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Old 04-19-2015, 10:07 AM
Location: Charlotte, NC
226 posts, read 285,256 times
Reputation: 203


I've always just called my in-laws by their first names, at their request. My husband does the same for my parents.

Grandkids (none from us yet, but our nephews), call them grandpa (my step-dad), nana (my mil and my mom both go by this), and daddy G (my fil). Never been an issue. My in-laws are in their 50s-60s, my parents are in their 40s-50s (mom had me very young).

Pick a nickname you like if that's the issue...I think it'd be weird to call my in-laws, who are family to me, Mr. Jones/Mrs. Jones. My parents and in-laws address each other by their first names as well. We are family. Family is laid back, and to me isn't supposed to be formal.

Sometimes you just 'get' a nickname from the kids. My granparents were always Booger Brat (what my grandad called us jokingly when we were very young, and we called him that back), Papa Tom or Tommy Daddy, and Ma'am (my grandma picked that to help us remember our manners). I also had a Meemaw (great grandma).

I want to also add, I am a born/raised Southerner. So are all of my family members and in-laws...so not everyone in the South is quite that formal as some pps are saying.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:50 AM
Location: SW Florida
9,766 posts, read 7,052,411 times
Reputation: 14300
Originally Posted by Tia 914 View Post
I'm not retired, but I figure many people in this part of the forum are in my age group, and many probably have adult-aged kids who have brought new family members into your lives. So I hope someone has input/advice, or even personal experience.

If your adult-aged sons/daughters have brought you in-laws (their significant others- spouses, etc.) how do those people address you, does it matter to you, and do you have any influence on the topic?

From where I stand:
1. I've always been buggy about what is and isn't appropriate- for people my kids' ages to address me by my first name is out of line;
2. Worse yet, if you have an in-law you really like, care about as a member of your family, it's heartbreaking if they dismiss that relationship and call you "Mary" or "Joe."

It's extreme enough that I sometimes avoid communications because I don't know how to sign emails, cards, etc. I simply don't know how to address the topic without sounding weird.
There's also the additional factor of not wanting to be disrespectful to an in-law's own parents.

Any constructive solutions would be greatly appreciated!!!
I've always thought it best to have a frank discussion (if that is possible) with in-laws and married into the family members and find out what they prefer to be called. Then do your best to honor their wishes. And let them know what you prefer to be called. Might seem strange to do this and you may get some snide comments sometimes, but doing this can clear the air, and IMO its better than being referred to as hey you, him or her, or called by a name that rankles you every time you hear it.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:53 AM
Location: NYC
1,723 posts, read 3,378,953 times
Reputation: 2884
I called my in laws mom and dad. It's just something to call someone by. I didn't feel comfortable calling them by their first names.

My DIL's call me by my first name and not that I've ever said anything but I do prefer it that way, and the grandkids call me Grandma, or Grandma Laurie to distinguish me from nana, and the other older female friends of their parents who are also called Grandma somebody or other.

It's just a title or a name. No big deal.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:37 AM
Location: East of the Mississippi and South of Bluegrass
4,454 posts, read 3,762,323 times
Reputation: 9612
My nieces and nephews (on my side of the family as well as on my husband's side of the family) call me Auntie, my children's friends have always called me by my first name as do my various in-laws.

I'm very content with this arrangement; I especially enjoy being called Auntie even though all of my nieces and nephews are young adults now.

It's all good!

ETA: As of yet I have no daughters/sons-in-law but I expect they will ask or figure it out on their own.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:09 AM
8,204 posts, read 11,927,697 times
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Originally Posted by Lauriedeee View Post
I called my in laws mom and dad.
That's what I did as well. And my wife calls my parents mom & dad. I had thought that was fairly standard, but from the responses on this thread, it appears that we are anomalies.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:02 AM
Status: "0-0-2 Game On!" (set 7 days ago)
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,312 posts, read 15,368,793 times
Reputation: 9503
I always used first names for the once-a-year (or fewer) times we saw my husband's parents. My husband called my mother "Mom" and my father by his first name, because that is what they preferred, plus my mother, well, she just was "Mom." When she died, my husband said it felt like he lost his real mother.

Our son is 30, calls us Mom and Dad, his long-term girlfriend calls us by our first names, which I am fine with. When our son was young, he called our close friends "Aunt" or "Uncle" (I have no siblings, my husband has a sibling he rarely speaks to).
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:14 AM
Location: Central Massachusetts
4,800 posts, read 4,855,118 times
Reputation: 6379
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
That's what I did as well. And my wife calls my parents mom & dad. I had thought that was fairly standard, but from the responses on this thread, it appears that we are anomalies.

Mom and dad here too. We can't be anomolies. Could it be a generational thing?
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Old 04-21-2015, 01:49 PM
Location: Loudon, TN
5,800 posts, read 4,851,439 times
Reputation: 19509
I'm 56 and DH is 60. DH called his parents by their first names after he was an adult (18-20ish). I married into this family when I was 40ish, so I call them what my DH calls them, by their first name. If HE doesn't call his mom and dad by that, why would I?

Myself, I called my mom Mama till the day she died, DH called her by her first name. I rarely spoke to my dad.

Last edited by TheShadow; 04-21-2015 at 01:57 PM..
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:30 AM
10,819 posts, read 8,075,211 times
Reputation: 17034
If the relationship is healthy and respectful, it doesn't matter how your in-laws address you: John/Mary, mom/dad, Mr/Mrs Smith, meemaw/papaw, it's all good.

If there's a disagreement about forms of address, that's because it's masking a larger problem. Just imo, that's the case with the OP.

Not that it matters but dh & I always used first names when addressing/discussing our parents-in-law.

Interestingly to me, there are a few (3 out of 20) grandchildren in the mix who call their grandmother by her first name. All the grandchildren are adults now and only these 3 ever called her by her first name. That was something I had never encountered before. When asked why, they just shrug and say "well, that's what we always heard everyone else call her". The grandmother has always been fine with it. I personally can't imagine calling either of my grandmothers by their first name but I have to say these 3 grandkids love and respect their grandmother as much as I did mine.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:04 AM
Location: CO
2,455 posts, read 2,629,947 times
Reputation: 5199
I just discovered (via the grandchildren) that my son and daughter-in-law refer to both of the grandmas as "the old birds." Ha! They haven't called me that to my face though.
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