Are we on a first name basis?

Serena - posted on 11/07/2010 ( 41 moms have responded )

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Growing up I was always told never call an adult by their first name. It was rude and disrespectful. I grew up in Hawaii, so it was just "island style" to call everyone Aunty and Uncle in the same way you would use Mr or Mrs/Ms. So I was taken back a little when we moved to the states and hearing young children call me by my first name and it was okay with their parents.
I was just wondering what any of you thought about that? Do you think that its a thing of the past? Thoughts?

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Chrystal - posted on 11/08/2010

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I think it's rude to not say Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. I don't think it should be a thing of the past. It's called manners, and manners never die.

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On a similar note, do you girls teach your children to say "yes ma'am, yes sir"? I do. In fact, I even say it to my son. 3 year old : "Mommy can I have a cookie?" Me: "No sir, not until after you eat your lunch." I figure that way, if I'm showing him respect, he'll learn to show me (and other adults) respect as well. He doesn't say it all the time and I don't get on him about it all the time when he forgets. But he definitely makes me proud when he says it on his own. Today, an older lady at the grocery store asked him if he had a train on his shirt and he says, "Yes ma'am". They had a little chat while I was looking for my rice and then as we were walking away, he waved and said, "Bye, have a nice day." I was smiling on the outside, bursting with love and pride on the inside.

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I was raised to never call an adult by their first name. Even my own cousins (who are actually old enough to be my parents) were called "aunt and uncle" until I was about 15 and they told me I didn't have to do it anymore. I am raising my son the same way. To him, every adult is either "aunt or uncle" (for close friends) or they are "Miss or Mister" (Miss Linda & Mr. Chuck are our next door neighbors). On a similar note, my husband's best friend is Uncle Brent to our son. But his wife got mad when she heard him call him that because he's not "really" his uncle. But since Brent himself doesn't mind (and kinda likes it because he's an only child and will never actually BE an uncle), my son still calls him Uncle.

ME - posted on 11/08/2010

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My children call my friends either "aunt"...they call my parents friends "mr" or "mrs"...I think it's rude to do otherwise!

Jodi - posted on 11/07/2010

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It depends. I grew up calling relatives by their titles, aunt, uncle, etc etc, strangers and my friends parents were either sir, ma'am, Mrs. Blank or Mr. Blank and that is how I will raise my daughters. First names are reserved for close family friends or other children, although I am not offended at being called Miss. Jodi, which is what my daycare kids used to call me, but I initiated that. To me it is abour respect, but I agree with the when in Rome comment to a point as well.

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I call my biological mother by her first name, but I didn't have much of a relationship with her until I was in my teens anyway. She also doesn't act like a mother so it was more like she was like a sister.

But other than that, I've never outright called someone older than me by their first name without a Ms. or Mr. tacked on.

My age and younger, sure, I'll call them by their first name if we are well-acquainted. And I agree, I think it's a little rude for young children to call people their parents' age by their first name only. First-name basis is only for close friends and peers, not for elders.

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Hey I never realised there was such a big difference between Australia and the US! I haven't uttered the words "Mrs" or "Mr" since about 1983!

I didn't know they still existed!

Jenn - posted on 11/08/2010

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I grew up calling my own aunts and uncles by their first name, but friend's parents were Mr or Mrs - same with teachers. To me Ma'am makes me think of an old person and nobody says that around here.

Leah - posted on 11/08/2010

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We were always raised to call people "Mr" or "Mrs", "Aunt" or "Uncle". And working in customer service, make it a habit to call people mr or mrs so and so, even if they are younger than me lol. Its just a sign of respect and I find when I call someone that is in their early 20's mr or mrs, it brightens their day :D. As for my kids, they are still very young so as for now they call my friends and family by their first names. As long as they don't have a problem with it, I see no reason for them not to. When they get older, I will teach them the proper way to address an elder. I have no problems with little kids calling me by my first name either.

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Another Aussie here. We're pretty casual here. My kids always called our friends by their first name and often their aunts and uncles too. I think the respect comes in the tone, not the name. You can get as much disrespect into "Mrs Sutherland" as "Kathy" and vice versa!



I don't like being called Mrs anyway.

