should my kids say mam/sir

Sarah - posted on 10/29/2011 ( 43 moms have responded )

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Ok i really want my kiddos to say mam/sir. The problem is i also want them to say mommy/daddy. So i don't know what to do.....help!!

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Cynthia - posted on 11/04/2011

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i have never understood why some people find being called mam/sir offensive? this really bugs me when i say yes sir out of respect and the man says don't call me that. or when a woman says i'm not that old. for me mam and sir is not about age at all. i say it all the time. i even say sir to my sons. i'm offended by people that are offended by it...

Lisa - posted on 11/13/2011

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I live in Ohio where you don't here a whole lot of ma'am or sir responses out of children. However, I feel that it is a very nice form of respect for children and they need to be taught how to use it appropriately. I have a seven year old who has learned that when he is acting up and I correct his behaviour, a simple, "Yes, ma'am," will take him much further than a rebuttal. There are times that you need to be clear that you mean business with your children and a "Yes, ma'am" response from them is the perfect way for them to let you know they are taking you serious. I also cringe at how freely children address adults by first name. I always teach my children to use Miss or Mr. in front of someone's name. There are some adults who don't like that so that is the exception that I make with my children on addressing them by first name. I never called any of my friends' parents by first name growing up and it makes me wonder how our culture has gotten away from that in such a short period of time?

Susan - posted on 11/02/2011

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I completely understand where you're coming from. I like respect as well. When you talk to your children, talk to them the way you want them to talk to you or other adults. They know that Aunt Bessie is not Mama and will not call her Mama (for the cynical ones, I mean, really?!?!? is that even a question??). Say your daughter wants a snack. Ask her in reply, "would you like carrot, ma'am?" If she says simply yes, then tell her to say yes ma'am instead of just yes. If you have to scold her, tell her to say 'I'm sorry for what I did, mommy.' When she repeats it ask her if she understands what she did wrong, say yes ma'am. Then, ask her if she knows her actions were rude (or whatever the situation requires), and tell her to say yes ma'am. Also, when you talk to other adults (ANY adult), be repectful as well. Hello, ma'am. How are you today, sir? Yes, ma'am, I'd like a pound of sliced ham, please. No, sir, no one is sick right now. When you and your hubby talk, saying ma'am and sir to each other conveys respect to each other also (and can be kinda kinky, too). Children need to be reminded to say what we want them to say often. My bro and SIL have the two sweetest kids bc they raised them to say ma'am and sir. It's not often, but the 5 yr old has caught them off guard and reminded them to say sir and ma'am! Congratulations on wanting your children to be respectful. "Yes, ma'am" sounds a lot better than "yeah, mom" any day.

[deleted account]

Different cultures do different things. It has zero to do w/ the WORD being used and everything to do w/ the attitude behind the words.

Not that ma'am or sir is automatically wrong, but depending on how it's said.... there CAN be a whole lot more respect in a simple 'what?' than in a 'yes sir'. ;)

Trust me... you can get a whole lot of sassy attitude out of any word (spoken by a mom of almost 10 year old twin girls... lol).

Zoe - posted on 11/07/2011

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Maybe i am just common as muck, but here every one calls everyone else Duck. It is local and friendly, i would be a little suspicious of any one calling me mam. If you live in the deep south of the usa it may work fine for you, but i live in Derbyshire uk and we have a long memory of the class divide.

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[deleted account]

I stand corrected.... I realized today that I answer my son all the time w/ a 'yes sir' when he asks me a question and the answer is yes. ;)

Christina - posted on 11/13/2011

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I like the Mom/Dad is my preference since we are their parents. Sir/ma'am for people outside our family/ stranger. Teaching respect in general is good so that when they grow up they can expect respect fr. other people and they realize that all people deserves that down to the people who pick up our trash.

[deleted account]

My 4 yr old says mam/sir even when answering me. We also work hard on Ms. or Mr. My kids dont always remember, but I remind then and use the words myself so they hear them all the time. Good luck!

Katie - posted on 11/11/2011

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My son does. I say it to people. So he sees it. If he says it I get really excited lots of praise, but I do not punish him for not saying it. For us its like please..I want a cookie! then how do you ask? Please ma'm! very good here is your cookie, I really like the way you asked. My son says it to everyone. It may be old school but it shows a lot of respect. I love it!!

Delane - posted on 11/06/2011

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I'm a mother of 2 boys, ages 12 and 9. I was raised in the south and manners are a big issue. We were taught to respect our elders and be kind to others. I have also tried very hard to raise my boys to be more like southern gentleman. They both have manners and they are pretty good about using them, most of the time. I wish I had a penny for how many times I've been complimented on how well behaved and respectful they are. It makes me feel very proud. So, for me, personally, I think manners are a good thing. When they are calling to me, they say, "Mom." When they are asked a question, it is "Yes/no ma'am!" As someone previously mentioned, I still use my manners myself. Times are changing and it is a different world now. But, there's some parts of the "good ol' days" that I hope we can hang on to and continue to pass along. Hope that helped with your dilemma!

