Q: Should my 9 year old son address our neighbors by their first name or Mr. and Mrs.? If the answer is the latter, at what age can a child address an adult by their first name?
A: A child never addresses an adult by his or her first name unless the adult requests it. This continues right into the child’s twenties when it is most respectful to use titles. Naturally if there are adults that insist that small children call them by their first names it is up to you whether you agree to this, but it is not an issue. The issue only occurs when the child is encouraged to use first names for adults without those adults’ permission. In fact, it is fine for an adult when addressed this way to say, “You may call me Mr. Jones, Billy, not George.”