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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:54 pm 
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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.

This exactly. Except for the part where I didn't go to your university or major in Women's Studies. I had some professors who went by first names, though.

One of my mom and dad's friend wanted to be called Auntie, but I think I called most of them by first names. My mom always introduced herself as Diane to my firends, but my ex-husband's parents expected me to call them Mr and Mrs even though I was an adult when I met them. They switched to first names the instant we got engaged, and tried out Mom and Dad (ugh! I have my own parents, thanks) when we got married. I don't think most people are that rigid, though.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:07 pm 
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monkeytoes wrote:
my ex-husband's parents expected me to call them Mr and Mrs even though I was an adult when I met them. They switched to first names the instant we got engaged, and tried out Mom and Dad (ugh! I have my own parents, thanks) when we got married. I don't think most people are that rigid, though.


Ha! That makes me think of my MIL. I just call her by her first name, but whenever she signs cards to us she write "Love, Mom (Sylvia)." Okay, you're not my mom, but really is that necessary?

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:27 pm 
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I was raised in a completely different culture than most of my peers, so it was always a little difficult for me. Growing up, everyone was Auntie or Uncle. Even if I didn't know their names, I could call them Auntie or Uncle.

I just ask people what they liked to be called when they introduce themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:12 am 
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In general:

If the adult in question is one of my friends (or their dad's, as far as I can tell), or certain relatives (adult cousins, for instance), they call them by their first names.

My coworkers (including my boss, since we're all on a first-name basis at my office), some parents of their friends, and certain other adults I'm not super-close with with are called Mr./Ms. (first name).

If we don't know the person well (or if they are a doctor or teacher, of course), it's Mr./Ms. (last name).

Personally, I agree with everyone who thinks that titles are outdated, but not many people where I live share that view. For the sake of consideration toward the majority of people we encounter, we err on the side of the kids using titles in some way for anyone other than close friends unless they express a different preference.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:39 pm 
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I prefer first name! When I was giving a talk at a school recently to 13/14 year olds, they asked if they should call me Miss Peloza or Kelly. The latter, please!

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:03 am 
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Noelle wrote:
I tend to use people's introductions of themselves as a guideline for what to call them.


I totally agree. My kids call most adults by their first names.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:00 pm 
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It made me really anxious as a kid as to what to call adults. Teachers were easy- Ms. or Mr. Doctors were always Doctor [last name]. Most of my comm. college professors preferred first name basis, but that may have been because half the students were either around their ages or older, so it seemed less formal in that respect.

I never knew whether to call my aunts and uncle Aunt/Uncle [first name], or just by their first names. My cousins always called them with just their first names (which is the standard in my generation of my family), but when I was five-nine, it was awkward either way.

Close family friends were by first name because they had no other name in my mind (like my dad's friends were always Dan, Mark, Janet, Clint, etc.). And my dad's girlfriend was always just Anne, as I've known her since I was born. My mom's boyfriends didn't get names, because I never knew what to call them. Mr. [last name] was too formal, but first names were awkward.

Friends' parents were always nothing, too. If names were really necessary, it was always Mr/Ms. [last name] except with my best friend's parents, as they're like my second set of parents.

My dad always prefers people to cal him Tom, regardless of age. My mom always introduced herself to my friends as Sue, so I guess she prefers first names, too.

Depending on who and what, I think I'd rather people just call me Charlie, unless I end up as a professor. Then it'd be Professor or Dr. [last name] (with a PhD, obviously).

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:51 pm 
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For those of you who prefer that your children address adults formally, how would you suggest they approach adults whose gender is unclear, or someone who may not identify as male or female (genderqueer)? Just curious.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:02 pm 
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b.vicious wrote:
For those of you who prefer that your children address adults formally, how would you suggest they approach adults whose gender is unclear, or someone who may not identify as male or female (genderqueer)? Just curious.

I think this is a really good question, because you're not just teaching the kid what to say, but what kind of attitude to have. As an adult, there are times when I'm not sure what title to use, in business, for example, and that always requires a question: "what would you like me to call you?" I think having a kid see that adults ask these questions too, and actually care enough to ask, is really important. Similarly, responding to criticism (i was rude enough to call one of Sprog's little boy friends a girl, due to his androgynous good looks and the genders used in portuguese, and was corrected) is a good model- to honestly say "whoa, i'm sorry, i didn't mean to hurt your feelings, i stand corrected" is a good thing for a kid to see.
i mean really, at the root of it, approaching any adult requires making assumptions about who they are and how they self-perceive, and the only way you can be successful is to find out what that person prefers. and if they want to be called "Jimbo", I'm perfectly happy with my kid calling Jimbo "Jimbo" without any honorific.

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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:16 pm 
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I agree with torque. Sometimes you have to ask people what they would like to be called. I like kids to call adults Mr./Mrs./Miss Last Name, but I wouldn't insist on it if the adult had another preference. Similarly, sometimes you forget people's names and you have to say "I'm sorry, could you tell me your name again?" and sometimes you have to apologize if you get someone's name wrong. No big deal, as long as you stay polite.


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 Post subject: Re: How do your kids address non-family adults?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:10 pm 
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All the kids I work with, except for one five year old, call me Megan. The one five year old calls me Miss Megan. I think it's cute. My friend's daughter calls me Maymay, even though now that she's nearly 3 she knows my name and if her mom says "Say Thank you to Megan" she'll say "Thank you Megan" but otherwise will address me as Maymay in conversation. Miss Maymay might be weird though. I don't mind kids calling me by my first name. I don't know that I feel old enough to be Ms. (or eek, Mrs.)

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