Speaking In Third Person

I was at Target with my son, and he was trying to climb out of the basket as I was paying. I don’t even know how he maneuvered that one, but he did. I told him “Mommy said no!” The woman behind me kindly informed me that I probably shouldn’t talk down to my son as it may create self esteem issues. And I told her that falling out of a shopping cart may create brain damage issues. But I digress.
This is actually not the first time I have heard people complain about mothers speaking like that to their children. I have even read blogs about it. But what a lot of people don’t know is that small children don’t understand anything besides third person. However they refer to you is all they know you as. So if a small child knows you as “Mommy” that is the only way they identify you until about the age of two. They do not make the connection that “I” and “you” can both refer to “Mommy.” They are not even aware that “you” can refer to themselves. Hence you always have to use their name. Exmaple: “Ducky, Mommy needs you to stop that.” Seriously. Try it. If you have a very young child, or easy access to one, just say “I need you to stop (fill in the blank).” See what happens.
Yes, I am well aware that most of the language I use with my children has a “cutesy” factor to it. I don’t have to call them little nick names. And I don’t need to be known as “Mommy.” But the reasoning behind it is actually sound.

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