Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Dealing With In-Laws > Deciding What to Call Your In-Laws

Deciding What to Call Your In-Laws

In This Article:

Page 1

Follow these suggestions for naming your parents-in-law.

  1. Come right out and ask your mother-in-law and father-in-law what they want to be called. I know, I'm suggesting something radical here, like eating less if you want to lose weight or not baking in the sun if you don't want skin cancer.

    Family Matters

    People in second marriages often feel more comfortable calling their parents-in-law by their first names rather than as "Mom" or "Dad."

    Talking about the name issue right up front allows everyone to air their feelings and knocks stress down to manageable levels. But talking about something that's as loaded as a frat boy on Saturday night is easier said than done. Hey, I've been there and, I'm ashamed to say, not done that. So…

  2. Follow the lead of the rest of the family. Obviously, this is only going to work if there's another daughter-in-law or son-in-law and the issue of names has already been settled to everyone's satisfaction. With the name game, one size does not fit all, so you have to be mighty careful you don't get sucked into calling your parents-in-law something that doesn't fit in your comfort zone.

    If you're the first to get married, there's no lead to follow. As the head weenie at the roast, you have to blaze new ground. In that case, see suggestion #1.

  3. Use their first names. My sister has a delightful mother-in-law, a lively and intelligent woman whose company I greatly enjoy. Her first name is Mera, and that's what my sister calls her. It works for them.

  4. Invent a name. Sometimes you're just not comfortable using your parent-in-law's first name, even if that's what they have indicated they want you to call them. In this case, you might want to consider inventing a name for your parent-in-law. Of course, the name must be mutually agreeable to all parties.

    For example, my mother's first name is Erna. For some reason that I can no longer remember (if there ever was a reason in the first place), my husband and several other sons-in-law call my mother "Oin," a mangled variation of Erna. She appears to like it because it's special and sets her apart from all the other Ernas in the world. All two of them.

    We've done the same thing for my father-in-law. His name is Louis, but everyone calls him by his middle name, Nick, which he prefers. I don't call him by either name. Instead, we made up the name Nas, the first part of a juicy Greek curse he uses to amuse us. The first few words of this useful imprecation are "Nas a fahn a..." (Here's the entire curse in translation, in case you ever need it: "May the red goats eat out your stomach lining and the white mice, too.") So my father-in-law has become Old Nas; my husband, Young Nas. Again, he likes it because it's as special as he is.

Next: Page 2 >>

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dealing with In-Laws © 1998 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

st. patrick’s day

Celebrate the
luck of the Irish
with recipes
and activities.



10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks