My daughter is not calling me "mommy."

Joey - posted on 05/23/2011 ( 256 moms have responded )

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Recently, my daughter Abrianna who is 20 months old, instead of calling me mommy or mama like she used to, she started to call me by my name Joey. It comes out crystal clear. I started to tap her mouth and say naughty. When I talk to her I ask, "Abrianna, who I am?" She replies you silly.



I am a single mom so all of my friends and family members call me by my name, and I think she doesn’t know any better. She is doing what she hears. But it makes me feel bad like she doesn’t know I am her mommy. I was wondering if this is normal? What should I do to make her start to call me mommy again?

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Linda - posted on 05/23/2011

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This is completely normal! She is learning language and repeating what she hears. Don't tell her she is naughty. Just tell her that, yes that is your name--but you are her mommy! It's just a stage...she won't call you that forever! If you want to extinguish that behavior sooner, then don't respond to her unless she calls you mommy. But I wouldn't make a big deal out of it.

JuLeah - posted on 05/24/2011

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That label means something to you, not her. She doesn't have years of being raised in this culture learing the meaning of that word. It is not naughty for her to use your name. Kids mimic, and she is doing what nature wired her brain to do; mimic. Don't hit your baby! You want her to associate getting hit in the mouth with the word mommy?
Refer to yourself as mommy, "Give mommy a hug" "Hand mommy the cup" "Come to mommy" - she will mimic you before she will mimic others. It is very normal for smart kids who are listening and paying attention to what is going on around them, to start calling their parents by the name they hear most often. Parents correct, by modeling the behavior they want.
She knows you are the person who gives her food, life, love, attention, affection, play time, bath time, clothes, nap time and all the rest. She know you are the person she loves best in all the world and depends on for her very life. She simply doesn't have the life experiance to know that the word 'mommy' means all of that.

Theresa - posted on 05/24/2011

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@Nichole- Don't be so hard on Joey. None of us are perfect mothers. We've all lost our cool with, yelled at, or spanked our children when we really shouldn't have. She's asking us for help and my guess is after the constructive things people had to tell her that she will change her ways. It's not like her daughter will be scared for life because of a few undeserved taps on the mouth. She thought she was doing what she should and after reading that her daughter's behavior is totally normal from all the other mothers she probably feels bad that she tried to correct her daughter that way. People have told her nicely how to help her daughter learn the difference between the name and the title and I'm sure she will follow the advice given.

@Joey- Yes, you shouldn't have tapped your daughter's mouth, but live and learn. She'll be just fine if you try the methods the mothers have suggested.

Theresa - posted on 05/23/2011

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It is normal.. don't tap her mouth and say she's being naughty. She doesn't do it to be naughty she does it because that what she hears everyone else say. To tell her it's naughty confuses her. When she says it just say something like "Yes, my name is Joey, but I'm your Mommy, so you need to call me Mommy." Make it a special name, point out to her how no one else gets to call you that and that it is her special name for you that only she gets to use. If you make it special she's more likely to use it. But she still will sometimes use your name. Eventually she'll be able to distinguish that different people have different names for the same person, example you call your parents mom and dad, but she calls them grandma and grandpa.

Heidi - posted on 05/24/2011

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I have to agree with Theresa, people should back off the tapping of the mouth thing. Joey put up her question cause she is a new mom has a concern and wanted help. None of us are perfect parents. Joey you are doing the right thing for asking for help. She will grow out of it.
Hang in there.
Heidi

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Toni - posted on 05/30/2011

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Every child I have ever known start calling parents by their first names around that age. Like you said, she is doing what she hears. It is nothing to worry about. Start referring to yourself as mommy when you talk to her. That may help a little.

Laura - posted on 05/30/2011

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That sounds normal to me. Every child is different. My daughter didnt call me mommy until she was about 4 because noone else did. One day she asked me if she could start calling me Mommy and I said sure you can. I wouldnt tell her shes naughty if I were you and its never a good idea to tap a child in the face. Good luck

Linde Grace - posted on 05/30/2011

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She's too little to get the relationship, but she is clearly learning language! She will, undoubtedly, assign names to people and things that you'd never dream of. I am now "Ga" as that is the best my 21 month old grandson can do for Grandma. Don't worry. When my children (at much later ages) wanted to call me Linde, I told them OK, but that everybody calls me that. They are the only ones entitled to call me Mom.

