The Rudest Kids in All of SC

Pretty sure I'm going to have the rudest kids in all of South Carolina... and it's all my fault.  I've begun to notice that there are certain manners that a 2 year old does know, or should know, that I never even thought about teaching.  I've also noticed that there are certain manners that pertain to "the South" that all the children know, but which I have no desire to teach my children.  Hmmm, yep, we will be frowned upon here in the South.  Oh well.

Please and Thank You:  You might think this to be odd, but it never really dawned on me to enforce this.  Yes, I usually say "please", or if I don't then I always say "thanks"... but it's never been a big deal around our house.  Growing up, my parents never did the whole, "what do we say..?" or "what's the magic word?" thing.  I asked for something and got it.  In fact, my mom has actually told me that saying "please" amongst family seems so formal and almost like begging, so she doesn't like it.  She feels like it would be her pleasure to do something for me, so I don't have to be all, "pretty please with a cherry on top, would you pleeeeaase give me a glass of water".  A simple, "Hey mom, can you get me a glass of water... thanks" is sufficient.

But I know that this is highly unacceptable... and not just in the South.  I watch parents withhold food or toys from their children until they recite those magical words.  I just don't have it in me.  So I've been trying to teach Marco to say "thanks" after receiving something... but only to outsiders, not to me.  And, if he doesn't say it, it's no big deal to me either.  Blame me... I'm the rude one, not them!

Yes Ma'am, No Sir: The rules of the South are different than those of Florida.  Yes, Florida is technically in "the south", but it couldn't be further from southern culture.  The farther south you drive, the more liberal, atheistic, and hot it gets... (sounds like Hell to a lot of Southerners... haha).  But I digress.  Here in the South, it is customary for children to answer adults with a formal "Yes, Ma'am... No, Ma'am... Yes, Sir... No, Sir".  I had NEVER heard of this before moving here.  Never.  I thought that was military talk.  But apparently it's not.  Apparently, that's the way mothers want to be referred to by their babies.  Maybe I just don't get it.  Although, yes, it is polite, it also rigid and cold.  Personally, I don't want my children to call me Ma'am.  Uhhh, I don't want ANYONE to call me Ma'am... I'm too young still! Every time someone calls me Ma'am, I'm taken aback.  Like, who are you calling Ma'am?!

I don't see how saying, "yes, Mom" or "no, Mom" is any less polite... and yet it's so much more loving and personal.

Miss Nicole, Mr. Mauricio:  It is customary for children to call adults by their first names, but adding a Miss or Mr in front of it.  Again, this was not something I grew up doing and had NO IDEA it was normal.

I remember calling my pre-k teacher Miss Christy, but that was just for her.  Then, when I was 14 and moved to a church that had a few American women in it, we called them Miss Linda and Miss Joy, but everyone else was by their first names only... Anne, Vivian, Rosana, Nilsara.  To all of my friends' parents, I called them by their first names if I knew it... Candice's mom was Martica, Natalie's mom was Olga, Jennifer's mom was Lilly (or Silly Lilly).  There was never any formalities.  If in the case that I didn't know their first name, I would call them, Mrs. Last-Name until she told me what her first name was.  No one ever found this to be rude.  It was normal.

Then we move here, and everyone is calling me Miss Nicole, and it's just weird to me.  It's way formal.  And I feel peer pressured into teaching it to my kids because it is the culture of where we're living, but at the same time, I don't like it.  Do I really have to assimilate?

So, in conclusion, if you notice that my kids don't say the same things that yours do, don't hold it against them.  If they don't call you Miss So and So, but instead just use your first name, know that they are not being rude or forward.  If they answer you with a "yeah?" instead of a "yes, ma'am", they're not being snotty.  If they're given a cookie and forget to say "thank you", they still do appreciate it.  These are just cultural differences that are subtle but still stand out.  So, although Marco and Jonas may be the rudest kids in all of South Carolina, they're pretty normal by Florida standards!