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#1 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just realized last night that I have not been teaching my DD to say "yes, ma'am" "yes, sir".
I asked her to do something and she replied with her 4 1/2 year old attitude, "oooK". I corrected her and said, "yes, ma'am?" and she said it back - but with tons of attitude. I realized that she never says it, unless I remind her. And my husband does not model that either. Maybe we both got it to much growing up, hard-core cathlic and military.
Is this something I should be reinforcing more? I'm sure this current attitude is just a phase (right?), but I want to instill natural respect. Am I not doing something right now that I should?

Please share your thoughts, suggestions.

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#2 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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I was not taught to say "yes, ma'am," and will not teach it to my children. Do you say "yes, ma'am" to your daughter?" Respect doesn't develop from being forced to say certain words. Respect your child and she will respect you.

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#3 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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I'm from Texas, grew up here, and knew plenty of kids growing up who had to say "yes, ma'am/sir" and "no, ma'am/sir." It's a cultural thing, I guess, in the south. My parents didn't insist we do that, though. They thought it was more important the attitude we had while saying yes or no than the actual words. So far I haven't insisted my kids say ma'am or sir. I agree with my parents' approach. But we know some people who do.
Respect has a lot more to do with attitude than with the words.
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#4 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:26 PM
 
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I know it's regional, but I did not grow up saying "ma'am" and I wouldn't teach it to my kid, either.

But it is important for children to be able to answer politely "yes" or "yes, thank you" instead of the more casual "yeah".
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#5 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MichelleAnnette View Post
Do you say "yes, ma'am" to your daughter?"
Funny when you read my other post, #3, because I totally agree with you and said the same thing. Except that I actually *do* say "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am" to my girls. Like this:

DD: Mommy?
Me: "Yes, ma'am?"
DD: Can I blah blah blah?
Me: Sure.
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#6 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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This is actually a dialect thing -- kids who grow up in the South tend to say "yes, sir", "yes, ma'am". I grew up in the North and never ever said "yes, sir" or "yes, ma'am". In fact, I would have been laughed at had I said it.

What do you hear children around you saying? What does your family say? What do YOU want your kids to say?

If you really want your kids to use "ma'am" and "sir" then you need to use it yourself, you need to reinforce it.

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#7 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:34 PM
 
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I hate being called ma'am, so no way do I teach my child that. I Have, however, taught her to say "my mommy is 29". (I was born in '74)
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#8 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 06:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MichelleAnnette View Post
I was not taught to say "yes, ma'am," and will not teach it to my children. Do you say "yes, ma'am" to your daughter?" Respect doesn't develop from being forced to say certain words. Respect your child and she will respect you.
:
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#9 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 07:26 PM
 
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Words don't represent respect.

Just because a child uses "yes ma'am" and "yes sir", doesn't mean they are being respectful.

Personally I HATE the whole idea. It puts a bad taste in my mouth.
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#10 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 07:32 PM
 
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I wouldn't teach or require that. I dislike the idea, makes the child automatically "inferior." Blech.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#11 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 07:33 PM
 
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I really don't care for it either. I do have my kiddos (mostly DS1, he has more of an 'attitude' usually) say "Yes Mama/Mommy" when I'm having trouble with them.

Not sure why that feels better than "Yes ma'am" to me, but it does....maybe feels less subservient or something?
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#12 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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I will never teach my son to say "Yes, Ma'am" or "No, Sir" or anything like that. I lived with various family members growing up, and during the times with my maternal grandparents they would demand I add the ma'ams and sir's only when I was in trouble and they were angry with me. I hated it and it just made me angrier with them. It brings back all sorts of horrible memories for me.

With that aside, I have friends from the South who say it automatically and it's not a big deal. But I'm from the North and it just wasn't common there.

I think it's just a personal preference and dialect type of thing.

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#13 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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I was never taught this as a child and don't plan on teaching this to my children either...it just doesn't come naturally for me. Even working in customer service for years, it just didn't seem comfortable. I am sure it's a bit of a regional thing, too.
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#14 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 09:05 PM
 
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I teach and use ma'am and sir with my girls. For me it's like saying please and thank you, it's a part of manners.

