Should kids say sir or ma'am?

@Ashida (1370)
United States
December 23, 2006 12:51pm CST
When I was little we were expected to say "yes, sir" or "yes, ma'am" when we were talking to adults. Do you teach your kids to say this? I don't hear any children saying this anymore.
2 people like this
8 responses
• United States
29 Dec 06
It's kind of funny about me. I had a step-father who was a retired military person (yeah) and so I was told that I MUST refer to him as sir and to my mother as ma'am. I was 12 years old and we were at some people's home when my step-dad began harping on me about this. I refused to adhere to this order and after I heard enough about it I just said that I had to respect someone to refer to them in that way. I obviously had no respect for either him or my mother, don't to this day, and that I would not follow the order. He chased me into the bathroom and beat me. These days it is rare for me to use either of the terms unless I am able to legitimately respect the person I am addressing.
1 person likes this
@Ashida (1370)
• United States
29 Dec 06
I think it's possible to be polite and respectful without saying sir or ma'am. but it's also tough when the people you are addressing don't deserve respect. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. I appreciate the thoughtful reply!
@re08dz (1941)
• Australia
24 Dec 06
I don't expect my kids to say it, I do expect them to say Mr or Mrs so and so - unless given permission otherwise, which is pretty much how I grew up. In fact I still do - some parents of friends I grew up with and still see on a regular basis I call Mr and Mrs - it just seems wrong to call them anything else :-) Yet oddly enough - my kids friends I tell to call me by my first name or I expect my kids to introduce me that way - this is my mum - insert first name :-)
@Ashida (1370)
• United States
24 Dec 06
that's funny -- I do the exact same thing. And I always wonder about it afterward because it seems awkward to call these people by their first names. thank you for the response
@oceangirl (170)
• United States
24 Dec 06
I would have to say no. When I was a kid, the only child I knew who had to say "sir" and "ma'am" to her parents was a child who was unhappy, mistreated by her parents in general, and just plain neurotic. While I think it is a sign of respect, I don't think it's appropriate for the parent/child relationship. It also signals a stilted formality and implies an air of distance and superiority by the person being called sir/ma'am. Parents are supposed to be loved and respected, as well as love and respect their children. IMHO, making children call you sir/ma'am shows a lack of respect for them as people.
@Ashida (1370)
• United States
24 Dec 06
I agree. I don't make my kids say it either. Thanks for the thoughtful response.
@14missy (3185)
• Australia
29 Dec 06
My children usually are told especially to use Mr or Mrs when talking to adults. I don't like children talking to others parents and calling them by their first name. I didn't even know my friend's parents firsat names when I was growing up. I still call them mr and mrs! It is just respect I think and we need to instill it into our children.
@Chapman15 (1503)
• United States
24 Dec 06
I think it depends on the situation... I don't think they should call people they know by sir or ma'am, but they should call strangers by sir or ma'am... It seems like the polite thing to do. I know when I was a kid I didn't but oh well!
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Dec 06
My parents were military, but they didn't expect me to call them that.
1 person likes this
@lafavorito (2970)
• Philippines
29 Dec 06
It will be ok to say "yes,sir" or "yes,ma'am" to other people to show respect but "Mr.___" and "Mrs.___" will do. In our country we call our friend's mothers "Tita" and their fathers "Tito"
@Ashida (1370)
• United States
29 Dec 06
does that translate into Mrs and Mr. in English or does that mean something else? Thank you for responding. I learned something new from you post!
@scottology (1213)
23 Dec 06
no kids should not say that
@Ashida (1370)
• United States
23 Dec 06
if you don't mind me asking, why not?