“That’s when I started thinking, “Will Steven and I need to teach her to reply with yes or no ma’am/ sir?”
Yes ma’am. It’s a response that southerners teach their kids to say. And nothing but that. Even though I grew up in the south, my mother did not force us as children to respond with yes or no ma’am. And here’s why I won’t either.
Last week, my daughter and I were playing in the floor when she handed me a toy. I said, “Thank you.” Little did I know she would repeat me. That’s when I started thinking, “Will Steven and I need to teach her to reply with yes or no ma’am/ sir? As a new parent I never thought about it until now.
As I mentioned before, my mother did not require my sister and I to respond that way. So I decided to ask her why? My mother believed it wasn’t the only way to show respect. Then my mother reminded me of how my father liked to force us to say yes or no sir as a weapon.
If you’ve heard my story then you know I grew up with a physically and verbally abusive father. He never demanded my sister and I to respond with yes or no sir until he was shaking a fist in our faces. It was hard to respond respectfully to a man who is hitting or cussing me out. So for me I have a bad experience with that response.
My husband and I have talked in detail about this topic. He did grow up responding to his parents that way. But we both agree our children can still be respectful with their responses using other words. For example, a simple yes or no. Even a “no, thank you” or “yes, please” can still be respectful.
Is it wrong for parents to teach their kids to say yes or no ma’am/sir? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I do believe there is a time and a place for it. I believe children should know when they need to use it. Especially for elders. However, correcting my child with every response she makes is not something I think is right for our family.
The ironic thing is I respond almost 100 percent of the time with a ma’am or sir. When I worked at McAlsiter’s Deli I had a co-worker who always responded with yes or no ma’am/sir. Even to people like me who were younger. So after hearing it I automatically use this response. So even if I don’t require my daughter or future kids to say this, they may still pick up on it.
“It’s not just about the words you say but the attitude behind them. I can say yes ma’am but still be rude.”
Once again, I’m not an expert on parenting. I’m also NOT saying I’m against parents teaching their kids to respond with yes or no ma’am/sir. I personally don’t want that to be my children’s only response. Especially if they only say it because they have to.
It’s not just about the words you say but the attitude behind them. I can say yes ma’am but still be rude. I want to teach my children there is a way to respect others with your words and attitude. I know Steven and I are just beginning our journey but I really think this will give our daughter a more broad perspective on life and the way she needs to treat others. As her equal, not as those above or below her.
If you come from a similar background like me then this could be a alternative for your family. If you’re a parent who is all about the yes or no ma’am/sir then I say do your thing. Every family does different things which is perfectly okay. I wanted to share my thoughts to maybe help parents decide which route they want to take. Or even have the discussion. Again, it’s one of those things you don’t think about until you’re in the process of it.
Now, I want to hear from you. What did you grow up doing? Are you teaching your kids the same? Do you believe it’s disrespectful to say anything but yes or no ma’am/sir? Leave your comments below. I want to hear from you.