To give you a bit of background, I’m 39 years old and I still call my parents “mom” and “dad.” It’s not because I don’t know their names. I’m not the middle school Valentina who overheard a classmate say, when asked by the school administrator what his mother’s name was, “Mom. That’s all I know her as. I don’t know her first name.”
So you get it. I still call my parents by their handles “mom” and “dad” because in our household, the quickest way to get told off was to disrespect one of your parents by calling them by their given name.
I also call Vin’s parents Mr. and Mrs. __________, and I do not call them “mom” or “dad” because I’ve already got two people that fulfill those roles for me perfectly. However, I do admit that my father-in-law has asked me to call him by his first name, and I have tried to use his given name, but it’s kind of cringe-worthy honestly. I still feel like I’m disrespecting him by doing this. But for him, I’m disrespectful if I call him Mr. _________ or “sir.”
Now Vin has a different relationship with his parents than I do. Vin’s parents are on a first name basis for him, and it’s been that way since he was about 11 years old.
Yep, you guess it. Everyone has different relationships with their parents.
Everyone, except my 4 year old. There, in my eyes, is absolutely no reason why she should be calling me, or any other adult who is in charge of her, by their first names. For me, I still see this as a sign of basic respect that highlights the seniority that adults have over children. Now whether this means that at some point she’ll pull a Drake and say to “F off with my timezone,” that’s still up in the air. But as for now, my 4 year old, your 4 year old, or any other 4 year old, is not an adult’s equal.
According to Tammy Gold, a therapist and parenting expert, “The parent needs to provide rules and structure and many studies show that children do much better when they know there’s somebody in the home in control and that’s usually a ‘mother’ or a ‘father.”
Additionally, according to Harris Stratyner PhD, a child growing up in a household where they are allowed, or even encouraged to call their parents by their first names, leads the child to believe that they are on an equal footing as an adult, which, he believes, is a spin off to narcissism in adulthood.
In a opinion piece written in The Guardian, entitled, “Mummy? Or is it Sue?” written by Lynne Wallis, Dr Clifford Davies, a child psychologist at Manchester University, said: “It’s a lot more honest to use first names instead of insisting on ‘dad’ or ‘stepdad’ – children forced into this get confused and upset. If it’s extended to the biological parent, too, it’s OK, but many parents don’t want that.”
Let us know how you feel about it in the comments section below. Do you think that calling your parents by their first names is antiquated, and needs to change, or do you think it’s how things should be?