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Calling kids sir/ma'am


FJismyheadship

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Can someone explain the purpose of this? I don't know why buy it drives me UP THE WALL to hear an adult tell their child "No sir"

Is it a new thing? Cultural? Why do it at all? Is it intended to show respect while telling your two year old No?

Help me understand this please?

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I have said that to my kids over the years in two situations: joking around, or when the matter is fairly serious, for emphasis. I'm not sure why, other than osmosis...people in my family said it (my parents said it to me) and I grew up in the South where ma'am/sir is very common all around.

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I never realized calling a child "sir" or "mam" is a southern thing, but I am guilty of it. Calling them "mama" is not a southern thing that I know of.

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That is so weird. I've never encountered that. I thought the point of teaching kids to say sir/ma'am is to teach them to respect their elders, so calling a child sir/ma'am seems to negate that.

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That is so weird. I've never encountered that. I thought the point of teaching kids to say sir/ma'am is to teach them to respect their elders, so calling a child sir/ma'am seems to negate that.

This.

I noticed one person doing it about five years ago... and since then I have seen lots of people do it. I just can't figure it out. I want to ask when I see someone do it, but I can't figure out how to do it without seeming rude.

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This.

I noticed one person doing it about five years ago... and since then I have seen lots of people do it. I just can't figure it out. I want to ask when I see someone do it, but I can't figure out how to do it without seeming rude.

OK, am I the only one from outside the South who ever heard "And just what do you think you're doing there, missy?" It's the same thing as when you hear an exasperated southern parent say "You cannot buy that candy, no sir!" to a kid. You get the kid's attention that they have been BUSTED. It's not like it is used as an honorific when addressed to a child.

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OK, am I the only one from outside the South who ever heard "And just what do you think you're doing there, missy?" It's the same thing as when you hear an exasperated southern parent say "You cannot buy that candy, no sir!" to a kid. You get the kid's attention that they have been BUSTED. It's not like it is used as an honorific when addressed to a child.

But the honorific "miss" is generally used for young girls, so it's a bit different. I get that southern culture is unique but it just seems at odds with the attitude they tend to have in the south regarding respect for older people. But I haven't actually witnessed this so it might seem different in real life.

I also hate when people call little girls "mama". It gets on my nerves when adults call ME mama as well.

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calling little girls mama is an hispanic thing in my experience. I don't get it but that's where I hear it a lot around here.

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But the honorific "miss" is generally used for young girls, so it's a bit different. I get that southern culture is unique but it just seems at odds with the attitude they tend to have in the south regarding respect for older people. But I haven't actually witnessed this so it might seem different in real life.

I also hate when people call little girls "mama". It gets on my nerves when adults call ME mama as well.

All you have to do is replace "missy" or "miss" with "mister" for a boy. No boy in the neighborhood I grew up wanted to here "Get in here right now and explain yourself mister!" It's all in the tone and the audience. Mister is an honorific in a 30 year old man, but his 6 year old son did not want to get any adult to the point of using that to address him. My dad would actually use the word "madame" with us because that is how girls were scolded when he was a kid in Europe. I don't see the South doing anything unique with the No sir/ma'am with children.

I've never heard a little girl referred to as "mama", so I'm not sure of the context there. Is it more of a West Coast thing?

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I work in lower elementary and call my students sir/ ma'am (usually when one of them raises their hand for something I say yes sir/ma'am or answer them with yes/no sir etc.) I am not one for insisting respect for elders by virtue of them being older. I am more of the mindset that all people should be treated with respect, so I use it for children just like I would for adults. I probably use it more with children as honestly I usually hold more respect for them lol.

On the other hand I've always hated calling adults by a title (Mr. or Mrs. lastname or Uncle/Aunt so and so). maybe I'm just weird. I'm originally from the Midwest fwiw.

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All you have to do is replace "missy" or "miss" with "mister" for a boy. No boy in the neighborhood I grew up wanted to here "Get in here right now and explain yourself mister!" It's all in the tone and the audience. Mister is an honorific in a 30 year old man, but his 6 year old son did not want to get any adult to the point of using that to address him. My dad would actually use the word "madame" with us because that is how girls were scolded when he was a kid in Europe. I don't see the South doing anything unique with the No sir/ma'am with children.

