Open Thread

by epi on December 26, 2012

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Riss December 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm

My stepbrother and his wife have two toddlers and another on the way. With the oldest child (2-1/2) my sister in law stated she was not comfortable with her son calling my then-boyfriend “Uncle” without us being married. We married earlier this year, a week after their second child’s birth. When we visit with them, or recieve notes in the mail, the oldest is directed to refer to us by our first names, while the younger child uses “Aunt/Uncle”. While I respected her earlier wishes as understandable, I feel she is now being rude because she disagrees with our life choices. We dropped everything the day the oldest was born and drove 8 hours to see him and bring gifts- on top of the handmade afghan I crocheted that was never used. Their children are treated the same as all other nieces and nephews in our families by us. What is a reasonable way to ask that all the children use “Aunt/Uncle” as a sign of family bond and respect for us?

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Winifred Rosenburg December 27, 2012 at 12:32 am

I had a similar situation with my husband’s family as well. His sister-in-law would always refer to me to her children by just my first name, even though she referred my other brother-in-law’s fiance and several of her friends as “Aunt.” What we did was my husband went to her husband (his brother) and asked him “Why doesn’t ‘Sally’ call Winifred ‘Aunt Winifred’ to the kids?” He said he didn’t know and agreed I should be called “Aunt” and said he would talk to her about it. Since then, she hasn’t called me anything in front of the kids, but they have learned to call me “Aunt.”

You can try that strategy, or when she says something about “Mike” to her children you can say “actually, it’s Uncle Mike” with a smile. There’s nothing wrong with stating your preference for what to be called.

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Brockwest December 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Wow, I feel sorry for you. I don’t think you’ll be able to change this situation. I think you need to sit down quietly with them, without your husband present and tell them that as your married spouse, you’d prefer to be called aunt and uncle by both, as otherwise it is making a statement. I don’t think they will change their mind. While it is an insult to you, in the long run, it would probably be better to try just the one time to change things, then let it pass without comment.

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Joanna December 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Wow…I’m just cringing at any parent thinking it’s correct for a TWO-YEAR-OLD to address ANY adult family member by name! For the sake of both respect and simplicity, such a young child would typically call anyone Aunty or Uncle and leave it at that.

I’m assuming you and your boyfriend were together for some length of time, most likely the duration of the child’s short life. Thus to him, this man is the partner of his aunt. What does a two-year-old know or care of the details, i.e. if they are married or what the official story is? His mother should just refer to you and your boyfriend as Aunt and Uncle, period.

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