Sarah - posted on 11/06/2011

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i think the best way is to teach by example. I was raised to say sir and ma'am. That is how i still talk, no regards to age, just a universal thing... Even when i was teaching preschool, i would address the kiddos as sir and ma'am. Not tryin' to sound weird, but after a couple of weeks, they would do the same to me and the other teachers as well. Some people ask me not to (adults that is) and i try to respect their wishes as well... to me it is nothing but a show of respect for whomever you happen to be addressing. My two year old will come answer "yes ma'am?" if i call her name, and not because i asked or told her to, she just hears me talk like that to her and others. I don't push it, I just lead my life, and let her pick up on my manners. Please and Thank you on the other hand required some actual teaching for her... instead of saying "thank you" she just says "your welcome" when you give her something... it's pretty cute, but she's learning.

Erica - posted on 11/06/2011

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Saying mam/sir is respect and its just too bad that these youngens dont know no better..our daughter says it to us and still says mom/ dad..

Torie - posted on 11/06/2011

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I enforce ma'am and sir when asked a question. they are to say say please, thank you, etc when asking for/receiving things. When they ask for something they say mommy or daddy. I feel those types of manners are very important for my children to know when they speak to all adults, whether it be family or not. That's the way I was raised and that's the way I personally feel it should be. It just shows respect and in my opinion, there isn't enough of that in our society anymore.

[deleted account]

I would think that you would just correct them when they respond to a question. Like when DD asks for something I'll repeat her words with please at the end. Now I just look at her and she'll remember the please. Would think it would work the same with mam/sir

Freedom - posted on 11/06/2011

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We have 3 girls 15, 5 and 3. They all call us mam and sir and call us mom, mommy or dad, daddy. It's not one or the other. You must start it very young while they are learning to talk. If you call their name and they say huh or what you can then say mam, and say nothing else till they repeat you. When you give them instructions they should then say yes mam. If your starting with older children will will be a lot harder but not impossible. I feel mam and sir shows great respect and will stay with them forever. They will always have elders in life or bosses that will think more of them because of the respect they show.

Freedom - posted on 11/06/2011

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We have 3 girls 15, 5 and 3. They all call us mam and sir and call us mom, mommy or dad, daddy. It's not one or the other. You must start it very young while they are learning to talk. If you call their name and they say huh or what you can then say mam, and say nothing else till they repeat you. When you give them instructions they should then say yes mam. If your starting with older children will will be a lot harder but not impossible. I feel mam and sir shows great respect and will stay with them forever. They will always have elders in life or bosses that will think more of them because of the respect they show.

Michelle - posted on 11/04/2011

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My daughters call me "mummy" and their dad "daddy", their grandparents either grandma, grandad, nanna or papa. I would not want them to call any of us mam/sir. At school they call the female teachers "Miss", followed by the surname and the male teachers "Sir". They call their friends and mine by their first name, Aunty & Uncle for both their and my aunties and uncles, etc etc. Strangers, they don't call them anything but always respond politely when spoken to. That all seems fine to me :-)



Can't see how anyone can find being called "mam" or "sir" offensive though - I think it's very respectful!

[deleted account]

Ma'am would really annoy me (over here I am Auntie), but I wouldn't be rude enough to insult someone who had been trying to be polite. As well if MY kids happened to be where you are and someone reprimanded them for NOT using ma'am.... I'd be ticked. ;)

[deleted account]

To respond to a few people here: Ma'am and Sir are a cultural thing. Were I live it's very rude and offensive to not say it. It's expected to be said to mom, dad, teachers, any adult...and adults that are strangers say it to each other.

I do understand that it's different elsewhere, and when I travel I keep that in mind.

To the OP, Sarah...when I ask a question and my kid answers "yes" or "no" I expect a ma'am after it. If she answers, "yes" I correct her by saying, "Yes ma'am?" and she says, "Yes ma'am". When she wants my attention or is referring to me, she says, "Momma".

Jenna - posted on 11/03/2011

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When we've given them an order, something they need to obey, we expect them to say "sir" and "ma'am". When I'm asking them a question about something they've said or done, it's "sir" and "ma'am". When we're just hanging out and having fun and all that, it's "mommy" and "daddy".

