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 Post subject: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:24 pm 
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So I know I won't have to really figure this out until I have a kid who is A) outside my body and B) talking, but I'm curious.

Growing up, I never had really clear guidance on this. I remember just not calling certain friends of my parents anything, because I wasn't sure what to say. Now my husband and I are friends with some people with young kids who insist that their children call people Miss/Mister First Name, which always makes me feel like a preschool teacher. There's also the fake Aunt/Uncle thing, which seems a little forced to me (or maybe I'm just bitter because this bisque-y friend of my husband's used to pointedly make her daughter call him Uncle and me Miss).

I always prefer that kids just call me by my first name, but I know there are still some people out there who think that's inappropriate or whatever. Do you take it on a case by case basis or do you have a standard way that you refer to the non-family adults in your kid's life?


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:52 pm 
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My kid isn't talking yet, either, but I'm of the Mrs./Mr./Miss Last Name camp. This comes up at school sometimes with volunteers who just want to be called Tracy or Joe or whatever, but I think 5-year-olds should be addressing adults they don't know well by their more formal names. Kids with good manners really stand out (so many have no boundaries), and I prefer to err on the side of formality. If a kindergartener calls me Mary, it feels cheeky and presumptuous and I correct them. We can be buddies, but I am also an authority figure, you know? With a close family friend it could be different, but I grew up calling all my parents' friends Mr. and Mrs.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:56 pm 
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GlueGun calls non-teacher, non-doctor adults by their first names. I doubt he would call a cop by his or her first name.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:08 pm 
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Yeah, I was definitely thinking more like family friends and that type of thing. I agree that in a school setting or with someone the child has a "professional" relationship with it's not really appropriate to use just first names.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:15 pm 
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I'm not a parent, but whenever I meet kids I introduce myself with my first name. My nephew calls me "Katie" instead of "Aunt Katie", I just didn't like the way "Aunt Katie" sounded. (He's my only nephew, I treat him more like a little brother.)

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:20 pm 
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My kids ranging from 9-18 call the non family adults in their life by the adults' preferences. So teachers etc are Mr, Mrs, Miss so and so. Family friends were addressed formally until told to call mom's bestfriend Carolyn, "Carolyn" etc. by Carolyn etc. Most close family friend adults are called by first names cause that's how my friends prefer it. I only find it disresespectful when children assume all adults are to be called by their first names. Manners first than familiarity and then heaven help you you might as well take them home....is my motto.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:44 pm 
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We save the Aunties and Uncles for selected very close family friends.... Here in Brazil it's common to call any older person "Aunt" or "Uncle" but I discourage it. If we know their name, they are Miss/Mr FirstName (again, portuguese makes it a bit easier). We've done this in the US too (daycare encouraged it). I think this year, Sprog's 10th, was the first time that we met adults that we didn't call by Miss or Mister, since I think Sprog's getting a bit old for it.
I sort of have mixed feelings- as quakers we usually discourage titles but i don't think it's appropriate for kids to call all adults by their first names. Again, in the US it's different, as people occasionally get upset about first name use. Here, nobody even knows anyone's last names, so it's a moot point.

And small coincidence: Sprog was rereading a Harry Potter today and said "isn't it funny that all the adults are always just Mr Weasley or Mr Whatever?" On further questioning she said it was weird since most of her books refer to adults by their first names, not by Mister. hmmmm.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:46 pm 
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So far everyone's Aunt and Uncle or just their first names(unless it's someone I/my husband would never address by first name). I've jokingly called all my (co-ed) fraternity brothers "Uncle" even when they're female. When she starts meeting people who aren't as close to us, they'll be Mister or Ms whoever(we're far enough south that we can get away with slurring Mrs. and Miss into "Miz" and I want her to not be worried about changing the honorific based on marital status--also it goes up my nose when people address me as "Mrs.").

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:46 pm 
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I should probably add that all of the kids friends call me Joan. I have a long hyphenated last name which made it a pain when they were little. And really I don't think I need any kind of title anyway I know who I am. They know who I am.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:37 pm 
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Growing up I had friends parents who I would address with their first name and those friends would do the same to my parents. Some friends who's parents I didn't know well were Mr. or Mrs/Miss Whatever or I just didn't use any name for them. There are still people who I don't address by anything at all and I don't think it's weird.

Reno calls her teachers at preschool Miss Whatever their first name is. Our friends she calls them by their first names only. No fake Aunts or Uncles here. Her real Aunt and Uncle she doesn't even call them by their real names. She calls them Chi and Fuzzy.

