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Old 04-10-2010, 12:46 PM
 
Location: ATL suburb
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I grew up in NYC, and I hate when people call me ma'am. Just call me Mrs. anadyr21 or DS' mom. Sir and ma'am is regional.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:47 PM
 
Location: southern california
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kids dont do it here, but if you dont respect yourself, why should you respect others?
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaka View Post
Except in the south, a kid would likely be sent to the principal's office for saying 'yes ma'am'.
What is your evidence for this??

Quote:
I think an adult should be addressed how they wish to be addresses, not how the parent of the child thinks they should be addressed. If someone your child interacts with expects the formal (and rather obsequious IMHO) address of sir or ma'am, then by all means they should receive that.
THIS is the crux of it. You call someone by what they perceive as a respectful term, even if it doesn't make sense to you or you find it either too formal or too informal. Certainly, if an adult invites a younger person to use his'her first name, then the first name should be used (even though I still have a hard time referring to the parents of people I was childhood friends with by their first names--I've know them for decades as "Mrs. X"! But that would now make them uncomfortable. I'm about to attend a 30-year high school reunion where some teachers will be in attendance, and they will likely ask us to use first names, but WOW, that's a paradigm shift, when I've thought of them as "Mrs. ____" all these years!) However, until one is told otherwise, I still maintain that the general rule for children addressing adults is "Mr/Ms/Dr X" until invited otherwise.

And, here in the South (which I acknowledge is more formal about all matters of etiquette), anyone you called "Mr/Mrs/Dr", you would also call "Sir/Ma'am" if you were a child, or generations younger. If you are 30 and they are 60, it's a grayer area, but if I sense that someone would like to be called "ma'am" I am happy to show them my manners by using it.

Be glad English isn't a language where they have entirely separate words for "you", depending if the person is your social "superior" or "equal/inferior"! While I presume that even those languages are relaxing in the "formal" form, but still the "kid addressing an adult" rule is still pretty strictly enforced except within families.

When I was a kid in the South, not only was it "Yes, Sir" to your father, but when he asked a question, the response was not "What?" or "Yes?", but "Sir?". I heard an exchange recently with a father/child that went like that and, even though I was brought up that way, it seemed archaically formal now--I guess that's what it sounds like to many folks such as Californians now, who are accustomed to a more informal interaction, to call an adult "Ma'am" in other contexts? I worked with the public for many years and it's always better to err on the side of caution when dealing with customers, and we always said "Ma'am" and "sir". But I still find it borderline rude when the young children of my friends call me by my first name without being invited to (their parent's fault, not theirs). Many of my friends (Southern, usually) now have them call me "Mr. [Firstname]", which is a nice compromise between just "[Firstname]" and the perhaps too formal "Mr. [Lastname]". And they don't say "Sir", which is fine with me as a family friend.

Rambling, but the advice of "use the form the person wants you to call them" is the best advice.

Last edited by Francois; 04-10-2010 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:08 PM
 
2,605 posts, read 3,894,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Occam's Bikini Wax View Post
I think an adult should be addressed how they wish to be addresses, not how the parent of the child thinks they should be addressed.
That's just plain silly. Every child would be so confused as to how to address any given adult. Children should address adults as Sir, Ma'am, Mr. or Mrs. There should be no exceptions.

I STILL call those older than I Mr. and Mrs.. Sometimes I use Sir or Ma'am.

I don't care what an adult wishes my child to call him/her, it's ALWAYS Mr. or Mrs..
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Montgomery Village, MD
516 posts, read 1,184,289 times
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My kids call people "Miss so and so" and "Mr so and so" so when I introduce them to adults they will be "Miss Elizabeth" or "Mr. Tom" except in the case of a formal title, such as "Pastor So and So"

