Do Your Kids Say "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir"?


manners and etiquette

Photo by kristina.a2

Friends from Texas visited us a few weeks ago with their sweetest, most adorable little toddler girls, ages 2 and 4. I was particularly struck by how polite these Southern kiddos were -- compared to my Northern maniacs, who still have to be reminded to say "hello," "please," and "thank-you" over and over and over again.

Not only did these little girls remember their "pleases" and "thank-yous" without (much) prompting, but I was struck by their exceptionally good manners in general. They walked around saying, "Yes, sir," and "Yes, ma'am." How do you make kids like that?

Teaching toddlers good manners seems to get short shrift today, pushed aside for the zillions of other things we moms have to worry about, like squeezing in three servings of veggies and picking the right preschool. And that's not a good thing -- social skills are equally important to a child's future health and happiness. But that's just my opinion from way up here in Yankee territory.

What do you feel about the state of toddler manners in this day and age? Does geography make a difference?

And, I'm curious, how do you teach your toddlers to address other adults (who are non-relatives)? Are you a "ma'am and sir," "Mr. or Mrs.," or "first name" type of mom?

discipline, girls, learning


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kameka kameka

I'm from the north but I lived in Mississippi for a long time and am now in Texas.  I think it's important that my kids learn to say ma'am and sir because it is expected of them here; it's considered rude to not say it.  As for teaching them?  Every time I told her to do something I would say "Yes ma'am?" and have her repeat me.  Now, whenever I tell her to do something she automatically says it.  I try to be a manners nazi because I know how important it is to learn this stuff early.

leg1284 leg1284

thats none sense! be polite to other and respect other that how far i will go.. i will never teach that my two son  we are not in the army i always incourge my oldest to call the people he does not  miss or mister thats all and that pushing a four year old sorry that is will never cross my mind to teach them

angel... angelsmom2708

i think its very important im from Illinoise but have lived in Alabama for sometime now i get my kids to say yes ma'am and sir all the time my oldest has no problem with it but my 5 year old acts like it hurts him to say it but he does say it my 11 month old says it cant talk yet but i say it to her all the time so maybe it will help but anyway i think it is very important it show respect. I get my kids to call other people besides family Mr. or Ms. and it seems to be going good.

Sarah... SarahBsMommy08

I grew up saying "yes/no ma'm and sir."  I will also be teaching DD to say it as well.  However, I think that just plain yes and no can be taught very respectfully as well.  What really bugs me is when kids just say "yeah."   

cady0... cady032305

Ok. First things first, I was born and raised in Alabama(still live here) and i specifically remember my 2nd grade teacher saying " People up north think its rude to say Yes Ma'am/sir and NO ma'am/sir". And even as an 8 year old i thought this was absurd. So Just i reading your post, i can see that she was off her rocker so to speak lol. I have a 3 Y/O girl who, as soon as she started to talk, we taught her yes ma'm/sir and no ma'am sir, Please and thank you. My Nieces on the other hand, do not say any of them.(unless they are around me and i correct them.) I think it is strictly the parents not the "geography". Of i'll get off my soap box for now, hope i helped

jms124 jms124

My almost 3 year old has great manners, but I think the Ma'am and Sir go a little to far.  We teach the kids to call people Mr and Mrs/Miss so-and-so.  They call close friends of my husband and I Aunt and Uncle. 

As far as toddlers manners, they are toddlers and I really don't expect them to have any :0)  I'm all for teaching them to your kids, but they are learning so much at this time in their lives that they will forget.  We teach our kids manners by being polite ourselves.  Connor is very good with his manners and we are very proud of that.

I don;t think geography makes a difference, the parents preferences do.

bduck... bduckett0723

Im from Alabama also and both of my kids say it. They also say please, thank you, etc.


ivelo... ivelostmyself

it is our way of life! we are from TX, recently moved to OK (but only 20 miles from the LoneStar line!) we live on a ranch. among ranch families, it is very widely taught that your children refer to adults as ma'am and sir. if you think about the respect of authority and the respect of adults in the old western movies, it is still going on today. we have 4 kids-the youngest being 1 yr old, so hes learning, but the others know that you answer with respect! when they get into trouble, and we tell them to stop or they will get into bigger trouble next time, it better be a "yes, ma'am". our 11 yr old DD does tend to respond with a "whatever" and an eye roll, but thats another answer for another post!

mlreg... mlregalado

Um no. I teach thme to say Mr., Miss, Mrs.

Homem... HomemakinMommy

I live in MS and here its about being polite and showing respect.I was taught to say yes mam and yes sir as a way to show respect to my elders. I was also taught to call someone Mr. or Miss or Mrs. Or Ms as a way of being respectful until they said I could call them by their name. This is something I have taught my children my 2 year old says please thank you yes mam yes sir and calls people by Mr. Or Miss,Ms,or Mrs.and so does my soon to be 7 year old daughter. Its all about being polite and nothing else. If you have never lived in the south its difficult to understand southern ways and culture.

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