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Rev Dr August Abbott
Rev Dr August Abbott, Adult Etiquette Pro
Category: Etiquette
Satisfied Customers: 7627
Experience:  40 yrs: Etiquette teacher,Formal event officiate, announcement author, minister
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Is there a standard or socially-acceptable name for the

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Is there a standard or socially-acceptable name for the grandchildren of a common-law husband (offspring from his first marriage, dissolved long ago) from the perspective of the current common-law wife? They are in Illinois which does not recognize common-law marriages so they call the parties "Paramours". Since there is no legal or blood relationship between the Paramour / Common-Law Wife and the bio-grandchildren of her Paramour / Common-law husband, I have checked with the Certified Legal Experts over already who advise that there is no name in legal lexicon to describe that relationship. But as the Ex-Husband siding with the 3 children (now adults) produced from the Paramour / Common-law wife's first and only legal marriage (pre-dating co-habitation with the Paramour / Common-law Husband), we find it objectionable when the Ex-Wife / Mother calls this offspring her "Grandchildren" or even "Step-grandchildren" because they are not legally either. It is offensive to the honor I bestowed upon this woman (and that she bestowed upon me) in marriage, and offensive to our children who will one day likely be the bearers of her TRUE grandchildren. We've come up with some humorous titles we could give this offspring from the Ex's / Mom's perspective...e.g. instead of "Grandchildren" she could call them her "GrandPosers" (smiles). Or instead of Granddaughter or Grandson, she could call them her "Grand-NOT-er" and "Gran-NONE" (smiles) But the Ex / Mom would likely not adopt those so we take this to the Etiquette World to see if there is an appropriate, socially-acceptable, and offensive-to-none moniker or nick name we can all title this offspring, besides just, "Hey YOU!" (smiles) Using their first name only has been suggested but when we don't recognize that name, giving their relationship to the Ex / Mom is helpful so we know who she is talking about. Can you suggest one or more titles or names we can use to keep these entities straight in our understanding of "Who the HELL is Grand Baby Phil...?" (smiles) And you can have fun in your suggestion of names as well although at the favor of at least one serious / acceptable-to-all title is requested.

I am August Abbott, formally trained x12 yrs private school:international protocols, etiquette. Please allow a few mins. to compose your response.

Hopefully you're as open minded as you are eloquent and with a wry sense of humor. The answer is simple (Ockham's Razor; when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras) - the 'titles' of these grandchildren are the same as the title of 'son' or 'daughter' given to offspring, no matter if they sprung from paramours or husband and wife. When two people produce a child, it's just that: Son, daughter. And grandchildren, no matter from wed or non-wed, are still grandchildren: grandson, granddaughter.

And these days with so many 'blended' families, the simplicity of entitling everyone as what they are by biology/nature is usually adopted by the non-blood related persons presently in their lives.

Want to make it more interesting? I know of more than a few completely unrelated by blood, relationships or marriage individuals who are close friends of the family, being called 'my other mother/father/grandparent' or my 'bio mom/dad/grandparent' and my 'chosen' or 'honorary' mom/dad/etc..

Think of the kids you see fussing in stores, restaurants - even though you don't know them, they are still grandson, granddaughter to someone. It's a title by birth, not by marriage.

Did I explain this right? Just trying to nudge your mind and thinking a little more this way or that way and open the door to a new view

