MadameNoire Featured Video

When I was growing up, there were only a handful of ways to address adults, and only two involved using their first names– if they were an aunt or uncle, or if they were close friends of the family. In that case, we affectionately referred to them as Aunt Lisa or Uncle Mike, or as Miss Lisa, or Mr. Mike. Either way, it was all for the sake of showing respect for our elders, and practicing proper etiquette. It was just the way things were, and there weren’t any exceptions.

It’s rare for me to hear that from kids these days. But then again, it’s rare for me to come across a child with good manners.

Instead, more and more children seem to be addressing adults by their first names. Aunts, uncles, family friends, neighbors; in some cases, teachers, and yes, even their own parents. To me, that’s a bit extreme, but to each his own.

I admit, it’s something that I found my kids doing with friends of mine. Childhood friends were introduced to my children by their first names; mainly because after knowing them since we were kids ourselves, it was hard for me to imagine them as Mr. or Mrs. anything. Friends that I met as an adult were first introduced as Mr. or Mrs., but over time, as we got closer, we dropped the formality altogether.

My kids definitely don’t treat them as equals. They still show them respect, but the relationship is more playful in nature.

I often wonder to myself though: Am I essentially teaching my children poor manners? Should I have them address everyone by their last name– or at least with some kind of prefix or honorific?

At first I thought it would be hard to go back when it comes to what my kids call my close friends. After all, there are friends of my mother that I still address by last name, even though they’ve told me to use their first names. But I can’t bring myself to do it. It just doesn’t feel right, and I always think that if I do my mother will pop up out of nowhere and reprimand me for it.

Then I think back to the days when my children used to call and refer to their aunts and uncles by their first names. It was something that they did because they heard their father and I doing it; which is what I assume happens with others who do the same. It was a while before we corrected them, but they eventually adapted to the change once we did.

So it is possible.

Necessary? Maybe not. Besides, there are lots of other ways that kids can show respect toward adults. It would be nice to hear it more often though, and I intend to make it a rule with my children; no exceptions.

What do you think mamas? Should kids address adults by their last names– all of them? How do you feel about children addressing you by your first name, and what do you teach your kids to do?

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN