Social Question

ubersiren's avatar

Do married people refer to their in-laws as "Mom" and "Dad" less frequently these days?

Asked by ubersiren (15031 points ) April 5th, 2010

I don’t know many people who call their mothers-in-law “Mom.” My mother called my dad’s parents “Mom” and “Dad” but I don’t know anyone else that did/does.

Was this once a more popular tradition? When did it change? Do you do it?

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35 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Why would you call an in law “mom” or “dad”?
They’re not your mom and dad. In fact that’s probably really weird for the mom and dad.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t know anyone who calls their in-laws mom or dad. I certainly do not. I call my non-in-laws by their names.

wonderingwhy's avatar

It’s never struck me as particularly weird. I’ve known a couple people who do that and it doesn’t seem to put anyone on edge. I call him by his nickname because that’s what he said to call him. And her grandmother grandma, again, because that’s what she said was ok. Don’t know how popular it was, my parents did the first name thing on one side of the family and the mom/dad thing on the other.

ubersiren's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Sooo… you’ve never heard of this before? It’s not that uncommon. In fact, what prompted my question was a rerun of The Cosby Show. Alvin, Sondra’s husband, calls the Huxtables Mom and Dad.

davidbetterman's avatar

Most In-Laws who get called mom or dad by their son or daughter in law probably requested to be called mom or dad.
I don’t think it is happening any less frequently now then in the past.

(or is it passed?) :P

DarkScribe's avatar

I have not known anyone who calls in-laws Mum or dad, most call them by their names.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

In the Russian culture, you call them by the polite term which means using their first name and patronym – so Alex would call my mom “Ludmila Valentinovna” – the same way he’d address a teacher or an older person and same for me and his parents. Or he’d have to use the shorter Tet’ Luda (which kind of translates to ‘that lady Luda’ but actually means a more personal relation even if Tetya means random lady, :)). Anyway, he doesn’t use either as it stands nor does he use ‘Mom’. With his parents I use their shortened names. It’d be weird to call them Mom and Dad. But it’s a GQ, I wonder if, for some reason, it was more acceptable/expected in the past.

ubersiren's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Very interesting! You’re just a color patchwork quilt of information, aren’t you? Lurve.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ubersiren I’m going to put that on a t-shirt, :)

jlm11f's avatar

I think it’s still pretty common in the Indian culture. My parents still do that to the other’s parents. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t really (even the people who are already married in my generation). But I would agree that I think it’s becoming less of a tradition in the western culture.

casheroo's avatar

My parents did this. My mother’s mother is still alive, and I think it’s just easier for my father to call her Mom. My mother called my father’s dad by his first name, but I sometimes heard her say dad.

I do not call my in-laws Mom or Dad. My father-in-law pleads with me to call him Dad, but I find it creepy. I have a father, and find it to be too bizarre and almost disrepectful to my own father.
But…I do call my husbands Aunts and Uncles, Aunt and Uncle, and I refer to his grandmother as “Grandma” just as my husband does. I can’t see myself calling her by her first name…she’s like my own grandmother!
It probably took being married almost a year before I called my mother in law by her first name. I was still using a formal Mrs. Last name. I still find it awkward to call her by her first name.

Rangie's avatar

I think first names are more appropriate. My mother was so special, I couldn’t imagine using her title on another woman. Same with my father. My in laws are not my parents and never will be.

hug_of_war's avatar

I don’t think I could get used to calling them mom and dad. My dad would definitely not like it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When married, I did call my in-laws mom and dad but they were great to me, surrogate parents to me even before I ever dated their son.

ubersiren's avatar

@hug_of_war Yeah, I think my dad would be weirded out by it, too.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I refer to my in-laws as ex-Mom and ex-Dad…

YARNLADY's avatar

We use first names in our family until the kids come along, then everybody is magically transformed into Grandma and Poppa.

Kraigmo's avatar

My aunt & uncle’s family do that. They’re very religious though (mostly spiritual, not political, so its real). I think it comes natural for them, and the men who marry into the family tend to be just like them. So it all comes natural for everyone. They are all very close and love each other lots.

augustlan's avatar

This definitely was more popular in the past. A lot of folks in my mother’s generation did this. I’m 42, and I know people only slightly older than myself who call their in-laws Mom and Dad. I could never do it, even when asked to do so by in-laws of the age where they expected it. It’s just too… weird.