Laura - posted on 05/30/2011

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That sounds normal to me. Every child is different. My daughter didnt call me mommy until she was about 4 because noone else did. One day she asked me if she could start calling me Mommy and I said sure you can. I wouldnt tell her shes naughty if I were you and its never a good idea to tap a child in the face. Good luck

Sheri - posted on 05/30/2011

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Be blessed that she is speaking!! She is going to mimic what others around her say and do... at least she is just calling you by your name, and not something else! I have a child that, at 15 months, said about 10 words. He has since regressed and says ZERO words now at 22 months of age. We are seeking out therapies and exploring the possibility that he may have autism. Pick your battles, but, to me, your daughter calling you Joey is not THAT big of a deal in the big picture.

Mary - posted on 05/30/2011

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She knows you are mommy, just say No not Joey, Mommy. And don't make a big deal just reinforce. My daughter called me by my nickname that my mom and brother call me..... she thought it was funny, lasted a short time. THen she used to call me by my name again, corrected her and didn't answer until she said mommy. She got it. Kids explore with their minds as well as hands

Diane - posted on 05/30/2011

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It is normal as your daughter is finding her place in the world. Another way to put is she has discovered the world. Use this opportunity to teach her your full name. Refer to yourself as Mummy, "Mummy loves you", " Come to Mummy". My daughter was very young when she started this as well.

My son is 5 and autistic and he only recently realised that both his Dad and I have other names. So now he is 'Diane', instead of Mum. He is a couple of years behind other kids, and I am so proud of him that he has at last learned our name. This has coincided with him realising that there is a world outside of his own little world, and it has been a joy to watch.

Be proud that your daughter is so precocious, and teach her. You are lucky she is so smart. All she needs is guidance now to learn what is appropriate. Do it gently and you will be rewarded with a daughter that calls you Mummy, and who also knows your full name (after you teach her of course). You can also take the opportunity to teach her the names of her grandparents as well.

Be proud of your daughter, she deserves it.

Janielle - posted on 05/30/2011

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My two tear old called my sister mummy and me mum and her two yr old calls both of us mum! Lol it is just a stage.
Also when my oldest was 4 her called me Lady! For a whole year - he never faulted either. After a while I gave up correcting him and he worked it out. Dont worry, she will to, mum is just a title like your name she docent know the difference :)

[deleted account]

Why is this a problem? My daughter has been calling me by Mama and my first name interchangeably for a few years. I can't fathom why this would be a punishable offense. I know people who grew up calling their parents by their first names; they are fully functional adults with good relationships with their parents. Calling me by my first name just isn't on my radar as something I'd choose to fight.
Do not tap her mouth and/or call her naughty--over this or *anything.* That will normalize violence, disrespect and name-calling, and she will act accordingly.

Annie - posted on 05/30/2011

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Tell other people to call you mummy do not make a fuss she is small and does not understand in time she will call you mummy and when she is older you will be glad she can all you something else it is not important

Michelle - posted on 05/30/2011

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Oh, also, since she doesn't hear anyone else refer to you as Mom - make it a point to say you're own name (talk in 3rd person kind of) "Mommy's going to make lunch. Do you want Mommy to make YOU lunch?" etc etc - it'll help too.

Michelle - posted on 05/30/2011

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When my daughter learned that my name was really Michelle, she started intertwining Michelle and mommy's. Instead of scolding her for it I turned it into a game - she learned how to spell Michelle and Mommy - I also took it as an opportunity to teach her about family members... like the person she calls GMA is MY mom... and since she's my mom I call her Mommy.... but her name is really Donna.... then we did it with EVERYONE. Poppop, Pappy, BDA, Great Grandparents - the Aunt and Uncles were easy since it's the same names.... she got the picture after a week or two of going over EVERYONE constantly - and since then she's gone back to calling me Mom :) She was about 2 when she started too.

And you're right - she hears more people call you Joey then Mom, obviously, so she may just think it's the thing to do - have patience, you'll be "mama" again soon enough!!

(Just a funny little tid bit - My now 5 year old calls me Mom or Mommy all the time. The only time she calls me Mama is when she knows she's getting on my nerves... but still wants something (game, candy, etc, etc) So i KNOW she's sucking up when she calls me Mama... it's fun ♥)

Carol - posted on 05/30/2011

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she will grow out of it soon enough. if you are asking her something like where is the teddy, maybe say 'show mommy the teddy' like you are referring to yourself as another person. if there is no one about to be calling you mommy in front of her, you do it and she will learn, but she is so young, she will pick it up again

Franka - posted on 05/30/2011

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All kids go thru that phase, with ours I just told them "Yes but you call me Mommy" for a few times and then I changed it too "yes but what do you call me" and they would reply "Mommy!" Itll all straighten itself out in the long run!

