What do you call your parents-in-law?

My nineteen year-old daughter got married yesterday. While my wife and I were less than thrilled, it is a fact and we’re on board, trying to have a good relationship with the guy.

So, my son-in-law (ouch) asked what to call me. I don’t know. I remember having a similar conversation with my in-laws and we agreed on Mom and Dad. However, the fact is that I actually avoid instances when I have to call them by a proper name. When referring to them in the third person, I often use their first names or say “wife’s” mom or “wife’s” dad. I sorry to say that I don’t really call them Mom or Dad to their faces. It’s just that I have a hard time using those names for people other than my actual parents. My wife calls my mom “Mom” sometimes, but she too usually doesn’t call them by a proper name. She also uses Mom’s first name or “DG’s” mom in the third person. (Dad died several years ago.)

So, what do your kids-in-law call you? What do you call the in-laws? First name doesn’t seem right. Mr. Drum God is way to formal for Christmas dinner. Dad feels weird. I’m in a quandary here.

I hate to say it, because I really like my in-laws, but I don’t call them anything. I wish they would just tell me what they want to be called because I don’t want to ask. They must have noticed by now that I only initiate conversation with them when they’re looking at me. I’m going on 6 years with their daughter and 4 years married to her.

I call them Frank and Sue, which is weird because their names are John and Mary. I’m joking, we’re all just on first a name basis.

I’m not married, but everyone in my immediate family calls their in-laws Mom and Dad

All the other in-law children call them by their first names but they see them all the time and have gotten used to it. I try t not call them anything but if I have to I also use their first names.

When the kids are around it’s a relief to call them Grandma & Grandpa.

We just use first names. I mean, we’re all grownups. What’s weird about calling them by name? It’s not like you’re their child.

My husband called my parents by their first names. I didn’t call my in-laws anything, really, except Grandma and Grandpa sometimes.

Now that I think about it, our daughter-in-law doesn’t really call us anything. I may have to work on that. I don’t want to push it, but I don’t want to leave it like that and have it be uncomfortable, either. I’m fine with her using our first names and I think we need to find ways to let her know without making a big deal out of it.


I will never in a million years call those people ‘mum and dad’. I refer to them indirectly and directly by their first names.

Me too. I didn’t think it would be possible to know someone for fifteen years and not call them anything.

My parents-in-law speak Chinese and no English, although my MIL speaks a little Japanese. I speak no Chinese, but do speak Japanese.

So I call my MIL okaasan which is Japanese for “mother” and I don’t talk directly to my FIL.

Sorry I can’t be of more help. . .

I’m no help, I call them “Mr. and Mrs. Lastname”. Years ago I overheard my FIL kind of derisively talking about a brother-in-law and how he calls them that, but from what I’ve heard, the other BILs do it too. He’d prefer it if we called them “Mom and Dad” but they’re not really the type you’d want to.

My husband calls my parents by their first name or by their nickname.

My PIL were dead before I married their son, but I refer to his mother as Saint Anne because, according to her sons, she could do no wrong. Their reverence towards her is alternately touching and annoying, depending on my mood.

I refer to his father as his first name because he was clearly not a saint though he reportedly had a lot of fun.

Same. And my husband is only 36.

Edit: But the man calls my mother and father ma’am and sir, which I think is odd. We’re all grown ups, they have names.

Thanks for the helpful replies. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who has taken the middle ground of not referring to them by any name at all. I can certainly initiate conversations with them. However, it’s always when it’s obvious to whom I am talking. My wife and I have been married for sixteen years and dated for three years prior to that. Maybe some day I’ll come up with a better solution.

With regard to my new son-in-law, I just don’t know. First names don’t feel right to me, but neither does Mom and Dad. The boy has suggested Poppa D and Momma D. Not really into that, either.

I call my MIL by her first name and my father-in-law “Granddad,” mostly because he has the same name as my husband (and son), so it’s just easier.

I address my in-laws by their first names. Same goes for The Boy when he’s dealing with my parents.

Then again, we did the parental introductions fairly early on in the relationship (like, within the first 3 months), so there would have been all sorts of weirdness if they’d insisted on “Mom” and “Dad” at that stage.

I’m afraid I’m no help. My mother in law would like me to call her “mom”, but icicles will form up in Hell before I comply. I generally get by with avoiding using names at all in her company and calling her things like “your mother” or “my mother-in-law” when referring to her outside of her company. If backed into a corner, I call her by her first name.

My husband’s father died shortly after we married (like three months after), so that doesn’t come up often. His mother has remarried (they divorced when my husband was in his early 20s), but both my husband and I call her second husband by his first name (my husband was in his mid-to-late 20’s when his mom remarried - well past the age when one might refer to a stepfather as “dad”, particularly since his father was still around).

My husband calls my parents by their given names (which is what they requested). He called my dad Mr. MaidenName a few times when they first met, and then my dad finished giving him the hairy “you’re marrying my daughter in two months and I just met you” eyeball and told him to call him by his first name. My mom was so excited to meet him she insisted he call her by her first name right away. Then again, he was in his late 20’s when he met my parents - clearly an adult. And my parents and I had already successfully navigated the “my baby is all grown up” hurdle some years before I even met my husband - so there weren’t any weird age related power dynamics going on. It’s not like my parents knew my husband when he was a kid or anything - at a time when it would be appropriate for him to refer to adults he was meeting as Mr. or Mrs. Whatever, if that makes sense.

My in-laws have said first names are fine, and my parents said the same to my husband. And yet we both avoid calling them anything if we can help it. It’s just awkward.

I call my parents-in-law by their first names. I would find it weird to call them “mom” or “dad,” even though it’s something they might like. However much I might like them, they’re not my parents - I’ve got two people with those titles, thanks. It would just feel strange to me. First names all the way.

What does one of your daughter’s best friends call you? Should her husband call you the same?