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Parental Title Characterization

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"He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn't your daddy."

In fiction, how you refer to your parents is a sign of your relationship with them. "Mom"/"Mum" and "Dad" (or the languages counterparts) are the most neutral and "normal" terms that most characters use. Other titles have more meaning behind them.

In some cases, switching from "Mommy"/"Mummy" and "Daddy" to "Mom"/"Mum" and "Dad" is just a matter of a younger user wanting to be seen as a "big kid." A Spoiled Brat or Daddy's Girl will often refer to her father as "Daddy" even as most of her peers outgrow the title, especially if she's rich. In contrast, a full-grown man calling his mother "Mommy" or "Mummy" is seen as goofy or weird, signifying he is either a Momma's Boy, a Manchild, or that his mother is the My Beloved Smother type.

"Ma" and "Pa" carry similar levels of informality as the above examples, but in a more rural sense fitting for a Farm Boy (or girl).

"Mother" and "Father" used to be perfectly neutral terms but have become formal and old-fashioned over time. It can signify that the characters are uptight and formal, they're royalty, or that their parents are distant. Using "Sir", "Ma'am", and other extremely formal titles has even more weight to it than referring to them as just "Mother" and "Father". It's almost always to signify that the character's parents as abusive, aloof and unaffectionate, or are militaristic. Some children may be expected to address parents by their professional titles, in lieu of using parental titles if they're also their children's students or subordinates, out of respect and keeping personal and professional lives separate.

Works of Xenofiction often have animals refer to their parents as "mother" and "father" (assuming he's present) in order to emphasis their otherness.

There's some Values Dissonance to this trope. For example, using "Mama" and "Papa" as an adult can be seen as childish in one area or during one time period but perfectly normal and affectionate in another.

The Super-Trope to Calling Parents by Their Name, which is used when characters call their parents by their given name and usually signifies either lax parents or bad familial relationships. Compare New Parent Nomenclature Problem, which is like this trope but applied to a "new" parent (adoptive, stepparent, etc.) See also Japanese Sibling Terminology and Japanese Pronouns, which are just as personal for the user. Related to You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious and You're Not My Father. Also see Significant Name Shift.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Are You Lost?:
    • Homare calls her father "Papa," which Shion finds cute.
    • Shion uses the very respectful "Otou-sama" and "Okaa-sama" ("Father" and "Mother") on her parents, reflecting her privileged upbringing.
  • Citrus:
    • Mei calls her father, who was a teacher at her family's school for much of her childhood, "Sensei" rather than "Father," as a show of respect for his work. Unfortunately, after Shou leaves, Mei is greatly shaken, although she does eventually come to terms with his decision and calls him "Father" as she sees him off on his latest trip.
    • Yuzu, who's by far the more laid-back of the two stepsisters, calls her mother "Mama," and calls her late father and stepfather "Papa." By comparison, Mei calls her stepmother "Mother."
  • In Comic Girls, Tsubasa, a tomboyish girl who comes from a very wealthy family, addresses her parents by the very formal "Otou-sama" and "Okaa-sama" (translated as "Father" and "Mother") while at home. It's played with, though, in that this is less proof of the kind of person Tsubasa is and more of the kind of person her parents expect her to be.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, thirteen-year-old Mimi is known to lead a comfortable life. When being picked up from a party in one episode, she calls her father "Papa" in the original version and "Daddy" in the dub. It may have had more to do with Gratuitous English in one case, and matching lip flap in the other. In Digimon Adventure, she was ten, but called her father "Dad."
    • In his Lotus-Eater Machine experience in the second-to-last episode, eight-year-old Cody thinks he's with his father, who had died by the time he was four or five. He's a very intelligent and serious young man; that the subtitles for the original version of this scene have Cody addressing his father as "Daddy" speaks to the emotional impact his father's loss has on him. The dub team made him a year older, so it makes sense that they had him call his father "Dad".
  • Cana in Fairy Tail tends to call Gildarts by his given name. This is a mixture of her spending years before working up the courage to tell him he was her father, and him quickly becoming an Amazingly Embarrassing Parent once he finds out, much to her chagrin. That said, during the final arc, she does call him "Dad" when he's going up against August and putting his life on the line to protect her.
  • Food Wars!: The relationship between Soma and Erina and their respective fathers, Joichiro and Azami, is clearly shown by the way each one addresses them. Soma, who is very laidback and casual, calls Joichiro "Oyaji", and the two have a very close relationship with each other, with Soma looking up to Joichiro and wishing to surpass him one day as a chef. Erina, on the other hand, calls Azami "Otou-sama", which is both due to her being raised as an Ojou, as well as a mixture of respect and fear due to Azami being an Abusive Dad to her (albeit in a Knight Templar Parent way).
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Most of the Homunculi call the Big Bad "Father," but Greed, the rebellious offspring, is far more casual and flippant with Father, calling him "Dad" or other such terms.
    • Ed usually calls Hohenheim by name due to their strained relationship (something Ed's traveling companions once call him out on), while Al, who's less judgmental of his father, still calls him "Dad." At the end of the series, after Hohenheim offers to sacrifice himself to bring Al back from the other side of the Gate, Ed angrily refuses the offer, saying "You're useless, Dad!", something that Hohenheim's happy to hear.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Josuke Higashikata insists on referring to Joseph Joestar, who fathered him in an extramarital affair with Josuke's mother and only recently found out about Josuke being his son, "Joestar-san"/"Mr. Joestar," which is appropriately respectful but expresses that Josuke doesn't consider Joseph his father.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Chrono, a TSAB Enforcer who's highly professional and serious to a fault, almost always refers to his mother Lindy, who commands the ship he serves on, as "the captain." There are only two exceptions- he calls her "Mom" once when highly flustered in the original series (before correcting himself), and once refers to her as "my mother" in passing during the second season.
