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Yes ma'am / No ma'am?

Poll Results: Will/does your child refer to adults as sir/ma'am?

 
  • 18% (18)
    Yes, it's appropriate and shows respect for elders
  • 15% (15)
    Yes, but only to strangers
  • 65% (63)
    No Way
96 Total Votes  
post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Will you teach your children to say these?

I live in the south(not born here) and it is expected of children to say yes ma'am and no ma'am. Even before theycan talk, when parents speak for them, they include these.

It is supposed to be done out of respect for your elders. But so often I hear yung people say it quickly and without thought. In some cases there is an obvious snotty tone, especially when speaking to people of color.

I will NOT teach my child to say these things. I think saying yes please and no thank you arefar more respectful.
post #2 of 24
I voted "No way"

I agree with the "Yes, please." and "No, thank you." Everyone-- including children-- deserves respect. That said, it may be a cultural thing too-- done just because it always has been done. (Not saying that's right at all, but it does happen! )
post #3 of 24
I couldn't vote: . I agree that please and thank you are just as respectful and I would'nt force ma'am /sir. BUT.........dh was raised in the south by his grandparents and uses ma'am and sir as a form of address so often that I'm sure dd will pick it up! It's not really an age thing here at least for him. No kidding, if dd calls "Papa!" he will respond with "Yes Ma'am?" If I ask him to do something its yes ma'am. So I think it is just a cultural thing. The Southern version of please and thank you, perhaps.
post #4 of 24
I will probably not make Lily say ma'am and sir. We are in the South and it's very common here. I was taught to say it, but rarely ever do anymore. The only time I say it is when I'm talking to people my grandparents' age or older.

I have two cousins that are 12 and 5. May aunt and uncle have programmed them to say ma'am and sir to everyone every time. I don't know why, but it makes me very uncomfortable when they say yes ma'am and no ma'am to me. It sounds so artificial.
post #5 of 24
In high school, I moved to Texas one winter, and the teacher asked me if I was from Colorado. I said, "yeah." Oh my, she was all over me like flies on stink. I was quickly educated that they expected to be addressed as "yes m'am, no m'am". I had never heard of such a thing. Now if my kids say it to me, it is generally accompained by a salute and is a smarty pants rewponse to a grumpy momma.
post #6 of 24
When Emily (oldest) was a baby I asked the people in my family what they wanted to be called, when we meet someone new (and they are going to be around a lot) I ask as well.

Growing up I had one aunt who hated to be called "Aunt _______" and another who wouldn't acknowledge us if we didn't say "Aunt ______"

I've never heard of anyone around here doing M'am but I know in high school we called our teachers "Sir" ( :LOL I used to call some female teachers "sir" just to make them crazy! :LOL )
post #7 of 24
In Indian culture children are taught to refer to people older than themselves and out of childhood as Auntie and Uncle So and So. I think it's very respectful and don't see a proble with it, as it's done in fondness. Those terms are not used for everyone, for example a person you don't know well, a clerk at a store, etc.

The Yes Sir/No Sir term is more formal than Auntie/Uncle and almost has a sense of forboding to it.

Darshani
post #8 of 24
I think there is a place for "yes, please" and "No, thank you," and ma'am and sir. I grew up in the South and I do believe it is a sign of respect. I believe children and adults need to be respected. I don't believe that saying ma'am or sir disrespects a child. And trust me, kids can get snotty saying "Yes, please," or any other thing that comes out of their mouth on occasion! It is not just a sir or ma'am thing.
post #9 of 24
We do it. We are in the South too. I think it sounds better and does show respect for others. I say it to people both younger and older than myself and I am 33. It is a cultural thing here. I wouldn't care if they wanted to substitute, "yes, please" or "no, thank you". In my opinion, those rate as equally respectful.
post #10 of 24
I voted "No Way" but it's not b/c I am inherently apposed to "sir/ma'am". It IS a cultural thing and since we have no ties to "southern" culture, it never comes up and is never used.

