19 answers

My Son Won't Answer to His Name!

My son will be 2 next month and I can't get him to respond to his name. Everyone at his daycare call him by a nickname that they gave him. I don't want to call him a nickname. I want to call him by his name. All of the kids are calling him by this nickname and I don't know how to get it to stop. It's a terrible feeling when your child can just wander off and you call him by his name and he doesn't come. I work with him every night telling him what his name is and showing him his reflection in the mirror. I have been doing this for a year now, and no progress. I feel like I am at a dead end and don't know what else I can do. Please help! Has anyone else had this problem?

I want to add that he doesn't have a hearing problem. He can talk, listens to commands (don't touch, danger, no, eat, wipe your hands and face), dances to music. I am not concerned about his hearing. My problem is that I do not think of him by his nickname and that in an emergency, that would be the last thing that I would think of calling him . He is very clever and I am starting to think that he is intentionally ignoring me so that he can get away with things that he knows he shouldn't be doing.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You do not say what his nickname is. Why is it so important to you that he answers to Orion? Does he answer when you call him by his nickname? If he doesn't, maybe he has an issue with his hearing, or maybe he gets focused on what he is doing and can't concentrate on two things at once.If he does answer to his nickname and not his real name, maybe he just relates better to the nick name. Ask the day care workers to call him by Orion and maybe the kids will follow and he will get used to it and respond.

Hi L.,

The exercises sound like a wonderful idea. You need to have the daycare stop calling him by the nickname that they have given him. You gave him a name and they have no right to change that. If they refuse, then you need to find a new provider. As far as losing him in a store, unfortunately at this point, if the nickname will make him stop before stepping into traffic or wandering off, use it for such an emergency but until you can get the daycare to stop calling him by the nickname, you are going to have a problem if he is spending a great deal of time there. I would consider changing providers anyway because even if you can get the staff to stop calling him by the nickname, you won't be able to get the other kids to stop calling him by it.

More Answers

First off tell the daycare taht he is to be called by his real name and not a nickname. If you have to, move him into a different daycare. It will be hard to get the kids to call him by his real name now that you have let it get this far. Your best bet is to start him fresh in a new daycare and make sure they understand only his given name is to be used. Otherwise give up and call him by his nickname. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

You need to speak to your daycare provider and have them start calling him by his full name. You pay them for a service and that service is not to confuse your child about his name. Be strong!

Say HELLO to the world of SELECTIVE HEARING - Yes it does start this early. I understand how hard it is for you to hear your son being called a name that you did not give him, but at the same time unless it is something bad or something that is making fun of him or his name don't worry so much. Since it does bother you please calmly talk to your Day Care Provider/Director and let them know that you would like him to be called by his Given Name and not his Nickname - let them know that it is for his safety as he is not responding to his Given Name.

As for the nickname in general - hate to say it but kids will be kids and there may come a time when your son tells you he goes by a certain name. It happens

My girls and some of their nicknames in quotes
Sabrina - "Bri" "Brina" "B" "Pumpkin"
Samantha - "Mama" "Mantha" "Bo Bear"
Savannah - "Bannana" "Monkey" "Kitten"

Hi L.,
I agree with the other moms. First speak to the daycare providers. If you tell them that you prefer him to be called by his name and not a nickname, they will stop. I have to admit I worked several years as a early childhood educator. We sometimes made up nick names as well, however, it was also for a child that was so special to us in some way. nicole was nicolo y o le o, tatum was tate tate. Natalie was Nat nat. Every child that I am sitting here thinking of, that I made up a nickname for, makes me smile. I miss them just thinking of them. They were so special and dear to me, which is why they got a Ms Berta name. So, I'm sure it's the same, that he has a special place in their hearts. But regardless, if you don't like it, they will stop. My daughter is 2 and knows her name. It's hard for a little one to say, aliviyah, but she will point to a picture and say lee lee (a nickname). I'm sure that your son knows his name, but you are mommy and I believe he's just ignoring you. Try standing him by the mirror and asking, where's Orion?, Where's mommy. If he even just glances at himself, but maybe not point, then he knows.
Good luck

L., I would talk to your daycare director and insist that they stop using a nickname you have not approved of. I would probably imply that it was very unprofessional for this to have happened at all and ask her for suggestions on how they are going to correct it. Good Luck!


I too have a 2 year old daughter. I had a problem that was somewhat similar. The ladies at the daycare were pronouncing my daughter's name incorrectly. My little girl was coming home and saying, "No,no mommy. My name is.........." I went straight to the teachers and very nicely explained what was happening. They also have been correcting the other children now that started saying it incorrectly.

Very simply - be tough and tell the daycare your wishes. Also, tell them what you want the other children to call him. If they do not follow the plan, then talk to the director. You are paying them to care for your child, you are the boss. If they still don't follow your wishes then take him out of there and find a new place. You don't want your child somewhere where they undermine you.

I for one would talk to the daycare about your concerns and ask them to call your son by his name not his nickname b/c you will not be using a nickname for him at this time.Also have them sit the other kids down and have them learn your son's name,I know it's hard for small kids to learn a somewhat hard name,but they need to learn somewhere,since it was a teacher at the daycare who started the nickname anyway so I think in my opinion they should correct the problem they have caused you.
Good luck!

Hi L.,
If I were you, I would continue calling him by his real name and talk to the daycare about your concerns. Kids learn about limits by pushing them, and they will sometimes ignore you until they think you really mean it (husbands can do that too!). Since you have no other concerns with his communication skills, then I would say it was a phase, and that he is testing to see when you really mean for him to pay attention (did your parents ever call you by ALL your given names when you were in deep trouble?) However, since this bothers you that much, make it known to him that your only name for him is his given name. You do this by rewarding him with a small special something (treat, hugs, etc., whatever works) only when he responds to his real name. You can also practice (in your head) calling him by his nickname, so that in case of an emergency, if he doesn't answer to his given name, then you are "primed" to use the nickname, though I would just try to reinforcement thing first. My youngest of 3 kids went through a similar phase where she did not want to be called her real name, but a variation of it and she outgrew it in a few months.

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