New Name for Grandparents

It seems that middle aged people are having just about as much trouble naming themselves as they did naming their own new babies when they were born.

For years, when your daughter or son had a new baby, you were automatically Grandma or Grandpa . Not any more! The baby boomers have trouble taking on these ancient sounding titles.

Tom Copeland
Tom Copeland
I think she's got me beat!
I think she's got me beat!
6 generations susancartierliebel
6 generations susancartierliebel

Some new grandparents want to be called by their real names. My grandchildren call me Grandma Ruth which I find quite endearing, and I still like the Grandma part.

I did think about it for a while before I officially became the third generation. I even called myself Granny, trying to get used to the term. Now that I have twelve little dear ones, I do not mind whatever they call me as long as they are respectful.

I get a chuckle at one cute little grandson who calls me Grandpa Ruth as he has a hard time saying Grandma.

Why do you think it is such a trend nowadays to find a different name than Grandma or Grandpa?

When I think of my own grandparents, I remember my mother's mother always having her hands busy with knitting. She made hundreds of beautifully knit blankets, sweaters, booties, bonnets and so many more. When she was not knitting, she was cooking, sewing or cleaning. She made the most delicious potato rolls, and although they never had much, she would stop whatever she was doing to feed you.

My other grandmother (my father's mother) baked yummy breads, made jams and jellies and could cook up the most delicious mutton (they raised sheep). She had chickens, and would let me go out to the coop to get the newly laid eggs. She let me enjoy myself in her pea patch and the rest of her wonderful garden. Grandma Anderson spent much of her time tatting (almost a lost art).

Both of my grandmothers spent hours sitting on their tush creating beautiful masterpieces with their hands. No gym, aerobics, just their hard labor cleaning and gardening. They both lived to be in their nineties.

Although these are not the typical middle aged people nowadays, I think the feelings between grandparents and grandchildren are pretty similar.

Could it be that we are more concerned with the way we look now, and we are hopeful we look more like their mother than their grandmother? Are we fooling ourselves. As for myself, I sometimes look in the mirror and see my mother looking back!

In the United States and Canada, Grandma and Grandpa are more common. whereas in Britain, New England, Ireland and Australia they use Nan, Nana, Nanna, Ninny or Nanny. I've also heard of Tutu, Mamaw, Grammy, Lala, Ma or Mum. Grandfathers are also called Grampy, Granddaddy, Grandpappy, Gigi , Pop, Papa, Oggy, and many more.

Of course, each language has their own names for grandparents. In Hawaii, where I live, the grandfather is either Tutu kane or Kupuna Kane, and grandmother is Tutu wahine or Kupuna wahine.

Often the first name that the baby calls their grandparents, while learning to speak, ends up being what they are known as from then on. The first grandchild usually is the one who sets the trend for the rest of the grandchildren.

Some really cute names for grandparents are Poppers, Poppie, Pepop, Pops, Popsie, Sasa, Sugar, Sweetie or Sweetums, and Grandpie.

Of course, when the children get older and want to introduce their grandparents to their friends, they usually fall back to the usual names of Grandma and Grandpa . So, these nicknames that are adopted are special terms of endearment. A special name between the children and their very special grandparents. More often step grandparents are called by their first names, unless they have grown up with the children close by.

It is not uncommon to have four generations still alive in a family, and in some families five generations are not unusual either, depending mostly on how young the parents are when they have children. Six is a rare thing, but not impossible.

I don't believe you have to be old and creeky to be called Grandpa or Grandma. I just feel lucky to still be alive and have the blessing to get to know and watch my grandchildren as they grow. I enjoy watching how my own children handle difficult situations as the children are now getting closer to their tweens.

Like someone said, a rose by any other name, is still a rose . I love being Grandma.

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Comments 34 comments

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Cute Carol. I like Glam-ma. Pretty glamorous name, but nice to know you stuck with Grandma. Thanks for commenting.

Carol Covin  5 years ago

A friend named me "Glam-ma" but my children thought Grandma was more respectful. Grandma it is!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Glad you enjoyed it cbris52. I appreciate your comments.

cbris52 profile image

cbris52 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Aloha Beege215e - thanks for adding your experience to my hub. I appreciate your comments. Hope you are enjoying all of your grandchildren.

Beege215e profile image

Beege215e 5 years ago

Even though I am not that old, I have eleven grandchildren and five gread grandchildren. I am "nana" to all of them, and they even introduce me as nana to their friend who then call me nana as well. And you are right, it doesn't matter what they call us as long as they do it respectfully. Good hub.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks Uncle. That is a great name no matter from whom! Thanks for your comments.

Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

Nice article and opinions. Everyone calls me Uncle! It doesn't matter if we are related! RJ

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Sounds like a great name, Elisa. Congratulations and enjoy your new grandbabies.