Jill - posted on 11/02/2011

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when my DD comes to me and says, "mommy....." i'll respond, "yes, ma'am?" but they always call me mommy. i encourage them to say sir/ma'am to other adults and even teaching them to say, "Mrs. Mr." etc. that part is hard b/c most people would rather be called by their first name or Miss Jennifer, for example. but you could make a game of it by saying sir and ma'am to your kids and teaching them to say it to other adults. i think it's wonderful when parents teach their kids these types of manners. not many parents do these days!

Diana - posted on 11/01/2011

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i think if it was me i would want my son to refer to other adults as mam and sir but me as mama

[deleted account]

I agree with Kathrine, I actually find ma'am offensive. I'm not some old lady, don't treat me like one.

I like mommy and daddy just fine (I still call my mom, mommy).

As for polietness, I'd rather have them know please and thank you. Especially towards me. "Thank you mommy" sounds better than "Thank you ma'am". It is more personal, I'm their mother not a stanger. Even then to someone they don't know a name for a simple "Thank you" is enough.

Michele - posted on 11/01/2011

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We started when my son was 3. I am pleasantly surprised how much of his politeness has carried over outside the home. And we haven't been strict about it, just a casual incorporation of please, thank you, sir, ma'am, etc.

Melissa - posted on 11/01/2011

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What ages are we talking about? My toddler is still trying master mommy/daddy. Mam/sir will have to come down the road. The context should be when responding to you as a sign of respect.

Renee - posted on 11/01/2011

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We started out having our kids say "yes mom, yes dad" and wanted them to say "yes mr. and yes mrs." but found since they didn't get the practice at home (with mrs/mr), they didn't respond that way. We have recently switched to "yes sir/ma'am" and it HAS carried over outside of our house because they are now in the habit.

Terri - posted on 10/31/2011

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my 2 year old is learning to use ma'am and sir....and still uses mommy and daddy. the key is to teach them to say sir and ma'am when you ask them a question. they learn the difference. i grew up with good southern manners so she also learns by listening to how i speak. believe me kids are alot more aware of what we teach them then you realize!

Michele - posted on 10/31/2011

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Good for you for thinking about this! It's not about age, it's about showing respect to your elders. I find it strange that a 3 year old can call me by my first name instead of Ms. or Mrs. "X". I was just brought up in a more formal fashion I suppose. For my son, I am teaching him about yes sir/ma'am now that he is old enough to comprehend what I am doing, but it's not what he addresses me as, more of a response to a question or request. It's just something we've incorporated into our way of communicating.

[deleted account]

I think it depends on where you are. Here, It would be considered rude not to address other adults as ma'am or sir when spoken to, so J does address most people as sir or ma'am. Only very occasionally does he address my husband or me that way; we never taught him to address us with sir or ma'am, he just does every now and then, mostly it is mommy or daddy.

Leah, I cringe when kids say "what?" too. If I ask J a question and he doesn't hear it, I expect him to say "I'm sorry, what?" or "Excuse me?"
And if I call his name to get his attention, I expect him to say "Yes, ma'am?" or "Yes, mommy?"
Something about just "what?" sounds snottish to me :P

Katherine - posted on 10/30/2011

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Persoanlly being called mam makes me feel old lol. Miss is fine but ma'm isn't for me.

LEAH - posted on 10/30/2011

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I too feel it is a form of respect. I was raised to say yes mam no sir (still say it in the presence of my elders) and have raised my children the same way. They not only refer to me as mam, but other family members, friends parents as well. It's a form of respect IMHO. I cringe when I hear people's children say "What" to them. I would not go for that at all.

Katherine - posted on 10/30/2011

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I think they should call you mom and dad. Why mam and sir? That's kind of old fashioned IMO.

Cynthia - posted on 10/30/2011

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my son says mam and sir to me and dad. he also says mom and dad. when he says yes to either of us it is not yes mommy it is yes mam yes sir.

Kimberly - posted on 10/29/2011

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I think good on you Sarah for wanting to teach your children a form of respect that has seemed to be lost on children now a days. I do want my daughter to show respect to adults as well as other kids and I would be very proud if she addressed someone as mam/sir. I dont exspect her to use it with myself or my hubby but wouldnt worry me if she did. Good on you

Medic - posted on 10/29/2011

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Sarah- Our children (5years and 21months) call us mom/dad but when responding to a question or a direction they say yes/no mam/sir. They also use it with other adults. I feel that it is a form of respect. They tend to use the mam/sir more with us when they are border-lining on trouble, when not they say yes/no mom/dad.

Sarah - posted on 10/29/2011

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No, i want them to call us mom/dad and mam/sir but i don't know which one or how how to make them both work....:) @ lisa

Lisa - posted on 10/29/2011

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You want your kids to call you and dad maam and sir or other adults?

If it's yourself, I guess it's family preference. I'd start laughing my butt off if one of my kids said Yes Ma'am.

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