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Some Parents Let Kids Call Them By Their First Names, But Experts Say 'Not So Fast'

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- Should children call their parents by their first names? Some parents prefer it, saying it empowers their children, but others say it's a parenting mistake.

If you ask 5-year-old Grace O'Sullivan what her mother's name if you'll probably hear her say.


And her mom doesn't mind.

"We just find it amusing," Denise told CBS2's Elise Finch.

Kasidy Devlin said he grew up calling his father by his first name, and he'll have his children do the same.

"He was someone that I could talk to. It wasn't that I was calling 'dad' I was calling 'John.' It was like a friend. There was less of a wall because of it," he said, "There's something about just talking as people instead of as these job titles."

There have even been recent blogs and articles discussing the issue.

Proponents said in addition to removing communication barriers, allowing a child to use a parents proper name empowers them.

Others disagree.

"I think mom or dad, there's an authority level there that makes sure the child acts accordingly, where as if they start to call me by first name, maybe they start to think that they can treat me differently, and with a different level of respect," Ciji Gardner said.

"It should be mister or misses for another parent, mom and dad for his own parents. I think that's appropriate manners," Chris Graham said.

Parenting experts said it's certainly a parent's prerogative to have their children call them whatever they want, but there are some drawbacks to using the proper name.

"Somebody could argue that as a tween or teen is growing up they feel a sense of power, of equality, but that's what causes the problem. It spins off narcissism. I think a youngster will often feel quite entitled," Dr. Harris Stratyner said.

"The parent needs to provide rules and structure and many studies show that children do much better when they know there's somebody in the home in control and that's usually a 'mother' or a 'father,'" Tammy Gold, Therapist and Parenting expert, explained.

Experts said every family has to make the decision that's right for them, but there are things to think about before ditching the coveted titles of mom and dad.

Experts said the best way to empower a child, and teach them respect is to listen to them, and treat them with respect.


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