Rachel - posted on 05/30/2011

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it's totally normal. It will pass. She's just experimenting. Mine did that too at that age. Now she's 3 and she hardly ever does it. don't worry.

Chrisso - posted on 05/30/2011

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I agree with everyone and it is perfectly normal. my son did a similar thing at aboout that age and would call me babe becuase that is what he heard daddy calling me. i just explained that that is my nick name but he is to call me mummy. he is 3 now and has started to want to call me christine and i just say no that is my big name and he has to call me mummy. i think it is important for a child to know their full name 'big name' and mummies big name because if they get lost they need to know your real name so people dont just call for mummy. hope this helps and makes u feel better. and good luck just keep explaining that joey is your big name and she has to call you mummy to get your attention

Kim - posted on 05/30/2011

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maybe say "mommy" after everything. Like "ta for mommy", "can mommy have that", "would you like to play with mommy". Use it in direct language to her more frequently than she hears "Joey". Also if u could get your close friends that u see quite often to call you "mommy" when she is in your presence?

Evelyn - posted on 05/30/2011

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she knows who you are! And, at that age, you're right, she doesn't know any better. in your shoes, I'd follow Linda Nasman's good advice, or, just let it go. she will either grow out of it and go back to calling you mommy,(most likely) or not - in which case you can either ask her to, or let it go. there are plenty of children who call their parents by their given names - but they still know who their parents are.

My son is now 25 - and went though a phase of calling me by my name. I just left it alone, and responded just as if he'd said "Mommy." Now, the only time he calls me by my given name is when he's trying to get my attention in a crowd, and "Mom" hasn't worked.

Debbie - posted on 05/30/2011

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I think she has been hearing others call you "Joey" so she is just like any other kid, repeating what she hears. I am sure she knows you are her mommy and all you have to do is to continue to tell her that you are her mom, mommy, mama etc. She is just still too little to understand... be of good cheer don't worry ... love her as much as you can.. she is not being naughty.. just doesn't know better.. she'll come around. Bless you!

Kerry - posted on 05/30/2011

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yes its normal, my friends little boy went through the same thing. she get round it by just not answering him when ever he didnt call her mummy. didnt even make eye contact with him. i certainly dont agree with taping her on her mouth.

Ali - posted on 05/30/2011

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I am not sure if it normal.maybe if you dont give her any attention to that when she calls you by nasm.I remember when my daughter did that afew times caaling me by my name,Ididnt respond to her until she said what I wanted to hear.and then I would answer her.Gradually she started calling me mom.Try not to respond to her when she calls you by your name.Good luck.

Laura - posted on 05/30/2011

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Absolutely normal. Kids learn to call mommy and daddy by those names because we are leading them to it - "Can you give mommy a kiss... Let mommy help you with that... etc. I think if you simply say "yes, mommy's name is Joey, but you can just call me mommy." Make it a none issue and she will start calling you mommy again. Definitely, telling her she is naughty will become problematic - think about it... is she really doing something naughty or simply something you prefer she not do.

Yurena - posted on 05/30/2011

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Please, don't call her naughty or tap her mouth for that, I beg of you. She is calling you by your name because that is what she hears all the time, NO ONE ELSE calls yu 'mommy'. Just say 'moomy is doing this, mommy is going to help you...' etc. You don't need to feel bad, and please don't make her feel bad for it either. Just enjoy your child, she DOES know you are her mum. Good luck.

Lindsey - posted on 05/30/2011

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My daughter went through that phase too. This too shall pass. She knows you're her mommy she is just discovering your other roles too.

Bex - posted on 05/30/2011

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Hey there.

My daughter also calls us by our first names from time to time - both me and her Daddy, so I don't think it's because she doesn't hear anyone calling you mummy. By 20 months, if she is old enough to have called you both mummy and Joey, thaht shows a lot for her intelligence - she's able to adapt, and understand that you are her mummy, and Joey to the rest of the world. That makes me feel special that my little one grasps that.
As for the tapping and telling her it's naughty, I really have no place in telling you how to raise your child, and don't mean to offend anyone on here, but please do think before you do that, as it sends out so many signals. For one, that when mummy is not happy with something she says, she gets a tap on her mouth. It's not serious hard hitting, but it still sends out the signal that tat is normal, and she may start acting in a similar manner. I just personally think it's far better to explain to your children, that way they can learn to explain their feelings as well, in a healthy way, and without using physical means. Otherwise it can be very hard to tell a child off for full on hitting one of their friends, as where do you draw the line with how hard you tap? Like I say really don't wanna come across in a bad way, just something to think about - you've raised an intelligent little cookie by the sounds of it, so you should be very proud whatever she calls you! I'm pretty sure it'll just be a phase she'll soon outgrow.

