Honour thy father (and mother).

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    I am 40 and still refer to my friends’ parents as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Why do kids today refer to adults by their first name?
    Original Code A16. Click here to see responses from the original archives.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Marc-B, Gender : M, Age : 40, City : Modesto, State : CA Country : United States, 


    Whether or not I refer to some one as Mr. or Ms. or Dr., etc. depends upon our relationship to each other. I would always call my parents’ friends and my friends’ parents Mr. or Ms. unless they asked me to call them by their first name. However, I call (or at least refer to) my professors, many of whom are the same age or older than my parents, by their first names because our relationship is not only a professional one, but a mentoring one. Since quite a few of my classmates are the same age as our professors, doing so is not disrespectful but normal. On the other hand, while it is the norm for the graduate students to address our professors by their first names, the undergraduates tend to refer to them by their last names. Respect for elders still exists. It seems to me that allowing teenagers to address adults by their first names (when both parties are comfortable with the idea) shows respect for the almost adult teenagers, rather than disrespect for the adults.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jenny30917, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 22, City : Eugene, State : OR Country : United States, Occupation : grad student, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 


    Well, not all young people do this. But.. Honor? To me, just calling someone by their last name is not honoring them.. If I was 20 years older, I would honestly not want to be called ‘Mrs’.. I think that kids refer to adults or just anyone by their first name because it’s more personal. I do call adults Mr or Mrs, but I hate doing it. It’s a habit I took when I went in private school. I hate doing it because it makes me really uncomfortable.. I feel that it puts a great distance between the person and me. It’s like if the person in front of me was blank. I think that most young people feel that way.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Clara31963, Gender : F, Age : 16, City : Montreal, State : NA Country : Canada, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 

    Paul H.

    I’ve lived in TX most of my life and it was common to use Mr./Ms. as well as ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir’ for strangers, coworkers, friends’ parents, etc. But once I started working for the company I work for currently, I was surprised to find that coporate policy frowns on the use of either! I’m supposed to call all superiors- up to the CEO- by their first names. It’s supposed to make everyone seem approachable, presumably. In any case, it’s not a big deal to me…whereas it’s probably strange to uncomfortable for people in my parents generation. It’s worth mentioning also that there’s a general decline in spoken European languages in the use of formal pronouns (like the Spanish ‘Usted’, German ‘Sie’, Welsh ‘Chi’, etc.) in the younger generations. It’s a generational trend not limited to the US. I don’t feel it to be a problem, though. Each generation sets its values. If the older ones have a problem with it, they should look to themselves for not prioritizing it in their children instead of holding younger folks in contempt. It’s very possible to be polite without using honorifics.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Paul H., Gender : M, Race : Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Age : 27, City : Austin, State : TX Country : United States, Social class : Middle class, 
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