Q&A: son calls Dad Tim

More about names (and a softball for Super Bowl Sunday). Emily writes:

"My 5 year old son calls his dad Tim and Tim really doesn't like it,wants to be called "Dad."  Son is given lots of playful reminders, lots of regular reminders and it is not out of defiance, just habit but it is proving so hard to break and Tim is getting to the upset point."

It never surprises me how seriously we humans take our names and what people call us. So it kind of does surprise me that I don't get three of this question a week, since I think many many kids go through phases of calling a parent (or both) by a given name instead of an honorific. My mom still remembers when I did, and both of my kids have (although at younger ages than 5).

I would approach this the same way I approach whining. (I'm guessing this is pretty much the same way *everyone* approaches whining, not just me.) Don't understand what the kid says in the whiny voice, or when addressing Dad as Tim. "I don't understand who you're talking to. Did you mean Dad?" And just ignore a request or sentence addressed to Tim.

If the child gets no results from saying Tim, he'll start saying Dad soon. But you have to be consistent about it, and just matter-of-fact. it is hard for 5-year-olds to break habits sometimes, since they've got so much going on, but he'll figure it out when he gets a response right away if he says Dad, and not if he says Tim.

Did anyone else go through this with a kid this age? How long did it take to get your child to use the correct name?