Heather - posted on 11/08/2010

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My parents are southern AND I grew up in the military, so Mr., Mrs., and Ms., Sir and Ma'am were first names to me(lol). As long as the child is speaking in a respectful tone then I don't particularly care if they use a title, but I'll be teaching my DD to use Sir and Ma'am. What really bothers me is when someone is trying to be respectful by using a title and the person being addressed gets an attitude about it. ie: Barbara Boxer and the General she was questioning on the senate floor. That whole situation was just appalling to me. I suppose he could have called her BITCH instead of Ma'am...cause she earned that title too! :D

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I'm in Hawaii, so it's Auntie/Uncle w/out name if you don't know it, w/ name if you do. Since I've been here 25 years I have no comment for other cultures. ;)



Teachers are Mr./Miss/Mrs though.. And doctors are Dr. I was just referring to adults in general w/ the Auntie/Uncle thing.

Tah - posted on 11/08/2010

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what jodi said....i am from philly, there was less ma'am and sir and more Ms and mr. Down here in VA it is a lot of sir and ma'am and alot of Mr. Mrs. miss..etc...My neighbors are from all over. California, washington, Puerto rico, alabama..and we have all introduced our children the same way. This is Ms. Tah, or Mrs. Dula. That's why i come on here, because i see different things. I thought it was common place because it's how i was raised and everyone i have met for the most part was raised where it is considered disrespectful to do anything else. I have seen children try it, it hasn't turned out well..lol. They have either been corrected by the parent, or the person if the parent wasn't quick enough. So i would never let my child meet one of you ladies and off the bat say hey jennie, dana..etc. I would let you say hey, call me Dana. They probably wouldn't,lol. I would also remind them that the way they have been raised still stands unless it really, really makes the person uncomfortably and then let them correct you. Until then, it's with a title...

Jocelyn - posted on 11/08/2010

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I'm with you Katherine; when/if I get called ma'am I just die a little inside. It just seems like such an "old" title, and I'm only 23!

Minnie - posted on 11/08/2010

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I refer to myself and my husband by our first names when introducing ourselves to children. I really don't expect children to give us some sort of 'honor status' and call us Mrs. and Mr.

Our girls occasionally call us by our first names, too. no big deal.

Katherine - posted on 11/08/2010

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I actually fell weird being called Mrs. or Ms all the kids call me Katherine.

Jackie - posted on 11/08/2010

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Southern girl here - I've always used Ms. so-and-so, or Mr. so-and-so, using first names. As a business women, I use Mrs and Mr. last names when I'm speaking to customers or clients.

But mostly, you have to asses the situation.

Jodi - posted on 11/08/2010

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See, here's the whole thing about whether or not it's respectful to use the titles sir, ma'am, Mr. or Mrs. While it may not be disrepectful where you come from, when you go somewhere else your children (and yourself) may be considered very disrespectful for using someone's first name. But also understand, I have traveled places (pre-child) where using a title makes people uncomfortable and so I adjust MY standards and go with what's appropriate for the area.
Mostly it has to do with your area where you live, but it's important to keep in mind that other places have other standards for respect and it's important to adopt those standards while a guest.

Jocelyn - posted on 11/08/2010

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Depends on the person. If it is someone we don't know, or we are just acquaintances with, then it would be sir or ma'am. If they are a close family friend, then it would be aunt/uncle. Anyone in between would probably just be called by their name (either first name or last, whatever they prefer)

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I think the standard should be to call people by their last name unless otherwise requested. At my kids school, all the teachers--young or old--are called by their first names (with the word Juf(frouw) or Meneer, which means Miss or Mister). I think it is becoming a thing of the past. If you don't want kids calling you by your first name though, just tell them what you'd rather be called.

Jenny - posted on 11/07/2010

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I am not comfortable being called Mrs. Commie Canadian. I prefer to be adressed by my first name. It has nothing to do with respect, it's just my ID.

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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I called my parents by their first names to be a smart arse when I was a kid.

Desiree - posted on 11/07/2010

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Here in Africa the answer is no, you always call the adult Tanie or Omm(Aunt and Uncle) Mr or Mrs. the Black African call them MA or Malume Gogo or Baba. You never call someone older than you by their first name even the Adults do not call thier senoirs by thier first name. It is considered rude espcially the black.

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Haha Dana! After spending a weekend with her cousins, Eliza called me "Aunt Sara" for a few days. She's back to calling me "Mama" now, but it was fun while it lasted.

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Roxanne (26 months) refers to me as, Dana sometimes and while it was strange at first, it's growing on me.

Jodi - posted on 11/07/2010

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Not even my nieces and nephews call me Auntie......and my kids call all my brothers and their wives by first name too. I call my aunts and uncles by first name too.

Johnny - posted on 11/07/2010

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Most kids around here use first names, I don't think I've ever had a kid call me Mrs. ever. The aunty/uncle thing is common in some cultural groups, but not either of ours. None of the kids have ever called me that either. I'm most comfortable with my first name, and my daughter calls all our friends by their first names. If she called them Mrs. or Auntie, I think people would find it hilarious.

