Q: My friend’s children call me Mary, but I’d prefer it if they call me Mrs. Jones. At the same time, she insists that my daughters call her Sally. I’m trying to teach my children to address adults formally, but my friend isn’t being a great help. What should I do?
A: Your friend might feel like a grandmother when some younger calls her “Mrs.”, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong to want to teach your children how to address adults formally. Explain to your kids why it’s important to you, but that a few exceptions exist. Tell them that some grown-ups, like your friend, prefer to be called by their first name-and it’s all right for your kids to do so when given permission. Next, take your friend aside and tell her that it’s fine for your kids to call her Sally, you hope her children will call you Mrs. Jones. Then let her children know your preference.