    • Subaru and Ginga generally call their father, Major Genya Nakajima, "Otou-san"("Dad") but Ginga switches to "commander" while on duty since she serves in her father's battalion. Their adopted siblings have varying modes of address- the very formal Cinque calls Genya "Chichi-ue" ("Father"), Genki Girl Wendi uses "Papa-rin," and Dieci and Nove also use "Otou-san."
    • In some fan translations, Fate calls Precia "Mother," but calls her adoptive mother, Lindy, "Mom," signifying she has a closer relationship with the latternote . Of course, while her relationship with Lindy is better, it isn't easily established, as it takes her the entirety of the second season to call Lindy "Mom" rather than "Admiral Lindy" (or "Lindy-san" around people who don't know about the TSAB).
    • Fate's children Erio and Caro address her as "Fate-san"(unlike Vivio, who calls her "Fate-mama"). While it's clear that they love and respect her, their choice of address means it's unclear how much they think of her as their mother.
  • Major: Goro has this it in a subtle way. He calls his late biological father Shigeharu Honda "Otosan" which is mildly formal, while he calls Hideki Shigeno "Oyaji", which straddles the line between being affectionate and disrespectful (depending on Goro's mood), which suggests he may have slightly more respect for Shigeharu. That said, Goro does have a close relationship with Hideki (even taking his surname later on), so it may have to do with his own personality more than preferences over one father.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Katsuki Bakugo is a hotheaded and rude individual who doesn't even bother to learn most of his classmates' names, instead using insulting nicknames on them. He's similarly rude to his mother, calling her names like "hag", much to her displeasure.
    • By contrast, Momo Yaoyorozu, a polite girl from a wealthy family and Tenya Iida, a serious and upstanding young man, respectfully call their parents "Mother" and "Father." Tenya's older brother Tensei also does the same.
    • Shoto Todoroki uses various disparaging terms while referring to his father, due to their extremely strained relationship. He also sometimes refers to him by his hero name, Endeavor, less out of disrespect and more as a way of acknowledging that while Endeavor is a terrible father, he's a great hero, thereby being entirely different people in public and in private. He does call Endeavor "Father" when Endeavor suffers a Heroic BSoD after realizing that the villain Dabi is his supposedly dead son Toya, perhaps showing that he does care about him.
  • Naruto:
    • Boruto usually calls his father Naruto "oyaji" (old man) to emphasis his feelings of neglect by his father. When he's happy with his dad, he calls him the very affectionate "tou-chan" ("Dad" in the English dub).
    • Sarada does not know her father Sasuke well due to him being on a mission since she was a toddler, however, she refers to him with the affectionate "Papa" (changed to "Dad" in the English dub). She also refers to her mother by "Mama" ("Mom" in the English dub).
    • In Itachi's Story, Itachi usually calls Fugaku "Father" after graduating the academy at a very young age, which Itachi sees as "a distinction he drew for himself as a full-fledged ninja." When the time comes for the massacre, Itachi switches back to using "Dad," (even though he can't remember the last time he called Fugaku that), because now that he knows that he's going to be parted from his parents forever, Itachi longs for the good old days when they were a family.
  • In New Game!, Ko Yagami starts to call her mother "Mama" ("Mommy" in the dub), but then switches to "my mother," when talking to Aoba, apparently not wanting to seem childish, since Ko is 25 at the start of the series. Ko's best friend, Rin, teases her about it when she overhears Ko on the phone with her mother.
  • In One Piece, Vivi usually calls her father, Cobra, "Papa," but at the end of the arc, tells him "Sit down, Papa... I mean, Father." Cobra briefly remarks at how much Vivi's grown up.
  • Karamatsu of Osomatsu-san—a twenty-something NEET still living with his parents—sometimes calls his parents the supremely childish "Mommy" and "Daddy", especially when he's trying to get something from them. Humorously, this applies in both the English dub and the original Japanese.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • James calls his grandparents "Nana" and "Pop-Pop", implying both that he's a bit preppy and that he's close to them.
    • Lillie usually calls Lusamine "Mother", with one exception in the English dub — she briefly calls out for "MOMMY!" when Lusamine is kidnapped by Nihilego.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma's love-hate relationship with his Jerkass father is cemented by always referring to him as "oyaji", rather than "otou-san" (in English, this becomes "Pop"). He has a greater deal of respect for his mother, but his casual manner of speaking is set in stone, so it earns her an "ofukuro" from her son (literally "bag", but it stays "Mom" in other translations).
  • On SPY×FAMILY, Anya always calls Loid "chichi"note  since she's a very young girl, even though Loid tells her to call him "father," since his mission (which is the reason he adopted Anya) requires him to have Anya attend a school attended by many children of wealthy Ostanian families. It's worth pointing out that "chichi" is often used when talking about one's father, rather than talking to one's father. Similarly, she calls Yor "haha"note , which is the female equivalent to "chichi", and at one point when asked about her biological mother, she calls her "Mama" while crying.
  • In the English dub of the second season of Sword Art Online, Asuna alternates between using "Mother" and "Mom" on Kyouko, using the former in more tense moments, and the latter when they're getting along better. She also meekly obeys a request to come to dinner with a "Yes, ma'am."
  • In A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, Koyuki Honami, the daughter of a teacher at her school, refers to her father as "Honami-sensei" while at school, one of many things she does to keep up her reputation as a model student.
  • Yuru Oyako:
    • Yuuki calls her mother Sayaka, by name, because she has an incestuous crush on Sayaka.
    • Sayaka most often calls her mother, the president of the company where they both work, "President," since Sumika is her boss as well as her mother. Sumika insists that Sayaka call her "Mom"note  off the clock.