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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I don't like it but I think it's a thing of the past. Everyone was Aunty so and so when I was a kid.

Ez - posted on 11/07/2010

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There's definitely a theme with the Aussies here. We use aunty or uncle for family members (I still do as an adult) but everyone else goes by their first names. My friends' kids call me Ez and I'm fine with that because I know them well and we spend a lot of time together. School friends will be different I imagine.. still a few years off for us!

Rosie - posted on 11/07/2010

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where i live it's not common place to use the title ma'am or mr. when referring to someone. i don't feel it's disrespectful to not do it. disrespect is when you are treating that person like crap-not calling them by their god given name.
mr/mrs/ whatever is reserved for teachers, and that's all i can think of that get that title here.

Lacye - posted on 11/07/2010

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To me it depends on how familiar the child is with the person. There is an older woman that lives in an apartment right down from mine and I call her Ms. Frankie and I am teaching my daughter to do that as well. It's respectful to me. But if it's like a teacher or a friend's parents' names, then it would be Ms./Mrs. Whatever or Mr. Whatever (insert the person's last name). But I have several nieces and nephews that call me Lacye not Aunt Lacye (but that is mostly because most of my nieces and nephews are close to my age!)

Amie - posted on 11/07/2010

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My kids call people Mr. & Mrs., Auntie, Uncle, Gramma depending on who they are referring too.

There are a few who have given their permission to be called by their first name though. So long as the permission is given I don't correct my children.

Charlie - posted on 11/07/2010

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Casual Aussie here we use first names title like MR , Sir and Miss are reserved for places of position like police officers or teachers .

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We use Mr./Ms./Mrs. first name. We also expect "ma'am" and "sir". That's how it is where I live, and to do otherwise would be rude. Even adults call each other "ma'am" and "sir" if not close friends. Of course, if you live in a place where it is not considered rude, then it's not rude and shouldn't be expected. When in Rome...

Sal - posted on 11/07/2010

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i sort of go with the flow, it can get tricky wirh so many unmarried parents, calling someone Mrs brown seems normal but your Miss Brown sounds odd i guess, my freinds are all first name or aunty to my kids, but their parents (my freinds) are all Mr and Mrs or aunt, one even gets nana wendy, in my old mums group it was first names but we have moved and it is pretty much Mrs, not sure why but just is, maybe becaue there no unmarried mums there? i am happy to be salli, aunty sal or Mrs Geere but i before i was married and a single mum i was always just salli

JuLeah - posted on 11/07/2010

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Times change. In the south, kids call women 'mam' and men, 'sir' In the north, women are offended by the title 'mam'
Kids call me Ms. and then my first name more offten then Ms. and my last name.
I was not raised with 'Yes Sir' or 'No mam' but one of my friends was and got her face slapped if she forgot.
In many cultures, as you mentioned, Aunty and Uncle are common.
I don't think it is a lack of respect, just different cultures.
I ask my child for eye contact, a smile, kind reply to a greeting ... a hand shake if that was offered, but I don't ask for Mam or Sir, or Mr. or Mrs. .....

Tah - posted on 11/07/2010

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i don't allow my children to call adults,any adults, by their first name and i don't like when children call me by mine, like you, it was a respect thing. I would never think to let my children call someone else by their first name without knowing how they felt about that even if i was okay with it (i'm not). My children address family members accordingly....aunt uncle...etc..as a matter of fact.my younger sister is only 1-4 years older than some of our nephews and they call her Aunt Mae.....even as an adult i call my parent's friends Ms. Mrs., Mr..etc.



I don't think it should be a thing of the past, some things that aren't considered modern i beleive should never have gone out of style..like respectful children and neighborhoods acting as a village. Sometimes i think children are given to much entitlement and freedom from parents, then they wonder why they are throwing a hissy fit in the middle of IHOP (yesterday, the dad and son almost bumped into my husband's side of the booth with the father trying to control this kids outburst)...I don't think a respect ever goes out of style..

Jodi - posted on 11/07/2010

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In Australia, we are pretty casual about it (well, most people are). I am known by my first name by all my kids' friends. In fact, all the kids at the school call me Jodi (I volunteer there). I actually prefer it that way.

Kate CP - posted on 11/07/2010

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Depends on the situation. My daughter calls friends of the family by their first names. But her friends' parents she calls "so-and so's mom/dad". When she's old enough to understand I do plan on teaching her that we call people's parents by their last names unless they say otherwise.

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