Calling in Laws "mom" and "dad"! Dilemma

posted 3 years ago in Family
  • poll: What do you think I should do?

    Call them mom and dad regardless

    Call them X Mom, Y Dad

    Call them Mrs. Or Mr. +Their first names

    Don't talk to them 🤣

  • Post # 17
    1240 posts
    Bumble bee

    I also come from a culture where calling anyone elder to you by like 7+ years by their first name only is a HUGE no no. If any of my Pakistani friends called their Pakistani in-laws by their first name I’d double take so hard lol! It’s unheard of and considered super rude  


    OP, what do you call your Turkish friend’s Parents? Like we call all elder women “Auntie” and all elder men “uncle”. In our culture this is carried into in-laws too for those that don’t wanna call them mom and dad. Anything like this in Turkish culture?

    Post # 18
    61 posts
    Worker bee

    I come from a similar background. I call my bf’s parents uncle X and aunty X but I’ve also been stressing about what to call them once we are married!

    I voted call them mum and dad regardless. I think it’ll be weird at first but you’ll get used to it and there’s no harm in calling them mum and dad! 

    I think Mr & Mrs is too formal and X mum X dad doesn’t sound natural.. I cant even imagine calling them by their first name, that is like the most disrespectful thing you can do haha

    Post # 19
    62 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: April 2019

    I couldn’t imagine calling anyone much older than myself by their first name, unless it was requested that I do so. 

    My parents called my grandparents “mom” and “dad” (even though they didn’t always get along!)  so I guess it seems normal to me. I call my future in laws Mom and Dad, which makes me very happy. I know my parents don’t feel slighted in the least. On the contrary, theyre delighted that I feel comfortable enough to call my in-laws mom and dad. 

    Post # 20
    611 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    View original reply
    betyl :  my culture similarly would not allow me to call my in laws by their first names in my wildest dreams. I call them Maman X and Papa Y, I think it helps because I put their first names in there and those parent titles aren’t what I call my mom and dad. Have a discussion with your fiance and then jointly with them if that’s an option about titles. Good luck!

    Post # 21
    47412 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I am also Canadian, and I hate it when somone purports to speak for all of us. I have never called my in-laws by their first name, nor do most of my friends. Some do.

    When I first married, I was not comfortable calling them Mom or Dad, so I called them Mom Smith and Dad Smith. It was comfortable for me and they were fine with it.

    Post # 22
    4971 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    View original reply
    betyl :   Hubby and I agonised over this too. We both come from cultures where you call in-law parents mum and dad but for us it just felt weird and because we live in Australia we just kept calling each others parents by their first names. TBH we actually don’t use their names at all most of the time in conversations with them. When we say hello to them we kiss them and just say hello and in regular conversation people know who you are taking to generally by topic,  body language and the direction in which you are looking/facing so names don’t get used as much as we actually thought. 

    I would honestly just use mum/dad if not doing so would cause a huge double take from everyone around. By purposely using something  else to address them you might end up with people reading something hugely negative from your choice which could cause more headaches than you could possibly forsee. If its too off putting maybe do –

    mother <insert surname>


    father <insert surname >

    Post # 23
    1187 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: February 2018 - UK

    I wouldn’t be comfortable calling my Mother-In-Law mum, and I don’t think she’d like it either. My husband calls my parents by their first names. He’s only 10 years younger than my mum, I think it would be really weird if he was calling her mum!

    I’m in the U.K., and virtually everyone I know just uses the first names. My parents and aunts and uncles all called their in-laws mum and dad though, so it could be a generational thing here.

    Post # 24
    229 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    I’m American, but my husband comes from a culture where it’d be totally disrespectful for me to call his parents by their first names, and that I should call them Mom and Dad. I’ve very successfully managed to not call them ANY name for about 7 years now. tongue-out not sure if they’ve ever noticed, but they haven’t said anything to DH…..

    Post # 25
    5078 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: December 2014

    I sort of avoid calling my in-laws by any name. I think I’ve used my MILs first name a few times (as requested by her), but I don’t think I’ve ever addressed my Father-In-Law directly by name. I still call my stepdad, whose been around since I was a toddler and served as my only father, by his first name. I’d find it odd then to start calling some guy I met a few years ago “Dad”. 

    I would say a good option to respect the culture would be to go with Mama X and Papa Y or something similar. That way it’s different from what you call your real parents, but not disrespectful. Overall, I’d just try to avoid addressing them by name. 

    Post # 26
    455 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to call my in laws mom or dad, I just use their first names (American bee here) and DH calls my father by his first name (my mother passed about 5 years ago but he also called her by her first name).

    My mom would sometimes call her mother in law’s house (my grandma) and ask if “mom” was there if my gpa answered the phone. I actually remember asking her about it because I was young and I was thinking – wait, that’s not YOUR mom, that’s DAD’S mom! She basically just said that she calls her mom sometimes and it was sort of “whatever.” I will add though that my mom started dating my dad when she was 15, so perhaps it just got easier for her over the years? I don’t recall her ever calling my dad’s mom “mom” in person though, only on the phone. 

    I don’t know that there’s a right answer – the whole thing is strange when you think about it. If it’s a cultural thing I doubt your parents will take any offense, so it’s more just doing what you are most comfortable with, and maybe that will change with time, maybe not.

    Post # 27
    2985 posts
    Sugar bee

    I agree with PP that it sounds like it would be best to get their take on things. They might feel uncomfortable too!

    Customs do play a huge role though so I voted for call them mom and dad because I wouldn’t want to offend anyone and it sounds like you dont either.

    I call my ILs by their first names but I live in the US and I feel like that’s the norm here.

    Post # 28
    2975 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 2021

    View original reply
    betyl :  Ask them what they would like you to call them and then call them that.

    My fiance and I call each others’ parents by their first names, but that’s the norm in our culture and social circles and that’s what they want to be called. If his parents preferred to be called Mom and Dad, I’d call them that.

    Perhaps if you are not comfortable with calling them Mom and Dad, but that’s their preference, you can find a compromise? Maybe call your parents Mom and Dad and his parents an alternative of Mom and Dad?

    Post # 29
    367 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2018


    View original reply
    betyl :  have children really quickly and then call them Grandma/Grandpa – Noni/papa – etc whatever the term you end up with. I call my Future Mother-In-Law by her first name but my Future Father-In-Law I have a hard time calling him by his first name. Can’t wait to just call him “Grandpa” lol

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