Relationships suffer when one or both people are holding in negative feelings about the other. Here, something has obviously shifted for your child. And you’re not feeling good either. Both of you will think better if you get your feelings out.

Usually, when we feel uncomfortable about something that doesn’t pose a clear and present danger, it’s because we’re triggered. And in that state, it’s very hard to help our child. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with your child calling you by your first name. So step one would be to dive into those feelings of yours and investigate. Ask yourself, “When have I felt this feeling before?” Ask a friend to just listen to you while you think outloud. Share how uncomfortable the situation makes you. Out of ear distance from your child, scream about how you will absolutely, under no circumstance allow this behavior! Spill out your worries about what everyone else will think.

If, after draining the charge of your emotions, you decide you don’t want your child calling you by your first name, harness the healing power of laughter and see if you can get silly on the topic. Try a family game where everyone trades names for the day – or for a meal. Or exaggerate the formality of the situation. “Yes, Josie. How may I be of assistance?” The laughter you share will loosen up the tension weighing on you both, and open up the space for a level-headed conversation where you can each share your thinking. By then, it may not even be necessary.

Ever faced a similar situation? What did you do? Let’s learn together!