Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Question for Ms. Manners

I'm hoping some of you blog lurkers will reveal yourselves with this post because I'm looking for advice:

How do you feel about a young person (ages 4 and up) calling an adult by their first name?  Would you prefer that he/she call you Mr. or Mrs. (last name here)?

When we're in certain situations, I often say to Nathan "say hello to _____" and I've often used the person's first name.  I think it's important that he learns to acknowledge/greet people, particularly since he's a Pastor's Kid and will inevitably know 200+ people (or, rather, they'll know him!). 

What do you think?  Is it appropriate for a child to call an adult by their first name?  I think I'd prefer him to say "Mr./Mrs." but in the few instance I've tried to teach my child this, the adult has responded "Oh call me (first name here)."  Huh. 


lindybasenji said...

Often my storytime kids would call me "Miss Tracy" which was fine with me . . . "Ms. Taylor" makes me look for my mother, I think "Ms. Gallagher" would make me look for my mother-in-law. I was raised using terms of respect: Uncle So and So, Aunt Such and Such. My husband's family, they don't seem to. All adults are called by their first names. Which I find a bit odd but am growing used to. What kills me is my parents knew to ask my husband to call them by their first names (after okaying it by me) so he knows exactly what to call them. My in-laws have never given me guidance so I have trouble saying their name. I feel awkward and I don't see that changing any time soon. So, good question you have. I personally would do what feels right to you and if they say, oh call me by my first name, indicate that you are trying to teach Nate about "titles of respect" and compromise with "Miss Sally" and "Mr Bert" . . . just my $.02 from the South.

Jen said...

I think it's a southern thing to use mr/mrs/sir/mam. I would probably start out with mr/mrs/sir/mam and then if that person said to use their first name I would!

Melody said...

This has been on my mind lately! ;)

We homeschool, and most of the teenagers I know call me Mrs. K___. It actually drives me nuts. LOL! I don't know if it's just because I like to think of myself as younger (and gasp- even one of their friends) or because I never think of myself as Mrs. K, but I almost always tell them to call me Melody.

One girl told me recently that her mom gets on her if she doesn't call an adult by their last name, unless that person has given her the okay to use their first name.

I totally get that it's a sign of respect to use Mr. or Mrs., but I guess in this day & age we've gotten away from it to the point that it actually seems weird when we hear it. ;)

That said, I find myself referring to an adult's first name when I talk to my kids. Hopefully it doesn't bother them, I just never think to use their last name being that's not what I call them.

Anonymous said...

I realize things change with each decade, but I still think it's nice to say Mr/Mrs which shows respect, especially when there is an age difference of a generation. If it's a close family friend who he sees often, I see nothing wrong with using the first name, but people at church would usually be acquaintances. I do like Tracy's suggestion of saying "Miss Tracy" if the person suggests he call them by his first name as he gets a bit older. Didn't Kelly call you Miss Nikki when you were babysitting her in your 20's? Nate's Gramma

Tammy said...

Love the question. I was raised to use the first name, unless I was introduced to the person by their last name. I have noticed that many people teach their children to use "Ms. (insert first name) instead of their last name. I know that pre-schoolers and Kinders do that (sometimes) as well.
Truthfully, I would teach my child to address the person by their first name, unless it is someone that I felt should be addressed as a Mr. or Mrs.
I hope that makes sense. :)

the blackwells said...

After being in England for 3 years one of the things that still gets to me is that kids call adults by their first names. Being from TX/AR I was raised calling most adults Mr. Ben or Miss Heather. The use of last names seems a bit too formal for me but preferred to just first names. So I vote that you use Mr/Miss with first names.