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to not want them to make my child call them "Aunty/Uncle"

(87 Posts)
vvviola Wed 08-Jun-11 11:10:28

The step-Dad naming thread reminded me that I was irritated by this, and I thought I'd see if I'm being very irrational about it.

We have friends who insist on other children (i.e. our DD, DC of their friends) calling them "Aunty Name" and "Uncle Name". At the weekend when we all met up, I've noticed that they've also started referring to us to their DC as "Aunty Viola" and "Uncle Viola's husband".

I'm quite uncomfortable with it. Aunt/Uncle to me is a very specific title - and refers to siblings (half/step included) of the parents - and, in our family uncles & aunts of the parents too. My DD has plenty of uncles and aunts and they are very special to us.

AIBU to find it weird that they are so insistent about it (and if I'm not, how do I make them stop?!)

I get that they do it as a sort of a "you're a good friend, and it's a nice title" but I'm just finding it more and more irritating. (I will admit to finding it doubly irritating when the husband of the couple does it as I don't get on as well with him and find him quite odd, so that may be feeding in to it)

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 08-Jun-11 11:13:00

I agree with you, Aunt/Uncle is a relative, not a friend with a conferred 'title'. What do you want your children to call your friends? We used to call my mum's friends by their first name, not auntie/uncle anything.

Perhaps ask your friends how they would like your children to address them and just explain your reasons about aunt/uncle, they're perfectly reasonable.

needanewname Wed 08-Jun-11 11:13:13

If the children start calling you Aunty, just say don;t worry you can just call me Vviola and give them a hug.

TakeMeDrunkImHome Wed 08-Jun-11 11:14:07

I had to call friends of my parents Auntie or Uncle OR Mr/Mrs Smith simply because it wasn't respectful for a child to be calling an adult by their first name. Back in the days where parenting hadn't gone insane of course.

Bucharest Wed 08-Jun-11 11:14:09

Dd calls my best friend Aunty.

I find it odd though when dp's nephews are told to call me Aunty, and dd doesn't call either of my half-sisters Aunty.

Go figure.

For me, I suppose it's more of an affective thing. I hardly know dp's nephews, they are his, not mine.

honeybee007 Wed 08-Jun-11 11:15:34

Yabu IMO all my good friends refer to each other as auntie/uncle and we all have siblings. As far as I'm aware no actual aunties or uncles feel put out or offended or less special because non relatives get the same 'name'. Non of our dc are old enough to actually say auntie or uncle yet and if it gets dropped and we all go by our first names that wouldn't bother me either.

I think your negative feelings towards your friends husband is perhaps making things worse. If you really hate it and they're good friends then just speak to them like a grown up. Sorry if that sounds harsh but unless they have the ability to read your mind they don't know they're upsetting you and it will never get resolved.

worraliberty Wed 08-Jun-11 11:15:59

It's a very old fashioned idea.

Years ago it was considered rude to call your parent's friends by their first names...yet being friends, Mr & Mrs so and so wouldn't sound right.

itisnearlysummer Wed 08-Jun-11 11:16:22

We have a very small family so the title of aunty/uncle didn't apply to any biological aunts/uncles as I don't have any.

However, we referred to close adult family friends as aunt/uncle as did my parents.

My DCs have a couple of adults they refer to as aunty/uncle because they are of the same generation as their grandparents and are close to them but don't have a specific title. It's a way of identifying them as important to the children and more respectful than them just using their first names.

I think if you want them to stop, you need to just ask them. My mum introduced her 2nd husband to my DS as 'Grandpa X' which I was furious about. She's now onto her next man and wouldn't be so silly again!

I think you're finding it irritating because you don't like him!

Do they have any neices/nephews? Perhaps they really just want to see themselves in that role.

honeybee007 Wed 08-Jun-11 11:17:24

Also agree with takemehomeimdrunk it used to be a sign of respect, I still call my parents friends auntie x and uncle x

sims2fan Wed 08-Jun-11 11:18:30

I think maybe it's a respect kind of thing. When I was little all my mum's friends were 'aunty' and any other adult was Mr or Mrs. Maybe this couple don't really like children calling adults by first names. Not saying that they should insist, but that might be why they're doing it.

turkeyboots Wed 08-Jun-11 11:21:53

This was known as a "Welsh Aunty" when I was little, never knew why!

itisnearlysummer Wed 08-Jun-11 11:23:35

I've never heard that turkeyboots

My mum explained they were "courtesy aunts/uncles" when we were little. I had no idea what the 'courtesy' meant and thought it sounded very special indeed!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 08-Jun-11 11:23:52

Relatives are a specific relationship, and they're also 'constant' as they're family. Not so with friends. It invalidates the 'title' somewhat, I think. It's perfectly reasonable to ask a friend how they would like your children to address them - whilst making it clear that it won't be auntie/uncle.

