During times of nobility, titles were very important, it showed to others your status in society. Terms like Lord, Duke, and Duchess showed that you had a certain level of power and authority. Those same terms were well regarded on the family level as well. It showed what place in the family that you belonged and were seen as a sign of respect.
Great source of wisdom
Grandparents were seen as a wise and a respected authority when dealing with important manners. The term grand attached to either parent, father, or mother indicated that they were the head of the family as a whole and worn as a badge of honor. Often their wisdom and life experience helped the family to be able to get through troubling times such as where to find water during times of drought.
Aunts and uncles are used to indicate the brother or sister of a child’s parents. These too were seen as another resource for wisdom and support. Often times one aunt and uncle were chosen to be the godparents of the newborn child and would then create a special bond between them. This relationship would then allow the child another person to turn to in times of need or advice.
Using these terms also made it easier for others to identify the order of the family, when discussing about aunts or uncles, one would know they were talking about a parents siblings, it was also shown a sign of great respect and maturity.
The changing dynamics of the nuclear family into a more blended family has complicated the issue of using these family terms. What do you call step uncles, aunts, or grandparents? This has lead to the disintegration of these family terms all together. Often times when a nephew or niece refers to their aunt or uncle it is now usually only by their first name, and may even be done on the grandparent level as well.
What is the long term effect?
Do these terms really make a difference? Aside from the family, the use of proper terms has even fallen apart at the educational level with students referring to their teachers by their first names. What this does is make everyone feel like they are all equal, but with that creates a difficult environment when it comes to proper roles. Discipline can often become difficult because children no longer know the proper boundaries when it comes to speaking with adults and can engage in improper behavior.
Although it may seem silly and outdated, family terms such as Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Aunt, and Uncle should always be used when appropriate. It helps to create a sense of balance in a child’s life and understand the proper role they play in the family structure. They are titles that should be rewarded and respected, and something that children should look forward to receiving one day.