him if he'd do me a favor and call me mommy...at least when his friends weren't around. "mom" felt too grown up coming out of him after so many years of "mommy". so, now even at 9 when he's in a snuggly mellow mood he still calls me mommy and i love it. he calls daddy "dad" more often, which is fine..but again, "daddy" comes out when he's in a good mood.
honestly, the hardest thing i had to deal with was having him call my step father "papa": rather than the "grandpa" that my family has always used. my brother married a woman with a daughter who used the term "papa", so the rest of us were kind of forced to use it also. but, he does call hubby's father "grandpa" or "grandpa tim" ...he doesn't see him all that often though.
but to me, 'mommy' and "daddy" are special names, earned through love and hard work... i'd be devastated if my son chose to call me by my given name!

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21 0

Mom is a title I hold near and dear, but it is understandable that a child may call us at times by our first names since they hear so may others doing so. I started calling my mother by her first name in junior high (although not exclusively) because I found it a more effective in getting her attention. "Mom, mom......mom...mom? MOM!" still no response...."Jane!" immediate head turn and attention.

If you dislike your child calling you something other than mom or mommie or whatever your preferred title may be, I suggest you explain to your child just how special and important the title mom is to you and how very few people have the right to call you by it.

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1 0

My lil princess ....said d word papa ...and staight started calling me memie /meme ..and I love dat its priceless...:)..it makes me feel special and different...

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492 54

If it bothers you, let them know but do not dwell on it. Correct them and move on. Negative reinforcement is still reinforcement meaning, attention from you they would not normally get otherwise.
Typically it is a phase, but if it is out of disrespect, then it's not appropriate ever. Three strikes your out is a good method to warn, give time to change behavior and then have consequence for action should it continue. I'd use the time out chair if it was a disobedience or respect issue.

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3 0

This is not normal. It is likely you have been doing something very wrong. Now you have no choice but to resort to a male name. That's right, have your child call you Frederick, Steven or Benedict for example. This will confuse the child, weaning it back towards calling you by "mom" or "mommy."

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15 8

my daughter also went threw a stage where she called me and my husband by our names. I did not like it, i explained to her that is our names but for her we are mommy and daddy. I think it is a lack of respect when a child calls there mother or father by name. But it is good for them to no the real names of parents in case of an emergency. I am 24 and i call my mom ...mom. lol

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0 0

I actually quite wish we'd taught the kids to call us by name. Then we wouldn't have the problem of being in a crowd of people, hearing a little voice shout "MOMMY!!!" and 20 women all craning their necks to see if it's their child. Because hubby and I call each other Mommy and Daddy, I've had to sit down and teach the kids our names, in case they ever get lost or whatever. (I drill them so they can recite their full name, date of birth, address, home phone number, parents names and cell phone numbers.)
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With your child, have a look at this advice: http://www.ahaparenting.com/ask-the-doctor-1/how-can-i-get-my-toddler-to-stop-calling-me-by-name?A=SearchResult&SearchID=4238707&ObjectID=974747&ObjectType=35

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5 0

Honestly I don't really like the term "mom" and "mommy" just grates on my nerves. It always has. My son calls me mama, or occasionally mum-mum.

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3 0

When my daughter (3) calls us by our first names, I remind her that everyone gets to call us by our names, but only she gets to call us "Mommy and Daddy." It reminds her that she's special, and those are special names for her use only. It seems to work... for a little while.

It's because she hears us calling each other by our first names and doesn't want to miss out on the fun. Unless I want to call The Husband "Daddy" all the time (I don't) I assume I'll have to live with occasional corrections.

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8,281 21

What should you do? Get a grip!

My son did not call his father "Dad", or "father", or "papa"...as a matter of fact, my hubby looked at him one day and said "Ok, I get that you aren't going to call me dad...but please don't call me mom. You can call me George, Harry, or even BUBBA, but please don't call me mom"

So, from that day on (and my son was REALLY young...less than a year) my oldest son has called his father BUBBA.

As long as your children are not being disrespectful, a name is just a word. We have many names: Mom, Sister, Wife...I do prefer that my kids call me mom, rather than mother, but if they want to call me mother, then I'll go with it. If they want to call me Muter, or Madre, or momma, I'm ok with it.

Unless the "something different" is offensive, let it be your kid's pet name for you.

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6 4

My husband started calling me"Mom" as soon as he found out i was pregnant. At home we are Mom and Dad even if our daughter is not around.
We taught our daughter that we are Mom and Dad and that our names are Troy and Anne. Just like her name is Amber Joy and she is our little girl. She only uses our names when we talk about names and she is in a silly mood.
We wanted her to know our names. She does know her full name. She is just not very good at giving it when friends and family ask for it.

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0 0

My son is 17 months old, but he still doesn't seem to call me mama. He only says mama when he's crying and wants something. Other children usually say mama first, and I admit I feel kind of bad. Like my son doesn't know that I am his mother. Most of the time he will call me Eeyah. Like for Maria because my parents would call me that. They always tell my son that Im his sister not his mother. What should I do??

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15 8

i would not put up with my parents telling my child i am there sister point blank.

0 0

As a teacher (ages 2 yr to college) it is good when the children know their parents' names. In first grade that was part of our homework when we studied the family tree. Very important if the child were to be lost. Also important that the child know his/ her OWN name. I had children in Kinder that thought their name was Sweetie or some nickname. As to respect.... that is for the parent to decide what feels good, grandparents too.

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129 36

Ignore them until they get it right? I'm doing the exact same thing with my 4yr old boy he says Iwant all the time instead of please, working so far.

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2 0

My daughter Shanna is 13 months and she still have a hard time to call me "mommy", sometimes she call me mamam or mama but she haven't call me by my given name. My mother and my husband including myself been teaching her to say mommy before she turned one and she still struggling to say it and sometimes she completely ignored us when we are teaching her. What makes me wonder is she started calling her daddy or pappa on her own without help before she turn one without anybody teaching her how to say those words. That's when we start teaching her how to say "mommy" but she doesn't really call me often like her dad. But every time she call me 'mama' she sounds so sweet and adorable the way she said it and I love it and it made me feel special, I'm just wondering why she learned on her own to call daddy & pappa and having hard time calling mommy. She could say daddy or pa pa very clear when she was 11 months.

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