Mamma to identical twin girls (June, 2006 born at 30 weeks), new bundle of joy due August, 2011
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#15 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 09:07 PM
 
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It's definitely dialect thing. I think if you said that here you'd sound snarky... like "yes ma'am!"

We're more a yes, please kinda area. I see nothing wrong with teaching your child to say yes politely. We all do it according to our own dialect though.
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#16 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 09:16 PM
 
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I don't ask them to say that, but I DO use it in public. I had always thought that I would insist on that, but realized that I don't believe in forcing children to do things like that. To me, it's like CIO, formula, and sleep training. Forcing a child to do someting, or behave one way BECAUSE I SAID SO- crap IMHO.

I do, use Yes ma'm and no ma'm in public and my children will sometimes follow that. Funny thing, is that when I'm REALLY REALLY MAD at them- I will use those when I'm talking to thme. hehehe.

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#17 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 10:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tropicaldutchtulip View Post
I teach and use ma'am and sir with my girls. For me it's like saying please and thank you, it's a part of manners.
Why?????

Why make them inferior? Why make them submit like that all the time.

That's disgusting.
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#18 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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Why?????

Why make them inferior? Why make them submit like that all the time.

That's disgusting.
Several people have pointed out that it's a regional thing. It doesn't always mean the person who is saying ma'am or sir is inferior or assuming a submissive position. I, myself, use it when speaking to my own children, and I've used it often when I worked in customer service. Never did I feel inferior to my customers. It was a way to be polite. Again, it's regional.

I think you were awfully harsh to the PP you quoted. She said "for her" it's part of good manners.

ETA: I don't insist or even teach my kids to say it, but it is part of something they hear from time to time. Same way I wasn't taught to say it, but growing up in the south, I do use it relatively frequently.
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#19 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aprildawn View Post

I think you were awfully harsh to the PP you quoted. She said "for her" it's part of good manners.
By indicating that she thinks that it's good manners to say it - that means that she thinks it's bad manners not to.

I think the whole practice is disgusting. That's my honest opinion.
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#20 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 10:49 PM
 
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I grew up in the northern US so we weren't raised to say it. I definitely had respect for my parents though...but of course I still back talked on occasion.

When I joined the military it was of course drilled into me and it was automatic for me to say it by the end of the first week of boot camp. Even though it's been 6 yrs I still say it automatically when answering a question or whatever.

I don't make my kids say it to me but I do model it when talking with other people.

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#21 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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By indicating that she thinks that it's good manners to say it - that means that she thinks it's bad manners not to.

I think the whole practice is disgusting. That's my honest opinion.
Is teaching "please" and "thank you" disgusting? That's also good manners -- widely as accepted good manners.

I find it to be unnecessary, but certainly not disgusting. What's so disgusting about it if the intent isn't to demean the person saying it?

ETA: I really want to understand. I'm not trying to be argumentative.
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#22 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 10:57 PM
 
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Is teaching "please" and "thank you" disgusting? That's also good manners -- widely as accepted good manners.

I find it to be unnecessary, but certainly not disgusting. What's so disgusting about it if the intent isn't to demean the person saying it?

ETA: I really want to understand. I'm not trying to be argumentative.
Please and Thank-you are good manners. The difference is that they aren't meant to establish an authoritative relationship where the power structure is rigidly defined.

"Yes Ma'am" and "Yes Sir" are meant to force the child (or subordinate) to assume a position where they are inferior. That's how it's been used historically. Think of who people addressed as Sir and Ma'am. In schools it was used to address teachers. Parents were addressed this way.

I think that respect is earned not 'established'.

The intent of a few people on MDC may not be to demean - but that's how the general public uses it. To "put them in their place" so to speak.
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#23 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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it's regional. it's not disgusting. it's not abusive. some people say it, some people don't. i am cracking up over this whole "it's a huge plot to make people subordinate"....where's the tinfoil hat when you need it.
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#24 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 11:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
Why?????

Why make them inferior? Why make them submit like that all the time.

That's disgusting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
By indicating that she thinks that it's good manners to say it - that means that she thinks it's bad manners not to.

