Yes ma'am / No ma'am? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Will/does your child refer to adults as sir/ma'am?
Yes, it's appropriate and shows respect for elders 17 18.09%
Yes, but only to strangers 15 15.96%
No Way 62 65.96%
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#1 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
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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.
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#2 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 01:46 AM
 
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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! )
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#3 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 02:10 AM
 
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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.
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#4 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 03:19 AM
 
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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.
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#5 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 09:27 AM
 
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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.
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#6 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 11:17 AM
 
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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 )
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#7 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 12:42 PM
 
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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.

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#8 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 02:19 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 02:39 PM
 
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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.
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#10 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 02:49 PM
 
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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.

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#11 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 07:13 PM
 
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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.

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#12 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 07:50 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 24 Old 02-23-2003, 10:58 PM
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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.

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#14 of 24 Old 02-24-2003, 02:30 AM
 
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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.
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#15 of 24 Old 02-24-2003, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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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".
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#16 of 24 Old 02-24-2003, 12:02 PM
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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.

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#17 of 24 Old 02-24-2003, 02:49 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 24 Old 02-24-2003, 03:55 PM
 
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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*

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#19 of 24 Old 02-24-2003, 04:17 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 24 Old 02-24-2003, 08:36 PM
 
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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).


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#21 of 24 Old 02-25-2003, 02:01 AM
 
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I voted "no way" and I live in the south also and it is common but I don't find it necessary at all.

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#22 of 24 Old 02-25-2003, 02:30 AM
 
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I think that to strangers, it's appropriate simply b/c I believe that each person should get to choose how they are addressed. Some people like Mr. or Mrs. Last Name, some Mr. or Ms. First Name and some just First Name.

I certainly would have appreciated the teaching as a child. All my friends KNEW to call my parents' their first names because the first time they were Mr. or Mrs. so and so, they corrected my friends.

My parents are very laid back about that stuff and thus so am I. That said, I NEVER EVER knew what to call my friends' parents. I was so very uncomfortable everywhere I went. I wasn't taught to say yes sir or no ma'am. Yes, please and no, thank you were taught, but to this day, I am mortified by something I did...

Story: I was in the car with my high school boyfriend of 3 years as his family. I called his mother her first name, and he came unglued!!! Absolutely UNGLUED! He wanted to know where I got off calling his mom by her first name. Well, he'd NEVER told me not to nor had she, and I'd always been to scared to ask her last name. I know that is strange (and for a smart girl, pretty stupid), but she was on her 3rd marriage, and I didn't know his step dad's last name. The only thing they'd ever been called was their 1st names.

I will never forget that. My son will say yes, ma'am/sir or yes, Mrs./Mr. so and so until he's told BY THAT PERSON to call him/her something different. I want him to be comfortable. To this day I still have no clue what my childhood friends' parents wanted me to call them. Luckily, one mother was eventually my teacher, so calling her by her first name wasn't an option anymore.
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#23 of 24 Old 02-26-2003, 07:39 AM
 
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If we were living in the US, I would say "not likely." But here I am teaching my children that we greet others with "madame" and "monsieur" -- because everyone does. They are mostly learning through example. It's so charming to hear my 2 year old say, "au revoir, madame!"
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#24 of 24 Old 03-06-2003, 12:06 AM
 
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I will most definitely teach my child to be respectful, but I won't teach them to use Sir or Ma'am. Reason being, I never used them myself (We grew up saying, "thank you, Mrs. Powers", "no thank you, Mr. McGraw") and I'd feel downright silly teaching them to my child - it would feel too 'forced' to me.
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