    Comic Books 
  • The rich Daddy's Girl Veronica from Archie Comics refers to her father as "Daddy" even as an adult.
  • Batman:
    • Tim Drake usually addresses his father as "dad" or "sir", but when talking about him to others or in his inner monologue it's more often "father" or "Jack". His mom is "mom" or "mommy" regardless.
    • Damian Wayne calls his dad “father”. It’s representative of being raised in a formal, hands off cult of assassins.
  • New Mutants: Rahne usually refers to Moira Mactaggert as "Lady Moira", even when Moira repeatedly asks her not to, a consequence of Rahne's horrific childhood and her reserved nature. When spooked, she outright calls Moira "mommy" (Moira isn't her biological mother, but is her adoptive guardian).
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014): Jemma Williams still refers to her demanding, controlling, emotionally abusive and pretty scary looking father as "daddy", even when she's in the middle of a raging gunfight.
  • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): The first time we see Lord Cavendish in flashback with his young daughter, Barbara-Ann, she calls him "sir" rather than "dad" or "daddy", as he berates her for playing games, and then burns her toys in front of her.

    Fan Works 
  • In Cat's In The Cradle, Sayaka Maizono notices that Kyoko Kirigiri doesn't call her father Jin "Dad" or even "Father," and wonders if it's because Jin is headmaster of Hope's Peak Academy. Kyoko then replies that it's partly for that reason, and partly because she doesn't think of him as her father.
  • Perhaps to highlight how distant and abusive she is towards her kids, Cellar Secrets has Satsuki and Nui refer to Ragyo as "the Mistress". In the first chapter, Satsuki does call her "Mother" but doesn't stick to calling her that. At another point, Ryuuko dubs Satsuki, her older sister, as "Mam", to emphasize that Satsuki's pratically her mother.
  • With Cinders and Ashes: the Chronicles of Kamen Rider Dante, the fanfic takes an aspect of what Re:CREATORS established (that being the creators' relationships to their creations are akin to parent and child) and applies that logic by having characters call their creators by parental titles. In particular...
    • Magane refers to her creator as daddy, showcasing her playful (if outright dangerous) side.
    • Likewise, Yudai also refers to Hoshi as "dad" most of the time, though often switching it up to father. Emphasizing his more rebellous personality. Though, this is less of him actually acknowledging him as a parent and more constantly guilt tripping him into acknowledging he created him.
    • Then there's Vega, who exclusively calls Hoshi father to symbolize a more regal persona. Though, he also insists to call Altair mother due to her connections to him. Likewise, due to her own refined tone, Altair refers to her own Creator as mother.
  • In Continuance, Soji Seta (aka the protagonist) calls his parents "Mother" and "Father," showcasing his distant relationship from them. Yukiko calls her mother "Mom" and her father "Daddy," (in the game, she uses "Mother" on her mother, and uses "Father" on her father in the manga adaptation), to show a hidden playful side to her.
  • A Different Point of View: Even after turning fourteen, Muffy still calls her father "Daddy" (but her mother is just "Mom"). This shows that she's a Daddy's Girl.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Freeza is portrayed as an even bigger Spoiled Brat than his canon counterpart, which is only reinforced by his constantly calling his father "Daddy".
  • In Goldstein, the Orthodox Jewish characters usually call their parents "Mummy and Tatty." One of Yehudah's friends, Danzinger, comes from a family that used to be less observant than their neighbors; the fact that he called his mother "Mum" was one thing that set him apart from the other children.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: As Chloe's relationship with her father degrades, she increasingly mentally refers to him by his title rather than as her parent. By the end of the first act, she's addressing him as "Professor Cerise".
  • Invoked by Jacques in Lullabies and Fairy Tales. He insisted that his daughter Weiss use a formal "Mother" instead of "Mommy".
  • In Let the World Smile, Zelda refers to her father as "my lord". This emphasizes the distant relationship between the two. Her father is more king than parent.
  • Used with Yang in the one-shot Love, Lose, Repeat, Prioritize. As a child she referred to her step-mother Summer as "mommy" or "mama", but strictly used a more formal and distant "mom" for her absent biological mother Raven.
  • Discussed in the Ma Fille chapter "Growing Up"; the realization that Katrina isn't a little kid anymore is when she starts called Joe "dad" instead of "daddy".
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.:
    • In regards to her two dads, Anastasia refers to Monty (the older, wealthier, and more aloof of the two) as "Father", while the younger and sweeter Waylon is referred to as "Daddy". Both of these titles are fitting for Anastasia's character ("Father" is old-fashioned and polite, while "Daddy" is stereotypically often used by spoiled rich girls), but who she refers to with what title also says something about how she perceives each parent.
    • The other character with two dads, Simon, distinguishes between them in a very different way. He calls them both by their professional titles followed by "Dad"; Principal Skinner is "Principal Dad" and Superintendent Chalmers is "Superintendent Dad". (Think how the Koopa Kids refer to their father as "King Dad".) While the use of "Dad" instead of "Father" or "Seymour/Gary" does establish that he has a close relationship with his parents (which he very much does), the appended title is a reflection of Simon's stiffness, formality, and obsession with his education.
  • Violet's abusive Stage Mom in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fic Through Their Eyes enforces this. When Violet was four, she forced Violet to begin using "mother" instead of "mommy".
  • In wasting beats of his heart of mine, Zagreus reincarnates as a mortal and is adopted by Philomenus the farmer. Zagreus calls him 'sir' as an adult, but both he and the narration refer to him as his father or foster father, implying a loving but slightly removed relationship. In contrast, Zagreus was never close to his late foster mother, and both he and the narration refer to her as Philomenus's wife.
  • In Where Talent Goes on Vacation, Chiyuri Nagato generally refers to her mother, Yukari, as "Mom," but is expected to call her "Nagato-sensei" while in class, as a way of keeping their private lives separate from their time at school, and showing Yukari the appropriate respect owed to a teacher. While Chiyuri occasionally slips up, she doesn't mind, seeing this as Yukari's way of acknowledging her as a student. The Tachibana sisters, who had a similar arrangement the year they were in their mother's class, know where Chiyuri is coming from, but Akira Azuki, whose mother is her manager, is initially put off by Chiyuri having to treat her mother differently (since Akira is allowed to call her mother "Mom" no matter where they are).

    Films — Animation 
  • Throughout Bambi II Bambi refers to the Great Prince as "Sir" to reflect the latter's distant and somewhat intimidating nature to him. Them fully developing a loving bond is culminated by Bambi finally calling him "Dad", an even less formal term than his "Mother" whom he had a far more relaxed and affectionate relationship with beforehand.
  • Brave: Rebellious Princess Merida refers to her mother Elinor as either "Mum" or "Mother". She regresses to "Mummy" in the climax when she begins crying due to believing her mother is permanently a bear.
  • Frozen:
    • Frozen: The sole time Elsa refers to her parents by their title is when she cries for help. She uses the affectionate and childish "Mama" and "Papa". This fits her young age in the scene (eight), but also shows she has a loving relationship with her parents. Over the course of her childhood, she withdraws from her family due to fearing she might hurt them.
    • In Frozen II, Elsa and Anna are shown calling their parents "Mother" and "Father". This fits the 19th century time period as well as their royal upbringing.
  • Igor: Dr. Glickenstein usually refers to his mother (who was apparently a bossy sort and wanted him to be a plumber like her instead of a Mad Scientist) as "Mother", but when he whines about how she was right, he calls her "Mummy", making him seem like a little kid throwing a tantrum.
  • The Land Before Time:
    • Daddy's Girl Cera calls her father "Daddy" but her mother "Mom", showing that she's closer to her dad.
    • Littlefoot refers to his mother as "Mother", although their relationship is definitely warm and close. It highlights the Bambi parallel when his mother meets her fate.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): Ariel always calls King Triton "Daddy," highlighting her youthful innocence, and showing that despite their painful conflict, their relationship is ultimately close and caring.
  • The Lion King:
    • The Lion King (1994): Simba calls Mufasa "Dad" as a cub, highlighting their close, playful bond, but as an adult calls him "Father" when speaking in awe to his spirit in the clouds.
    • Kiara in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride uses "Daddy" on default to show that she's a Daddy's Girl. When speaking more formally, she uses "Father" due to her upbringing as a princess and having become the lioness equivalent of a young woman.
    • All of Zira's children use "Mother" towards her. She's a strict and abusive mother who doesn't coddle or allow for fun.
  • In Mulan, Mulan usually calls her father "Father," but when they reunite at the end of the film when she comes home from the army, she touchingly calls him "Baba" (Mandarin for "Daddy").
  • In Shrek 2, the fully grown Prince Charming calls his mother, the Fairy Godmother, "Mummy," and it isn't lost on Fiona. As it happens, Fairy Godmother is controlling Prince Charming.

