Grandparent Titles

I always just assumed that my parents and Mr. MPB’s parents would use the names that we used for our grandparents as kids.  For example, my grandparents were grandpa and grandma.  So, I assumed when my parents became grandparents, they’d just use grandpa and grandma.

Well, it turns out I was completely wrong!

My grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa, so I just assumed that’s what my parents would use.  But, I was wrong.   My Dad decided that his first grand-kids had to many grandpas and he wanted something different.  So, he became Papa.  I actually don’t hate the name Papa, but I still find it weird.  My step-mom was assigned a name by her daughter, which is catchy and fun and works great.  (Maybe I don’t care that she’s not Grandma because I always thought that would be my mom?  I dunno, but it is a possibility).

As for Mr. MPB’s parents.  Well, like most things, this is a bit more complicated.  His dad is Grandpa.  And everyone expected that to be his name and is therefore fine with it.  But, his mom.  She refused to use the name that her mom was called, because it was too hard for her after her mother died.  Mr. MPB sees that name as a name of honour and he wishes his mom would use it.  And so she chose a horrible name that all the adult kids hated.  In fact, her two sons vetoed it and told her to come up with something else.  So, she came up with something else…and it’s even worse.  Her one son accepted it and his kids call her by that name.  But, Mr. MPB, has adamantly refused to use the name she chose.

So, we have been in a passive aggressive battle for over 2 years now.  She calls herself by the horrible name.  We call her Grandma, a name we decided we liked, although not the name Mr. MPB wanted for her.  Mr. MPB and his mom had one conversation about her choice of name, and Mr. MPB just told her eventually Little MPB will make his own choice on what to call her.  But until then, we will be calling her Grandma.

Now, in my mind reason says that as Little MPB grows up, he’s likely to use the name we use for her, simply because he hears us talk about her and only sees her in person once a year.  So, he’s just not going to know her that well and will be used to the name we’ve given her.  But, who knows, he may eventually choose to use the other name.  And really, for how little we see them, what does it really matter?

Anyways, all this brings to me to my question for today – who gets to choose the titles that Grandparents go by?  Is it the grandparents themselves?  The parents?  Or the kid?  And what do you do if the adults don’t agree?

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26 Comments on “Grandparent Titles

  1. the grandparents in our situation discussed their names with us, but I came up with my moms YEARS before we had kids. My parents are considered young grandparents (mid 40s) so they didn’t want conventional titles, especially since both sets of my grandparents are still living. So, my parents are Yaya and Big Daddy. My inlaws wanted more “grandparent-ish” names since they’re in their mid 50s and prefer somewhat more traditional names. They are Gigi and Pappy – again, since my husbands grandparents are still living we didn’t want 3 sets of mamaws and papaws.

    Now I want to know what your MIL’s chosen name is!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh, we can never keep the names they came up with straight. I always assumed thay’d use grandma and grandpa too. Maybe it’s something about that generation? On my wife’s side, we have Nonni (I don’t even know how to spell it) and Papa. On my side we have Grammy and Poppy. It’s a little ridiculous, in my mind, but we’re just using what they chose.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just use what they came up with, I figure it’s their name, their choice. It would be like other people deciding your kid isn’t allowed to call you mommy (or whatever), they have to call you something else.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We let my parents and in-laws pick what they wanted to be called. I assumed my mom would want to be “Nana” like her mom is to me, but she went with “Granny” which is what I called my dad’s mom. I was really surprised by that. And my dad wanted to honour his father and be “Grandad” which he loves. When H says their names they could out as “Ganny and Gandad” which I”m sure will morph into the right pronunciation as his language skills improve but it would be super cute if they stayed pronounced that way. My husband’s parents went for the traditional Grandma and Grandpa. They didn’t seem as enthusiastic about selecting their names. Aunts and Uncles on the other hand? Hunter calls my sister straight “Aunty”. Having the name “Aunty” with no personal name following the word is like an honour in my family and she was able to claim that title. But Hunter chose what he was going to call my brother’s wife himself as well as my sister’s long term boyfriend and we have all rolled with it and they love that they have these special names created only by him.

