I’m at my wits end with parents who allow their young kids to address adults on a first name basis. When I hear your 7-year-old child calling me by name I feel disrespected. I gave you permission to use my first name, but that privilege doesn’t extend to your progeny. Whatever happened to children with manners?
You see, there is an unwritten law that every adult should be referred to as Mr, Sir, Mrs, Miss, Ma’am or Madame by kids. And when you allow your child to strip me of that right, I’m offended.
Also, just because I am your worker it doesn’t follow that your young kids can call me on a first name basis. Why should your 5-year-old child address his 60-year-old Nanny by her first name? Does your child usually do that to most elderly women? If not, why are you allowing him to disrespect that woman? Could you be teaching your child class distinctions? Your child won’t die if she refers to my mother as Mrs Yanano. Instead it will teach him to treat all adults with respect.
If the habit of addressing adults on a first name basis goes unchecked it can spread. My neighbours (far much younger than), have allowed their 6-year-old son to call me Sipho.
I hear them tells their child, “Go and tell Sipho this… Go and get something from Sipho?”
As a result, all the children in the neighbourhood have started imitating the 6-year-old by calling me ‘Sipho.” My dignity has been stripped by a bunch of tiny tots?
I’ve planned my revenge.
Next time some child addresses me as “Sipho” I’ll say “Come here boy? What did you just call me?”
“Sipho,” I can hear the young one hesitantly saying out my name.
“Do you call your uncles, headmaster and teachers by their first names?”
“No,” the young child will say.
“So why do you use my first name?”
“That’s your name,” the child will probably answer.
“Okay, young man, I’m old enough to be your father. Don’t you ever call me “Sipho” again. It’s very rude to call adults by their first name without asking for permission to do so. Okay? Call me Mr Yanano, next time. If you ever call me “Sipho” again…”
I’ll make sure the parents of the ill-mannered brat are within earshot for a free lesson in imparting manner.
Are you offended when children call you by your first name?