    Films — Live Action 
  • At the beginning of Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, Malcolm expresses disappointment that his stepson Trey won't call him "Dad". Trey does so at the end of the film after they come to an understanding (and get through a lot of trouble together).
  • Big Jake: James, a man in his twenties, mockingly calls his estranged father Jacob McCandles "daddy" in one scene. As he is resentful for Jacob abandoning him and his family years ago. Jacob punches him in retaliation and orders him to never refer him by that again.
  • In Bye Bye Birdie the lead begins referring to her parents by their given names because it's the "modern thing" to do. When she freaks out about winning a contest to kiss her favorite singer, she switches to "Mother" and then "Mommy".
  • In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, everybody refers to the family patriarch as Big Daddy (and unlike Big Mama, his first name is never given). In the film version, however, there's a scene where Brick goes to have a heart-to-heart with him and refers to him as "Pa" and "Papa." This actually gets Big Daddy angry when he notices. Given the subsequent discussion, Brick seems to think of "Big Daddy" as representative of his big-man, throw-money-around style of parenting, while "Pa/Papa" is his attempt to engage him on a healthier, emotional level.
  • A weird thing happens with Violet Beaureguarde of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on film:
    • In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, both of her parents are present. She addresses her mom as "mother." Judging from the fact that Mrs. Beaureguarde's only line is a First-Name Ultimatum directed at Violet, we can assume that she takes a strict line with her daughter. Violet calls her father "Dad"; he indulges her competitiveness, and they appear to be much closer.
    • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet's dad is nowhere to be found. Violet probably calls her mom "Mother" here because her mother is her coach. They seem to take their relationship as seriously as everything else, and to them, competition is everything else.
  • At no point does Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens refer to Han Solo as his "father", showing just how much Ren wants to cut himself off from who he once was.
  • In Hook, The titular character tries to get Peter Pan's son, Jack, on side by being more present and supportive than Peter himself. However, Hook doesn't really care for Jack, so despite being sore at Peter, Jack only ever addresses Hook as "Captain."
  • In Little Annie Rooney, Annie calls her father "daddy dear" when she tries to sucker up to him while avoiding punishment.
  • The Santa Clause: Seven-year-old Charlie addresses his parents as "Mom" and "Dad" throughout. Scott and Laura's divorce probably made Charlie feel like he had to grow up a bit more quickly, but he still loves them.