I think the whole practice is disgusting. That's my honest opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
Please and Thank-you are good manners. The difference is that they aren't meant to establish an authoritative relationship where the power structure is rigidly defined.

"Yes Ma'am" and "Yes Sir" are meant to force the child (or subordinate) to assume a position where they are inferior. That's how it's been used historically. Think of who people addressed as Sir and Ma'am. In schools it was used to address teachers. Parents were addressed this way.

I think that respect is earned not 'established'.

The intent of a few people on MDC may not be to demean - but that's how the general public uses it. To "put them in their place" so to speak.
What she said.

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#25 of 122 Old 05-24-2008, 11:27 PM
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Southern here, and yes, we use it and model it. It's just polite society manners. I never felt that I was bowing at the feet of my elders when using it as a child.
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#26 of 122 Old 05-25-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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Please and Thank-you are good manners.
The difference is that they aren't meant to establish an authoritative
relationship where the power structure is rigidly defined. "Yes Ma'am" and "Yes Sir" are meant to force the child (or subordinate) to assume a position where they are inferior. That's how it's been used historically.
To me authority doesn't necessarily imply superiority. A police officer has authorityin the community where he serves. If he pulls someone over, they'd better comply or else he has authority to enforce consequences like fines or being arrested. But he's not superior to the person he's pulling over.

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I think that respect is earned not 'established'.
I totally agree with you on this one!

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The intent of a few people on MDC may not be to demean - but that's how the general public uses it. To "put them in their place" so to speak.
I think you can't really know whether the intent is to demean unless you know the person or overhear how it's used. My DH uses it with his grandparents out of respect for their (earned) position of elders in the family -- not because he has to jump when they say so, or because they are perceived as superior to the rest of us.
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#27 of 122 Old 05-25-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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To me authority doesn't necessarily imply superiority. A police officer has authorityin the community where he serves. If he pulls someone over, they'd better comply or else he has authority to enforce consequences like fines or being arrested. But he's not superior to the person he's pulling over.
Why should random adults have any authority over a child?

And yes - police officers have authority - and I listen and obey them. And that's my objection to using Sir and Ma'am. I obey police officers because they are police officers. I used to play soccer with a cop. I certainly didn't do what she told me most of the time. But if she was wearing her uniform and acting as a police officer - then I sure would.

And having children call adults "Sir" and "Ma'am" gives those adults that sort of false authority. It separates them.

I also think that any adult who needs a child to call them Sir or Ma'am to feel 'respected' is really sad.
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#28 of 122 Old 05-25-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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I wait tables one night a week, in the Northeast. Around here ma'am and sir aren't used by most people.

Occasionally I'll have small children having dinner with their parents who will consistently call me ma'am. Their parents always beam with pride, but it always makes me cringe. I don't WANT to be ma'am to some other person's kids who I've never met. That puts me in a position of power I'm uncomfortable wielding. Please and thank you are appreciated, but ma'am gives me the willies, probably because as it isn't a common thing around here. I make the assumption that children who address me as ma'am are dealing with a serious authoritative situation at home. I realize this isn't necessarily the case in other parts of the country.
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#29 of 122 Old 05-25-2008, 12:43 AM
 
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I wait tables one night a week, in the Northeast. Around here ma'am and sir aren't used by most people.

Occasionally I'll have small children having dinner with their parents who will consistently call me ma'am. Their parents always beam with pride, but it always makes me cringe. I don't WANT to be ma'am to some other person's kids who I've never met. That puts me in a position of power I'm uncomfortable wielding. Please and thank you are appreciated, but ma'am gives me the willies, probably because as it isn't a common thing around here. I make the assumption that children who address me as ma'am are dealing with a serious authoritative situation at home. I realize this isn't necessarily the case in other parts of the country.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.
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#30 of 122 Old 05-25-2008, 12:52 AM
 
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it's regional. it's not disgusting. it's not abusive. some people say it, some people don't. i am cracking up over this whole "it's a huge plot to make people subordinate"....where's the tinfoil hat when you need it.
Exactly. Come on, people...

When my younger cousins from down south say, "Yes, Ma'am," in their little southern accents I think it's down right adorable.
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