Does Your Child Say ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am’?

Both my husband and I grew up with military fathers.
My dad didn’t enforce any rules about me calling him ‘sir’ and my mom ‘ma’am’. While my father-in-law was the opposite, I can appreciate how his sons still show him this form of respect. 

My boys are pretty good about having good manners – saying ‘please,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘ thank you.’  Yet, the jury is still out for me as to whether or not I want my boys to call me ma’am and their father sir…. AALLL the time. I have required them to say it when I’m talking business though. Is this mainly a southern thing? What are your thoughts? 


9 thoughts on “Does Your Child Say ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am’?

    • Definitely no first name calling… although my kids ask me what my name is now. I say ‘mommy’ – but they hear my husband call me by my name so they know what it is – but don’t call me that.

  1. I don’t have children, but when I do I won’t be teaching them to say “ma’am or “sir” Personally, I do not like being called “ma’am.” It makes me feel old! I do think kids should use titles like “Mr, Mrs or Ms.”

    • I agree – I like to hear older people being called ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ – and I’m talking senior citizens. But when the coin is flipped and someone’s child calls me ma’am – I don’t like it one bit!!

  2. Definitely not just a southern thing. Late hubs grew up in Brooklyn, and he said it. His parents never got further than Jersey. It is just respectful. I still say it to those both younger and older than I. Some ppl cannot stand to hear it said to them, but others are amazed my little ones say it.

    Whichever you choose, be consistent. If you want them to tell it to strangers/family/acquaintances, do it at home, too. Saves the headache of them trying to figure out when and where they should.

    • Great advice and thanks for the comment. I was wondering if it was regional or not. I think it is wonderfully respectful – even though I don’t want to be called that. I do admire other children who use it diligently. I know I’ll have to decide one way or the other so I don’t confuse my kids.

  3. Brought up in the south, we said it to our teachers, all adults and all strangers, but not to our parents. After being in the military on top of all of that, at 36, I still call everyone I meet ma’am and sir. It’s just habit. And it drives me crazy when people say, “Oh, don’t call me that. I’m not old.” It has nothing to do with that. It’s a manner of respect!

      • I know, right? Your boys are precious. I can just imagine them saying “ma’am.” I think it’s such a good quality in a kid. The first thing I think when I hear that out of a kid’s mouth is, “They must have parents who care.”

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