LittleMissFlustered Wed 08-Jun-11 11:23:59

You choose your friends, not you family. So the saying goes. Sod that. I choose family too. My kids have a couple of aunties and an uncle they have no blood link to. It's about love and respect for us. It shouldn't be forced though. If you are uncomfortable, say sosmile

Scuttlebutter Wed 08-Jun-11 11:24:13

It's very common in Wales, and lots of people still do it. As others have said, it is a mark of respect to adults such as close neighbours, parents of friends etc, parents' friends, etc, where there is regular, affectionate contact with the child, and calling an adult by their first name was/is not deemed respectful or appropriate. I think it is a lovely custom, and am delighted to be an "auntie" as well as an aunt.

One of the reasons why it is now much less prevalent is that there is far less contact now between adults and non related children, mainly because of parental concerns about paedophiles. As a consequence, many children have far less to do with adults who are not in their immediate family. I think this is a great shame, for both the adults and the children concerned.

itisnearlysummer Wed 08-Jun-11 11:28:14

lyingwitch I think you're right that it should only be used with constants. The people we referred to as aunt/uncle were people who my parents were very close to and had children that we were very close too. We all behaved like family. It certainly wasn't used for all of our parents friends.

My DCs do only refer to 2 people as aunt/uncle. There are lots of other friends they refer to by their first name only.

IHateMarlo Wed 08-Jun-11 11:28:15

YANU, I so agree!
I have enough bloody DN's without adding random others. Even if I love/ adore/ am Godparent to them, I am stilll not their Aunt/Auntie/Aunty.
I find the whole idea very odd.
My friend children call me by my first name, they don't need to call me Aunt &/or Miss IHate to be respectful. They just need to speak and act with respect.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 08-Jun-11 11:29:17

It can be a bit confusing though... if you're not a 'real' auntie then your children are not cousins. It gives an implication of a 'familial tie' when it's a friendship tie instead. I had friends with literally hundreds of aunties and uncles when I was young, basically, every neighbour was one.

Is it not just as respectful for a child to call a person Mr/Mrs/Miss or use whatever name of address they've been asked to use?

springydaffs Wed 08-Jun-11 11:29:18

in a lot of cultures, all adults are called aunty/uncle by children - actually, for always, even when the 'children' grow up and are ancient.

I don't think you can stop it tbh, it would be very rude to stop it imo. e've got a huge issue in our family about this - me wanting neices/nephews to call me aunty springy, my siblings pointedly instructing their kids to call me springy (one niece even calls me spring <cringe>). I still call my aunts/uncles aunty so and so, uncle whatsit, even though I'm in my 50s - it doesn't seem right not to. My kids called the next door neighbour uncle Bernie - my suggestion - as I didn't think calling him by his christian name was right. He used to be my headmaster for one thing.

BooBooGlass Wed 08-Jun-11 11:32:30

I have two friends that are called aunty by my dc. They are my best best friends and I don't have a problem with it at all. But I do hjave another, not quite so good friend who refers to me as 'aunty boobooglass' around hr child and I hate it.

itisnearlysummer Wed 08-Jun-11 11:37:04

I suppose it depends how big you're family is.

We had no aunts/uncles so no cousins. My parents had no nephews or nieces.

as a result, 'family' dos were very quiet!

My parents had some very close friends and we were very close to their children. When I was at school and comparing with friends, we were as much 'family' as other friends were with their friends and our relationships were very similar.

My DH has a quite a large family with plenty of aunts/uncles, cousins, nieces/nephews. I can see it would be unnecessary and unrealistic for them to refer to friends as aunt/uncle as well -however close they are!

slug Wed 08-Jun-11 11:37:13

Where I come from it's a respectful title given to elders. You'll find it's quite common amongst tribal cultures.

itisnearlysummer Wed 08-Jun-11 11:37:55

your not you're obviously.

vvviola Wed 08-Jun-11 11:38:59

You know Lyingwitch I think you might have put the finger on the source of my discomfort. I really don't see these friends as constants in our lives. They are lovely people and good friends, but we'll all be moving on from here in a while. We might be in the same country for a few years, but we won't have regular contact and after a while - especially when we move again and we aren't in the same country - I can see the adults becoming facebook/Christmas card friends, and the children not really having much contact at all.

I can see the point re respect/affection and maybe if we were closer I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it. I'd like it if there was a way to show the respect without using the 'family' name or Mr/Mrs.

Maybe it's not worth calling them on it in relation to what they insist on being called (I've noticed DD seems to actively resist, referring to them instead as "child's Mum/Dad"), but I think I'll definitely say something when they start on the "Aunty Viola" thing. It just doesn't seem right to me.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 08-Jun-11 11:40:15

springydaffs... How odd. You actually are their auntie and you should be called 'Auntie Springy'. confused

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