What do your kids call adults?

Recently, I had a conversation with my sister about what our kids call adults. 

She was saying that she believes children should address adults as ‘thio’ or ‘thia’ -auntie or uncle. Which is generally the consensus here in Cyprus. It’s a more endearing and culturally acceptable way for kids to call adults instead of using their first name or Mr or Mrs. It’s also because we’re all one big happy family here on this island.

But seriously, it got me thinking about the diverse way our children address adults (after asking around there was a healthy mixture of replies), the way we were raised to address adults and how things are only just starting to change. Also by allowing them to use first names are we teaching our kids disrespect?

We have a number of close friends we hang out with regularly. Sometimes Georgie calls them by their first name and other times we use ‘thia’ or ‘thio’. Age is a factor, of course if I’m being honest. But most times I have noticed, even younger friends actually introduce themselves as Thia or Thio. We’ve never had a conversation with Georgie about what he should call adults. He’s never felt confused enough to ask so we kind of leave it up to him.

When I was growing up in London, we used to call our friends’ parents Mr X or Mrs Y. Today, as a parent myself, I rarely do the same with Georgie. Why is that? Because all of a sudden we are now in the Mr or Mrs group? And can you just imagine the look on my face if I were to be called Mrs Antoniou by a six-year old? I know alot of fellow parents who would be hurt too.


So what do your kids call your friends or adults in general?



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  • Reply Sheila May 30, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I grew up in the U.S. (on the West Coast, and yes, this makes a difference) calling adults Mr. and Mrs. Surname. That’s how they were introduced to me and that’s how they introduced themselves. It was SO strange to me when, in my early 20s, I was visiting and heard my little sister (11 years younger than I am) calling a woman by her first name whom I’d known since I was six years old and still called Mrs. Surname. It took me MANY years to get comfortable calling her by her first name. She’s now in her 90s and I’m in my 40s, and I can just about manage it, but in my head, I still think of her as “Mrs. F…”

    As for my children…they call most (maybe all?) adults by their first names. However, we’re (unfortunately) not really immersed in the Cypriot community, so this is with international people, in particular, many British. We do have a couple of friends who call us Auntie and Uncle, and honestly, although I know that it’s culturally appropriate here (and in other places too–I experienced that in Hawaii and on the East Coast of the U.S., for example), I find it uncomfortable. I don’t protest it, and I know it’s meant to show respect, but I feel like “aunt” and “uncle” should be reserved for the siblings of one’s parents. Maybe because my own nieces and nephews live so far away (they’re all in the U.S.). And yet, none of my nieces or nephews call my Aunt, because my siblings don’t refer to me that way when speaking to their children, and I haven’t had enough of a relationship with them (being on different continents their whole lives…) to establish anything of my own choice.

    As far as respect is concerned, I feel that that has to do with HOW one speaks more than the actual words. But so much more of it is culture than people generally admit…

    • Reply georgie's mummy May 30, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      Interesting. Also could not agree more with your last paragraph. If only more people were aware…

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