I normally only require them to say "yes ma'm" when they are being disobedient. If they are happy and jovial I don't find it a requirement to say "yes ma'm" but if they aren't listening it's more like "I said did you hear me? say "yes ma'm" is normally how it works.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Denver area
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Quote:
My kids call people "Miss so and so" and "Mr so and so" so when I introduce them to adults they will be "Miss Elizabeth" or "Mr. Tom" except in the case of a formal title, such as "Pastor So and So"
Now I understand that is definitely a regional thing but I find it really awkward. I was always taught that "Miss" is an unmarried woman and is used in combination with a last name as in Miss Jones. Once a woman is married, then it is Mrs. Smith. Ms. Jones or Smith can be used depending on the preference of the person being addressed. To me "Miss Elizabeth" is how you address your preschool or Sunday school teacher. We visited family in the South recently and my 19 and 16 yo kids were introduced to some adults and instructed to call them Miss Elizabeth and Mr. Tom. It felt very odd. I always taught my kids to call adults by Mr. or Mrs. but if the adult said, "you can call me Elizabeth" then that was fine. Start out with Mr. and Mrs. though.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Montgomery Village, MD
516 posts, read 1,184,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maciesmom View Post
Now I understand that is definitely a regional thing but I find it really awkward. I was always taught that "Miss" is an unmarried woman and is used in combination with a last name as in Miss Jones. Once a woman is married, then it is Mrs. Smith. Ms. Jones or Smith can be used depending on the preference of the person being addressed. To me "Miss Elizabeth" is how you address your preschool or Sunday school teacher. We visited family in the South recently and my 19 and 16 yo kids were introduced to some adults and instructed to call them Miss Elizabeth and Mr. Tom. It felt very odd. I always taught my kids to call adults by Mr. or Mrs. but if the adult said, "you can call me Elizabeth" then that was fine. Start out with Mr. and Mrs. though.

To be honest, I thought it was just a southern thing, but many of my friends here in MD do it as well. I think it's easier for a 5 and a 2 year old (age of my kiddos) to call people by Miss and first name unless otherwise introduced as something else... just our prerogative
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:28 PM
 
2,838 posts, read 8,771,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoExcuses View Post
That's just plain silly. Every child would be so confused as to how to address any given adult. Children should address adults as Sir, Ma'am, Mr. or Mrs. There should be no exceptions.

I STILL call those older than I Mr. and Mrs.. Sometimes I use Sir or Ma'am.

I don't care what an adult wishes my child to call him/her, it's ALWAYS Mr. or Mrs..
How is that respectful to the adult in question? And why would it be confusing? My kids have no problem remembering other people's names... knowing that Andy's mom likes to be called "Miss Mary" and Kyle's mom likes to be called simply "Dorie," is no different than knowing their last names, and to call them "Mrs. Smith" or "Mrs. Jones." My kids' friends call me "Miss Michelle" or simply "Michelle." My own kids call their friends' moms by whatever they prefer... so far, there has been no confusion, LOL.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Denver area
21,037 posts, read 21,773,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaecho View Post
To be honest, I thought it was just a southern thing, but many of my friends here in MD do it as well. I think it's easier for a 5 and a 2 year old (age of my kiddos) to call people by Miss and first name unless otherwise introduced as something else... just our prerogative

Oh I understand it for a 5 and 2 yo but I thought it was odd for a 16 and 19 yo (who are obviously old enough to pronounce last names)....

ETA - of course it's your prerogative - didn't mean to infer otherwise, just that it was awkward for older kids (approaching young adulthood) and when that's not what you've been accustomed to....They survived and know that "when in Rome"....

Last edited by maciesmom; 04-10-2010 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
4,469 posts, read 6,096,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Occam's Bikini Wax View Post
I think an adult should be addressed how they wish to be addresses, not how the parent of the child thinks they should be addressed. If someone your child interacts with expects the formal (and rather obsequious IMHO) address of sir or ma'am, then by all means they should receive that.
Our default is whatever the adult introduces him- or herself as. We have a neighbor who introduced herself as <firstname>. Since she's a good 30 years older than I am, my children address her as "Miss <firstname>". A friend's mom is "Mrs. <lastname>", because that's how she refers to herself.
Most adults we run into end up being "Mr Chris" or "Miss Jennifer" because the kids don't always know last names right away. By the time they do, it's stuck, and the grownups in question haven't asked for any changes.

"Sir" and "ma'am", sadly, are often forgotten unless the child in question is in trouble and suddenly remembers it would be a good idea.
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