I do, however, believe that elders should be treated with respect, and that children should say "please and thankyou". But that's about as far as it goes. Children certainly do deserve to be treated with respect, too.
post #11 of 24
I said no. igrew up in the south and got slapped a lot because I would forget tyo say yes ma'am and no ma'am and sir. Even my mother expected us to address her and heaven help us if we didn't. So, um , I have iussues with it. And since that was all we ever were allowed to address people as evenin high school I didn't know how to address adults. It was all horrible. I love in the midwest now and if a child uses ma'am or sir the person they were sddress would probably think they were being snotty. Instead we teach them to say "yes please" and "no thank you". We also teach the,m to respect a persons wishes to call them something else. when people would say "Oh, she doesn't have to call me ma'am" my mom would tell them "yes she does". It made me and the person I was talking to very uncomfortable. I hardly ever talked to adults because of it.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by lilyka
when people would say "Oh, she doesn't have to call me ma'am" my mom would tell them "yes she does". It made me and the person I was talking to very uncomfortable. I hardly ever talked to adults because of it.
That is exactly how I feel when talking to my cousins. I am all about saying please and thank you, but the ma'am and sir thing is not something I'll be teaching.
post #13 of 24
I generally use sir and ma'am when I'm addressing a stranger to either ask a favor or say something that might be misconstrued - it's sort of a way to make it clear that I'm asking respectfully, especially when I'm addressing an older person. So, in the mall I might say, "Excuse, me, sir, could you tell me the time?" or "Ma'am? I believe this scarf is yours, you dropped it as you got up.".

We have no Southern ties, and generally Rain only uses the terms in similar ways.

Dar
post #14 of 24
no way!

i grew up in the south too, and i remember thinking it was insane that some of my friends had to refer to their parents as sir and ma'am.

i did always refer to older people as "mr. or mrs. so-and-so", but that's just what i felt comfortable doing. i still refer to people much older than me this way, really just to show that i respect the experience and wisdom their age offers.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I generally use sir and ma'am when I'm addressing a stranger to either ask a favor or say something that might be misconstrued - it's sort of a way to make it clear that I'm asking respectfully, especially when I'm addressing an older person. So, in the mall I might say, "Excuse, me, sir, could you tell me the time?" or "Ma'am? I believe this scarf is yours, you dropped it as you got up.".
Dar,
This is understandable and what we do as well. How else would you address a person in these situations? Hey Mister just doesn't sound right. But in everyday situation with people we know, I think a lot of adults are going to be disappointed.

If someone were to ask Kailey,

"Are you having a good day?" I would like her response to be yes. Thank you." Not, "Yes, ma'am".
post #16 of 24
I think our answer will, in part, reflect the geographical aspect of our local culture.

I live in the Northeast and we don't do the "sir and ma'am" thing.

I teach my children to be respectful in their tone. I teach them mainly by my own example. I convey a common respect for people (especially people in the service industry) by asking "please" and saying a gracious, "thank-you" for their services.

I try to teach them patience and understanding.

Adults are addressed either as "mr and mrs" if that's the adult's wish or by their given name.

I don't think children have a chance to be respectful unless the parents model this trait for them.

Debra Baker
post #17 of 24
I grew up in the South, but my parents did not teach me to use ma'am and sir. When I got to school, I discovered that many other kids did say it and that teachers liked it. (I didn't have any teacher who insisted on it.) I did use it occasionally, and if my parents overheard they didn't tell me NOT to, but it was never a habit for me. My not saying it didn't cause problems, because even if an adult was surprised at first, I was generally very polite otherwise so they had no reason to be offended.

I think it's fine to buck the trend of your local culture so long as you are polite about it. That means you're under no obligation to teach Kailey to say ma'am and sir, but when she's a little older it would be a good idea to explain that some people like to be addressed by these terms and it is something she might CHOOSE to do when she wants to make an especially good impression.
post #18 of 24
I lived in the south for about 2 years. I worked with the public and this 'yes ma'am/sir, no ma'am/sir' thing is really infectious. I just picked it up without even thinking about it. I guess its just a sort of colloquialism in the south.

That said, I think its sort of silly.. I don't really get it. No one should expect to be addressed in anyway specific. As long as people aren't saying 'hey you!' or calling you names I think you can't complain

I figure (oops I mean I reckon ) if you live in the south your kids will probably just pick it up anyways. Sort of like saying 'y'all' and 'ain't'. Gah it was quite the adjustment listening to people, professionals with advanced college degrees using 'ain't' *cringe*
post #19 of 24

No way!

I respect (or don't respect) people for who they are inside, not for how old they are or what class they are, and I expect my children to do the same.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by stormborn
No kidding, if dd calls "Papa!" he will respond with "Yes Ma'am?" If I ask him to do something its yes ma'am. So I think it is just a cultural thing. The Southern version of please and thank you, perhaps.
You have said it exactly how I see it! I learned to say ma'am and sir because my parents always said it to ME! LOL!

I really believe that is the best way to teach something like that -- I will say yes, ma'am or sir to my baby. And sometimes, I will say no ma'am and no sir too!

I should also add that I am a native Texan. Although, DH feels the same way and he is South African -- they have a similar construction in South Africa. translated as "yes, uncle or auntie" (even for non-relatives).


Jean
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