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by Abigail Van Buren

Little Boy's Big Name Ruffles Feathers

DEAR ABBY: A child in my son's second-grade class goes by the name "Sir _____ _____," and if anyone leaves out "Sir," he corrects them (and not very nicely). The family claims the child has been knighted, but the details become vague when asked.

Abby, I did some digging around. This child's name isn't on the official British list of knighted citizens. It's impossible to inherit the title "Sir" and basically unheard of for an American 7-year-old boy to legitimately be given the title. I feel titles should be earned (such as "Dr.," "Captain," or "Mrs."), not made up to generate a sense of power over those around you. May I tell my son it's OK not to use this bogus title? -- KNIGHTED SECOND-GRADER?

DEAR KNIGHTED: I don't recommend it. The kid may have been given the name "Sir" by his parents at birth, just as the children of certain celebrities have been named "Prince" or "Your Majesty." If your son prefers not to address the boy by name, he's free not to address him at all.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics