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Addressing elders by name? - Page 2

post #21 of 25
just first names here- unless i notice that they are using Miss/mr... then i *might* have the kids approach them that way.. depending on my mood.
post #22 of 25
I'm actually quite uncomfortable with the idea that children should use Mr/Ms Lastname for adults. In my experience (and I am in no way saying that this experience is universal) it tends to go along with a pretty unpleasant disrespect for children.

As an adult, I do not use Mr/Ms/Dr Lastname with anyone who feels entitled to use my first name without invitation. I see no reason why it should be any different for my son, simply by virtue of his age.
post #23 of 25
Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I don't know anyone around here who goes by Mr/Ms/Mrs LastName. I can't think of anyone (including bosses, professors, etc.) that I address by last name, and the only time anyone ever addresses me that way is when a get a phone call from a complete stranger (in which case they get it wrong half the time anyway because my husband and I have different last names).

So, first names for our kids. Or Auntie/Uncle FirstName if you're a very close friend of the family.
post #24 of 25
We use terms of respect for elders. By which I mean, people older than us! Our whole family addresses strangers as "sir" or "ma'am". (We are from the Northwest, but perhaps this is a carryover from our Boston roots three generations ago?) Children address elders as Mr or Ms. Firstname, unless the adult has a specific preference. We have a group of friends at the park from all over the country--the northwest, midwest, northeast, and south--and everybody does the same.

It was always nice when someone said it was okay to just use the first name but embarrassing to be corrected the other way around ("You should call me Mr. Lastname.") so I definitely prefer to err on the side of a more formal address.

With family it's different. Your cousins from an older generation, or aunts and uncles, are Aunt Firstname, Uncle Firstname. Grandma, Grandpa, etc.

In my husband's culture, older children are addressed as "Big Sister" or "Big Brother" and adults, as Aunt Firstname and Uncle Firstname.

In DH's culture, this stems from the explicit belief that children should respect elders as authority figures because adults are more experienced. I think in my western culture, this is more of an implicit belief that might be questioned if stated outright. But I suppose I do think there's a grain of truth. It's not a question of virtue or deserving something. I certainly respect older people more and treat them with the respect I think their age and experience calls for, even though I'm an adult.
post #25 of 25
Originally Posted by noobmom View Post
I try to teach my children to call people what they would like to be called. That said, I'd much rather have my children say "Mr" or "Mrs" so and so and be told that they can use first names rather than the reverse (be corrected after using someone's first name).
I totally agree with the above, except for with close friends that I know prefer to be called by their first name. However, I am totally uncomfortable with the southern custom of calling ALL adults Mr. or Miss Firstname, if they aren't being called by their last name. It's SO weird to me, not being from the south. I do think that people should be called what they want to be called, though, so if someone wants to be called Miss Firstname, that's what my kids call her. But if someone introduces herself to my kid as Leah, that's what my kid will call her. I don't worry about it much. We just call people whatever they tell us their name is.
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