Family Matters
Dear Community,

Our tech team has launched updates to The Nest today. As a result of these updates, members of the Nest Community will need to change their password in order to continue participating in the community. In addition, The Nest community member's avatars will be replaced with generic default avatars. If you wish to revert to your original avatar, you will need to re-upload it via The Nest.

If you have questions about this, please email [email protected]

Thank you.

Note: This only affects The Nest's community members and will not affect members on The Bump or The Knot.

First names or Aunt and Uncle?

I commented on a post about the same topic a few weeks ago and I kind of forgot about it until now. I just saw my nephew who is 2 1/2 and I was addressed by my first name many times (even by my SIL). My husband and I were dating for about 4 years (already living together) and I was in my SIL's wedding before my nephew was born, so it's not like I'm "new" to the family even though we haven't been married long.

My SIL and BIL rarely refer to us as aunt and uncle. My MIL and FIL never do. Ever since he's been talking, we have always been called my our first names. I thought maybe he would learn the aunt and uncle thing as he got older, but he hasn't. I think it's permanent now and I do not like it.

A few of my friends suggested that I talk to my SIL and tell her how I feel. I'm not that comfortable around her yet and I'm not big on confrontation. They also suggested correcting him in front of my SIL or BIL so they understand how I feel, but that would be even harder for me to do. I know it's natural because they are mother and daughter, but I feel like my MIL and SIL are cliquey and I feel like this might become a bigger issue.

I personally would like my DH to talk to his sister about it, but it doesn't seem to bother him as much.

How would you handle this issue?

**I forgot to mention that my SIL and BIL had a new baby. I don't want this to be the way with the new baby too.

Re: First names or Aunt and Uncle?

  • I would simply redirect the address ...

    niece nephew, "ash"

    you, "no, it's Auntie Ash"

     

  • A couple of thoughts - if you want, sure, you and DH can talk to her.  TALK.  I'm not sure why you see this as "confrontation".  You can say "we'd prefer to be called aunt/uncle.  Would you be o.k w/ that?"

    But here's the thing- in the end, I feel it's VERY much up to the parents what their children refer to adults as.  If they don't want to use titles, then they don't have to use titles. 

    I actually really hate being called "Mrs. Last name".  I'd much prefer "Ms. first name".  But when parents have their kids do the Mrs. thing, I bite my tongue and roll with it.  Not my child, not my choice.

    Now, if your name is Susan and you go by Susan and they are teaching their kids to call you Susie - different issue.  Or when I see where IL's want to be "mom/dad" but the DIL isn't comfortable with that - different issue.

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I was dating my husband when our nieces were born...and there was a debate of rather I would be "aunt Jen" or "Ms. Jen" and I said we'll see how it goes...I ended up as "cool" to them and even now that they are 10 and 8, they still call me cool.

    I would keep referring to yourself as Aunt...in writing and in person "let Aunt Ash help you with that". It's not really correcting them so much as asserting yourself

    I have a feeling they may not know you prefer this

  • imagevjcjenn1:

    I would keep referring to yourself as Aunt...in writing and in person "let Aunt Ash help you with that". It's not really correcting them so much as asserting yourself

    I have a feeling they may not know you prefer this

    This, said much better than I had. 

  • I was dating my husband when my nephew was born. I wasn't comfortable with him being called "uncle" since we weren't married. (Not to mention my SIL's BIL is referred to as "uncle John".) What we taught my nephew to do was address any adult friends as "Mr./ Ms. first name. My now husband has the title "Uncle Mr. John". Or he gets called Mr. John.

    When he was born I talked to my SIL about wanting my own "title" knowing that close girl friends would be called "auntie". SIL suggested "ted-thee" (Finnish for aunt). I'm not Finnish. :)  I asked around and found out the Polish term for Aunt. (ciotka (?) could be spelled wrong?) We've gotten it to "Cho-chee".  That makes me happy. 

