This is a common issue and a generational failure, both on baby boomers that raised us and the gen x/millenial group now getting married. Even after 8 years, this thread is a top read and can’t believe no one has discussed the why, only sprouting their opinion since the world is all about them.
We try to explain it away with cultural differences because we’re taught to be prejudice and dismissive, but it’s very sad this needs to even be said, but our education system also failed us in terms of domestic and social matters: of course you and anyone, cultural or not, would feel awkward at first calling your parents-in-law mom or dad. That means you don’t yet feel close to them. You call someone by their name or title consistently to reach that higher level of familiarity and intimacy, the same way a child might start calling a long-time family friend an aunt or uncle.
When someone asks you to call them by something, this is no longer about you! Our me me me generation has forgotten this simple fact. It’s like you want to be called Jen, but certainly not Jenny, and you’ve made it clear, yet your “friends” still maliciously and spitefully call you poor little Jenny. Rude.
And if your super inflated gen x rebel mememe ego still won’t let you do this, that’s okay to. There used to be an art of dealing with social matters tactfully in a way that saves face, but we’re now taught to “win” at everything at all costs, or throw a fit and cry because why bother playing if you can’t win, instead of reflecting on the meaning of things. Just take a moment to treat them as a human being, and say hey, I’m currently not ready or comfortable calling you mom or dad yet, but I hope we can get there. Instead, may I still call you x and y?
Some people wait until they have children, then just call their in-laws grandpa or grandma. Bit of a cheat, but still a compromise. But the point is, YOU determine how close you can get to someone, and if someone is courageous and vulunerable enough to let you know first (“I would like to be called x now that we are truly family”), then it’s really the decent thing is to make an attempt. This is what it means to have character, and it’s not easy, but then again, no one said it was going to easy to be a decent person in life. But by doing this, you’ll be a parent who walks the walk when it’s time to properly raise your children.
Or you can be a stereotypical modern parent and let your children run wild, and violently argue or attack with anyone who dares to call you out. Why better yourself when it’s easier to shut people up? It is what it is.