    I’m super curious about what name your mother in law picked that is so awful!!


  5. My mom insisted she would be Nana and my former mother in law wanted to be Grammy. One day, when my son was 2 and upset that we were visiting one set of grandparents and not the other, I asked him “did you think we were seeing Grandma who drives a van instead of Grandma who has ducks?” and thus the nicknames of “Grandma / Papa with the Van” and “Grandma / Papa with the Ducks” were created. He’s 9 almost 10 and it was within the last couple years that he started referring to them as Grandma and Grandpa without the description, though he still does use that to clarify who he means. No one was upset about it and both embraced it, thinking it was cute.


  6. My parents chose what they wanted to be called by their grandkids. It helps that we like the names (Mimi and Pappy), but I figure even if I didn’t like the names I’d just stick with it since they’re the ones who have to be addressed that way. I’m super curious about what awful name your MIL chose!

    My sister’s MIL chose to be called “mommy becky” – for real. She didn’t want to be grandma, so she insists the kids just call her mommy becky. It’s weird and my sister doesn’t like it, but she stuck with it anyway.


  7. I called both sets of my grandparents “grandma/grandpa” so I’m not personally a fan of other names. My mom wanted to use Grandma, followed by her first name, which works. My MIL tried to come up with some random names for both her and my FIL. She wanted to be called “Nama” but I refuse to call them anything other than Grandma and Grandpa. I felt ridiculous saying “Nama” but still let her refer to herself that way. I figured my son can choose to call her whatever he wants. I use their last name after the grandma/grandpa title.


  8. My sister’s kids call my mom Mema. My BIL’s mom won the name Grandma, and they wanted something different for my mom to differentiate when they were talking about them. I don’t know exactly who chose Mema, but that’s what they call her.
    I, on the other hand, call my mom Grandma with C. It could get a bit confusing when all the kids are together, but that doesn’t happen very often.
    Your situation is kinda hard. I would say just stick with what you’re doing, and when little is big enough to call her something, he’ll probably call her whatever he wants to!


  9. Before my son was born my mother-in-law drove me crazy trying to come up with her grandparent name. Like, she went nuts, she would email about it every few days, and she came up with the most obscure or absurd things (like replacing the first letter of her name with a g-, etc.). I told her repeatedly that I did not care even the slightest and that whatever she chose, our kids would probably just change it anyway. In the end, she settled on grandma. I don’t know why this is something our parents get so worked up over! I think it’s like a weird status thing that they like to discuss with their other grandparent friends.


  10. My husband’s parents are grandma and grandpa, they already have 2 grandkids who are almost 10 years older than our children. I asked my parents what they wanted to be called so we have a grandma and pépé – but I like these names do i don’t know what I would’ve done if I hated them.


  11. Such an interesting question!

    At first, I was thinking “a person gets to decide what they are called.” But after reading your post and the discussion, I can’t say that’s an absolute. I mean, it DOES affect Mr MPB and his brothers.

    I guess ideally it would be a collaborative naming. But maybe that’s not where things are. And there’s the rub.

    What are you going to do, since the grownups don’t agree?


  12. My paternal great-grandparents were Meemaw and PeePaw. But thank goodness when my dad and his siblings had kids we called their parents (my grandparents) Gramma and Pawpaw. My dad’s one sister calls there mom Mawmaw to her kid. Being with my cousin talking about our grandmother is weird because I think of Gramma and she’s saying Meemaw.
    My mom is gramma, her husband was poppy. My dad was pawpaw and his wife goes by her first name. It’s all so weird, this naming business!


  13. Our parents and in-laws get to decide – we don’t. Just like WE get to decide if we want to be called Mommy, or mama, or mum, etc. It’s not for us to tell our parents, “no, my kids aren’t calling you that.”