I've never heard a little girl referred to as "mama", so I'm not sure of the context there. Is it more of a West Coast thing?

I think "mama" is more of a west coast thing. The times I've come across it have been in hawaii, California and the southwest. I've heard it from Hawaiians, white people, Hispanics and native Americans.

Edited to clarify: when calling a little girl "mama" it's sort of a term of endearment, I guess. It'll sound like "hey mama", or "get up, mama, you need to get ready for school". It's a bit like calling a boy "little man".

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Here its calling women and girls of any age "Little mama" That one also annoyed me... I was not a mama therefor I did not want to be referred to as such.

Here its mostly blacks that I hear use the term.

Hey, slightly off topic, but do you reckon its okay to ask the pediatric doctor to call me by my first name? It feels weird being called "Mom" by someone who is not my kid. I know she sees hundreds of patients a Month, but my name is on the chart as the mother. lol

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My husband got into the habit of calling kids "ma'am" or "sir" when he was teaching a martial arts class. It was the school's way of showing respect to even the smallest of the students, and it was naturally carried down into our family.

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Here its calling women and girls of any age "Little mama" That one also annoyed me... I was not a mama therefor I did not want to be referred to as such.

Here its mostly blacks that I hear use the term.

Hey, slightly off topic, but do you reckon its okay to ask the pediatric doctor to call me by my first name? It feels weird being called "Mom" by someone who is not my kid. I know she sees hundreds of patients a Month, but my name is on the chart as the mother. lol

That's not weird to ask, especially if you ask in a pleasant way. It feels weird being called mom by people who aren't your kids!

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When I was 5/6 i have a teacher who call us "Miss Paloma", and not "Paloma." And also, he said "vous" and not "tu". And I loved it !

So, now, I'm a music teacher in a little school. I say "Miss" or "Mister" and "Vous", even for 4-years-old children. They loved it, and they are like "ow, it's fun !". It's the parents who are "aaaw, it's a child, why do you do this ?". But, I'll continue. Not because I have principe, juste because it's fun... xD

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I never realized calling a child "sir" or "mam" is a southern thing, but I am guilty of it. Calling them "mama" is not a southern thing that I know of.

I lived in Alabama for 3 years and there most of our adult friends did call their mothers Mama, and their fathers Daddy.

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I'm interested to hear about calling girl children "mama". I'd heard of "papi" for sons and "mama" for women, but I hadn't heard of that.

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It's not a Southern thing. It is used for emphasis when correcting a child...along the same lines as using a child's full name when correcting. I live in Alabama too, use Mama and Daddy, as do a lot of Southern natives. Here's a good one for you, I call my grandmother "Mammy". Yes, I know that could be considered racially offensive. But, as I little girl, I had a speech problem. Even after I grew out of it, Mammy still stuck. My grandmother wouldn't have it any other way.

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Okay, for emphasis, like full names, I understand. It just seems like when I hear it, its not used for emphasis. Its used each and every time a no is used. You don't use your child's full name each time you say no. It just seems like where a regular no works, sir or ma'am gets used. If it was used in emphasis, I could understand it... but to use it all the time?

If this didn't make sense I will try to explain better lol

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I was told "no, ma'am" when I was a child growing up in South Carolina, and pretty much all my friend's parents did it too. Now, I'm the adult & I say it to my kids. I guess it's done to emphasize the no or yes. At least that's the connotation I picked up as a child. Sometimes I just hear myself say it because it's such a familiar pattern of speech for me. :shrug:

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I call my students Mr. or Miss Lastname all the time. No real reason for it. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I call them by their first name.

My dad used No, sir! all the time. Didn't matter whether he was talking to me, my sister or my stepbrother. He only used it when he was upset with us and at that point, I guess, we were all sirs! :lol:

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I lived in Alabama for 3 years and there most of our adult friends did call their mothers Mama, and their fathers Daddy.

Oh, I still call my parents "Mama and Daddy". My teenage son also calls me and his dad, "Mama" and "Daddy". That is definitely a southern thing. (my baby is still stuck on meme and dada :lol: ) I think the OP meant calling little girls "mama".

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Whenever I try to invision someone calling a child mama, the only thing that pops into my head is "Hey, little mama," in Elvis's voice. Just thought I'd share the amusing mental image.

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