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Children Addressing Parents?

I am 22 and pregnant with my first baby. My husband and I don't really agree on how our children will address us. He is from Louisiana, where the baby will be born and raised for at least the first 3 or so years of their life, and I'm from Northern Virginia. The problem is that he wants to raise our children to address us as "Sir" and "Ma'am". His argument is that it is respectful. My argument is that it's a step too far. I feel that our children can be respectful without calling us 'Ma'am' or 'Sir'. Thoughts on this?


Asked by deathmiamore at 12:29 PM on Mar. 18, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (17)
  • I think it's a cultural thing and you'd both have to find common ground where you're each comfortable.

    It is completely possible to be respectful without using "Sir" and "Ma'am." Respect is about how you act - not the word you use to address a person. Let's say a person refers to you as "Ma'am" while ignoring your request or interrupting you or talking back - that's not respect just because they tossed in a certain word.

    I do expect respect from my children - and in turn I offer them respect. That does not we're on equal footing. It just means respect ought to go both ways. The kids call us Mom and Dad. They will say "Yes, Mom" or "Yes, Dad" They also say "Thank you," "Please," and "Excuse me." :-)

    I'm born, raised and raising kids in NJ. To me "sir" and "ma'am" is something to be used between two people who are not familiar with one another. I will say "Thank you, sir" to the stranger holding a door for me. ;)

    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:38 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • Mine have to say ma'am or sir. But we are from Mississippi. I guess it is a southern.

    Answer by rain408 at 12:32 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • My opinion is that the Ma'am's and Sir's should be reserved for folks who do not personally know us like waitstaff or store clerks. Mom and Dad is fine with me.
    I'm from WI by the way

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 12:33 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • I agree with your husband. I love it when children are taught to be respectful

    Answer by Anna92464 at 12:40 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • Mine call us mom and dad, but they also say yes sir and no sir, yes ma'am no ma'am when we ask them to do something. Im fron Southern CA my dh from NC and we didnt have that so much where I grew up, but I think its good to have kids address adults in that way.

    Answer by gemgem at 12:31 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • Mommy & Daddy are fine for me. Yes mom or Yes dad is goof for me, not just Yes or No.

    Answer by Alexias30 at 12:31 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • And of course they will refer to you as mommy and daddy- its just when you ask them something or call them- they would say ma'am and sir

    Answer by rain408 at 12:33 PM on Mar. 18, 2011


    OMG, get help now.

    My man and I are the same way we have 4 kids. The 2 little ones are our ages 7 and 8, my other 2 are from a previous relationship and he has raised them also. We now live separate because of our parenting skills, not good at communicating and compromise. Trust me as the children get old it gets worst. We argued way to much over how to raise the kids, then I stopped arguing and gave in which made me very unhappy. We love each other so much and finally are working on it.... But try to nip it in the bud.... Why you are still together.

    Answer by KFree907 at 12:35 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • My kids call us Mom/Mommy and Dad/Daddy. I do agree that Sir and Ma'am have their place, but I see it as reserved for strangers or family acquaintances, not close family.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 12:46 PM on Mar. 18, 2011

  • Anna, it's not about respect. Children can be respectful without addressing me in a way that I don't even like strangers to address me.

    Comment by deathmiamore (original poster) at 12:48 PM on Mar. 18, 2011