Author Topic: Referring to Aunts and Uncles  (Read 7551 times)

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cb140

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2014, 07:28:53 AM »
UK - mid 40's

My DH and I have different family tradition, he comes from an Asian family and is very keen on nieces and nephews calling us Uncle X and Aunty Y. He would always refer to his (now very elderly) aunts and uncles in that way too. I am much less bothered. I don't see my (also very elderly) aunts and uncles much - if I do, I probably would call them Aunty A and Uncle B, or else wouldn't call them anything. If I am writing to them, eg Christmas card,I would always address it to aunt and uncle.

Neither our niece (who is 10) nor our nephew (who is 21) <from different sides, not brother and sister> consistently call us aunt and uncle, although my nephew definitely did when he was younger. My nieces parents (DH's sister and BIL) do not believe in it so it's never happened. I don't mind at all, I think DH does mind quite a lot but isn't going to make an issue of it.

My son is a young adult - he would probably address the relevant people as "aunt and uncle" to their face or in writing, but doesn't if he's speaking about them to us.

When I was a kid,I probably avoided calling my friends parents anything - if I did, it would have been Mr or Mrs Lastname. Not in touch with any of them now but yes, it would seem odd to use first names, at least until invited to. My sons friends, on the other hand, I would find it very awkward to be called Mrs Lastname - I would hate it. Again, they generally don't call me anything, but if they do, it's Firstname (and similarly for my son with his friends parents).

Bethalize

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2014, 07:52:37 AM »
My aunt has been trying to get me to stop calling her auntie since I was 15. Can't help it! I love my aunts and uncles and I use the titles a lot because no matter how much our ages have changed our relationship hasn't. I will call the aunts and uncles by their first names much more, I just like to use the titles to underline our family connection.  I also have lots of courtesy aunts and uncles. When my mother died my husband asked me exactly how many of these aunties and uncles were actually related!

I detest the children of my friends calling me by my first name. If we're not on Auntie/Uncle terms then I feel we have a much more distant relationship. At the very least the parents should ask me how I would like to be addressed. I particularly detest it that my husbands neices and nephews weren't encouraged to use Aunt and Uncle. The smarter ones picked up that the nice lady who bought the presents and signed the card "Love, Uncle and Auntie" was made very affable by a well-placed "auntie" :-)

faithlessone

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2014, 11:07:38 AM »
I'm 25, and in the UK.

My mum is the oldest of 6, my dad is the oldest of 4. I refer to all my parents' siblings as "aunt" or "uncle". Of their SOs, 6 of them were married before I was 5, and I refer to/address their SOs as "aunt" or "uncle" as well. The last 2 were married when I was a teenager, and I find it weirder to refer to their wives as "aunt". Not because I don't love them, because they're both seriously lovely women, it's just that I remember before they were part of the family, so it's more natural to call them by their names. My younger cousins do refer to them as "aunt".

When I was very little, I addressed my mum's best friend as "auntie", and her daughter did the same to my mum. My friends' parents, however, were always "Mr or Mrs Lastname".

Yvaine

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2014, 11:10:12 AM »
My aunt has been trying to get me to stop calling her auntie since I was 15. Can't help it! I love my aunts and uncles and I use the titles a lot because no matter how much our ages have changed our relationship hasn't. I will call the aunts and uncles by their first names much more, I just like to use the titles to underline our family connection.

When I think about my still calling my aunts and uncles by both title and name, I don't think it's even an "honor your elders" thing on my part--it's just so deeply ingrained! I think I thought it was actually their name when I was really little, and now it feels weird to think of their name without it.

Thipu1

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2014, 11:04:25 AM »
I agree with this.  Things you learn as a child tend to stick with you throughout life. 

My parents had friends and saw them often.  They were the sort who were invited to family parties even though they weren't family.  These people were too close for me to call them 'Mr.' or 'Mrs.' X and it was unthinkable to call them by their first names.  As a result, they became 'Aunt' and 'Uncle (first name). 

When I met Mr. Thipu, his family had the same tradition.  So, in inherited several sets of pseudo Aunts and Uncles-in-Law.  It took a while to figure out exactly who was related and who wasn't. 

I'm quite sure that many other readers have had similar situations. 

blueyzca01

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2014, 01:29:22 PM »
And just to extend the discussion a little. Now that you've grown up, what do you call your friend's parents? I feel a bit self conscious calling them by their first names, but even sillier calling them Mr & Mrs Lastname.

I'm 46, and I only have a few good friends, but I've called their parents Mom and Dad.  I've heard they all like it, because it shows the closeness of the relationship
I've asked if it makes any one uncomfortable, and no one has said yes. 
No one ever says, "Why me?!?!" when something good happens.

judecat

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #66 on: May 10, 2014, 01:10:57 AM »
My mother called all of her parents' siblings and their spouses Aunt nickname, or Uncle nickname --even the ones that were within 5 years of her age.   My father called his parents's siblings and their spouses Aunt and Uncle with the exception of his father's older sister who he called Babs.   My brother and I called all of our parent's siblings and their spouses Aunt and Uncle,  with the exception of on Aunt by marriage who was only 5 years older than my brother -- he called her by a short form of her first name,  I called her Aunt firstname.   My brother's children on have two Aunts, no uncles and we are only 4 and 5 years older than his oldest,  so we never get called Aunt, even by the two youngest.  My sister's son and his family call me Aunt Jude.   

judecat

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #67 on: May 10, 2014, 01:12:37 AM »
And just to extend the discussion a little. Now that you've grown up, what do you call your friend's parents? I feel a bit self conscious calling them by their first names, but even sillier calling them Mr & Mrs Lastname.


