Instilling Manners … at an Early Age

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I can’t remember the age at when we started gently encouraging our oldest to use her manners. From the beginning we were always saying “please” and “thank you.” She picked up on that quite quickly. But, to get her to say “Yes Ma’am” or “Yes Sir,” well, that was an entirely different situation.

I wanted my little girl to be my young lady. I wanted her to always answer with the appropriate answer to her elders. That is how I was raised and I still do it. It is not a matter of just being from the south, but a way of showing respect.

However, I have been told that it was something that I needed to drop all together if I wanted people outside of my family to actually take me seriously. This is what a professor told me. Well, I took his suggestion into consideration … and still say “Yes, Ma’am,” “No Ma’am,” etc. Not all the time, though. It is something that will always be a part of me and I want that to be a part of my children as well.

We correct our daughter every time she answers us to get her accustomed to saying “Yes, Ma’am” and “Yes, Sir.” She is now 5, and has been answering to us that way for several years now — and getting better at it every day. But, some people question my choice. Is it appropriate? Was she not too young to be answering in such a manner?

Well, I ask you this … what age do you think a child should know how to answer to her elders? Do you agree with this manner … or is it just a southern thing?

I honestly, will continue my efforts and will soon start it on my soon-to-be 1-year-old.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of two with baby number three on the way!

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