When I was a girl growing up in Indiana, we almost always called adults by their first name. The only exception was teachers, whom we called Mr. or Mrs/Ms “Last Name”. I don’t think it was out of disrespect that we used first names only, but just less formal.
Since living in Southern Maryland, though, I’ve realized that most of the locals teach their children to address adults by Mr. or Ms. and their first name. In an effort not to offend people, I’m trying to teach Jacob to do the same.
But, to add more etiquette rules to the mix, my husband’s family is from Sri Lanka. In that culture, you call anyone older than you “Aunty” or “Uncle”. Anyone belonging your grandparents’ generation is called “Pati” (Grandma) or “Thatta” (Grandpa), whether or not they’re technically a grandparent. Actually, since several of their friends have 3- or 4-syllable names that I don’t pronounce correctly or remember, that’s not such a bad thing.
In the US, anyway, I’ll teach him to address all adults by Mr. or Ms. “First Name”, and they can let him know if he can use their first name only.
How do you teach your children to address adults?