Young children will often refer to their parents as ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’ – but can they reach an age where this is deemed inappropriate?
A recent debate was ignited on Mumsnet recently when a mother was furious to hear her ex had asked their three children to stop calling him Daddy because they were ‘too old’ to say it.
But does she have a point?
Australian parenting expert and author, Sharon Witt, said this was simply a ‘bizarre’ debate to be having in this day and age.
‘What a bizarre debate. Mummy and Daddy are traditional terms of endearment used by children for centuries,’ she told FEMAIL.
To get to the bottom of this debate once and for all, FEMAIL spoke to parenting expert and author, Sharon Witt
‘In fact, I am fairly certain our future monarch, Prince Charles still refers to his mother, and our queen as ‘Mummy”,’ she added.
‘And who can forget the card placed poignantly atop Princess Diana’s casket by her 12-year-old son at the time, Prince Harry, with the words “Mummy” simply written on the envelope.’
Ms Witt said that she doesn’t believe this is a debate we should be having as ‘there isn’t a certain age in which children should drop “Mummy” to just plain “Mum”‘.
‘What a bizarre debate. Mummy and daddy are traditional terms of endearment used by children for centuries,’ she told FEMAIL
‘How a child, or teenager for that matter, feels about their parent and refers to them, is between them, and certainly just as important that the child feels comfortable with,’ she said.
No one else has the right to tell a child they should drop the Daddy or Mummy reference.
‘There is nothing wrong with being a teenager or adult and still lovingly referring to your parent as Mummy or Daddy – it really shouldn’t be an issue.’
Ms Witt said that this isn’t a decision that is up to parents or the general public to make, and should solely be up to the person using the term.
‘In the end, it’s about what the child or young person is comfortable with,’ she said.
‘No one else has the right to tell a child they should drop the Daddy or Mummy reference.’
The mother who started this debate was furious with her ex, particularly because he still referred to his own father as Daddy.
Ms Witt explained that this isn’t a decision that is up to parents or the general public to make, and should solely be up to the person using the term
The message board was divided, with many saying the children, who are 10, nine and seven, should make their own minds up about what to call their parents – while others agreed they were too old.
She revealed that their father’s request had ‘upset’ her children and she had her ‘claws out’ for her ex and his new partner.
She ranted: ‘My kids 10, 9, 7.5 came home after the weekend (father just moved in with gf who wants a baby) and told me that their father had told them they were too old to refer to him as daddy and that other kids would make fun of them as they were too old.’
‘Kids are upset, I’m annoyed but don’t want to lose my temper if I’m being overly sensitive,’ she added.
The Mumsnet user asked other parents if she was being unreasonable for being annoyed with her ex’s comments.
The mother, known only by her username of BananasAreTheSourceOfEvil, said that her husband asked their three children to stop calling him daddy because they’re ‘too old’ to say it
Many Mumsnet users said that it should be the children’s choice about when they will move from daddy to dad, if at all.
One posted: ‘It’s surely something they decide for themselves when they’re ready, not something that can, or should, be dictated to them.’
‘Surely it’s should be just whatever your kids prefer to call him?’ another posted.
A third agreed: ‘I still call my dad daddy occasionally, just switch between the two without thinking! Let your dc (darling children) decide what to call him.’
Some Mumsnet users believed children should be able to decide when they’re old enough to sotp saying it
However, others said they did believe the children were too old to be calling their father ‘daddy’.
‘Personally, I would say they are a bit too old for daddy and mummy, but if they prefer it there’s no harm is there?’ one said.
Another posted: ‘I also think that they’re a bit old for daddy and mummy, but I think it’s as much of a cultural thing as anything else. It’d be very unusual, where I live, to hear a 10 year old refer to either of their parents as daddy or mummy.’
‘Definitely too old for “Daddy”, he’s right. It has nothing to do with you though, it’s between him and them,’ a third said.
Others believed her children were actually too old to be using ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’