    On my husband's side of the family I was being referred to as "aunt". It makes me twitch because it's not what I'm used to. We don't see his family that much, so I grin and bear it. If we socialized more I would correct the kids and let them know that I'm more comfortable with "Cho-chee". Not to mention, I hate my first name. LOL

    I did let my SIL's niece know that it was ok to call me Chochee. She's a year older than my nephew and we're both happy with that arrangement. 

    [IMG]http://i1278.photobucket.com/albums/y514/Tanya_Weeks_Eaton/5PhgQ_zpsa98cf1f2.png[/IMG]

    <a href="http://www.thenest.com/?utm_source=ticker&utm_medium=HTML&utm_campaign=tickers" title="Home D
  • I have/had the same problem.  My husband's sister-in-law ("Jen") refers to me by my first name only to her children.  This is especially irritating because she calls my other brother-in-law's fiancee "Aunt Firstname" to the kids even though they aren't married yet and also refers to several of her friends as "Aunt" and "Uncle Firstname" to the kids so it's not like she just has a strict definition of aunt and uncle. 

     What we did was my husband went to his brother (Jen's husband) and said, "Can I ask you a question?  Why does Jen not call my wife 'aunt' to the kids?"  Brother responded "She calls her aunt!"  My husband said, "No, she doesn't."  Brother said "I don't know.  I'll talk to her about it, but she's definitely their aunt!"  To be honest, I don't know if this actually worked because since then Jen hasn't referred to me as anything to the kids in my presence, but I guess the fact that she knows how I feel is better than nothing!

  • imageEastCoastBride:

    But here's the thing- in the end, I feel it's VERY much up to the parents what their children refer to adults as.  If they don't want to use titles, then they don't have to use titles. 

    I actually really hate being called "Mrs. Last name".  I'd much prefer "Ms. first name".  But when parents have their kids do the Mrs. thing, I bite my tongue and roll with it.  Not my child, not my choice.

    Now, if your name is Susan and you go by Susan and they are teaching their kids to call you Susie - different issue.  Or when I see where IL's want to be "mom/dad" but the DIL isn't comfortable with that - different issue.

    Hmmm...  see, I think the person should be able to say what they'd like to be called and I think it goes both ways.  Growing up, I always defaulted to "Mrs. Smith" and "Mr. Smith."  However, my friends had some parents who insisted that we call them by their first names.  So, we did.

    If my niece was just calling me Joy instead of Aunt Joy, I'd be correcting her.  I want her to call me Aunt Joy.  If I didn't care, I'd say she can just call me Joy.  I don't think that my sister has any call over what her child calls me because its *my* name, not hers nor her kid's.

    I do see what you are saying, ECB.  My mother would've blanched at my calling an adult by their first name and would've insisted otherwise, but ultimately I respected the adult's decision.

     

  • imageJoy2611:

    I do see what you are saying, ECB.  My mother would've blanched at my calling an adult by their first name and would've insisted otherwise, but ultimately I respected the adult's decision.

    And I see what you're saying too!  It's not a black and white issue by any means.  I do think a conversation can be had - there is nothing wrong w/ someone voicing their opinion on what they'd prefer to be called.

    People have gotten very casual these days and w/ the OP - it could just be that the parents haven't thought about it and even her referring to herself as "aunt" goes in one ear and out the other.  And if she and/or her DH gently speak up, they might say "oh- of course!". 

    I just think in the end, though, if the parents - for whatever reason - don't want to use titles, that's their call and it's not "your" place to tell a child to do otherwise.

    On the flip side, my BIL is clearly "Uncle David".  He's been w/ a woman for over 15 years.  SHE exiled herself from DH's entire family for about 5 years and recently has decided to come around again.  I dont' like her.  She's never met DS. Blah blah blah.  There's a long history.

    When the time comes for her to meet DS, DH and I need to have a talk.  I will NOT refer to her as "Aunt Amy".  No way, no how.  I feel "aunt/uncle" is a title for special people in your life, and she isn't - not even close. And even her being w/ my BIL for so long - I don't care.  If you can't tell (ha ha), I feel really strongly about this.  She is NOT an "aunt".