When Reno is older and has friends over I will insist that they call me Jenna. I don't want to be a Mrs. My Last Name. I do want her to address new friends parents by Mr./Mrs./Miss Last Name until told otherwise by that person.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:29 pm 
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I kind of like the idea of "Ms. [Last Name]," but I don't know if I could insist upon it. I just like it for it's Leave it to Beaver-ness, maybe. I always called my friend's parents and other grown-ups at church by their first names, and I expect that's what we'll have my daughter do too. Right now any garbled words she uses to address anyone are good. I do NOT like calling people who are not your familial aunts/uncles "Aunt(ie)" and "Uncle." In fact, I despise it. I can't give you a good reason, I just do.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:26 pm 
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I always thought we would do Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name but every adult my 2 year old has met prefers to be called by their first name. We've been in two daycares and all of the "teachers" go by first name. It seems the standard in the area I live in to call adults by the first name so we go with it. I assume when we hit preschool/kindergarten he'll call his teachers by Mr/Mrs./Ms. Last name.

I think it depends on the norm where you live.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:06 pm 
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Whatever I call friends and acquaintances, that's what my kids call them. I don't complain when other people's kids call me Miss Erin, but I really dislike it. Reminds me of working in daycare.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:21 pm 
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Mr/Mrs last name as a rule, because that's the way you adress to people you do not know well.

Naturally we call firends and family by their first name so our son does too.
A lot of people tell our son to call them by their first name - so it is OK for me.
(e.g. the receptionist at my workplace: I knew her for years and I liked her but it was always "Mrs" for us. When my son visited me at work he had to get a certain access card to enter so he had to talk to this receptionist: when we left work it was "bye bye Yann(son)" and "take care, Petra(receptionist)")

Back in those ancient times when I was a child we were supposed to call the friends of your parents "uncle/aunt". Glad these times are over, I was never OK with that.
Some elderly people still like to be adressed as "uncle/aunt" by my son. If they are related (grand-uncles or something) I am fine (but my son always forgets about the uncle).
If they are not related I am a little bisque-y and insist on Mr/Mrs last name or - if they accept - the first name.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:26 pm 
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i tend toward calling people mz or mr and their first names. my sister and brother and i for some reason would call our friends parents mr and mrs and their child's name. But as a person who lived in the south, but isn't southern, i loved being called ms jildez but the children next door. at first it made me feel old and then i took it as respect, just like using sir and ma'am- which i also do and will model for my son. still, i go go with other's preferences over my own if they express them- if you intro yourself as mr baker ( my next door neighbor), you will be mr baker to me until you tell me otherwise. if you tell me to call you duane, i will, and since you are in your 70s ill prob make it mr duane until you tell me not to. even if i call you duane, i will encourage my son to call you mr duane until you tell him to just call you by your first name.

i don't know why i like this so much (the titles of respect) i never even called my aunts and uncles by their titles (most of them where teens or younger when i was young), but maybe its the lack of structure in my childhood which makes me love these little structurisms now?


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:46 pm 
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I think if they are close family friends it is okay to call them by their first name. All other people(doctors/teachers/friends parent unless told otherwise) should be addressed as Miss/Mr/Mrs imo.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:50 pm 
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As a kid to now I call people by their first name. If they don't like it they will correct you and you can switch to their prefered name.

I've called my parents Denise and Angus since I can remember. Occasionally I call someone else's parents "Adam's Dad" or " Misses Missy's Mother" etc

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:04 am 
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I was taught that I was to call adults Mr/Mrs/Ms (last name) until told it was okay to use their first name. this worked out, and now I still call some of my friend's parents Mr/Mrs so-and-so, but most adults in my life were referred to by their first name from the time I was like 10. My Mom always told my friends to call her by her first name because a.)it was more familiar, and b.) she has a different last name than me, and my little 8 year old friends couldn't wrap their head around calling her a different name than mine. I still have a friend that calls her Mrs. Solomon, despite the fact that she never changed her name and her and my father have been divorced for over 10 years. I think in THAT case, its actually less respectful to continue calling her Mrs. so-and-so than it would be to just call her by her first name.

I also called my parents by their first name from age 5-8, then switched back to Mom and Dad.

my baby siblings are taught to call people Mrs/Mr/Ms no matter what, because thats what my stepmother would want to be called.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:47 am 
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I can't wrap my head around the fact that children are now calling adults by their first names! Wow- times have changed. I'm not that old, but I still can't call friend's parents by their first names, even if they ask me to. It is just a sign of respect/the way I was raised- you call all adults that you don't know well by Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name. Interesting!


