Babies Around Booze: Is it appropriate serve alcohol at a young child’s birthday party?

Q. I was wondering if it is appropriate to serve alcoholic beverages at a child’s 4th birthday party? The guests are relatives and mostly adults. My husband insists it is fine, but I think it is inappropriate because the sole purpose of the get together is to celebrate a young child’s birthday.

A. There’s really nothing wrong with serving alcoholic beverages to adults attending a child’s birthday party, especially if the guests are relatives and this is their custom. If the party guests were mostly children, then it wouldn’t be appropriate for the few adults to drink alcoholic beverages.

Family Functions: Is it appropriate for family members to give baby or bridal showers?

Q. Is it appropriate for family members (such as sisters-in-law, stepmothers-in-law, etc.) to give baby or bridal showers?

A. It has long been considered a breach of etiquette for immediate family members to host bridal showers, because doing so gives the appearance of being self-serving. But it is becoming increasingly correct for family to host in certain situations, as when the bride is visiting her future in-laws and the groom’s mother or sister invites hometown friends to meet her. Also, more mothers and sisters of the bride are giving showers. Today, people should be guided by individual circumstances when deciding if family members will host.

Traditionally, close friends, cousins, aunts, sisters-in-law, or coworkers of the mother-to-be hosted baby showers. Because gifts are central to showers, hosting by a member of the honoree’s (or her husband’s) immediate family appeared to be asking for gifts. But times have changed, and today it is appropriate for anyone to host a baby shower as long as there is a legitimate reason. For example, some parents-to-be live far from their hometowns, and their mothers and siblings may want to host a shower so that long-time friends can attend. The honorees can vary as well, and showers may be given for adoptive parents, single mothers and even grandmothers.

The Trouble With Titles : When Is Someone A Junior?

Q. I am 5 months pregnant and considering naming my son after my husband. My husband is not named after anyone. Would my child be a ‘jr.’ or the second. Could you explain how that works.

A. When a child is named after his father, he is know as “Jr.”  A child named after his grandfather, uncle, or cousin is called the “2nd.”

No Phone Zone: Are Cell Phones Okay in the Library?

Q: In your book Emily Post’s Guide to Good Manners for Kids, you give quite a few suggestions as to where kids should turn off their cell phones. Why did you not mention libraries? Cell phones have become a problem for us (patrons and staff) too.

A: You are correct.  Children and adults alike should either turn off cell phones or put them on vibrate.  If they must take a call, they should go outside to take the call. In such a short book it would be impossible to list every situation that would require a child to turn off a cell phone, but we will make note of your suggestion for future revisions.

Respect your Elders: Is it Improper to Call an Elder by their First Name?

Q: I am recently married for the first time. Sam, my wife’s 11-year-old godson, has referred to my wife as ‘Aunt Sue’ ever since he was a toddler. However, he calls me only by my first name. For proper respect to an elder, I think he should call me ‘Uncle John.’ I’ve been reluctant to bring this up with Sam or his mother; for fear that they’ll view me as too prudish. Sam calls his stepfather by his first name, so he probably doesn’t see a problem with calling me by my first name. But deep down, I’m not comfortable with it. Do I have a legitimate concern, or am I an old-fashioned prude?

A: A child calling an adult by first name without being invited to do so may be perceived as rude.  However, since Sam calls his stepfather by his first name, he probably thinks it’s fine to call you by your first name especially if his mother hasn’t said anything.  Nonetheless, it would be fine to tell Sam and/or his mother that you would prefer to be called “Uncle John” since he calls your wife “Aunt Sue.”  Neither should object.