    If DH and I are on the same page about the "Aunt' thing, if SHE were to decide for herself that this is a title she should be called and she tries to make DS call her that when DH and I don't support it - I'd be furious.  Absolutely not her place to make that decision.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Oh, that's a fair example about "Aunt Amy!"  Yes, I agree that some people aren't deserving of these titles while others are.  My husband and I are currently wondering what our mythical child will call various parent-figures and - let me tell you - some of them will NOT be Grandma.

    There really is no one size fits answer here. 

  • Team East Coast Bride.  How a child refers to adults is up to the parent.

    That said, I also agree with PP who said just keep referring to yourself as Aunt FN.  Kids might pick up on it and decide to go with it.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Lilypie Third Birthday tickers Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • imageEastCoastBride:
    imageJoy2611:

    I do see what you are saying, ECB.  My mother would've blanched at my calling an adult by their first name and would've insisted otherwise, but ultimately I respected the adult's decision.

    And I see what you're saying too!  It's not a black and white issue by any means.  I do think a conversation can be had - there is nothing wrong w/ someone voicing their opinion on what they'd prefer to be called.

    People have gotten very casual these days and w/ the OP - it could just be that the parents haven't thought about it and even her referring to herself as "aunt" goes in one ear and out the other.  And if she and/or her DH gently speak up, they might say "oh- of course!". 

    I just think in the end, though, if the parents - for whatever reason - don't want to use titles, that's their call and it's not "your" place to tell a child to do otherwise.

    On the flip side, my BIL is clearly "Uncle David".  He's been w/ a woman for over 15 years.  SHE exiled herself from DH's entire family for about 5 years and recently has decided to come around again.  I dont' like her.  She's never met DS. Blah blah blah.  There's a long history.

    When the time comes for her to meet DS, DH and I need to have a talk.  I will NOT refer to her as "Aunt Amy".  No way, no how.  I feel "aunt/uncle" is a title for special people in your life, and she isn't - not even close. And even her being w/ my BIL for so long - I don't care.  If you can't tell (ha ha), I feel really strongly about this.  She is NOT an "aunt".

    If DH and I are on the same page about the "Aunt' thing, if SHE were to decide for herself that this is a title she should be called and she tries to make DS call her that when DH and I don't support it - I'd be furious.  Absolutely not her place to make that decision.

     My BIL also has siblings, but they live out of state. I've only ever seen them with my nephew (they have yet to meet our niece) a few times and I wasn't really paying attention as to what he was calling them. I think he was still too young and it wasn't really an issue. They will be here for the holidays and I will definitely pay attention.

  • Is it possible that your nephew just can't say it yet? He is 2.5 and clearly when his parents talk in general they aren't going to use titles likes aunt and uncle. I don't do that unless I am specifically talking to DS about his aunt or uncle. DS is almost 5 and still gets confused about Mrs. X vs first-name b/c he hears adults use first names with each other. You seem to have high expectations for a kid that is really just starting to string words together correctly.

    If it is a hill you want to climb then simply ask your BIL and SIL if they'd mind attaching the title. I would just keep referring to yourselves with the title. 

    image Nicholas loved for 28 weeks, 4/11/10
    Baby Boy loved for 15 weeks, 5/31/11
    Baby Girl loved for 16.5 weeks. 3/1/12
  • imagetiffanysbride:

    Is it possible that your nephew just can't say it yet? He is 2.5 and clearly when his parents talk in general they aren't going to use titles likes aunt and uncle. I don't do that unless I am specifically talking to DS about his aunt or uncle. DS is almost 5 and still gets confused about Mrs. X vs first-name b/c he hears adults use first names with each other. You seem to have high expectations for a kid that is really just starting to string words together correctly.

    If it is a hill you want to climb then simply ask your BIL and SIL if they'd mind attaching the title. I would just keep referring to yourselves with the title. 

    He speaks very well for his age. When they speak to him about someone else they say "go see grandma, grandpa, great grandma, etc" not "go see mom, dad, or use first names".