  • Artemis Fowl: Artemis addresses his parents formally, as "Mother" and "Father". When Artemis and his father are reunited after several years, Artemis slips into formalities. Fowl Sr. shakes his head, remembering that he was indeed that stern and demanding, but has now reverted to the personality his wife was attracted to (that he no longer has to deal with The Mafiya probably helps).
  • Bambi from Bambi calls his mom "Mother". This could be because of the time period of the book, but it also could be to emphasize that he's an animal.
  • In The Color Purple, Squeak was in jail for over a decade. As a result, her kids call their step-mom "Mama" but Squeak "Miss." It upsets Squeak.
  • Squirrel in A Dog's Life notes that her mother's name was "Stream", but that to her and her brother she was just "Mother".
  • In A Dog's Purpose, all dogs presumably only use "mother". The protagonist doesn't understand that "mom" is another term for "mother" and thinks that Ethan's mother is literally named "Mom".
  • Erin Hunter:
    • Most adult cats and older kittens in Warrior Cats refer to their parents by name. In the rare occasion that they do use a title, it's usually "Mother" or "Father".
    • Dogs in Survivor Dogs refer to their parents are "Mother-Dog" and either "Father-Dog" if they're present in their life or "Sire-Dog" if they're not.
  • Wolves in Firstborn call their parents the formal "mother" and "father".
  • In the Hannah Swensen mystery novels, Hannah and her two sisters always call their mother Delores "Mother." Since Delores is a Proper Lady and My Beloved Smother, in sharp contrast with her Girl Next Door baker daughter, the formal title suits her much better than "Mom" would.
  • Harry Potter:
    • All of the Weasley kids refer to their parents as "Mum" and "Dad," except for Percy, who calls them "Mother" and "Father" to show that he's stuffy and overly serious. After a three-year estrangement, he calls Arthur "Dad" when apologizing to him.
    • In a sort of meta example: the American edition of the books changes most of the British slang. J. K. Rowling is fine with this, but was aghast that the first book had the Weasleys calling Molly "Mom" instead of "Mum," which was changed in the later books.
  • Les Misérables:
    • Grandparent example: Marius calls his grandfather "Father" (since his grandfather is the one who raised him) when they're on good terms, but "Monsieur" when they're estranged. When he's unsure of where they stand, he avoids addressing him by any name. By the end, he's back to "Father," though.
    • Cosette usually calls her adoptive father Jean Valjean "Father," while Éponine and Azelma usually call Thénardier "Papa" – this highlights the class difference between the girls, and rings somewhat ironic too, since Valjean is the warm, loving father of the two, while Thénardier is an abusive one. Averted in the musical adaptation, however, where Cosette calls Valjean "Papa." Also, when Valjean is trying to distance himself from Cosette for her own good after her marriage, he insists that she call him "Monsieur Jean," but gets to hear her say "Father" again when they reunite just before he dies.
  • In Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs, there's some discussion about the difference between being a father (merely siring a child) and being a daddy (committing to and nurturing a relationship with the child). Sometime in Mattie's early life, his parents divorced, note  so he never got to know his father.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!:
    • In the novels, Keith mentions that as an illegitimate child, he was not allowed to call his father or his wife "Father or "Mother." Even after finding a more loving home with Catarina and her parents, he calls Catarina's father "Duke Claes" and Catarina's mother "Madam Claes" in his narration, despite he was adopted by Duke Luigi Claes for the express purpose of being his future heir.
    • Catarina uses "Okaa-sama" on her mother ("Mother" in English), since her mother is a noblewoman who is strict about etiquette. When Catarina wakes up in a dream of her old life as "the monkey girl," she calls her mother that. The monkey girl's mother is rather confused, presumably more used to being called "Okaa-san" ("Mom").
  • In Out of the Dust, Billie Jo switches from "Daddy" to "[my] Father" after he accidentally causes her and her mother to get burned and leaves her to tend with her dying mother while he goes out drinking. She goes back to "Daddy" when they reconcile.
  • In the Ramona Quimby series, Ramona calls her mother "Mama" in the earlier books, but switches to "Mother" as she gets older, except for one emotional moment near the end of Ramona and Her Mother, where she says "Mama" again. She always calls her father "Daddy," though.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, it's part of standard etiquette among nobles to address their parents "My lord father" or "My lady mother" in public situations, but Tyrion Lannister nearly always calls his father that, because they hate each other.
  • A Tale of...:
    • Snow White referred to her biological mother who died in childbirth as "Mother", showing her lack of a bond with her. She referred to her step-mother Grimhilde as the affectionate "Momma" growing up but switched to an aloof "Mother" when she became more abusive. She switched back to "Momma" after Grimhilde turned sweet again after becoming the new Slave in the Mirror, and she uses that even years later when her own children are grown.
    • Subverted with Maleficent. She only calls her adopted mother "Mother" once. She's usually referred to as "Nanny". However, it's not meant in a negative manner. It's just everyone calls her "Nanny".
    • Gothel and her sisters refer to Manea as a stern, distant "Mother", which Manea enforced. Manea was a neglectful and emotionally abusive mother.
  • In The Ten PM Question, the siblings Louie, Gordana, and Frankie call their mother "Mama" but their father "Uncle George", since they previously thought he was their uncle and the name stuck.
  • Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet (aka, A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels) Inverts the usual way this works: the Murry kids call their parents "Mother and Father" despite being close to them, while Calvin uses "Mom and Dad" despite his family being very dysfunctional. In A Swiftly Tilting Planet Meg (now Calvin's wife) calls his mother "Mom" simply because that's what he does, but privately thinks that it feels odd to address her by anything.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch: All the kids call Carol "Mom" and Mike "Dad." They make no distinction between their biological parent and their stepparent: "The only steps in this house are [the stairs]," Carol tells Bobby in one episode. At the beginning of the series, 7-year-old Cindy calls her parents "Mommy and Daddy," as does 10-year-old Jan now and then, but as they get older they switch to "Mom and Dad" like the others.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy finds her mother lifeless on the couch and regresses from confident young adult to frightened child in the space of three words, the last of which is achingly quiet.
    Buffy: Mom? Mom? (beat) Mommy?
  • Charmed (1998): In the third episode the Halliwell sisters' Disappeared Dad suddenly returns after walking out on them as children. Prue insists on referring to him as "Victor" because, as the oldest, she holds the most resentment towards him. Piper and Phoebe were very young when he left and are more willing to let him back in so they call him "Dad".
  • Dinosaurs: Baby Sinclair calls Fran "Mama", but Earl "Not the Mama". This is partly because he's a bit of a brat, and partly because Fran does most of the parenting (up until "Nature Calls", for instance, Earl never changed any of Baby's diapers). Occasionally Baby calls Earl "Daddy" after some moments of bonding, though.
  • Doctor Who: One episode features a baby boy named Alfie. According to the Doctor, who says he can "speak Baby" (it's unclear if this means translating the noises they make or reading their minds), Alfie calls his mother "Mum" but his father simply "not Mum". This cements him as an Enfant Terrible who doesn't think much of his father.
  • Frasier:
    • Frasier and Niles sometimes refer to their deceased mother, Hester Crane, as "Mother", but always refer to their (still living) father Martin as "Dad". Ironically at the start of the series they had had a much better relationship with Hester than with Martin. This could be due to Martin being a Seattle cop who loves sports and Hester being a respected psychiatrist who loved opera.
    • Whilst Daphne usually refers to her parents as “Mum” or “Dad”, she has occasionally called them “Mummy” or “Daddy”.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    • Hilary calls Philip "Daddy" when she wants money;
    • Carlton calls Vivian and Philip "Mom" and "Dad" respectively, except for that one time they caught him stripping, at which point an alarmed Carlton blurts out "Mommy!"
    • Philip is "Daddy" to Ashley, who is Philip's baby girl and has him wrapped around her finger.
    • Nicky can't be older than seven by the end of the show's run, but he's very bright and addresses Philip as "Dad."
    • Will's father Lou, who walked out on Will and Vy when Will was three, comes to the Banks residence to visit Will. Will is so happy to have his father back in his life that he calls him "Pop" and "Daddy-o." When Lou announces he's leaving Will again, a crestfallen Will addresses his father for the last time as "Lou."
  • On Haven, Nathan refers to his father as "the Chief," as does everyone else in Haven. He uses it as an example of their strained relationship when explaining it to Audrey, though he does call him "Dad" in emotional moments and after his death.
  • M*A*S*H: It is established that stuffy Charles calls his parents Mother and Father, while most other characters call their parents Mom and Dad. Lampshaded in one episode where Charles is trying to console Hawkeye, who just learned that his father is in the hospital and is trying to contact home for news.
    Charles: While I had a father, you had a dad.
  • One episode of NCIS: Los Angeles involves teenage students of a Military School. One of them insists on only addressing his military father by rank, whether or not either of them are in uniform; even Sam Hanna, himself a former Navy SEAL with his own son following in his footsteps, considers it a bad sign that the boy is way too stiff and emotionally repressed.
  • Prodigal Son: Malcolm pointedly calls his estranged dad "Dr. Whitly" to maintain a sense of distance from him. He also doesn't have a very close relationship with his mom, whom he calls "Mother".
  • Taken one step further in a flashback to Arnold Rimmer's childhood in the Red Dwarf episode "The Beginning", in which his father - who is also his professor at college - admonishes Arnold for calling him "father" and insists on "Sir" or "Professor Rimmer".
  • Sense8: Nomi eventually starts addressing her mother as "Janet" instead of "mom" as payback for Janet insisting on referring to Nomi by her pre-transition name of "Michael".
  • Star Trek:
    • Spock, when not calling his parents by name, calls them "Mother" and "Father". This is because Vulcans (his father's species) tend to be quite formal in their language and don't tend to openly express affection.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, Tom Paris has always been at odds with his father and hasn't seen him in years. As such, when writing to him in "Thirty Days", he doesn't know what to call him, considering "Father" and "Admiral Paris", before settling on "Dad".
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the Ferengi language, "Moogie" is Baby Talk for "mother" or "grandmother". Rom still calls his mother that because he's very affectionate towards her, but his brother Quark wants him to stop, since he feels it's embarrassingly childish for someone his age.
  • In Vida, the Hernandez sisters' relationship with their late mother is clearly demonstrated by how they address her. Emma, who is still angry and hurt about being sent away for liking girls, calls her by her full name, Vidalia. Lyn had a much warmer relationship with her and calls her "Mami".