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:16 am 
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i think it should go by the adult's preference, but i certainly don't think a huge level of formality is required just because it's a child. if there is a situation where the kid actually knows the person's full name and is regularly addressing them, then short of an authority figure (teacher, school staff, doctor etc) then i think they're probably familiar enough to use the person's first name, if the person is ok with it.

i actually like the familiar title of auntie/uncle.within our family it was always reserved for very close friends of the family when we were little, although the culture i grew up in also uses it as a common title for adults not in an authority position. so the cleaning lady, cafeteria lady, crossing guard, etc were all auntie/uncle. anyway, i don't care if my kids don't refer to my best friend as "auntie kristen" but I refer to her that way... to me it's a way of saying that she is as close/important as family to us.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:59 am 
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littlebird wrote:
i actually like the familiar title of auntie/uncle.within our family it was always reserved for very close friends of the family when we were little, although the culture i grew up in also uses it as a common title for adults not in an authority position. so the cleaning lady, cafeteria lady, crossing guard, etc were all auntie/uncle. anyway, i don't care if my kids don't refer to my best friend as "auntie kristen" but I refer to her that way... to me it's a way of saying that she is as close/important as family to us.

I actually really like that. It's pretty sweet.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:29 am 
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I was raised using first names for all adults I came in contact with, including teachers and even my family doctor (she was at my birth, and was a good family friend). I think the first time I ever used "Mr/Mrs/Ms" was when I transferred to mainstream high school in grade 10 and I found it incredibly weird.

Even in university, in my faculty at least, profs go by their first names--though that may be particular to Women's Studies.

I would of course instruct my children to attend to people's personal wishes, but I find the use of honorifics weird. I don't like the idea that someone deserves "more" respect simply because they are older than you, and don't like the idea of imbuing all adults with authority simply based upon their age. Nor do I think that the use of Mr/Mrs/Ms particularly connotes respect, more I think it's an outmoded social construction that relies on and reinforces a devaluing of children.

I should note, I was a very polite and respectful child, and often got comments to that effect. And had someone requested to be called Mr/Mrs/Ms I would have complied out of respect to their wishes.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:32 am 
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j-dub wrote:
I was raised using first names for all adults I came in contact with, including teachers and even my family doctor (she was at my birth, and was a good family friend). I think the first time I ever used "Mr/Mrs/Ms" was when I transferred to mainstream high school in grade 10 and I found it incredibly weird.

Even in university, in my faculty at least, profs go by their first names--though that may be particular to Women's Studies.

I would of course instruct my children to attend to people's personal wishes, but I find the use of honorifics weird. I don't like the idea that someone deserves "more" respect simply because they are older than you, and don't like the idea of imbuing all adults with authority simply based upon their age. Nor do I think that the use of Mr/Mrs/Ms particularly connotes respect, more I think it's an outmoded social construction that relies on and reinforces a devaluing of children.

I should note, I was a very polite and respectful child, and often got comments to that effect. And had someone requested to be called Mr/Mrs/Ms I would have complied out of respect to their wishes.

Yeah, I was pretty much the same growing up. Although there were a few occasions I would introduce myself to someone's parents "Hi, my name is Amanda. What's your name?" "Mrs. Smith" "well, please to meet you Mrs. Smith, but may I ask what your real name is?"

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:26 am 
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littlebird wrote:
i actually like the familiar title of auntie/uncle.within our family it was always reserved for very close friends of the family when we were little... anyway, i don't care if my kids don't refer to my best friend as "auntie kristen" but I refer to her that way... to me it's a way of saying that she is as close/important as family to us.


Yes, when we speak of very close friends, like my friend who attended the birth of my son, we call her aunt. I wouldn't call all adults aunt/uncle. It's definitely reserved for people who we truly consider family.


j-dub wrote:
I would of course instruct my children to attend to people's personal wishes, but I find the use of honorifics weird. I don't like the idea that someone deserves "more" respect simply because they are older than you, and don't like the idea of imbuing all adults with authority simply based upon their age. Nor do I think that the use of Mr/Mrs/Ms particularly connotes respect, more I think it's an outmoded social construction that relies on and reinforces a devaluing of children.


This sums up how I feel about Mr/Ms/Mrs pretty well. I think someone can be perfectly respectful without giving everyone older special titles. As a child I referred to adults in the manner which they asked; that's all I expect of my children.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:51 am 
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I hadn't even thought about this until I overheard a mother talking to her daughter about our children's librarian, and referring to her as "Miss Patty." She'd introduced herself to us as "Patty," and hadn't even thought to call her anything else, or have my son call her "Miss." I tend to use people's introductions of themselves as a guideline for what to call them.

Although I thought it was totally weird when my advisor in college asked me to call him "Jeff." When you have two PhDs, I feel like I have to call you "Doctor"...or at least "Professor." Anything else just seems wrong.

Anyway, my son calls my friends and acquaintances by their first names.

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