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How Should Children Address Adults?


What is the etiquette rule regarding how children should address adults?  Children should address adults by their LAST name with an appropriate title like, Mr., Mrs., Ms, Dr., etc.  For some reason, our society is encouraging children to address adults by their first names with an occasional “Ms” in front, like “Ms. Angie.”  Why??????????  Why are we doing this?  Why are we taking away more opportunities for children to show respect towards adults?  Why are we blurring the lines between adults and children?  Why do we think that having a child call us by our first name, like “Ms Monica” somehow makes our relationship “closer” instead of the child calling us by our last name, like Mrs. Irvine?  

Adults, I seem to notice a whole lot of complaining that is directed to the fact that children don’t show respect towards authority any more or towards parents, teachers and other adults.  Do you know who I blame?  Yes.  Us.  I absolutely disagree with the thought process that we can have a more intimate relationship with a child if they call us by our first name.  Does it change the relationship?  You bet it does.  But it does not change the relationship in a way that is beneficial to the child or the relationship.  Children are in need of guidance, wisdom, direction, support, love and acceptance.  They need role models, not more “buddies.”  Children and adults can have an amazing relationship as the children understand the role of the adults in their lives.  Out of respect and honor, children address adults by their last names.  When children learn to stand for adults, answer “Yes Ma’am” or “Yes Sir” to adults and when children learn to allow adults to go in front of them, they are being given a gift.  This gift is the gift of respect for self.  It comes when we know we are being kind and participating in a small act of kindness to help those around us to know how we feel about them.  If more adults remembered their roles as adults to children and stopped trying to get on equal ground with children, we would see healthier relationships between those children and adults.

If you are insistent about a child calling you by your first name, although I hope you aren’t, the proper way to approach this is to approach the parent of the child and ask their permission for their child to call you by your first name.  Only with a parent’s permission should an adult notify a child of this desire.  If a parent does not wish their child to call you by your first name, please honor that.  No one should ever interfere with how a parent is teaching and raising their child unless the child is in some type of danger.  Please let’s do our part to help children have healthy, respectful and appropriate relationships with all adults by starting with the proper way to address one another.

Have a great month.
Monica Irvine

Please sign up this month to ensure your child’s place in our 2014 summer manners camps.  Register at www.TheEtiquetteFactory.com   For ages 5-13.

Just Because we Can, Does Not Mean We Should


This month, I would like to speak about a topic that I am rather sensitive about as I see our society getting farther and farther away from this etiquette consideration.  It is polite to be aware of who is within our “earshot” when speaking about certain topics or using particular language.  Something that has most definitely changed in recent decades is the manner that women and men will speak in the presence of those of the opposite sex.  It seems like today, there are little boundaries about conversation.  Let me give you a few things to consider.

Gentlemen, it is not polite for you to speak about vulgar topics, use foul language, speak about gross or inappropriate things when you are in the presence or “earshot” of ladies.  Recently, I was stuck on a crowded bus with two gentlemen standing right in front of me wearing prestigious suits and holding professional briefcases.  They appeared to be quite the gentlemen.  Then, they started speaking.  They began a discussion, with me standing right in front of them that was anything but appropriate.  I thought to myself, “wonder why they think it is OK to speak like that in front of me?”  It was obvious, they didn’t respect me or themselves enough to watch their tongue in front of a lady.  Let me remind us something about manners.  Manners is NOT A LIST OF DO’S AND DON’TS.  It is an OUTWARD EXPRESSION THAT SHOWS HOW WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELVES AND THOSE AROUND US.  That’s why it matters.

Ladies, it is not polite to speak negatively about men, use foul or inappropriate language or speak of feminine health issues in the presence of gentlemen, especially those we do not have a close personal relationship with.  As ladies, we want to seek helping those around us to feel comfortable and as we speak in a way that is kind, generous and gracious, others will be more comfortable in our presence.

Both ladies and gentlemen should be careful to keep their conversation positive, upbeat and cheerful when speaking at the dinner table and especially when conversing with others in casual conversation.  We want to be a source of strength, encouragement and positive energy to others and the way we use our tongue will most definitely be a source of strength or a source of weakness to ourselves and others.

Let’s do our best to be aware of those around us when it comes to our language and speech.  Yes, this is a free country and yes, you may say whatever you want to.  Just because we can, does not mean we should.  Restraint and respect are two traits that every gentleman and lady has.  Do we?