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • Much fuss has been made about Jesus regularly calling his mother Mary "woman" throughout the Bible (especially the Gospel Of John). Note that calling someone "woman" was much less disrespectful in ancient Greek or Aramaic than it is in modern-day English, and was actually the formal way to address women (kinda like "Ma'am"). But even by those cultural standards, it was a very impersonal and abnormal way to address your own mother in particular. Interestingly, Catholic and Protestant commentators have read this in almost opposite ways; Catholics typically see it as Jesus comparing Mary to Eve in a Call-Back to the Book of Genesis, while Protestants typically read it as Jesus saying he takes orders from his divine parent instead of his human one. A third interpretation is that he speaks to Mary as her God rather than as her son – that while she gave birth to his earthly body, his divine nature transcends family ties.
    • There are a few verses in the New Testament that use the word "Abba" (not that one) when referring to God, which has similar connotations to "daddy."
      Romans 8:14-15 (ESV): For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"

  • In the story that inspired "Monster" by Meg and Dia, the Villain Protagonist had abusive parents who made him call them "Sir" and "Hannah".
  • Both "Daddy" and "Papa" are used in Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" to show what a Daddy's Girl the protagonist is. The song is about a young woman (or maybe even a teen) who ends up pregnant by her "bad boy" boyfriend.

  • Bye Bye Birdie:
    • Kim calls her parents by their first names because it's the "modern" thing to do. But when she gets the call informing her that she's been chosen to be kissed by Conrad Birdie on live TV, she calls, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" in wild excitement to tell her the news.
    • Albert still calls his mother "Mama" in his late thirties, highlighting that he's a Momma's Boy and that Mae is My Beloved Smother.
  • Wicked: The intro to "What Is This Feeling?" shows the difference between the two main characters in this regard. Spoiled Daddy's Girl Glinda writes to her parents with the cutesy-sounding "Dearest, Darlingest Momsie and Popsicle." Meanwhile Elphaba addresses her with "My Dear Father," showing herself to be more serious and their relationship to be more distant.

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta 2: Bayonetta often refers to the Masked Lumen, the younger version of her father Balder, by his name, partially because she doesn't want him to know she's his future daughter Cereza and partially because she still doesn't forgive his future self for starting the Witch Hunts and dragging her into the events of the first game. By the game's end, she switches to "Daddy" after realizing that his future sins aren't really his fault, and he reveals that he knows she's his daughter (though, to be fair, he told her to call him that just once).
  • Blazblue Central Fiction: When Kokonoe finally meets her mother, Nine, she addresses her with "haha-sama", "haha" being the formal word for "mother" and "-sama" being an honorific that signifies deep respect.
  • The Binding of Isaac: Isaac's mother is commonly referred to simply as "Mom" as most of the game is being told from the five-year-old Isaac's perspective. There is one major exception: Going to the Corpse route has you coming across the grotesque corpse of recently killed Mom who is called by the formal "Mother" when you fight her, showing that Isaac doesn't have the same familiarity to her as he did with his loving Mom. Ending 21 also shows that Isaac imagined Mother before the start of the game, seemingly fueled by his feelings from Mom and Dad divorcing and his own mental illnesses.
  • In Chrono Trigger, Marle calls her father, the king of Guardia, "Father," partly due to being royalty and partly due to having a strained relationship with him. At the end of Marle's personal quest, she hears a story about her being happy to see all her favorite people gathered around her mother's deathbed. The following exchange then takes place, signifying the reconciliation between father and daughter.
    Marle: So that's how it was...
    King: Yes, why?
    Marle: I used to call you «Daddy?»
    King: You did.
    Marle: I'm sorry...Daddy. I'm really sorry for doubting you.
  • In the Japanese dub of Dynasty Warriors, the Sun children (Ce, Quan, and Shangxiang) call their father, Sun Jian, with different terms, befitting their personality. Ce, the eldest and most hotheaded, calls him oyaji ("old man" or "pops"). Quan, the proper young prince, calls him chichiue ("lord father"). Shangxiang, the youngest and only girl, calls him otousama ("dad"). This little detail is lost in the English dub, as they all call him "father".
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • Hinata is slightly dismayed to hear his son Hisame, a very serious and mature individual, calling him "Father" when Hinata visits Hisame in the Deeprealms, since the last time Hinata visited, Hisame called him "Dad." Hisame then reminds Hinata that given the nature of the Deeprealms, it's been much longer since the last visit than Hinata realizes, and Hisame's bitter about his father not visiting that often.
    • In Birthright, Corrin generally calls their father Garon "King Garon, or just "Garon," as a result of no longer considering him a father. Just before the final battle, Corrin gets upset enough to call him "old man" when he only shows mild surprise after hearing that two of his children just died.
  • Fire Emblem Engage
    • While most of the royals call their parents "Mother" and "Father," Queen Seforia of Solm's children Timerra and Fogado call her "Mom"(although Timerra once lets off a despairing, "I'm sorry, Mother..." when she thinks she'll be trapped in another world forever). She even insists that her children refer to them as their mom rather than "the queen."
    • Veyle refers to her father the fell dragon Sombron as "Papa," emphasizing her innocent and childlike nature, as well as how she still has some affection for him even after everything he did to her and to others. She similarly refers to her late mother as "Mama." Her evil personality, however, uses "Father" on Sombron, emphasizing how much she contrasts with the real Veyle.
  • In Love & Pies, Edwina used to call Sebastian "daddy" as a kid, but he insisted that she calls him "father" instead for formality's sake. He also insists that Amelia calls him "father" when she calls him "dad" for the first time.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Urdnot Wrex refers to his father solely by his name, to the extent Shepard only learns Jarrut was his father after Wrex has finished telling the story of how he killed him, which came about due to opposing views on krogan politics.
    • Tali refers to her father only as "father", because he was an emotional non-presence in her life growing up.
    • Liara refers to her father, who she doesn't meet until the asari equivalent of young adulthood (110), as "dad", at least when they talk face-to-face. But Liara's father is the sort of personality it'd be difficult to see anyone calling something as formal as "father".
    • Ashley calls her dad "dad", having the healthiest relationship with her father of all Shepard's squadmates. And he's dead.
    • Morinth addresses Samara when they meet face-to-face as mother. Samara's response shows even that is a level of familiarity she no longer deserves.
  • Pokémon:
    • Gladion from Pokémon Sun and Moon refers to his mother as both her first name and as "mother", to show their distant relationship. His sister, Lillie, uses "Mother" as well. Their family seems to be wealthy, so that might be a reason for the title even without the abusive aspect.
    • As with all protagonists, Eilio/Selene from Sun and Moon refer to their mother as "Mom". In a throwaway line, they refer to their father as "father". This implies a distant relationship, made more noticeable by the fact Mom seems to have moved to Alola alone and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon implying that the father lives overseas, however, it's never given any further specification.
    • Curiously enough, Silver refers to Giovanni as "oyaji" in the japanese version of the Celebi event, which is an informal term meaning "old man" and is typically used in a very casual context. This, combined with Silver's former admiration towards his father perhaps suggests that they had a close relationship prior to their falling out.
  • Given that the franchise takes place from 1899-1914, most of the characters in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 call their parents “Ma” and “Pa” but there are some exceptions. Upper-class women (like Arthur Morgan’s ex Mary) call their fathers “daddy” directly. Men like Dutch and Micah will sometimes use “daddy” to indirectly mention their fathers. Jack Marston usually uses “Pa” for John but will call him “sir” a lot to show their somewhere distant relationship. He's also the only one in the entire series who uses "Dad" occasionally, showing that he's from a different generation.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • In Caillou the Grown Up, Caillou calling his parents "Mommy" and "Daddy" emphasises that he's an immature Manchild.
  • FreezeFlame has some examples.
    • Carl:
      • The titular character calls his chief of police step-father Calvin "Officer Mitchell", mainly because Calvin considers Carl calling him by his first name a huge form of disrespect (Carl will call Calvin by his given name when he's out of earshot, however). Carl's step-brother Logan, on the other hand, calls his step-mother Linda by her given name, as Linda doesn't mind it as much as Calvin does. Carl's 10-year old half-sisters Carrie and Sally, call Linda and Calvin "mommy" and "daddy" respectively, showing their nature as spoiled little girls.
    • Bowser's Koopalings:
  • RWBY:
    • The affluent Weiss calls her abusive father "Father". In contrast, she has a better (but still troubled) relationship with her mother, who she calls "Mom".
    • Downplayed in that Yang does call her absent mother Raven "mom", but only sarcastically. Her Good Stepmother Summer, on the other hand, is called "mom" unironically.
    • Flashbacks show that Ren — who goes by his family name to even his closest friends — called his parents "Mother" and "Father", even when stressed and traumatised. Ren had a very good relationship with his parents, so his terminology conveys both respect and good manners in a society that was more formal than the societies most of the other protagonists come from.

