Manners – Just a Southern Thing?

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Southern hospitality is one of those things just about every American has heard of and many have experienced firsthand. Southerners like tomake people feel welcomed even if all it takes is a smile or a “hello”.

Though I’ve only ever lived in the South, I’m sure there are nice people all across the country but it’s more expected once you get below the Mason-Dixon Line.

And I’m not sure if the Southern hospitality thing is really so much “hospitality” as it is just plain old good manners. Who doesn’t want to have good manners?

I can remember back to when I was 13 or 14 and I had major surgery to remove an ovarian tumor – a long story for a different day. According to the nurses, as I was coming out of anesthesia, I was telling everyone “Thank you” and “No, sir” and “please”. That polite stuff was so ingrained in me I was saying it while I wasn’t even completely conscious. What had my mom done to me?

What’s funny is now I’m doing it to my own kids.

My three year old must say “please” to get what she wants. Once she gets whatever it was, she has to say “thank you.” She still has issues with interrupting conversations, but, you know, I’m 28 and I still have issues with interrupting conversations.

My 18 month old knows “Yes, ma’am”, “please”, “thank you”, “no, thank you” and a couple of other polite words and I don’t think that’s weird. I think that’s normal.

In the South – and I’m sure other areas of the country – your children are a direct reflection upon you, your family and your parenting abilities. I don’t want anyone to meet my kids and then the kids behave like heathens and the people assume I don’t know how to raise my kids.

Is this just a Southern thing? Are kids from other parts of the country expected to say “please” and “thank you”? Do you expect your kid to say those words?

*This was originally posted on Deep South Moms but it’s closing and we were all told to grab our posts if we wanted to…so I did.*



  1. I do not think that any mother deliberately raises her child to be rude and obnoxious. However, there are some very strong regional differences in what is considered polite. There are all sorts of sociological theories about why, but that would be a whole post, not a comment. I will tell you that my dogs are very well behaved and know excuse me, thank you, and please. They also know no and leave it. People smirk when I tell my dogs thank you after they perform a command, but that tells them they did what I asked. Of course, nine times out of ten, the smirkers have horribly behaved children.

  2. I have diligently taught my boys “please” and “thank you” and “no, thank you”, though we don’t do the “sir” and “ma’am” thing. Neither my husband nor I, both raised in the Midwest, were raised to do that either…maybe that’s a Midwestern cultural thing? However, once I’ve known someone as “Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so”, they are “Mr. and Mrs.” forever. I cannot call one of my mom’s closest friends by her first name because she was my freshman algebra teacher and she will FOREVER be “Mrs. Algebra Teacher”…no matter how many times she has teased me about it or tried to insist that I call her by her first name. Funny how something like that gets so ingrained into your way of thinking, no?

    • My GT – gifted and talented – teacher from 1st through 3rd grade is like a second mother to me.

      However, I will always and forever call her Mrs. Brown even though that’s no longer her name – she got remarried – and I’ve been out of high school for ten years. 😀

  3. Ugh. Moving to the Midwest was very hard for me due to the cultural differences. I default to sir and ma’am, they are polite, end of story. I had people I was waiting on, belligerently snap, “Don’t you ma’am me!”
    Thankfully we moved back to my home state where I can raise my kids to say “ma’am” and “sir” without having other adults say, “They don’t have to call me that.”
    Yes, they do. They are my kids, and I am raising them to say those terms.

  4. I don’t know that it’s a southern thing. My parents are both from PA and even tho we lived in Texas where everything is y’all and kids call adults by their first names, my parents taught us manners. When we moved to KY people were almost offended and actually ASKED not to be called Ma’am and Sir.

    Now I’m back in Texas and as an adult, I’m noticing that kids call adults by their first names and it BUGS me. I want to slap them silly and tell them how awful it is that they just called an adult by their first name.

    Teaching my kid manners for sure.


  1. Amy Tucker says:

    New Blog Post: Manners – Just a Southern Thing? http://bit.ly/dpurfG

  2. Gene Bowker says:

    RT @Tastelikecrazy: New Blog Post: Manners – Just a Southern Thing? http://bit.ly/dpurfG

  3. Is being taught manners just a Southern thing or is this habit found all over? @tastelikecrazy wants to know! http://bit.ly/bhNYSs

  4. Amy Tucker says:

    I just wrote this: Manners – Just a Southern Thing? – Southern hospitality is one of those things just about every A… http://ow.ly/17MEkK

Speak Your Mind