My 4 Year Old Is Suddenly Refering to Himself by Name.

Updated on August 07, 2010
K.A. asks from Jacksonville, AR
9 answers

My 4 year old son is suddenly referring to himself by name. "Vance wants a cup of milk" , "Vance wants to go outside", Vance wants to play a computer game", Vance this and Vance that. I have repeatedly corrected him, but he continues to do it. Is this normal behavior for his age, a stage he is going through? I don't remember my 9 year old ever going this, but he was behind in speech when he started school and did not hardly talk at all. No one would dare say my 4 year old or my 2 year old were behind in speech. I could use some ear plugs with them. They talk non-stop. Any ideas why he is doing this or how to correct it or will it correct itself. I have done some web searches on it and all I can come up with are discussions about autistic children doing this. I don't think he is autistic in any way. I'm sure other kids do this and was just wondering how to deal with it.

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answers from Houston on

Sounds like a phase and that he's just being silly. I would ignore it. If you bring too much attention to it or he knows it bothers you, it's likely to last a lot longer. The first time one of his friends or preschool buddies gives him grief for it, he'll probably stop. Don't sweat it! :-)

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answers from New York on

Do you watch Regis Philbin in the morning LOL!!!! My friend watches his show and a while ago she said her 5 1/2 yr old started imitating the TV host by talking the way he does and called his mom "PIPA".


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answers from Jacksonville on

Sounds a little like one of the phases one of my kids went through. Our child started calling my husband by his first name. It was only a few times. It wasn't out of disrespect, it was just that THAT is what they heard ME call him all the time. That was his NAME. I quickly started using Daddy when I spoke directly to him, for a few weeks anyway. We didn't make a big deal over it. And it didn't last long.

If he is sandwiched between two other sibs, maybe he is somehow (in his mind anyway) differentiating between what HE wants and what the other kids are doing? But more likely he is learning diction and proper grammar usage.... Do you ever say to him "Mommy can't do that right now." or "Let Mommy finish __ and they I can do that." Anything like that? Well, to him, your NAME is "Mommy"... he may be emulating that, trying to figure out when it is appropriate to use his name when referencing himself. Kinda like the really really little ones say "Me do it." before they learn to say "I".

Each child will have his own quirky sayings/doings. Write it in his memory book and you'll look back on it fondly in years to come. :)



answers from Sacramento on

Probably just something he's trying out. My 4 year old (also very verbal) is using this horrible fake laugh this week that sounds like a car trying to start. I hate it. He thinks its hysterical.

Also, watch how you (or other adults around him) talk about themselves. Lots of adults call themselves by name when talking to children. "Boys and girls, come line up in front of Miss Serena" or "Help Mommy carry these plates to the table" or "Just a minute, Daddy's in the bathroom." You get what I'm saying.

Hope this helps,



answers from Huntsville on

If he gets what he is asking for when he refers to himself by name, then it works for him & enforces this behavior. If you sit him down, look him in the eye & tell him that he can have a glass of milk when he says, "Mom, I would like a glass of milk" (or however you wish him to say it) and you do not give him the glass of milk until he says it correctly then he will understand. Make him repeat after you and you say whatever it is he is asking for. Then he gets what he wants (if it is something you want him to have). Don't allow him to do this if he isn't autistic. If you think there is a chance he is, have him tested.


answers from Austin on

Sounds like a phase. Sometimes our daughter would pretend to be someone else. Then she would refer to herself by another name. I think they just use their imaginations in lots of different ways..



answers from Topeka on

This is probably just a phase....he hears others refer to him as Vance, so that is what he is doing !!! My almost 3 year old grandson will now refer to his Mama and Papa by name sometimes.....they don't make any comments...they just smile and respond to him. I Wouldnt correct him...just respond the same way that you would if he said" I want a drink of water", instead of "Vance wants a drink of water"


answers from Kansas City on

i had a cousin that instead of saying, "i want," or, "i need," would say (i kid you not,) "i-sarah wants", and "i-sarah needs"...(her name was sarah) it was a wierd little thing she did for awhile. no biggie.



answers from New Orleans on

It is hard to feel justified correcting behavior that isn't necessarily naughty, but just annoying. My parents had no qualms, though! My mother simply told me something me or my 3 other siblings was doing was a "mother-wrecker" and to knock it off. I didn't know until I was in junior high that that wasn't an actual term! Like, if I would say everything in a song-song voice, she would say "stop singing everything, that is a mother-wrecker". Your son can play that game with his friends, but just tell him you don't feel like "playing along" (or reinforcing the behavior) and tell him not to do it with you.

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