Elisa Rodgers profile image

Elisa Rodgers 5 years ago

I just became a grandmother twice in the course of six days! Two new little girls in the family; I'm thrilled about them but, at 43, feel far too young to be referred to grammy, grandma, granny, and definitely not meemaw, or mawmaw. So we decided Yaya (Greek for grandmother, I'm told) was a fun choice.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

That's so precious blondiepooh. I am sure those names mean a lot to you, too. Could not change them when they came up with them. Fun names.

blondiepooh profile image

blondiepooh 5 years ago from The Oregon Desert--yes, desert!

Loved the grandparent story there. I attempted "Grandma" with my first grandson but he insisted on BEEMA. I have no idea where it came from but that's what he was comfortable with. Works for me, it's precious and his idea. He and little brother now call the other grandma...Ta Ta, lol!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

People are funny, aren't they! Thanks giwrgos12.

giwrgos12 profile image

giwrgos12 5 years ago from San Diego


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks for sharing ddalgleish. Never heard of Baba. That was a new one for me.

ddalgleish profile image

ddalgleish 5 years ago from Canada

Nana is the tradition in my family, and my grandson's other grandma is Ukrainian, so she's Baba.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Congratulations lorlie6 - my one grandson calls me grandpa, but that doesn't seem quite right hehe.

He is learning to say grandma Ruth like the others. Fun being grandparents!!

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Hi Elayne, or should I say Mawmaw? ;) This is so very cute-my first grandbaby was born on the first of September and I'm eagerly awaiting the name he chooses for me!

It is up to him!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

That it great - glad you have received your wish of grandchildren. MeeMaw is a fun name.

reddog1027 6 years ago

Loved the hub. In my forties, I didn't care for the sound of grandma, Grannie or nana. Then I found myself in the same circumstances as Judicaststro. Rolling into my late fifties with no grand kids in sight. Thank goodness my oldest daughter married at 33 and now I am blessed with two grand kids. To Xavier, I am

MeeMaw and I expect it will be the same with Ashley. The only word that has ever come close is Mommy.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

That is exciting Judi - I still have very fond feelings for my very first grandchild - he is 12 now. Crazy how time flies. I love being with all of my grandchildren and I am sure you will enjoy it too. Congrats.

Judicastro profile image

Judicastro 6 years ago from birmingham, Alabama

Glad you wrote the hub elayne. I am 62 have 4 children, the oldest daughter is going to be 35. Honestly I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to have grandchildren. Finally !!!!!!! My oldest (who by the way she and her husband were stationed in Hawaii for 4 years, now in San Diego) is expecting feb 6 whoo hoo!! Her dad and I divorced when she was itty bitty and dad remarried. The problem hasn't been what the baby should call me but what to call the step. Unfortunately I live all the way cross country. You know I'll be burning up some air miles (-;

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks for your addition to the hub JKeiser. Each family is different in their name preferences. Pap-Pap and Memaw are fun. Aloha.

JKeiser profile image

JKeiser 6 years ago from Halstead, KS

Great hub! There was no problem when I was a child as I only had my maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather, so everyone knew whom I meant by Grandma and Grandpa. My husband's family it is Grandma and Pap-Pap. And, I don't think my sisters are called Grandma. One is Memaw and her husband is Pepaw. So cute!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Glad you enjoyed it LianaK. So true - he deserved it. Thanks for stopping by.

LianaK profile image

LianaK 6 years ago

Hahahaha! Loved both videos, but especially the second one. That jerk in the car totally deserved that! It was karma, lol. Thanks for a wonderfully inspiring hub. Looking forward to when I am a grandma.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

You are so right Hello, hello - some day when I am gone, they will miss me (I hope!)

That is one very important thing dallas93444 - grandkids think they have full power over the kitchen when they come - just have it staked full in other words. Love 'em tho!!

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Just don't call me "late for dinner..."

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I think the value of true grandparents are underminded. They can give so much especially when you small.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Interesting how names have really changed over the years. Stuff you would never think of when I was young are now common names, like River, Stream, Pumpkin, etc. Thanks for commenting Loriamoore.

@raisingme - you must be so excited - I remember when my first one was coming - that was 12 years ago - I love him more than ever now plus eleven other grandchildren. How fast they grow.

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

My first grandchild is due in 10 weeks and I must admit I have been reluctant to answer "What do you want to be called." After reading your hub I stopped and rolled the word Grandma around in my mouth - I'm feel a whole lot better about it now. Thank You. Great Hub!

loriamoore 6 years ago

Back in my day, we called our grandparents the same thing, only adding their last name. For example, there was Grandma and Grandpa Smith and Grandma and Grandpa Jones. Now, as you mentioned, there are a couple of dozen things people are called.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

It is fun to hear what other people call their grandparents. Thanks for sharing JillKostow.

JillKostow profile image

JillKostow 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

When I was little I was blessed with having my two sets of grandparents and one set of great-grandparents. We called my dad's parents Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, my great-grandparents, who were my Mom-Mom's parents lived up the street from them, so their names were Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop up the street. Then my mom's parents were Nana and Pop-Pop. As for my kids, they call my parents Nana and Pappy, my Nana is now Nana Keithan to them. Mom-Mom is still infact just that. My stepson and my kids call my fiance's mom Nanny or Nanny Betty.

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