  • imageashmdp12:
    imagetiffanysbride:

    Is it possible that your nephew just can't say it yet? He is 2.5 and clearly when his parents talk in general they aren't going to use titles likes aunt and uncle. I don't do that unless I am specifically talking to DS about his aunt or uncle. DS is almost 5 and still gets confused about Mrs. X vs first-name b/c he hears adults use first names with each other. You seem to have high expectations for a kid that is really just starting to string words together correctly.

    If it is a hill you want to climb then simply ask your BIL and SIL if they'd mind attaching the title. I would just keep referring to yourselves with the title. 

    He speaks very well for his age. When they speak to him about someone else they say "go see grandma, grandpa, great grandma, etc" not "go see mom, dad, or use first names".

    Then you can nicely ask why they don't use aunt/uncle for you guys. I would not make it an issue but when they refer to you as first name instead of aunt X then ask why.  

    image Nicholas loved for 28 weeks, 4/11/10
    Baby Boy loved for 15 weeks, 5/31/11
    Baby Girl loved for 16.5 weeks. 3/1/12
  • I still don't understand why this is such a source of drama....personally I am just glad to get to be a part of my nephews lives. If it bugs you, refer to yourself how you like to be refered to. I know my nephew calls my H pauw (Paul) and calls me auntie. We and our family referes to everyone as auntie first name or uncle first name but we are not offended by the fact that nephew dropped the uncle on Paul or that he just calls me auntie and not Auntie Katie (ironically he just calls me Katie when he sees my picture on the fridge, but just auntie in person). It just seems like such a molehill to me, why make it a mountain? Just keep refereing to yourself as auntie or Aunt and they (nieces nephews and thier parents) may or may not catch on.

  • I don't really see what the problem is.

    Growing up, the only time I'd refer to my aunt's or uncle's by "aunt/uncle firstname" was when I was talking about them to someone else "I'm going to my Aunt Sheila's for dinner tonight". Other than that it was just "Sheila, could you pass the salt, please?" I didn't need to stick a title at the beginning to show my respect towards adults or important family members.

    With that being said, I wonder if this is kind of a locale etiquette thing? I also read the other topic you speak of, and I see people stating that "ms. firstname' should be used to address adults who don't have another title such as aunt or grandma. I'm from Canada, and I've only ever heard "ms. firstname" being used on American TV shows/movies... usually southern U.S. based. 

    Maybe it's just because I'm not used to it in my area, but I think it's a non issue as long as the kids respect you. 

     

  • I think a lot of factors go into the decision of how to address aunts and uncles and close family friends.

    I generally agree that if you want to be called "Aunt Ash" by your nieces and nephews, but the parents haven't started calling you that, you can start by referring to yourself that way when you are around the children.  The parents may pick up on it and realize you have a preference.

    If it helps at all, here's how this issue has evolved in my own family, along with some of the logic behind it.

    My kids are not the oldest grandchildren on my husband's side.  DH has four siblings, so there are a lot of aunts and uncles. I have two nephews on that side who were born before DH and I were married.  They have always called me "Aunt Firstname" even when we were dating.  Their mom has many friends whom the kids call Aunt and Uncle, so it seemed logical for me to go by Aunt as well.  When my DD was born, the precedent was already set, so we followed suit, and we always refer to everyone on that side with the title.   

    On my side of the family, my DD is the oldest grandchild.  I only have one sister who is younger than me.  My sister and I are really close.  When my DD was born, it just didn't seem "right" to call her "Aunt Firstname."  It actually seemed too formal and weird for the relationship we have with her.  So, we've always just called her by her first name.  She is, undoubtedly, the "cool" aunt in my kids' lives, and they would rather spend time with her than with almost anyone else.  However, if she had referred to herself as "Aunt Firstname" in conversation, I would have probably followed suit.

    So, I guess the moral is: don't assume that dropping the title is a mark of disrespect. Maybe it's actually the other way around.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards