I don't think it's at all about children being inferior. It's just a quaint artifact of the culture here (in Coastal Texas). I know LOTS of parents who say, "Yes, sir," and "No, ma'am," to their children
as a way of teaching them -- similar to the way most parents will call each other Momma and Daddy when the kids are around. My grandparents still
call each other Mom and Dad.
Originally Posted by Caneel
I live in the Northeast and ma'am and sir is no typically heard across the board. It isn't unusual for a store clerk (or anyone unfamiliar) to say "ma'am" or sir to someone to get their attention but I would find it very strange to hear a young child use either term.
The "Miss" thing really rubs me the wrong way. There is a group of moms in town that started the Miss business. As far as I know, none of them are from the South.
I alienated myself when I told one mother that if she wanted her child to not call me by my first name, that was fine but please call me Mrs. (last name) not Miss Caneel. To me, Miss is a label for an unmarried woman or a 20 yo babysitter or preschool teacher, not a mid-40s married woman. I continued to correct the mother and child to the point of many eye rolls, I just could not stand the sound of it.
My kids call adults who aren't relatives or close friends Miss or Mr. Firstname, but I would consider it incredibly rude to continue using that form of address if someone had asked them not to. Especially if someone asked to be called Mrs. Lastname. I've always told my kids, "If someone asks you to call them X, then you respect their request." The whole point of teaching certain forms of address is RESPECT, after all!