Life Advice



Ask Amy: Father-in-law wants to hear his name

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: This little thing has nagged me for many years.

My son has had two marriages… both of his wives have never felt comfortable calling me “Dad,” or by my first name. Instead, they have called me “Grampa” in text messages, and even when we’re together.

Or, when the grandkids are not around, my daughter-in-law might say, “Oh, what your Dad said was funny” – never using my name!

My son has been married to his current wife for 10 years now.

What happened today was the last straw: In a group text message with my wife and me, our two kids and their spouses, the daughter-in-law wrote: “Thanks Grampa and Gramma for babysitting for us!”

I just wanted to fire back “You’re welcome, Mother of the Grandkids!”


Why is this bothering me so much? My wife, who also is addressed this way, doesn’t think it is a big deal.

I have mentioned it off-handedly to my son, but that has made no difference.

Otherwise, I have a great relationship with her. Would it be OK for me to talk to her and say, “When the kids are not around, can you please call me by my first name, or “Dad?”

I really do not want this to go on another 10 years!


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