Harold's avatar

I could never do it. To repeat what some others have said here, I would find it insulting to my own parents, even though my own Dad is dead.

I do know that my parents called their in-laws Mum and Dad, so I guess anecdotally it is an old tradition. My son’s girlfriend calls us by our first names, and I prefer it that way.

thriftymaid's avatar

My girls’ boyfriends always started calling me mom. My one son-in-law calls me by my first name. Go figure.

tedibear's avatar

I call my in-laws Mom and Dad. For the record, I’m 45. Before I was serious with my then boyfriend now husband, I didn’t call them anything but “you.” I would speak to them directly and not use their first names, which felt odd for me to use, but simply say something like, “Would you like more cake?” instead of, “Would you like more cake, Marcia?” Once we got serious, I asked her what she thought would be appropriate, mentioning that I would be comfortable with Mom and Dad. She was thrilled with the idea, especially as she had always wanted a daughter and we had become fairly close.

For me, it’s not disrespectful to my parents. Growing up, my friends’ parents were always mom and dad when we spent time at each others’ homes. My brothers-in-law all called my parents mom and dad. I guess it’s all what you’re used to.

Skippy's avatar

I call them mom & dad out of respect (to their faces) in front of my children I refer to them as Grammy & Grampy. When my hubby and I discuss them I refer to them as YOUR mom &/or dad, depending on the conversation. After 31 years of marriage, it’s easier and downright respectful to call them that. I don’t like it when children refer to me or other adults for that matter by their first names. Either Mr./Mrs. Growing up I had tons of aunts and uncles, because it was easier and nicer to call them that as opposed to anything else.

It is a sign of the times when adults are refered to by their first names. Respect is going out of style, and I believe that any “elder” should be shown the respect they have earned or deserved. At 53, there are still friends of my parents I still refer to as Mr. or Mrs. So & So. They say call me by my first name, you’re an adult, but I just can’t bring myself to do that.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

Where I was raised it is perfectly acceptable, though not necessarily mandatory. My sister and her husband always referred to their parents-in-law as “Mom and Dad” or “Ma and Pa”. My older brother called his in-laws by their first names, as did his wife. As far as my in-laws, I was almost as close in age to them as I am to my wife. I am eleven years older than my wife, my mother-in-law was ten years older than me, and my father-in-law was 11 years older, so I called them by their first names.

ubersiren's avatar

@Yetanotheruser It would definitely be strange to call someone “Mom” if she was only 10 years older.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

When my mother-in-law passed, father-in-law eventually remarried, and step-mother-in -law is only seven years older. (A very nice lady, by the way.) At the wedding, I danced with the bride, and we were talking about how close we were in age. I asked her if she was now “Mom” or ”(first name)”, she said “Well, how about being friends?” That’s the was it’s remained, and we remain very good friends to this day.

Seek's avatar

I think it’s great when people are that close to their in-laws. I wish I were.

I personally would be uncomfortable calling my husband’s father “Dad”, as I only see/talk to him a couple of times a year, and I’m pretty pissed off at the fact that he supports his goodfornothing stepdaughter’s children 100%, and refuses to visit our home or his own grandson. And that’s the inlaw I like.

plethora's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy It would be very weird to hear my daughter in law, whom I do love as if she were my own, call me Dad. She started out calling me “your dad” in front of my son, as if I were not there. Although she didnt realize that. I’ve gotten her to the point of calling me “the beagle” now, which is what I prefer….oops, I mean she calls me by my first name.

Jeruba's avatar

I followed tradition and called my husband’s parents “Mom” and “Dad.” And when my sons marry, I would much prefer to be addressed the same way by their brides. I don’t like it when young persons presume to address their friends’ parents by their first names, and I don’t expect to enjoy it as an in-law either.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Relating this thread to another thread started at about the same time… how would you address transgendered in-laws? Mom-Dad? Dad-Dad? Moad? Daom?

DarkScribe's avatar

Transgendered in-laws? Tranny-in-laws? I suppose it has to happen to some peple.

ubersiren's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Whatever they wanted to be called. Just like non transgendered people. I think most in-laws will tell their children’s spouses what they prefer to be called.

Ivy's avatar

My son’s wife and I call each other by name, but refer to each other as outlaws, i.e., mother-outlaw
and daughter-outlaw.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What a great question, and what a spectrum of answers!

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