  • Girl Genius: Bangladesh Dupree, vicious pirate queen and crazed maniac at large, refers to her Disappeared Dad as "daddy" when they finally come face to face.
  • Kevin & Kell
    • Lindesfarne starts off calling her father "Daddy," but gradually switches to "Dad" as the strip starts allowing its characters to age, and she goes off to college. While she called her adoptive mother Angelique "Mother" in her youth, after Angelique walks away from her family, Lindesfarne eventually calls her by name, signifying that she no longer considers Angelique a mother.
    • When Rudy first gets a visit from the memory of his father Randy, he addresses him as "Father," prompting Randy's memory to say that Rudy had called him "Daddy-kins" around the time of Randy's death. Rudy later calls him "Dad."

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
  • Archer’s relationship with his mother is dysfunctional, to put it mildly. Their love-hate enmity is so inappropriate it borders on the psychosexual, and definitely not helping the case is the fact that Sterling Archer, a grown man who - for all his flaunting and disrespecting of his mom - only ever (unconsciously) refers to her as "Mother". As he put it, she’s gripping him "tightly, by [his] childhood’s throat".
  • Back to the Future: Jules and Verne both have a positive relationship with their parents, but their names for them still differ because of the boys' personalities. Jules calls them "Mother" and "Father", which shows his more formal approach to life. Verne, who behaves more like a normal kid, calls them "Mom" and "Pop".
  • Cricket Green of Big City Greens refers to his parents Bill and Nancy as "Dad" and "Mom", but his sister Tilly always calls them by the more juvenile terms "Papa" and "Mama". She does, however, call Nancy "Mom" with Cricket at the end of "Phoenix Rises" when she's released from prison.
  • In The Cleveland Show, Cleveland periodically berates Cleveland Jr. because, among other things, he still calls Cleveland "Daddy" at fourteen years old.
  • Disenchantment: Bean typically calls Zog "dad", despite his being king, either as a sign of disrespect or familiarity, depending on just where their relationship's at. When he accidentally gets shot, a spooked Bean calls him "daddy" in alarm.
  • In The Dragon Prince, Callum and his stepfather, King Harrow, are the familial version of Twice Shy. This is demonstrated by their first scene together: Callum bows and starts to address him the way any normal person would, only for Harrow to cut in and an awkward silence to ensue. Two episodes later, Callum's half-brother Lampshades the fact that Harrow would probably be really happy if Callum called him "Dad." Shortly thereafter Callum does, though only as assassins are trying to kill them.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Edd always refers to his parents as Mother and Father. They also refer to themselves this way in the sticky-notes they leave along with the house.
  • Family Guy:
    • Meg calls her grandmother Babs "Nana". It's worth noting that she's a member of Newport high society, and she's in a position to have doted on Meg before, along with and because of her successful corporate CEO husband, Carter.
    • Lois, who is 43, always refers to her father Carter as “Daddy”, reflecting her position as a doting daughter to a powerful dad.
    • Stewie initially deemed Lois his arch-enemy and regarded Peter as a waste of space, and saw fit to referring to them as "Lois" and "the fat man", respectively. He's actually aghast that his future self would even consider calling them "mommy" and "daddy". When his Villain Protagonist nature slowly drifted away over the succeeding seasons, he became more restrained and casual, and now generally calls them by regular parental titles.
  • Played With in Gravity Falls: Dipper and Mabel refer to their great-uncle as "Grunkle" Stan (a term which, according to Word of Saint Paul, Stan coined himself). Later Stan's brother Ford is introduced. Mabel calls him "Grunkle" Ford, but Dipper, who bonds with Ford specifically because they're both more serious and intellectual, opts for "Great-Uncle" Ford.
  • Jem:
  • The Jetsons: Judy Jetson will sometimes refer to her parents as "Mom" and "Dad" but occasionally "Mother" and "Daddy". Brother Elroy always uses "Mom" and "Dad". Jane always refers to her mother as "Mother".
  • Kim Possible usually refers to her parents as "Mom" and "Dad" like a typical teen. But when she wants to be taken seriously, she'll call her Mom "Mother" (she never does the gender-equivalent with her Dad, due to her father's tendency to be overprotective and treating her like a little girl). And when she's in an affectionate mood and plays up her cuteness on the occasions where she accepts and wants her father's smothering, she'll refer to him as "Daddy".
  • The titular character of Little Bill is five years old. He calls his mother "Mama," but admires and wants to emulate his father enough to call him "Dad." Little Bill's siblings, eight-year-old Bobby and ten-year-old April, call their parents "Mom" and "Dad." Everyone thinks so highly of their great-grandmother that they call her Alice the Great.
  • The Loud House:
    • Lisa calls her parents "Mother" and "Father" because she's very serious and tends to use formal terminology.
    • Liam calls his father "Pa" because he lives in a farm, so he uses stereotypical "country bumpkin" slang.
  • Used in Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Protagonist Marinette refers to her parents as "Mama" and "Papa" despite being a teenager, hinting at their close and loving relationshipnote . Co-star Adrien in contrasts uses "Father" for the present but emotionally absent parent he has remaining, alternating between "Mom" and "Mother" for his Missing Mom. In French, he uses vous for "you" when talking to his father, which is far more formal than any normal parent/child relationship.
    • Though parents don't come up as much with other characters, Marinette's babysitting charge Manon uses "Mama" and "Mommy" for her mother and Adrien and Marinette's classmate Alix uses the age-appropriate but affectionate "Pops" when she is seen with her father. Alpha Bitch Chloe uses both "Papa" and "Daddy" depending on dub, indicating her Spoiled Brat status and his Pushover Parent nature.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes:
  • There's a boy in The Proud Family named Michael. He can't be much younger than fourteen-year-old schoolmate Penny, and he calls his father "Daddy." The problem is that his father is the school's P.E. teacher, who would rather Michael call him "Coach" in public.
  • Recess: Whilst most characters do refer to their parents as "Mom" and "Dad, Gus refers to his father as "Sir" and the Ashleys will often refer to their fathers as "Daddy".
