Thursday, May 24, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It:

Q: A parent insists on calling an adult child (as in, career, married, kids, 30s, etc.) a babyish childhood nickname. The child has asked that the parent not use the name multiple times. The parent claims they cannot change that easily, and seems (to outside parties) to be using the name more frequently. The parent will slip into this nickname at public events as well, including events involving the child's colleagues.

The child does not believe the parent has bothered trying to adhere to the request at all. Is either side being unreasonable?

Nicknamed

A: The parent who sticks to the name is being unreasonable, I suspect with intent. Power trip? Usually is.

If you've spent any time in this forum at all, you know I'm going to say you can be right about your nickname — you're the adult child, obviously — and still not control your parent's use of it.

But, you can choose not to fuss, since that's part of the power-trip circuit, and it's best not to complete it. And you can choose not to respond to the nickname. When this parent calls you Pookie, s/he might as well be saying "armchair." Your head does not turn.

And those "outside parties" who support you can all do the same, including play dumb. " 'Pookie'? I'm sorry, who? Oh, you mean Dana."

You can also limit this parent's presence at events.

And, you can take deep cleansing breaths and remind yourself that a defiant, public nickname-abuser is actually making more of a fool of him/herself than of Pookie.

Refusing to try to see it that way is where the adult child would enter the unreasonable zone.

Fair?

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