'Listen to Me, Linda': Should Kids Be Calling Parents By First Names?
Should children call their parents by their first names instead of mom and dad?
In a hilarious clip from earlier this year, 3-year-old Mateo had an adorable argument with his mom, repeatedly telling her, "Listen to me, Linda."
Now, the Wall Street Journal highlights the fact that this is actually a growing trend.
Children are ditching Mom and Dad for “Linda” and “Sam” in plenty of households. The shift may come because parents have ceded authority in their homes, or from teen one-upmanship of their authority figures, mockery or a sign that too much maturity is being expected of them.
“Is this happening more than it used to? Of course,” says Madeline Levine, a Marin County, Calif., therapist specializing in teens who views the shift as fallout from an era of overly permissive parenting. Some therapists and psychologists characterize the phenomenon as classic teen boundary-testing and attention-getting behavior that generally starts alongside acne and one-word answers. In some cases, though, children of all ages are putting themselves on a first-name basis with moms and dads.
Children, of course, have been given leeway over the past few decades to be less formal with several types of authority figures. Many call friends’ parents by first names. Some teachers forego the more traditional Ms. or Mr. But, parents should take their new monikers as a sign of something going on in the family, say experts. Whether or not to put a swift kibosh on the practice or ignore the name change depends on the situation.
“Put it in the context of what’s going on, ask yourself ‘What is the cause?’ ” says Judy Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “ ‘Am I their emotional support, or are they mine?’ Or is it ‘Can I have a little power?’ ” she says.
Ainsley Earhardt hosted a debate between licensed marriage and family therapist Pamela Bolen and Martin Merrill, president of Family First.
Merrill said it would disrespectful if his children called him "Mark," and believes children need to be taught to show respect for authority.
Bolen, who encourages her kids to call her "Pam," pushed back on Merrill's argument, saying this does not necessarily lead to a lack of respect by children.
They agreed, however, that it's all about what works best for each family.
Which side are you on?