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
From what you've written, I'm liking "Honorary Granddaughter" and "Honorary Grandson" best -- but it's still a mouthful. I should share a little history, however, in that the male Paramour who became head-of-household in my place owned the home where my children grew up but he never called my children his "son" or "daughter". I was open to whatever name he would choose as long as he was good to my children -- but he was not, at least to one (the smart one going for her PhD in AstroPhysics now, his never gone to college) for most of the time and to a lesser but significant degree to the other two. He never commit to a parental role in their lives, leaning in favor of his own children from his previous marriage but over which he did not have custody. He had just his "toe in the water" with my children, stepping in and out of a pseudo-parental role only from time to time He also adopted a quite aggressive approach to me from the very beginning as if I were just naturally going to be his enemy when to the contrary, I wanted a collaborative and at least civil relationship so we could all be on the same page when it came to principles, values, family rules, and other parenting areas. But he was always profane, insulting, verbally abusive to me as well as my children, and criticized me without even knowing me -- but my ace in the hole when it came to comparing us was -- WELL AT LEAST I MARRIED HER! -- versus sullying her name and her honor by never committing to her in real marriage. So it does especially stick in my craw when my Ex-wife calls his progeny "her grandchildren" and I am firm in my request she call them something else, at least within my earshot. My children also have some negative memories of his treatment so they too may object to their mother pretending like his grandkids are hers when they are not and know they, as her real children, will be the ones to give her real grandchildren one day. I just thought of "ParaChild", playing on the Paramour title. But that would be 1st generation and they're grown so My Ex just uses their first name with no title. We are dealing with second generation and babies / young ones now so a title is useful so as to not confuse with adults. These are not Hispanics by origin but in Spanish, the name for grandson/granddaugher is "nieto/nieta" so "ParaNieto / ParaNieta" or even "Nieto/Nieto" with difference in language reserving "grandson/granddaughter" for the real deal. Those are short enough, although the connotation of Hispanic is off mark. My Ex is the most obstreperous person you would ever meet -- lives to quibble, bicker and fight whether she is winning or losing (red head) -- and we butted heads for MONTHS with the naming of each of our 3 children. If I can't find an acceptable substitute title, I can hear her now for years going forward saying, "My Granddaughter Sally" and I'll correct -- "Your Grand-NOT-er Sally" -- yada yada yada like two scorpions locked in a bottle going after each other forever. Yuppers! That was my marriage! Glad I escaped to live another day..Can you think of any other title? The 'honorary' prefix works OK except there is not much honor, living 15 years in sin (AHEM!!!).

I enjoy working with you - it's nice to meet someone with eloquence and intelligence, along with qualities so very lost these days in the way of a gentleman. I also completely understand how you feel given the treatment you received over the years from someone clearly not on the same level and who diminished these relationships with ignorance and bias. It would have been so much more loving to at least be working together with both bio parents to co parent children growing up. How sad he dropped the ball and paved the road to this even being an issue.

So like it or not, here is my impartial observation and advice: Each individual has an unalienable right to exercise their free will. With that, your wife can call these children Prince and Princesses if she so chooses. You can call them Offspring One and Two, etc. if you will.

That being said, from what I glean of you from your writing, you're a bigger person than any of them and it occurs to me that you've lost sight of who you are by being muddled in who THEY are.

I would expect that you remain kind and generous and, well, 'classy'. Refer to these children as you would if they were anyone else's (besides this painfully low brow man's) - and we both know you'd say grandson, granddaughter, etc..

Otherwise, 'honorary' works and conveys dignity while noting they are not blood, but a choice.

Be who YOU are even when it's not easy. Be true to yourself no matter what others are doing or not doing. These are very easy words to say; very difficult to live.

Rev Dr August Abbott and other Etiquette Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Channeling Seuss's "Thing One" and "Thing Two" you are! LMAO! I love it! I want you on my Team! (I write sketch comedy for skit competitions / SNL type productions.) You hit on Dr. Seuss, one of my top 3 favorite comedic writers, so BINGO! I will propose the "honorary" prefix which the Ex would likely gobble up as it connotes distinction which she has always craved. We went back and forth for MONTHS on what to call our middle child after we'd chosen a name from my family, "Elizabeth", which she agreed to and we put it on the birth certificate. She'd been angling to do that country thing where every kid has the same middle name, i.e. "There's Jim Bob, Joe Bob, Betty Bob, and then Bob Bob" except she wanted to repeat Renee with every daughter like her cousins in Backwater, OK -- but I put a foot down. Her maiden name began with "B" so with Elizabeth, she invoked "Betsy" -- and we went back and forth forever -- "Elizabeth" "No BETSY!" "Her legal name is ELIZABETH" "NO BETSY!" Yadda Yadda. I think she loved that quibbling action -- better than Rock'em Sock'em Robots, you bet! So if she refuses to pick up "honorary" and tries shoving down just "granddaughter", I will retort with "Grand-NOT-er!" until she relents and brings back "honorary". It's a game plan! Thanks, ***** ***** -- you are one of my FAVORITES here as you always give the best answers. I read your responses to my 87 year old mother who is HUGE on Etiqquette as was her mother from the Old South, and my inspiration as I attempt to hold up the old traditions before they completely disappear. And I do often stand when a woman, especially senior, enters the room. Thanks again. You're an ACE!
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Oh I meant to write -- My mother loves you too! You hit the mark every time.

Well thank you for such enthusiastically kind words - and I know you'll execute this with class and style. Now that I know you have an appropriate guide in your family matriarch, all you have to do is listen (not just hear).

It really has been a pleasure working with you and I hope to see you again. Just ask for me ("for August") in the subject line - and be patient, I'll eventually see it and make you a priority.

Have a good week!