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, 09:07 PM   #11
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

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Originally Posted by NorahsMom View Post
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.
DS is very polite and respectful also, mostly because that's how we are with him (although if he passes gas, he says "I fauded," which I'm working on and DH thinks is hilarious), and that's all I really want - for him to be a nice, respectful, polite kid.

The part I bolded is exactly what my problem is, but I just couldn't find the words for it!


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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.
We are a military family (4 years active, and so far 4 years Reserves) too, but the only people that DH calls sir or maam are the officers (and I'm not talking about his chiefs, etc, they're like a big happy group who all treat each other the same regardless of rank) when he sees them about once every few months. DH respects his enlisted officers and the pilots with his squadron, but he doesn't call them sir or maam. I think that's another problem that I have with this - how can you expect DS to do it when you have learned through your military career that it's not necessary.

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Old 04-06-2010, 09:13 PM   #12
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

It's funny since DH was raised right around the corner from you His family is in Cocoa Beach. I didn't notice that it was common for the kids to say Sir/Ma'am, when we visit. My BIL is very young, and their are other young kids in the family and didn't notice this as a trend. I did in Alabama though, and I can alway pick the military peeps because of the "sir/ma'am" thing. We have a large base near us.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:19 PM   #13
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

Being called sir or ma'am makes people uncomfortable around here. A friend of mine was born in Louisiana and went down as a teenager to see relatives she hadn't seen since before her first birthday (long story) and she was very taken aback when her younger half brothers and cousins were calling her ma'am. So no, not going to teach my kids to say that.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:21 PM   #14
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

I think you would get looked at like you have two heads if you said that to everyone around here.

BIL (married in) was raised by a very southern family, my MIL asked him for YEARS not to call her ma'am before he finally stopped. I think he had done it for so long he just couldn't keep it from coming out of his mouth even though she hated it.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:27 PM   #15
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

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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.
I was raised in Tennessee and Kentucky, lived in large cities, small towns, and in the country and I don't recall anyone ever thinking my brother and sister and myself were being disrespectful because we didn't say sir or ma'am. Yes, it seemed most kids did use them, but no one ever said anything to my parents about us being disrepectful and I always got along great with my friends' parents.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:28 PM   #16
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

I truly think this is a regional thing and have seen it in the South.

I teach my girls to be polite- Mrs/Miss/Mr until the person corrects them and says to call them by the first name. They call all of their friends parents by their first name, per request.

For people they don't know, because DD1 is so little, I teach her "Miss First Name". So her teachers at preschool are Miss Jody and Miss Hollie, our house is for sale and she calls her Miss Tish, etc.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:37 PM   #17
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

No one refers to anyone as sir or ma'am here in Canada (at least where I am in BC). I was quite put off when I was referred to as ma'am over the phone while working in Customer Service and dealing with some US clients.

I dont think it indicates respect. It makes me uncomfortable actually...

But I would think if this is something you want your children to do then it should apply to all adults. Although, that being said I was to refer to adults as Mr/Mrs Lastname when I was a child and my parents were just Mom and Dad.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:42 PM   #18
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

We have just started requiring the kids to address other adults with yes sir/ma'am. We are having a problem respecting folks around here lately....so we are HOPING the yes sir/ma"am will trigger in their minds that this person is deserving of respect.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:42 PM   #19
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

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Originally Posted by NebraskaGirl82 View Post
I truly think this is a regional thing and have seen it in the South.

I teach my girls to be polite- Mrs/Miss/Mr until the person corrects them and says to call them by the first name. They call all of their friends parents by their first name, per request.

For people they don't know, because DD1 is so little, I teach her "Miss First Name". So her teachers at preschool are Miss Jody and Miss Hollie, our house is for sale and she calls her Miss Tish, etc.
This is what we do...except last name. Close friends get an Auntie or Uncle title and everyone else gets a Mr/Mrs/Ms last name until the adult specifically says the child can call them by first name. Even then though, it makes me uncomfortable to hear my children call someone by their first name. As an example to my children I also address people in the same way until told otherwise, especially in situations where my child must address the person as Mr/Mrs/Ms. My kids are in TaeKwonDo so they must address any seniors as Mr/Mrs/Ms or Sir/Ma'am, even if the person is 10 years old, if they have a higher belt rank they are to address the person formally. So I can often be seen chatting with a 10 or 12 year old student and calling him Mr/Ms last name just to set a proper example for my children.

I really don't see anything wrong with it. I am not teaching my children that ONLY adults deserve respect as they are taught to address everyone in this manner. I would also never say that there is any strain on my relationship with my children or that they have a fear of showing emotion. We have a very open and loving relationship and always will.

If it doesn't work for you then that's fine, but I do believe that children should not address adults by just their first name unless given permission by that person to do so. I am also "young" and brought up in a very informal household.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:43 PM   #20
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Re: Kids having to say sir and maam

No one says sir or maam here in WA state and no one said it in California when I was a kid. It is very regional.

To the op: Why don't you work on it your way and your dh can work on it his way? Your kids can learn that mommy does not care that much but daddy does expect it to be said when he is around.
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