    I do not like what my mom chose (Grammy) but we call her that because she chose it. Funny thing – she regrets it and says it never felt natural. My dad is called “Pooh.” We all LOVE it. He chose it because of Winnie the Pooh and because it’s EASY for kids to say. Good thing because ALL of the first kids for each of us girls had speech issues. None of our sons could say much, but they each could say Pooh early and often. 😂

    My in-laws “think it’s ridiculous” that my parents don’t go by Grandma and Grandpa… which makes me laugh because my kids refer to THEM as Grammy and Pooh, which I know kills my MIL. Maybe they should have chosen catchy names for themselves.

    My mom’s parents were Grandma and Grandpa, my dad’s parents were “MoMo and PaPa.” Only when I got older did I switch to calling them all Grandma and Grandpa. My dad’s parents never minded the switch because I was the closest to them and I could call them anything I wanted.

    Interesting situation. I think that you should go with what THEY want to be called.


  14. My dad has always referred to himself with our daughter as grandpa and we have always called him grandpa as well but my daughter didn’t have it and has always called him Papa. My mom is Grama and her boyfriend of 10ish years wanted to be called Uncle Rick but my daughter calls him Uncle Ricky. My husband is pretty much estranged from both parents, he talks to his dad but he’s not involved in our daughters life, we call him Grampa( as well )when referring to him, if he’s on the phone with my husband etc. My husband is completely estranged from his Mother but his older daughters mother is still in contact with her ( oddly ) and his older daughter calls her Nana.


  15. We (as the parents) chose in consultation with the grandparents. It was easy for mine, they are Mama and Poppy (same as my maternal grandparents) and my inlaws decided on Grandma and Grandpa, simple. If Otto chooses to change it to just Gran and Pa or whatever, then we will roll with it.


  16. I a bit relieved to know we aren’t the only ones with this issue. My in laws are called something that would be difficult for our kids to say and something I am not a fan of so we’ve resorted to calling them “Grandma and grandpa- their last name.” My parents have also referenced them by what we call them and my MIL has corrected my mom but not when my husband calls him that. Odddddd. Ultimately I guess I’ll let Luke and Olivia decide. They also don’t see or speak to them much so it’s not been a big ordeal thankfully.


  17. I called both of my Nannies “Nanny.” But later called my maternal grandmother “Nana” when we lived with her. My partner called his, Nan or Grandad followed by their first name (which I found real strange).
    When we had our daughter, my mom named herself “Nanny” and my dad is “Grandad.” My sister and I joked saying to call my Mom “Grandma” but she associates that as being “old.” My partner’s family done the same but they added their first names. So, Mini Me knows who we are talking about depending on whether we say a name or not. (I still find it weird but that’s just how it went.)
    I have a friend who called one “Nan” and the other “Granny” which I found amazing because it stopped all the confusion. But thinking about it now… what would I want to be called as a Grandparent? My partner was once told to call his Nan, Auntie because she felt too young to have a grandson. Funny what connotations there is just for being a grandparent and therefore, deciding on names.


  18. Haha this is funny for me as M argued with his mum at some of her suggestions. I just stayed out of it as I believe it is the decision of the grandparent themselves. None of my parents or step-parents use the same name as their parents did though. We have a Granny and Grampy (who was Grumpy at first but my MIL decided to rebrand him lol), an Oomah (we aren’t Dutch or German, my mum just likes to be different ha!) and Poppy and then a Pop + last name combo. My friend’s mum calls herself Glam. my aunt uses Mimi. Let them enjoy it I say!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Interesting topic. In my experience the first grandkids somehow have chosen the names. So I got the very short end of the stick on both sides. I used to haaate what my niece and nephew calls my parents because it’s old school (Ouma and Oupa) but now I love it since it’s different. On N’s side, his niece calls his mom Grammy but she doesn’t like it and she wants to choose something different with Lucky but we’ve been calling her Grammy, we’ll see if it sticks. My guess is we’ll go with whatever Lucky decides.


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