What Should Your Kids Call Other Adults? 


teacher calling on students

I grew up calling my friends’ parents Mr. and Mrs., and I called our close family friends Aunt and Uncle, but if a kid called me Mrs. Lang today, I would turn around and look for my mother-in-law. No one I know goes by Mr. and Mrs. anymore. In fact, a lot of my friends’ kids just call me by my nickname, Becky. Others throw a “Miss” in front as a gesture of respect, and our closest friends keep the Aunt and Uncle tradition alive. I am mostly known as Aunt Becky, but I also answer to “Uncle Becky,” thanks to a few charming kiddies. This shift to informality doesn’t bother me, but it does make me wonder if a standard for addressing adults still exists.  

Even in my daughter’s elementary school, where most teachers go by their last names, there are a few who introduce themselves by their first names because their last names are hard to pronounce. The days of abbreviating tricky last names with their first initial seem to be gone. I called my first preschool teacher Mrs. S., and I don’t think I ever knew what her first name was. I guess if I was going to school today, I would find out. 

Are we just more laid back in the Bay Area than in other parts of the country? I grew up on the East Coast, so maybe it’s always been this way here? 

Will there be unforeseen repercussions for letting this formality between children and adults slip? So far, all the kids I encounter are still respectful of me, even though they call me Becky, thanks to my high and mighty status of Grown Up.

How do you make your kids address other adults and why? 


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