My two-year-old daughter has said "dad" for long time, referring to me. She has already said "mom" couple of times in the past so we know she can say it and knows the meaning of it, however no matter how hard we try to make her say "mom", she will do one of these things:

  1. Silent treatment.
  2. Say "dad" with a glare as if to show us who's the boss.
  3. Just smile and laugh at us.

I know it's not a big deal as she's totally OK with both of us and actually spends more time with her mom than me, however I'm still curious: is this a common or known thing? Does anyone know the meaning behind this, for example maybe she takes her mom for granted thus does not feel the need to call to her?

  • 9
    If she is two years old, she most likely resists because you try to make her...
    – Treb
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 10:32
  • @Treb good point, she does get stubborn when we try to make her do things it didn't occur to me this might be one of those things. Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 20:52

3 Answers 3


My 2yr old son does the same thing with saying daddy from time to time, but we don't try to "make" him say anything. We do regularly prompt him to say things, but we do our best to not appear disappointed when he decides not to say them.

I believe that at this age he is going to control the things that he can and his speech is definitely something he knows he can control.

So I prompt him to speak a lot, I mean a whole lot, we say bye to cars as they go by, we say hi to strangers in restaurants, we say kitty and doggie every time we see one, I sing silly made up songs to him and every now and then he will sing some babble back at me. But as often as not he will stay silent, sometimes even smiling at me with a glint in his eye.

One of my hopes is that this will give him a feeling of control and make the times when he does not have control less objectionable (even though I am not sure that at this age he will make a complex connection like that). Does that make sense?

  • 1
    We also don't look disappointed when she won't say "mom" and usually just laugh at this. We also prompt her to speak as much as we can, thing is she has few words she says with lots of clarity and intention and in the few times she said "mom" it sounded like one of these words but she just stopped saying it, we started "nudging" here after a long while. Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 20:57

Children tend to follow examples almost ridiculously. Do you call your wife "mom"? Does she call you "dad"? Does she call you more often than you, or you call her?

In our case it has helped. I was often called by name, but once my wife switched to daddy, I suddenly became... dad :)

  • Good point however me and the rest of the family do call her "mom" when our daughter is around and they call me "dad" indeed but don't think that much more. Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 21:00

It's a phase. The more you react, the more fun a game.

If you refuse to respond to the wrong name, she'll figure out quickly that using the name you want is the only feasible thing to do.

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