My Child Talks In Third Person: Is This Normal?

It's a little irksome when your child talks in third person all the time, but is it really a major issue? Check out our thoughts + parenting tips on this.

Your child is finally speaking to where you can hold a conversation (some days you might long for the good ole days of your non-speaking child).  One of our mom readers wrote to us concerned that her 4 year old talks in third person.  Even when she is playing she always talking in the third person.  Should she be concerned?  How should she handle this without outright correcting her and getting her frustrated?  Here are some of my suggestions.

Related: Fun Activities to Develop Speech & Language Skills in Toddlers

My Child Talks In Third Person: Is This Normal?

Kids mimic: Oh don’t I know this!  They always seem to know just how to use the bad words.  That is another discussion.  How do you ask your child if she is hungry?  Do you say “Is Jean hungry?” or do you say “Are you hungry?”  If the first option sounds like you, she is mimicking how you speak to her.  Start asking her if she is hungry without her name and see if she starts mimicking you.

Related: Help! I Think My Toddler Learned Curse Words From the Babysitter!

Correct her without correcting her: So she says “Jean is hungry!” and you respond with “Ok!  Did you say ‘you are hungry?’”  You can repeat what she says without using her name so she can hear how she should be saying it.  You are not saying things like “No say it like this…” or “That is not how you ask for things”.  You are passively correcting her.

Let it go: Now you are singing the song, you are welcome!  Kids grow out of things most of the time.  He is still learning what is right and wrong when speaking.  A lot kids speak in third person because when you think about it, we do it ourselves when we speak to them.  It is normal if your child talks in the third person, there are bigger things to stress about, like her college fund!

Language is confusing: Think about, because you don’t remember when you were learning to speak yourself, but there are so many things to learn when speaking!  My daughter used to confuse ‘him’ and ‘her’ and ‘he’ and ‘she’ (sometimes she still does and she is about to be 6, but she catches herself).  Your child only just started talking not too long ago (in the big scheme of things) there is a lot to learn!

Do you talk in third person? Think about it for a second, how do you speak to your child?  Don’t fool yourself, you know you have referred to yourself as ‘mommy’ to your child before!  I do it and don’t even realize it.  With my 4 month old I say “Give mommy kisses!”  I know I still do that on occasion with my almost 6 year old, and I know my mom does, she refers to herself as grandma all the time.  So where do you think your child is picking up this habit?  Hmmmmm…

In my not-so-professional mom of 2 opinion, I wouldn’t worry about it if your child talks in the third person.  More than likely your child will grow out of this habit.  If she doesn’t and you are concerned, you can always discuss this with her pediatrician.

Have you experienced this before, whether it be your child or maybe one you were teaching? Share your opinions and stories with us below.

21 thoughts on “My Child Talks In Third Person: Is This Normal?”

  1. If a child does this as a correction. ____ is a bad girl???——-should be punished. I don’t think this self punishment is normal at all

  2. I never talked in the third person with my children. Hubby and I started calling each other “Mommy and Daddy” and avoiding our first names to reinforce our titles to our children. I always used second person speak when talking and refering to
    my kids and had to correct the adults around them to quit the baby and third person talk.

  3. My daughter who is 2 1/2 yrs old has been doing this since she started talking… I correct it every time but can’t seem to get her out of it, and now I think i’ve confused her.. now she says “Bella’s my turn” she’ll be starting preschool soon and I hope that her hearing the other kids not speaking in 3rd person will help her.

  4. It’s not normal, it’s narcissistic and disassociative, my roommates 12 yr old still does this (and has done so her entire life)…. It’s weird, annoying and others (including her friends) make fun of her behind her back.
    Why would any of you people not recommend correcting this behavior in a positive and constructive manner is bewildering. Guess it does explain why we have so many dysfunctional young adults

    1. Theo, the child in question is 4. The advice on how to help is for a 4-year-old child. The advice for your roommate’s 12 year old might be a bit different. Perhaps you could submit the question and find out.

    1. ” my son “DO” this….. We correct him everytime he “DO” this….. Hmmm seems pretty clear where the speaking problem began

  5. sounds like a phase, don’t worry so much hope. I think its part of his development, maybe you could try to help him and keep monitoring the progress

  6. I agree with the first commenter. Don’t bring attention to it. My kids go crazy when I talk about their quirky things. Like I am asking them to do it MORE!

  7. Kids try to make everything interesting all of the time because they get bored easily. Talking in third person would be one of those things.

  8. great info. I think, in general, we worry too much about our children’s development. This is a great reminder for parents to look at how they speak to and around their children before worrying.

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