Am I justified at being irked by my cousins calling my father "Daddy"?

Here’s the sitch:

We Rhymers had a big family to-do this weekend. Among the twelve zillion guests were two of my first cousins, whom I’ll call Danielle and Robert. Their mother (my mother’s older sister and best friend) died last year. Their father died many years before that–before either of them reached their teens. They spent a great deal of time in my house when we were children. They’re both in their 40s now.

Anyway…in the last few years, both Danielle and Robert have taken to calling my father Daddy. Danielle, in fact, often referred to him as ***my *Daddy. “Skaldimus,” she said yesterday, “did you make sure my Daddy has a plate? Can you take my daddy some coffee?”

And so on.

This vexes me quite a bit. I’m not sure I’m being fair about that, but it just does. I mean,I love my dad, but I can’t say I actually like him; were we not related I’d never choose to be in his company. But they both love and like him. And I like them well enough; and I can understand why, having lost their own father at such young ages, they might have latched onto him. Also, since their mother (and mine) is dead, perhaps that need is stronger now.

But still it bothers me. Am I being unreasonable?

It would piss me off if it was my dad. The my daddy bit is what takes the cake. It’s so possessive like a little child, but it’s an adult doing this.

I understand why the “my Daddy thing” thing would get under your skin, but otherwise, I don’t think you should let it bother you, if they really do think of him as a father figure, and they get something positive out of calling him that.

First thought was: money to be inherited later and they are setting themselves up to be people that were “like children” to him.

Assuming that is not the case: yes, it would bother me on that knee-jerk, gut level. But then I would just remind myself that apparently these are 40 somethings that need that kind of attachment in their lives and it doesn’t hurt you to just let it go.

I’d be pissed. I’d ask them to at least call him Dad instead of Daddy…it makes them both sound a bit infantile.

When did this start? Or is it possible that they have called him Daddy for a while, but only recently more openly?

On the Daddy v. Dad issue, I have no problem with Daddy if it is typical in their regional/cultural environment for grown people to say Daddy, but would agree it’s odd if Dad is the norm.

I completely get why you have that initial reaction, but it’s reasonable to see why they view him as their father figure.

That construction, specifically, is pretty over the edge to me. It implies that he’s her father * but not yours*. Unless this is different in your local dialect of English, but I would always say “my dad” when speaking of him with my husband, but just “Dad” when talking with my brother.

Plain “Dad” or even “Daddy” wouldn’t bother me too much, though the latter does seem a little infantile for a grown-up

Daddy is more common than Dad hereabouts. I am unique among the Rhymers in eschewing it for Dad. I called my mother Mother as well, whereas to my siblings it was always Mama.

Depends; where y’all from? “Daddy” is fine anywhere south of the Carolinas and east of Texas.* That said, “my daddy” is just plain weird…infantile or otherwise, it’s oddly clingy/possessive, since he’s your daddy just as much as hers.

*Full disclosure: I was born in upstate New York and I call my father “Pop”, but half my family lives in Arkansas and I’ve been in southern VA long enough for it to count. :smiley:

Next time they’re around just start humming this.

That would tick me off. Particularly since they’re, what? The OP said around 40? So they started this behavior well into adulthood. Had they been doing it as kids, it would’ve been well established and just meh, but such childish possessiveness at that age is lame.

And I say this as someone who calls a friend’s aunt Aunt Jan (because she asked me to and refers to me as her adopted niece, not because I just decided to do it one day).

What he said. Hearing an adult call their parent “Mommy”/“Daddy” bugs the hell out of me, but if it’s a regionally-normal thing, that’s understandable. The “my” part makes it seem really weirdly possessive and exclusionary. It’s like when little kids fight and try to “claim” more rights to a parent, except that you can understand it in kids.

You’re justified in being irked at least by the “**my **Daddy” part, which seems possessive on their part and calculated to exclude you from the relationship. I call my best friend’s mother “Mama”, because she encouraged me to do so, but I’d never say “**my **mama” in a context like your cousins did.

I’d suggest that next time it happens, you snap, “Excuse me, he’s our daddy, not just yours”. That would remind them that you’re entitled to be considered his son, but not exclude them from calling him daddy, too.

The “my Daddy” thing would send me over the edge.

I had a landlady I called Mama, but that happened to be her nickname: everybody called her that except her daughters, who called her Mom. I would never have called her Mom or “my Mama.”
And the man being called “Daddy” is very much notSkald’s daddy as much as theirs:” he’s Skald’s Daddy and the other folks’ uncle! Otherwise someone started a sitdrama and forgot to inform one of the main parties.

“Her Daddy?” Gods, that’s annoying ME, and i’m only reading it … it seems as if you are only there to run errands.

Is there a particular reason she didn’t make sure herself that ‘her’ Daddy had a plate and bring ‘her’ Daddy some coffee her own damn self? Not only is her use of the possessive annoying and inappropriately territorial, but it’s also irritating for her to ask another adult to do something she can very well just do herself.

Maybe he’s also their pimp. :smiley:

It would infuriate me.

40 year old’s saying “my Daddy.”

I’m pissed off and I wasn’t there.

Yes, I think you are justified in being annoyed. Could you try saying, “Excuse me, I am related to him as well?” Or would that be too subtle?

I think you should give them a break.

I lost my dad several years ago, and facing that first year without him sucked. Sucked, sucked, sucked. And yes, I was in my 30s when he died.

Sure, the “my daddy” thing is off-putting. I can understand it getting under your skin. But just smile and say, “Yup, I made sure Dad has got a plate. Can’t have my father going hungry!”

And be glad you have a dad who’s alive to give it to. No matter how close you are or aren’t. Or how close they are or aren’t. If it bothers your dad - he’ll tell them. If not - well, y’know what - no matter how much they say “my daddy” - it doesn’t change genetics. So let it slide.

I have several uncles I’m close to, and I once even asked if I could send one of them a Father’s Day card one year when I was struggling a bit. Just trying to switch the loneliness factor somewhere. How lucky for your cousins they had someone who could step in and be there for them.

That’s just my two cents. ymmv (and obviously does.)