Mr or Ms Firstname -- same as when I was a child,  a lot of my current friends are people I've known for almost my whole life.

bloo

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #68 on: May 12, 2014, 10:18:26 AM »
UK - mid 40's

My DH and I have different family tradition, he comes from an Asian family and is very keen on nieces and nephews calling us Uncle X and Aunty Y. He would always refer to his (now very elderly) aunts and uncles in that way too. I am much less bothered. I don't see my (also very elderly) aunts and uncles much - if I do, I probably would call them Aunty A and Uncle B, or else wouldn't call them anything. If I am writing to them, eg Christmas card,I would always address it to aunt and uncle.

Neither our niece (who is 10) nor our nephew (who is 21) <from different sides, not brother and sister> consistently call us aunt and uncle, although my nephew definitely did when he was younger. My nieces parents (DH's sister and BIL) do not believe in it so it's never happened. I don't mind at all, I think DH does mind quite a lot but isn't going to make an issue of it.

My son is a young adult - he would probably address the relevant people as "aunt and uncle" to their face or in writing, but doesn't if he's speaking about them to us.

-snip-

I found myself in a little bit of an awkward situation 3 years ago when I went to the Philippines. My mother is from there and has a large family over there. However, we moved a lot and I, myself, didn't establish or maintain a relationship with my mother's family. My father has little to do with his own family because of toxicity. So I have boatloads of aunts, uncles and cousins that I have no relationship with.

Over the years Mom and Dad would relate stories about their siblings and nieces and nephews. I grew to thinking of them, in my mind, as my parent's family - and not really mine. So I never thought of my aunts and uncles as Aunts and Uncles.

So when I went to the Philippines 3 years ago I renewed acquaintance with my mom's family and I kept referring to them as 'Maria' instead of 'Aunt Maria' or 'Ben' instead of 'Uncle Ben'. Consequently my exasperated and embarrassed mother had to keep quietly harping on me to refer to them using 'aunt' or 'uncle' as an honorific as it is - in their culture - disrespectful for a niece to refer to them by their first name.

I didn't mean to keep forgetting but I didn't feel a family connection so the words always stumbled when I used them. By the time my vacation was over, I had finally gotten into the habit of referring to them properly.  ::)

My brother and I have lived far from each other since I had my kids, but have a pretty close long-distance relationship. Somewhat mindful of my own lukewarm and disconnected feelings to my parents' siblings over the years, I always referred to my brother as 'Uncle (Brother's name)' when talking about him to my own kids. So my own children always refer to him as 'Uncle (Brother's name)' either when directly addressing him or when talking about him. I honestly don't think my brother would care if he was just addressed by his first name, but I preferred to teach my children to do so until invited by him to do otherwise. He never has invited them to call him by his first name and they are now 18 & 16.

poundcake

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #69 on: May 12, 2014, 10:32:33 AM »
We also have several friends of Asian heritage, and their kids all call us "Auntie" and "Uncle." Again, I just see it as a way of showing respect, not a hard-and-fast value judgement on the closeness of our relationship that we'll all be tested on.

Me

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #70 on: May 14, 2014, 01:11:08 AM »

I still use Aunty/Uncle, it's so ingrained that I would find it funny not to!  I grew up calling family friends Aunty/Uncle also and still use those titles.  I used to think that most people did the same so this thread is very interesting!

oogyda

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #71 on: May 14, 2014, 06:40:57 PM »
I couldn't say exactly when I dropped "Aunt" and "Uncle", but I know it was after I'd left my parents home.  The only exception is Uncle same-as-DH's-name.  When talking to him, I would use just his first name.  When talking about him (to that side of the family), I generally say "Uncle DH's name" and, when talking about DH, I say "my DH's name."
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baglady

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #72 on: May 14, 2014, 11:05:54 PM »
I was 2 1/2 when I became an aunt, and all but one of my nieces and nephews grew up calling me by my first name, because we were contemporaries. The exception is my youngest nephew, who was born when I was 26. But since he became an adult, he calls me by my first name. That tends to be the pattern in my family -- nieces/nephews drop the Aunt/Uncle when they become adults.
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LadyDyani

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #73 on: May 15, 2014, 02:22:33 PM »
US, Midwest - 36

My fathers siblings and their spouses are all Aunt Name and Uncle Name. My mother's are all Name. My dad's best friend is Uncle Name, and when he remarried a few years ago, we just called his wife by her first name, until he mentioned she was a little hurt by that, after which we called her Aunt Name. As my kids have grown, they've followed suit, and my siblings are all Aunt Name and Uncle Name.

After my dad's sister died, Uncle remarried a couple years later. She's just Name, but we don't have the grew-up-knowing-you-gonna-call-you-Aunt family connection, though of course she's still invited to all family get togethers.

When I was pregnant with my first, we asked our parents what they wanted to be called. So my parents are Nonna and Grandfather, and the in-laws are Mammaw and Pappaw.

This is an interesting thread, it seems like the area doesn't matter, it's the family dynamic that matters the most.
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Crazy Chicken Lady

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Re: Referring to Aunts and Uncles
« Reply #74 on: May 15, 2014, 02:36:51 PM »
US- mid 30s

In my family, it's the norm to call my aunts and uncles by their first names. My cousins and I have been doing that our whole lives. However, when I'm talking with my in-laws or husband about my relatives, I will refer to them by names like "Aunt Jane" or "Uncle Bob". I found it easier adding the title rather than saying something like "Bob wrecked his car. He's my uncle". But when I'm talking directly to my aunts and uncles, I will say "Hi, Jane" and that's perfectly acceptable.

However, with DH's family, they always add the title before the name. My guess is that even though they are a pretty laid back family, calling an aunt by her first name would be considered disrespectful. I made the mistake once of referring to DH's aunt by her first name only and received a weird look. She jokingly said wasn't used to not being called just "Sue" by her nieces and nephews and their spouses.