This seems to be an oddity from ranching culture---I first ran into it when I was with a group that visited a large ranch out west.  The men in the family (and apparently the boys) called their dad by his first name.  Much later, I ended up working with a woman whose husband grew up like that---he called his dad by his first name and (to his wife's chagrin) he wanted their son to call HIM by HIS first name.  Then last night at a political event, one of the speakers told us his son calls him "Bob"---we're not talking about liberal leftists, anarchists, or throw-backs to the hippie era, here.  I'm not being critical of the custom, but it sure seems odd to me.

It would never have occurred to me to call my dad by his first name, nor would I have allowed it in my own household.  What are the roots of this?  Is it just a western thing?  Just older boys?  Some kind of "you're a man, now" equality thing?  I'd think that having your son call you by your first name would bring you down to being like a peer rather than a parent.  Anybody grow up like this?  I'd really like to know more about it.  Comments?

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It probably comes from the parents (in this case the father) and works its way on down. For example, I have an uncle who eschews the title "Uncle" and insists that he's just called by his first name. It's not like this for my father though. I call him dad and couldn't imagine calling him by his first name. I don't think he could imagine it either!

Why, exactly, a father would not want to be called "dad" is beyond me. I'd be interested in hearing more about it too. 

That's the other thing, D.J.---not only can I not imagine why a son would be calling his dad by his first name, but I can't imagine a father wanting it, either---so it goes in both directions.  It's a mystery to me---looking forward to more comments.

different strokes

I always think of Michael Jackson and his siblings having to call their father "Joseph." Not Dad or Pop, not even Joe, but "Joseph." I don't get it.

Then again, when I was younger, my Midwestern cousins called my parents by their first names and it seemed common there. My East Coast parents, however, did not appreciate, e.g., a nine-year-old being so informal with their aunt and uncle (treating them like equals, basically) and found it disrespectful.

I went through a lot to be a Dad and there are only two people in this world who can call me by that name. I work hard every day to earn that title.

Tim said: I went through a lot to be a Dad and there are only two people in this world who can call me by that name. I work hard every day to earn that title.

That's how I feel, too---you summed it up well.  I'd really be interested in hearing the other side, though, particularly from guys who grew up out west or something.

I agree with Todd and Tim.   Figuratively speaking, my wife and I "sneezed", or something, and 9 months later, we're parents of a son.  We didn't have any challenges at all, in the fertility dept. 

I'm sure that many of the fathers who ask their children to call them by their first name, don't feel any disrespect from their children, and the children themselves would say that they don't intend any disrespect.  I come from a time when disrespect to parents earned one a trip to the proverbial woodshed, where one was "helped to understand one's mistake".   One might as well slap The Virgin Mary as to call an adult by their first name.

One should refer to another by the other's earned title, if any.  Jesus said, "When you are invited to dinner, sit on the lowest level.  Do not go to the highest level, lest the host come to you, and say, 'Friend, come down lower, and make room for this guest."  It is better to be invited closer in, than be told to stand down.  Therefore, IMHO, one should call one's parents "Mom" and "Dad".  One should not use first names for one's parents.   If one's parents insist upon their children using their first names to refer to them, one should do so.  But one should never presume that one has permission to be that informal with others who have earned titles of respect.

I never could get myself to call my ex mother or father in law mom or dad, usually I called them by their name... but I don't think I could EVER refer to my parents by name.  I would be pretty disappointed in my children if they ever referred to me by my first name name as well.

First name address suggests a form of peer address, and while it is good to maintain a friendship with a persons children this should not be interepreted into being their friend.  There only ten commandments and one of them addresses mother and father, 10% of da rules are geared towards respect of parents.


I am sure the use of their first name is not meant to disrespectfull but it strikes me as being  very informal or familiar.


This does not seem offenssive to me but I agree it would be odd and not something I would entertain, it must work for them as it is not isolated to one family.

Your school doesn't teach Bridge to Terebinthia? You don't watch Justified?

What's with the all caps and "not being critical" and never "have allowed it in my own household"?

On Justified, I figure Raylan is being intentionally disrespectful by calling his dad "Arlo".  He doesn't much like Arlo.


Disrespectful, also distant. "You're just a citizen, not a family member."

Raylan didn't have much cause to like Arlo, either.  I think you're on the money there, Jack.

PS.  It's much to long to have to wait for the next season of Justified.

PPS.  R.I.P. Elmore Leonard.


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