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.