  • Rick and Morty: Though Rick often claims he treats his two grandchildren with an equal level of disdain, the relationship he shares with Morty is decidedly different than the one has with Summer. They, in turn, treat him pretty differently, too. Summer (who still respects him to a certain degree) refers to him as "Grandpa Rick" or "Grandpa", while Morty, (who knows Rick more intimately for the jaded demon that he is), just calls him plain old "Rick".
  • The Simpsons:
    • Utilized iconically by Bart, who frequently calls his father, Homer, by first name or other more derogatory titles to display his cocky impudence (though he also calls him "Dad"). In the original shorts, Lisa did similar to show her similar bratty characterization, though when she diverged into a more precocious, well-behaved child, she started referring to him solely as "Dad". As shown in the flashback episode "Lisa's First Word", both kids referred to Homer by first name even as a toddler, building up to the heartwarming final scene where Maggie calls him "Daddy", though out of earshot.
    • 12 year old Todd Flanders calls his father Ned “Daddy”.
    • Principal Skinner refers to his mother as "Mother" rather than "Mom", which showcases his uptight personality and ultra-formal way of speaking.
    • When Mr. Burns is talking to his mother in "Homer the Smithers", he refers to her as "Mater", an early-20th-century slang term for "mother". This, alongside other instances of Mr. Burns using Antiquated Linguistics, establishes that he is very old and very behind-the-times.
  • Used to show the relationships among the blended family in Sofia the First:
    • Sofia always calls her mother "Mom," and they have a very close bond. Meanwhile, she initially calls her stepfather King Roland by his title, due to not knowing him very well and feeling out of place in the palace. By the end of the pilot movie, she's warmed up to the situation and begins calling him "Dad."
    • James refers to his father and stepmother as "Dad" and "Mom" respectively. He's shown from the beginning to be quick to bond with Miranda and eager to have a mother.
    • Amber, meanwhile, typically refers to them as "Daddy" and "Mother." She's very close with her father, though he has more in common with James and Sofia, so her childish affection highlights their unique bond. While most of her animosity at the beginning was reserved for Sofia, Amber also struggled accepting her father's remarriage and isn't shown bonding with Miranda until late in the series, even though she is just as excited as James to finally have someone to spend Mother's Day with, so the formality shows that they aren't quite as close. She finally calls Miranda "Mom" in the last season after she realizes that Miranda does love her as a daughter and want what's best for her, despite filling a disciplinarian role Roland doesn't.
  • South Park: Stephen and Linda Stotch, Butters' parents, abuse their son on a daily basis and constantly ground him for minor things, even those which are completely out of Butters' control. As a result, Butters usually calls Stephen "sir" rather than "dad". Oddly enough, Butters still calls Linda "mom" even though she is just as abusive as her husband.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Pearl, despite being a teen, still calls her father Mr. Krabs "Daddy", because she's a Daddy's Girl.
    • Being a nerdy Manchild, Bubble Bass often uses a whiny “Mother!” when referring to his mom.
  • Throughout the entirety of Steven Universe, Steven called Greg "Dad", reflecting their close but casual relationship. In the Steven Universe: Future episode "Bluebird", Steven grimly calls him "father" after Greg narrowly escapes a Hostage Situation. Partly it's Steven trying to seem more mature, but mostly emphasizes that Steven was very serious and incredibly pissed at Greg's assailant.
  • Raven from Teen Titans at first calls her mom by her name when they meet. She switches to "mother" a sentence later. This shows her detached, emotionally repressed upbringing.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles usually refer to their adoptive father Splinter as "Master Splinter" or "Sensei", showing their student-teacher relationship. Whenever they use a parental title, it's usually a formal, respectful "Father". Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the sole exception—there, they usually call him "Dad", reflecting that Splinter in this series is their father first and teacher second.
  • X-Men: Evolution: After he learns the unfortunate truth that Mystique is his mother, the next time he sees her Nightcrawler testily addresses her as "mother".

    Real Life 
  • When TLC's titular Little Couple, Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein, adopted their son Will from China, they encouraged Will to call Bill "Baba," Mandarin for "Daddy." After Bill and Jennifer adopted daughter Zoey from India, the children were encouraged to simply call Bill "Daddy." This was probably done to make it easier on the kids, as Bill had become a father to children from two different cultures by this point.
  • Fred Rogers consistently referred to his parents as "Mother" and "Dad," implying that while Fred and his father had a more playful relationship, mom was the disciplinarian of the household.
  • Even his closest blood relatives have to address King Charles III as "Your Majesty" in formal situations. The same was true for his mother Queen Elizabeth II and her predecessors before her. Apparently, official protocol dictates that when first meeting the monarch and his or her consort in the morning, even their immediate family have to call them "Your Majesty" or "Your Royal Highness" on the first encounter of the day. It is believed Elizabeth II was more informal than that to her children and grandchildren. Apparently.
  • Languages with T-V distinction can create an added question on whether children address their parents or vice versa with the formal or informal "you". Whereas a few old-fashioned households have the parents addressing the children informally and the children addressing the parents formally, this is increasingly seen as overly formal as the terms "Mother" and "Father" and thus only the informal form is used both ways. Some might also address their grandparents formally if they see their own parents doing so.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Parental Title Characterisation



After having just adopted her, Loid discusses some terms with his new daughter Anya. She chooses what she gets to refer to him as.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ParentalTitleCharacterization

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