Anne - posted on 05/30/2011

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Children are great mimics. It is no good telling her she is naughty because that will just confuse her, rather get your friends to call you Mommy for a while (this works as I have personal experience of it!) and she will follow suit. Children that age don't know the meaning of Mommy anyway; they just know that you are the closest to them and love them and provide for them and so feel safe with you. That is the most important part - the understanding of relationships comes later.

Kimberly - posted on 05/30/2011

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My son started calling me by my first name also it makes me mad but I just ignore it or I correct him saying honey you call me mommy and he says no Kimmie. So I just ignore it I'm assuming it will eventually stop :)

Michaela - posted on 05/30/2011

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my little boy did the exact same thing constantly calling me Kayla but what i found that worked was not answering him when he called me by my name and i just said no im mummy and answer him only when he says mum/mummy talk some time but does work

Zoe - posted on 05/30/2011

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i really wouldnt worry , all 5 of mine have called me and my husband by name and it never bothered us , they do out grow it and i look at it from the point of view that my birth certificate didnt change when i became a mum , my friends all call me by my name so what do they hear hear all the time , i can honestly say dont worry she will out grow it

Crystal - posted on 05/30/2011

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I would say that, at that age, you should just gently correct her. The other posters are correct. She's learning language and likely picked up that name from the other adults in your life. While it's disconcerting for you, this is actually a good thing, because it illustrates that she has cognitive transference concepts. She knows that you are her mom, but that other people are calling you by a different name. She's connected the two names in her mind to point to a single person: You! This is a good thing and is perfectly normal in developing speech and cognitive processes. When she calls you by your name, just say "no, you call me Mommy." In a few weeks, she'll get it. I had a similar problem with my oldest who took to calling me "honey" at about the same age. She'll grow out of it, with a little instruction. Good luck!

BETTY - posted on 05/30/2011

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I just smile when mine calls me by my first name. she will come round some time. enjoy her knowing you by name

Jennifer - posted on 05/30/2011

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All kids go through this, they hear others calling you by a name. There is nothing wrong with it, I'm not sure tapping her and telling her its naughty is the way to handle it though. Never a good idea to hit, or tap, to teach her something cause she is gonna start to do it, and then you can't get mad at her cause you did it, right?
She probably does it cause you tell her not to, kids like to test us, my daughter thinks it's funny to do what I say not to, if I ignore the behavior she gets bored and stops.
Try not responding to Joey, for an example, if she says " Joey I want a drink" tell her mommy I want a drink, and if she then says no Joey I want a drink then don't answer until she says mommy. She'll catch on ;)

Alicia - posted on 05/30/2011

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@ Brittany , I guess it depends on where you are, because where I am smacking your child in any way for any reason is illegal, but Im guessing this is a worldwide site.
There is a lot of good advice in here, definately dont teach her its a bad thing, just that she has a different name for you and she will eventually pick it up :) I do the third person thing a lot too, some people do hate that but dont worry about it, how else are our kiddies suppose to learn.

Leanne - posted on 05/30/2011

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all children go through it because they hear others calling you by your name they soon grow out of it i was devasted when my son did it but when my daughter did i knew it was natural just ask ppl to call u mummy in front of her or ignore it either way it will pass

Janice - posted on 05/30/2011

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For Nicole Bates! It's not like she punched her daughter in the mouth, so I would say u have issues! She obviously asked the question because she felt she needed some help. Lay off!!! I hate moms like u that come into these chat rooms & think ur better than everyone else & pass off ur stuck up I think I know everything bullshit! If u can't leave a positive, helpful comment thein dont leave anything!!!!!

