Adopted child calls us Mr and Mrs

Jennifer - posted on 09/23/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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Hi Everyone



I wanted to seek people's advice. We have an 8.5 yr old foster child, who has been in our home for awhile. He calls us Mr and Mrs and then our first names. I HATE IT! We plan on adopting him, and yes, yes, I know it takes time for these kids to call us mom and dad, but the whole Mr and Mrs Title is really interfering with his perspective of seeing us for WHO we are and the roles we have in his life. We are not a teacher, we are not the postman, and we are not the daycare attendant. I do not want to be referred to as this! Sorry, I know I sound and am upset. I do not want to be referred to as Mr and Mrs. I just don't.



On the other side of this, we have a younger foster child in our home now, and the older one is telling him to call us that. I don't want this AT ALL. I have told the little one AND our older son he is not to call us that/teach him it's okay.

Suggestions? I don't want "Auntie" because he has aunts, uncles, etc. When we introduced him to our family, we purposefully used "grandma" "grandpa" "aunt" etc because we don't want them to feel the same as we do.



I do lay on the side of not forcing him to use mom and dad till he's ready, but there HAS to be a better alternative than Mr ___ and Mrs ___.

thanks

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Dove - posted on 09/23/2012

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How long has he been with you? You say he called his last foster family Mr for two years, so I'm 'assuming' he hasn't been with you very long....



I honestly think you need to lay off on him about the name thing. Yes, insist that he doesn't 'coach' the younger boy on what to call you, but give the kid a bit of a break here. If his attitude is respectful... the name he calls you should not matter so much. If his attitude is NOT respectful.... work on that and still let them name be for right now.



I don't doubt that the Mrs thing is bothersome... it would drive me NUTS to be referred to as Mrs (or Ms) by anyone, but really.... He's an 8 year old kid who probably hasn't had an ounce of stability his entire life. Just love on him and be patient.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/23/2012

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Ok, hold on here. You are talking about how an 8 year old should be more considerate of OTHER peoples feelings, but what about his? He has probably had it drilled into him to use Mr and Mrs as a sign of respect. Instead of you guys taking it as an insult, see how courteous he is being. This child I am sure has been from one place to another and is unsure of the security of staying at your home. He may have had many promises broken, and the kid needs time to trust and love you. Love is not automatic. Lay off the kid. What do you expect him to call you? Him calling you by your first name should be fine. Especially if he drops the Mr/Mrs. He just needs time. I mean, seriously, WHAT do you WANT him to call you? Especially if he is uncomfortable calling you mom and dad right now? He may NEVER feel comfortable with that. I never did, and I was not a foster child, or adopted but have had step dads.

Dove - posted on 09/23/2012

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Auntie/uncle IS better than Mr and Mrs... At least a little.



What about trying to go with JUST your first names?



I'd be less into 'pushing' the older boy into what to call/not call you, but I would outright 'forbid' him to be instructing the younger boy on what to call you. Sit him down and let him know that you understand he may not be comfortable calling you... whatever, but it is not acceptable for him to be dictating what someone else does or does not call you.



He probably has learned that Mr and Mrs are a sign of respect, so while I understand your discomfort with it... try and remember that he is (most likely) doing it out of respect for you.

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Jodi - posted on 09/23/2012

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"We have told him that children do NOT call their parents by their first name."



Actually, lots of kids DO. I don't see anything wrong with it. I must admit, I am confused as to what you are asking. I thought you just wanted him to lose the Mr and Mrs, which is why I suggested a slow transition to dropping it and just using your first names. But your second post makes it sound to me like you are wanting him to call you mum and dad, and I don't think it is okay to shame him into calling you what he doesn't feel comfortable calling you. He will probably, with time and trust, be okay calling you by your first names without the Mr and Mrs, but getting him to call you mum and dad might be stretching it at this point, and I really don't think it should be your focus.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/23/2012

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Oh, and BTW...I OFTEN call my son MR. (insert first name here).

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/23/2012

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I really don't see that you are taking HIS feelings into perspective but insist that he MUST take yours into perspective. HE is the one who is dealing with way more. Just back off of him.

Jennifer - posted on 09/23/2012

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I understand what you're saying, but when I was a child, we DIDN"t call people Mr and Mrs. That was an East Coast thing. We called them "Grandpa Joe" or by their first names, and theywere okay with that.



my thing is, our son needs to learn social perspective taking. This is a huge issue for him on all fronts; not being able to see how OTHERS feel and how his actions attribute to that. We have explained to him that just because his old guardian was okay with that, WE aren't. I'd be fine with just our first names, but with everything in our child, habits are hard to break.



We tried explaining to him "Wouldn't it be weird to call us Mr and Mrs in front of your friends in class, etc" and THEY don't understand. He agreed. We have told him that children do NOT call their parents by their first name. We asked him if he liked "Mr" and then used his first name and he hated it. Again..social perspective and lack thereof.

Elfrieda - posted on 09/23/2012

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Maybe you could get past this by thinking back to your own childhood. Do you have fond memories of a Mr so-and-so who always had time to chat and let you help him when he worked outside and was basically a surrogate grandpa? Or Mrs. Whatever who was your favourite babysitter? I don't think that Mr and Mrs is any more disconnecting than using your first names, none of those are "Mom and Dad" anyway.

Jodi - posted on 09/23/2012

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Given he calls you Mr First Name and Mrs First name, can you possibly encourage him to just call you by first name with "Just Jennifer is fine". It may be easier to transition him to calling you by just your first name.

Jennifer - posted on 09/23/2012

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Thanks for your reply. Yes, we are not forcing him into Mom and Dad, and get that that's counterproductive. I know he called the last foster parent "Mr" for 2 years. This is part of the problem. We are trying to "undo" what was done. For me, respect doesn't come in titles. If he's talking back and being disrespectful just because he calls us "Mr and Mrs" doesn't denote respect. He just doesn't get it, I know, trust me...I hear what you're saying.



Yes, we absolutely are forbidding him to instruct the little one. He is at the Mommy and Daddy age and his fostering may end up in adoption and we are NOT going to have another one doing this. He needs to see that "respect" is felt differently by different people and the formal titles are disrespectful to us.

Thanks for your thoughts

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/23/2012

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Hmmm.....I would sit down with the both of them and explain what your role is. Do NOT force him to call you mom or dad, but maybe just by your first name. I had a step dad at very young age, and always called them by the first name. It never felt right calling him dad.

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