When I was a very small child (probably about 2 or 3) one of my mums closest friends was called Robyn. But I couldn’t deal with someone else having the same name as me, so she became Cookie to me and my family. Similarly, my cousin Peter couldn’t cope with our uncle being a Peter - so he became Fredery (an invented name by cousin Peter - to this day we still call him Fred).
We have a tape at home of my brother when he was two or three having a conversation with an uncle - the uncle keeps calling him “sport” in an affectionate way, but Andrew (brother) keeps saying “I’m not sport, I’m Andrew”. Similarly it was some time before he was OK with being called “Andy” rather than the full Andrew.
These examples raise several questions in my mind:
- How and when do children associate thier names with themselves (“I am Robin, Robin is me”)?
2.1) Why do children have trouble when someone else has the same name as them (such as in the first example). My guess is that it is because they reason something like “I am Robin. You are not me. Therefore you cannot be Robin, so don’t try to tell me that you are”.
2.2) How and when do children realise and accept that other people can have the same name as them, but that’s OK - and it doesn’t mean that the other person is them (“I am Robin, you are also called Robin, but you are not me”).
How and When do children realise that they can be called by other names. That is, when Andrew knows that Andy is also him, or that nicknames (like “sport” in the example above) can also refer to them (“I am Robin, but sometimes, I get called kiddo and sometimes I get called Rob and sometimes I get called Robin Surname, but it’s all referring to me”).
How does a child’s name and identifcation with that name influence that child’s sense of self?