View Poll Results: Do your children have to say sir/maam?
Yes, to everyone, including parents 61 29.05%
Yes, to grandparents, teachers, etc. 23 10.95%
Yes, to teachers, etc. 26 12.38%
Not at all. 86 40.95%
Other (there's always an other!) 23 10.95%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 210. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-06-2010, 06:30 PM   #1
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Kids having to say sir and ma'am

DH and I don't agree on this at all, and I wanted to get a feel of how everyone else does it.

DH is adament that DS will have to say "yes/no sir/maam" to absolutely everyone, including us. I think that he should to his grandparents, teachers, friends' parents, etc, but he shouldn't have to worry about that around us. I think that he should be comfortable with us and feel free to talk to us without the sir/maam to everything (literally everything, my nephew has to end every sentence to anyone with sir/maam, and that's what DH says DS needs to do). DH thinks that he should say it to everyone as a sign of respect. I agree about the respect, but not to absolutely everyone.

So mamas, what say you? Do your kids have to say it to everyone? Just other fmaily members? Just teachers, etc? No one?

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Old 04-06-2010, 06:43 PM   #2
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

I think I feel the same as you . I do not think it's necessary for my kids to say sir and mam to us . My oldest does say it though cause that's what he learned at daycare years ago and I have to say I kinda like it , but I'm not worried about that . My youngest ds doesn't say it to us .
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:08 PM   #3
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

I personally don't like the sound of it, and know a lot of adults who are not comfortable being called "sir/ma'am". I have never liked being called Ma'am for many reasons. I plan on teaching DS to be respectful in other ways, I think except in certain regions it is not a common thing any more and I don't think that is a bad thing.

But to your question more specifically I know that many children whose parents expect their children to refer to them in this "no sir/ no ma'am" situation tend not to be very close to their parents. They have a constant clear definition of rolls and when emotional issues come up children rarely can remove those boundries to talk to their parents in a real way. I personally want my DS to be able to talk to me, and not treat me like their drill sargent.

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Old 04-06-2010, 07:32 PM   #4
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

I will be teaching my girls and daycare kids to say sir/ma'am when they are told to do something. I don't expect them to end everything they say to me with a yes ma'am/no ma'am. Just like anything else, this can be done with moderation and good sense. You can teach your kids respect in so called "old fashioned" ways while still having a loving relationship with them. We try to have what the pp said as clear definition of roles in the family but I don't think that means that we are not loving and affection to our kids. I find that it is easier to have an affectionate relationship towards and from your kids when they learn respect as a part of the relationship with a parent. There are sometimes when maybe I am a like a drill instructor but that is a part of being a parent. Somebody should be in charge. However, that is not the only part of being a parent. Again, it is all about finding a balance.
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:37 PM   #5
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

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Originally Posted by Fairycat View Post
But to your question more specifically I know that many children whose parents expect their children to refer to them in this "no sir/ no ma'am" situation tend not to be very close to their parents. They have a constant clear definition of rolls and when emotional issues come up children rarely can remove those boundries to talk to their parents in a real way. I personally want my DS to be able to talk to me, and not treat me like their drill sargent.
This is exactly what I don't want to happen. My son respects me, he does what I ask him to, says thank you, please, no thank you, etc., so I don't really want or need to be a drill instructor.
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:56 PM   #6
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

I don't require it. I don't even require Please when they are asking for something. For me it is totally tone I am concerned with. If they are respectful, I'm happy. They can be respectful without saying sir or ma'am.

I grew up in the South and knew a lot of kids that said sir or ma'am because it was just natural. It was the typical thing there to do. All my friends that said it said it to all adults and most of them had great relationships with their parents.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:10 PM   #7
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

Interesting question! It seems like a regional thing. Here in Maryland I almost never hear it from any children, so it's just not a measure of respect either way. It's like it's not in our vocabulary.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:22 PM   #8
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

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Originally Posted by tallanvor View Post
I grew up in the South and knew a lot of kids that said sir or ma'am because it was just natural. It was the typical thing there to do. All my friends that said it said it to all adults and most of them had great relationships with their parents.
My FIL actually was in the car earlier as we were discussing this again, and he said "people are going to get really offended and really pissed off if he doesn't say sir and maam". Now, DH and FIL have lived in Orlando their whole lives. In rural, live on a few acres and build your house with your buddies rural Orlando. I was born in Louisiana and moved here when I was 3. I have never had anyone get upset if I didn't say sir or maam.

I think part of DHs thing is that he was raised old-fashioned Southern-ish where I wasn't. It's not really typical around here now. I mean, Orlando isn't even really considered Southern. And DH and FIL have a good relationship, but DH complains all the time about his childhood and his relationship with his parents when he was growing up, and talks about how he doesn't want to be like that with DS.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

I don't think it's necessary at all. My dd is SUPER polite, though. She is awesome at saying please and thank you. When she squeezes past me in the hallway she says, "Excuse me". When she burps or passes gas, she says, "Excuse me". If she drops something of mine on the floor, she apologizes and picks it up. And all this since around the time she turned 2. I think those are the real marks of politeness and respect and she uses those manners with her parents, friends, strangers, everybody, even our dog (she apologizes if she accidentally backs into him or gets in his way, stuff like that). We didn't teach her those things by insisting that she say them. We just treat HER that way and she mirrors it.

I think that the most important kind of respect that kids can learn is the kind that we teach them simply by respecting THEM. Insisting that they address adults as "sir" or "ma'am" implies that only adults and people in positions of authority deserve respect (or at least that they deserve a special kind of respect) and I don't agree with that at all. All humans and other forms of life deserve respect.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:53 PM   #10
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

My children do, however we are a military family and its what is natural for us. Its a term of respect and we want our children to be respectful. My children are required to say yes sir or mam at all times.
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