Q: There seems to be some debate these days as how children should address adults. Hardly anyone is teaching their children to show respect for adults by addressing them as Mr. or Mrs. Smith, etc. It seems that it is just simply by first name or possibly by Mr. John or Miss Jane. My husband and I feel strongly about our children addressing adults by Mr. or Mrs. but we are definitely in the minority. What is proper etiquette these days? What about if the adult insists on being called by their first name, is it then rude of us to insist on Mr. Smith or should the adult go with what the parents want?
A: It is most correct for children to address adults by title – Mrs. Smith, Mr. Jones, and you should continue to teach your children to do so. If adults insist that your children call them by their first names, that is their choice and you can hardly contradict them, but explain to your children that this is the adult’s choice, not the general practice.