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Johno666's avatar

I am seperated from my 4 y.o son & he has started calling me by my first name! What should I do to address this problem?

Asked by Johno666 (95points) August 13th, 2009

I see my son once every 3 weeks & I get a phone call from him once a week. Seperated with my son, because of court orders his mother has against me.I am not allowed contact with his mother, so I cannot discuss parenting strategies or issues regarding my son.

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23 Answers

Darwin's avatar

When you talk to your son ask him why he calls you by your first name and not by Daddy. Explain that it makes you sad when he doesn’t call you Daddy. Ask him if he will please keep calling you Daddy.

That’s about the best you can do.

cak's avatar

Ugh. What a difficult situation. Address your son, like Darwin suggested. Another thing, is anyone able to contact his mother, besides you? One of your relatives – as a mediator. Not hostile, but just as someone that could address the issue and voice your concerns?

Other than that, I think your only option would be to have an attorney contact her, for you.

Tink's avatar

Do you think the mother has something to do with that?

Just ask him.

dpworkin's avatar

Um, maybe I would first determine what’s going on. This may be one of his strategies for dealing with a pain of separation: denial is a form of defense. I would not go burdening with guilt feelings about how he is making daddy sad (Sorry, @Darwin). Kids already feel too responsible in these situations. You are the adult; forget about how this problem is making you feel, and work on putting your poor son at ease.

I suggest reflecting or mirroring his affect, affirming his feelings when he expresses them, and modeling a good relationship for him so that he can learn how it’s done. And never, ever criticize his mom in front of him, no matter how angry she makes you.

Johno666's avatar

@cak -I happen to live right next door to my ex mother in law, it has been extremely difficult to resolve anything. It is a very hostile situation with my ex partners family. The response I usuall get is that, they can’t act as a third party because it is in breach of court orders. I have spoken to my solicitor, whose opinion is undecided as yet.

Johno666's avatar

@pdworkin – It is written in the court orders that neither parent is to denigrate the other in front of the child, so it is not done! At least not from my end. It’s not in the best interests of my son to put his mother down as it would cause him psychological damage!

dpworkin's avatar

@Johno666 I’m glad to hear it. I’m sure you love your son enough to have been careful even without a Court order. I just hope that you consider carefully before taking advice to inform your son that his failure to call you Daddy right now makes you sad.

cak's avatar

@Johno666 – What a tough situation. Maybe just a gentle – “Hey, you know you can still call me dad. We may not be in the same house, and don’t see each other as we would like to, but I’m still here, I’m still dad.” Maybe he just needs that reassurance.

Judi's avatar

@Johno666, wow! I wish they would put that in every single custody settlement!

YARNLADY's avatar

My 2 and half year old grandson is experimenting with names. He often calls Mom, Dad, both Grandmas and Grandpa by our given name. I just laugh and say other people call me that, but to you, I’m Grandma (Y). To Buddy, I’m Aunt (Y). I have several different names.

Johno666's avatar

It makes things extremely difficult, especially when he says things on the phone like, ” when are you coming to my house, can I come to live with you!” I love my son & I know deep down that he knows who I am, but I can’t help but feel that there is more to it than meets the eye with regard to this issue. The business with him calling me by 1st name only started with the 3 weekly visits & the phone calls!

FrogOnFire's avatar

I agree with @cak‘s advice.

I don’t know much about divorce (even though I lived through a horrible one as a young child), but couldn’t you petition the court or something for more time to see your child? It seems just terrible that you can only see him once every 3 weeks. Depriving a child of a father is cruel, in my mind, unless the father is truly just a terrible person (and I can tell you aren’t because you’re concerned about issues like these).

dpworkin's avatar

@Johno666 Yes, I agree – it’s a new symptom and something is causing him to need it right now, so let him work it through. I promise it won’t last.

Johno666's avatar

@FrogOnFire – This is the real conundrum! The argument is that it can only be every 3 weeks because, my ex-partner has to have a visit with her grand daughter! Confused yet? You will be in a minute! The reason that she has to have a visit specifically is because her grand daughter is in D.O.C.S care ( that is child wefare in Australia), that child was removed from her mother ( who is my ex-partner’s daughter from a previous relationship), because of the death of an infant in the daughters care, an infanticide charge followed. In their eyes that is more important than me spending more time with my son. The legal system is a joke in Australia, especially concerning family law. The court also ruled that it was O.K for the daughter (Of my ex-partner), to be released on bail into the care of her mother, who is in care of other children, including my son. It didnt matter to the court, that there was risk to the other children. This was the supreme court of Australia, no less!!

shilolo's avatar

It might be something, or it might be nothing. My almost 3 year old son and I have a great relationship, and lately he has been calling me by my given name. We’re not sure why, but it might be because he hears my wife doing it, so he figures it’s ok. I’m sure, like other things, it will pass.

Jack79's avatar

I have not seen my daughter since last Christmas, or even spoken to her. What’s worse, she’s not even with her mother, at least not in the way you describe it. So him calling you with your name rather than “dad” is the least of your problems.
The solution is pretty simple: keep insisting that your name is “dad” when you see him, remind him you are his father no matter what, and never forget to mention how much you love him, and how you will always love him, even if you are far away. Don’t put the blame on his mother—(though putting a bullet through her eyes may be a solution)—-. Be patient, time is on your side. Let her drown him in hatred, but always give him love. Children can tell the difference, and he’ll make her life a living hell, just like she deserves.

Jack79's avatar

…oh and if you think the system in Australia is bad (I’m Australian btw), wait till you get to Greece!

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@Jack79 I’m sensing a bit of spite in your last couple comments…

Jack79's avatar

whisper didn’t work. Spite? towards child molestors? never

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

you mentioned child molesters in either of your last posts?

JLeslie's avatar

Children overhear adults calling you by your first name and they mimic it. Maybe that is all it is. He hears his mom say “John called,” or “John is pissing me off,” or whatever when she talks to other adults, and so your son calls you John. He is so young I would probably say a lot of time when he first gets on the phone, “it’s daddy, I missed you did you miss daddy?” and then maybe at the end make sure you say, “daddy loves you.” I think he just is not hearing the word daddy enough possibly from your wife and in-laws.

nebule's avatar

time and love

avvooooooo's avatar

I think that this probably has more to do with him hearing you referred to by your first name and making the association. There are a lot of kids that end up calling people what their parents/siblings call people. That’s how they learn what to call people, how names like “grandma” and “bubbles” or whatever people call the other people in their lives become what these people are called.

You can tell your son that there are several different names that people call someone like “John Doe,” “Mr. Doe,” “John,” “Daddy,” “Butthead,” whatever. Just tell him that you perfer that he call you “Daddy” because that’s what you are to him and that other people who aren’t your children can call you different things, but that’s the one you like from him since it fits.

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