Daily Life

Parent Names and Have Grandparents Always Spoiled Grandchildren?

I remember reading a book about English customs and they mentioned upper class people used the terms Mummy and Daddy, and I was like, as opposed to babies? Like is it used longer among upper class people or something?

It seems most kids here in this generation would start out with Mama and Dada then move to Mommy and Daddy, then to Mom and Dad. Occasionally I new people who used Mama and Papa, but I don’t know if that lasted beyond childhood. I think in one of our family’s friends family where the dad from the Dominican republic, they called him Papi but not always, I think.

In more southern states/rural areas, Momma (definitely a Southern spelling) and Daddy seem to be a pairing, into adulthood at least among my parents and grandparents generations. Like my mom calls her parents Mom and Dad, but sometimes she’ll say Daddy, but never Mommy (can’t imagine my grandmother ever being called Mommy, she’s definitely matriarchal).

Similarly, her mom, Mamau to me, and her sisters refer to her mom as Mom or Mother, and her dad as Dad or Daddy (in conversation, neither are living). I think it does have something to do with the women in our family being rather less sweet oftentimes, certainly my great-grandmother wasn’t sweet. Daddy is softer, to the more gentle parent.

I think part of the reason parents have fewer versions of names is that grandparents names can also be a form of endearment or be “softer” names, for you know, the sources of more spoiling. But that again, I think is perhaps a newer thing, I don’t think my parents or grandparents were spoiled by their grandparents. I know my grandmother remembers one of her sisters being a favorite of her grandmother and so she determined to not pick favorites with her grandchildren.

But we were still expected to behave, it was just a whole lot easier under the circumstances to do so, you know, where you are sort of seen as wonderful beings as opposed to demonic ones. Of course, when I was talking about this subject my youngest sister mentioned she got spanked by my grandmother, a fact which I was thrilled to find out, as I felt it evened the balance of the oldest to youngest difference in treatment by our parents. I mean they did still spank her, but the difference in standards! But that is a whole other topic!


  • Davida Chazan

    By the way, because I live in Israel my kids had more options of what they could call their grandparents, although my parents were in the US until they passed away. My father hated being called grandpa or whatever so we always referred to them using the Hebrew names – Saba and Safta.

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