Friday, April 1, 2011

Titles

I'm curious: What would you do?
I've been discussing this with a few mama-friends, and none of us have reached a consensus. What do we teach our children to call the adults in their lives?
My parents and in-laws are Abby's Grama, Toots, Granny and Grampa. My siblings and brother-in-law are aunties and uncles. Our cousins are also Abby's aunties and uncles, we've decided, because it's much easier that way.
So far, Abby knows a few adults that are our friends, and we have asked them how they prefer to be addressed, and all have answered with their first names.
I remember growing up that our close family friends and neighbours were addressed by their first names. All teachers, instructors, and other adults were Mr., Mrs., or Miss (or Dr.).
Right now, we have taught Abby to address her dance and gymnastics instructors as Miss ___, and she does without much difficulty. But what about other adults: Neighbours? Playgroup mamas? Our friends?
I'll admit, if a cute little toddler or preschool-aged kid called me Mrs, [Lastname], I'd feel old. But if, say, an 11-year-old addressed me the same way, I'd feel fine about it, (albeit still a little old).
I'm not sure on this one: I like to think addressing adults by their proper title is a sign of respect, but is it outdated? Will my kid be the weird one if we teach her to do this?

2 comments:

  1. Josh and I are on two different mind sets. He is alright with Jack using first names, I am not. Close friends and his daycare workers are all first names, unless they want otherwise. But people he isn't familiar with, neighbours we know only because we live near, parents of his friends, I would like him to default to using Mr/Mrs. I find it a form of respect, respecting our elders and their position above us. I know it's old fashioned, and I know some people don't feel their child should feel "less" then an older adult, but I was raised that way and just prefer it. If Abby can pronounce my name more power to her.

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  2. I think children should refer to all adults as Mr., Miss, Mrs or Dr., but not by their first name. This approach goes to respecting elders and having this structure in place will pay dividends in years to come. I know my cousin had to refer to his mom and dad by yes sir or ma'am, and now he is very a respectful person. However I also believe you should instill what ever morals or respect mechanisms you want, regardless of social standing. Having said this I think respect between young and old has eroded over the past few decades. This could be due in part to not calling older people by a title. Ask what your parents did because clearly you are a prime example of respecting people.

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