Cass - posted on 05/30/2011

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My son called me Cass for over 18mths. I think that it bothered other people more than it bothered me. We run a business with a lot of staff and he hears everyone call me Cass. Truth be told I answer quicker to Cass than Mum anyway and he always got my attention straight away when in a room full of "Mums" when we were out. He always knew who Mum was when someone asked him, and when upset would call out "I want my Mum". When he did start to call me Mum he started to call his father by his first name.
I guess at the end of the day it depends on your own level of security around your relationship with your child. The only way she would be unsure that you are her Mum is if she is with other people that much that she isn't sure who her Mum is...
You will always be her Mummy not matter what name she calls you, just concentrate on being there for her as you always have been.

Tanasha - posted on 05/30/2011

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This is a NORMAL part of childhood development. And I think its a GOOD idea your child knows your real name, as well as mommy. She knows you are her mommy. Just because she isn't calling you that, doesn't mean she doesn't know who you are and you should not feel bad for it. My daughter, from time to time, calls me "Tash" because she hears my boyfriend use it, and even calls him "Brad" because she hears me use it. It doesn't make any of us feel bad, and you shouldn't let it get to you either. Why:? What if, god forbid, one of these days you and your child accidentally become separated, say at store? The child can then go to someone who can help her, using your name, and make it that much easier to find you again. When I was young, my mom made sure I knew her real name, as well as Mommy, in case of emergencies. It doesn't mean she doesn't love, respect, or know who you are. This is a healty and normal part of her development and you should be glad that she knows both ways of identifying you. Heck, be glad she is talking at all lol. My son just turned one and he still mostly babbles with a few identifiable words thrown in for good measure :) DOn't stress, don't tell her its naughty (she might end up with the assumption your name is a naughy word, something you don't want her to think) just laugh it off and get on with your day.

Amanda - posted on 05/30/2011

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She definitely know you are her mommy!! You are the most important person in her world!! Relax mama!

Vicki - posted on 05/30/2011

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I would suggest asking yours friends and family to call you mommy until Abrianna knows that she is to call you mommy.
Also another suggestion is for you to use mommy in your sentances e.g. 'come to mommy' instead of 'come here'.
this way she will understand that mommy is you,
and don't tell her off when she calls you by your real name, she will need to know this later in life, instead say 'you mean mommy' and touch your chest and say mommy and then touch her chest adn say Abrianna...
hope this helps and good luck xxxx

Amy - posted on 05/30/2011

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Do you call her "daughter" or "child"? Of course not, you call her by her name. This is a normal phase for toddlers. How confusing is there entire world. How awful would it be to be so confused about the world around you, and to top it off you handle it in a negative way. Ignore it when she calls you by your name( I don't mean that you should ignore her, I mean that you should let it slide that she isn't addressing you how you want her to) and when she calls you mommy, let her know that it pleases you( I sure do love it when you call me mommy! followed by a hug or kiss).

Tracey - posted on 05/30/2011

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My son called me Tracey til he was 3 and it didn't bother me because he knew I was his Mom. He started alling me mom when friends and family told him that's your Mom you should call her that and he did without a problem. He's 25 now and still calls me mom or mom-ma when he wants something!

Amanda - posted on 05/30/2011

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my daughter whent through a stage of calling me bymy name it made me feel like her stepmom when she asked for daddy and manda but she grew out of it and now thankfully calls me mommy

Amanda - posted on 05/30/2011

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my daughter whent through a stage of calling me bymy name it made me feel like her stepmom when she asked for daddy and manda but she grew out of it and now thankfully calls me mommy

Elizabeth - posted on 05/30/2011

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The best way to correct the problem is to have your friends and family not use your name around your child. Have them call you mom around your child. Use Mom around your child when playing or talking to your child ex( Do you want mama to help you with that?) (What do you want mama to get you to eat?) She will eventually start calling you mom.

Amanda - posted on 05/30/2011

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my daughter whent through a stage of calling me by my name it does hurt when she asks to speak to daddy and manda it made me feel like her stepmom but she grew out of it and now calls me mommy

Sarah - posted on 05/30/2011

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When my son was younger he called my mom mom and me sarah because thats what we were referred to at my parents...he caught on though we would just correct him by saying grandma or mommy

Teresa - posted on 05/30/2011

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She's not being naughty!!! She's just calling you what she hears!!! Start calling yourself Mommy, a lot. Like when she wakes up tell her Mommy is so happy to see you!! When you are going to feed her tell her Mommy will get you some food. When you do anything, call yourself mommy. Say it always with love and fun, and she'll start doing it too! Love and excitement always wins when you are trying to get your child to do something. Focus on what you want, and teach that, rather than focusing on what you don't want and punishing. Love and excitement!!! Love to you mommy! You are doing great!

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